Calvin Schiraldi – His New York Mets Career 1984,1985


Calvin SchiraldiThe Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Calvin Schiraldi in the first round of the 1983 amateur draft (27th overall).  After spending the 1983 and 84 seasons in the minors he joined the Mets as a September call-up in 1984.  He made his Major League debut on September 1 against the San Diego Padres.  As the starting pitcher he lasted just 3 1/3 innings and allowed 4 earned runs.  He received a no-decision as the Mets won 10-6.  He went on to appear in 5 games, 3 as a starter, and posted an 0-2 record with a 5.71 ERA.

Schiraldi started the 1985 season with the Mets and earned his first career victory in season debut on April 22 despite allowing 5 runs in 6 innings.  He would appear in 9 games, splitting time between the starting rotation and bullpen before, being sent back to the minors in June.  At the time of his demotion his record was 0-2 with an 8.77 ERA.  He returned in September and appeared in one game finishing with an 8.77 ERA.

Following the season Schiraldi was traded along with John Christensen, Wes Gardner and LaSchelle Tarver in exchange for Bob Ojeda, John Mitchell, Chris Bayer and Tom McCarthy.  However, his place in Mets history was not over.  He had a successful season with the Red Sox saving 9 games with a 1.41 and helped them reach the World Series where they faced the Mets.  He was on the mound in the 10th inning of game 6 attempting to close out the series.  With the Red Sox up 5-3 he quickly got the first two batters before giving up three straight singles to Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight.   He was than pulled in favor of Bob Stanley who threw a wild pitch which tied the game.  The Mets than won the game when Mookie Wilson’s ground ball went through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner. 

He entered game 7 in the 6th inning with the score tied at three and promptly gave up a home run to Ray Knight. The Mets never looked back and went on to win the game 8-5 to capture their second World Championship.

While with the Mets Schiraldi wore number 40.

Calvin Schiraldi also played for the following teams:
Boston Red Sox – 1986,1987
Chicago Cubs – 1988,1989
San Diego Padres – 1989,1990
Texas Rangers – 1991

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Joe Sambito – His New York Mets Career 1985

Joe SambitoFormer All-Star and Brooklyn native Joe Sambito was signed as a free agent on   April 26,1985. The left-hander made his Met debut on April 28 pitching an inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would go on to pitch in 7 more games for the Mets before being demoted to the minors in June. At the time of his demotion his ERA was 12.66. His last appearance came in the worst loss in Met history, a 26-7 loss to the Phillies on June 11. He pitched 3 innings and gave up 10 runs 8 of which were earned.

Sambito pitched in 19 games for AAA Tidewater but posted a 0-3 record with a 4.55 ERA and was released by the Mets in August. He returned to the majors in 1986 with the Boston Red Sox and would make two appearances against the Mets in the World Series.

While with the Mets Sambito wore number 35.

Joe Sambito also played for the following teams:
Houston Astros – 1976-1982, 1984
Boston Red Sox – 1986,1987

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Rusty Staub – His New York Mets Career 1972-1975, 1981-1985

Rusty StaubOne of the most popular players in franchise history Rusty Staub had two successful stints with the Mets.  The Mets first acquired Staub from the Montreal Expos on April 6, 1972 in exchange for Tim Foli, Mike Jorgensen and Ken Singleton.

Staub singled in his first at bat as a Met on April 15, 1972 but injuries limited him to just 66 games for the season. But he did manage to hit .293 with 9 home runs and 38 RBIs. In 1973 he played an integral part as the Mets won the National League Eastern Division by hitting .279 with 15 home runs and 76 RBIs, the most on the team, while also setting a franchise record with 36 doubles. But it was in the postseason where he cemented his legacy in Met history. In the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds Staub hit 3 home runs, 2 in game 3game 3, and drove in 5 runs as the Mets upset the Reds in 5 games to win the National League Pennant. Unfortunately, he also injured his shoulder when he crashed into the outfield wall. The injury hampered his ability to throw but not his ability to hit. In the World Series against the Oakland A’s, Staub was the Mets leading hitter with a .423 average and also led the team with 6 RBIs. In game 4 he hit a home run and drove in 5 runs as the Mets won 6-1 to even the series at 2 games apiece.  Unfortunately, it was not enough as the Mets lost the series in 7 games.

Rusty had a very similar season in 1974 once again leading the team in RBIs with 78 but hit just .258. 1975 turned out to be his best season with the Mets, he set a franchise record with 105 RBIs, a record that would stand for 15 seasons until Darryl Strawberry broke it with 108 in 1990.

Despite his success the Mets traded Staub to the Detroit Tigers in the offseason along with minor leaguer Bill Laxton in exchange for pitcher Mickey Lolich and outfielder Billy Baldwin.

It was a trade the Mets would come to regret as Staub went on to become one of the most productive run producers while Lolich had a mediocre season for the Mets and then retired.

Rusty returned to the Mets in 1981 as a free agent and would play 5 seasons with the Mets before retiring after the 1985 season.  In his first season back with the Mets Staub played first base and hit .317 with 5 home runs and 21 RBIs.  In 1982 he served as a player/coach and split time between the outfield and first base but hit just .242 with 3 home runs and 28 RBIs. 

From 1983 to 1985 Staub served primarily as a pinch hitter and became the most preeminent pinch hitter in the league.

In 1983 he tied the Major League record for most consecutive pinch hits with eight. He also tied the single season Major League record with 25 pinch hit RBI’s. In 1984 Staub hit just one home run, but that one home run put him in exclusive company as he became just the second player to hit a home run before his 20th birthday and after his 40th birthday, the other player was Hall of Famer ty Cobb.

Rusty Staub retired following the 1985 season. In his 9 seasons with the Mets Staub appeared in 942 games and hit .276 with 75 home runs and 399 RBIs.  He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986.

Following his playing career Staub spent 10 seasons in the Mets broadcast booth

While with the Mets Staub wore number 4 from 1972 to 1975 and number 10 from 1981 to 1985.

Rusty Staub also played for the following teams:
Houston Astros – 1963-1968
Montreal Expos – 1969-1971, 1979
Detroit Tigers – 1976-1979
Texas Rangers – 1980

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Gary Carter – His New York Mets Career 1985-1989

Gary CarterA seven-time All-Star catcher with the Montreal Expos, Gary Carter was acquired by the Mets prior to the 1985 season in exchange for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Floyd Youmans and Herm Winningham. He was considered to be the final piece to the puzzle as the Mets pursued their first World Series title since 1969.

Carter made an immediate impact when he hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Opening Day 1985. He would go on to lead the team with 32 home runs and 100 RBI’s. On September 3rd he became the 5th player in franchise history to hit 3 home runs in a game. The next day he hit another 2 home runs to become the first player in Mets history to hit 5 home runs over the span of 2 games. He was selected to be the starting catcher in the All-Star game but was unable to play due to injury. During the month of September, he hit .320 with 13 home runs and 36 RBIs and was named the National League Player of the Month.

In 1986 Carter continued his strong hitting and tied Rusty Staub’s franchise record for most RBI’s in a season with 105. He also hit 24 home runs as the Mets cruised to their first postseason appearance since 1973. He once again was selected to start for the National League in the All-Star game. He also finished 3rd in the National League MVP voting, 

During the postseason Carter initially struggled going 1 for 21 in the NLCS against the Houston Astros before knocking in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning of game 5. The Mets would win the series in 6 games. During the World Series Carter hit 2 home runs during game 4 and drove in the tying run in game 7. But his most famous at-bat came during game 6. In the bottom of the 10th inning with the Mets trailing by 2 runs and down to their last out and on the verge of losing the series, Carter singled to start the Mets 3 run rally. In one of the most amazing comebacks in World Series history the Mets won the game and would go on to win the series in 7 games to capture their 2nd World Series title.

Carter returned in 1987 but his numbers began to dip as he hit just .235 with 20 home runs and 83 RBIs. In 1988 he hit just 11 home runs with 46 RBIs, but he did manage to hit the 300th home run of his career. The Mets returned to the postseason in 1988 and Carter hit .222 with 4 RBIs in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. His 2 run double in the 9th inning of game 1 drove in both the tying and winning runs, but the Mets would lose the series in 7 games.

In 1989 Carter suffered through an injury plagued season. He hit just .183 with 2 home runs and 15 RBIs in 50 games. It would be his last season with the Mets as the Mets decided that his best days were behind him and chose not to offer him a new contract.

In five seasons with the Mets Carter hit .249 with 89 home runs and 349 RBIs. He would play another three years before retiring following the 1992 season.

In 2001 Carter was elected to the Mets Hall of Fame and in 2003 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While with the Mets Carter wore number 8,

Gary Carter also played for the following teams:
Montreal Expos – 1974-1984, 1992
San Francisco Giants – 1990
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1991

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Bill Latham – His New York Mets Career 1985

Bill LathamThe New York Mets signed Bill Latham, a left-handed pitcher, as an amateur free agent in 1981. Latham worked his way through the Mets minor league system for four years before making his Major League debut on April 15, 1985. He started the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates but lasted just 3 2/3 innings allowing five hits and three runs and suffered the loss. He would appear in one more game, pitching two innings of scoreless relief against the Phillies on April 20th before being shipped back to the minors.

Bill Latham was brought back up to the Mets on July 27th to pitch the second game of a doubleheader against the Houston Astros. He pitched effectively over 7 1/3 innings allowing just three runs to earn his first Major League victory. He even earned his first major league base hit, a second inning single which also drove in the Mets second run of the game. After the game he was shipped back to the minors.

Latham was brought back to New York in September to help the Mets in their playoff push against the St Louis Cardinals. He pitched three games out of the bullpen, losing one, before being given the ball to start the final game of the season. He pitched five innings and lost the game 2-1.

He finished the season with a 1-3 record and 3.97 ERA.

Latham was traded to the Minnesota Twins prior to the 1986 season. He spent one season with the Twins splitting time between the majors and the minors. The Twins traded him back to the Mets in May of 1987. He spent two seasons in the minors but did not make it back to the majors and retired following the 1988 season.

While with the Mets Latham wore number 44 and number 33.

Bill Latham also played for the Minnesota Twins in 1986.

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Wally Backman – His New York Mets Career 1980-1988

Wally BackmanA hardnosed gritty player Wally Backman symbolized the feistiness and tenacity of the great Met teams of the mid 80’s especially the 1986 World Championship team.

Wally Backman started his Met career as a September call up in 1980 and would spend parts of the next four seasons with the Mets. During that span he showed signs of promise but could never stick with the big club, injuries also played a factor. When not playing in New York Backman spent much of the time with the Mets Triple A affiliate the Tidewater Tides. It was with Tidewater where Backman caught the eye of manager Davey Johnson who liked his style of play. When Johnson was named the manager of the Mets in 1984, he immediately made Backman his starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. He became a fan favorite due to his hardnosed style of play, leading the league in dirty uniforms. Backman would hit .280 while also stealing 32 bases as the Mets surprised many and won 90 games for their first winning season since 1976.

In 1985 he hit .273 with 1 home run and 38 RBIs and led the team in stolen bases with 30. During the month of August, he enjoyed a 14-game hitting streak.

In 1986, Backman’s struggles against left-handed pitching forced Davey Johnson to platoon him with Tim Teufel. But he still managed to hit a career best .320 while batting in the number two spot in the lineup setting the table for the Mets big hitters, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry, as the Mets ran away and hid in the National League and won the World Series.

During the 1986 League Championship Series, he hit just 0.238 but was in the middle of some of the most pivotal moments.  In game 3, with game trailing 5-4 entering the 9th inning Backman led off with a bunt single.  He beat out the bunt when he lunged past Astros first baseman Glenn Davis.  Two batters later he scored on Len Dyktra’s walk off home run.  In game 5 with the game tied in the 12rh inning, he led off with an infield single and would eventually come around to score the winning run on Gary Carter’s single.  During the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, he hit .333 (6 for 18) and drove in one run.

Backman’s production began to fall off in 1987 and by 1988 and with the emergence of Gregg Jefferies and Keith Miller from the Mets minor league system he became expendable. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins following the 1988 season in exchange for three minor league prospects.

Backman hit .283 over his 9-year career with the Mets, playing in 765 games.

In 2010, Wally Backman returned to the Mets organization as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, their single A minor league affiliate.  He went on to manage their double A affiliate the Binghamton Mets.  He also managed their Triple A affiliate in both Buffalo and Las Vegas from 2012-2016.

While with the Mets Backman wore number 28 in 1980 and number 6 from 1981-1988.

Wally Backman also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1989
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1990
Philadelphia Phillies – 1991,1992
Seattle Mariners – 1993

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Terry Leach – His New York Mets Career 1981,1982,1985-1989

Terry LeachTerry Leach, a right-handed pitcher who pithed side-armed, was originally signed by the Mets as a minor league free agent on July 27, 1980. A year later he made his Major League debut on August 12, 1981 when he pitched one inning of relief in the Mets 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs, He allowed 3 hits and 2 runs.  He finished out the season with the Mets and appeared in 21 games, all but one out of the bullpen, and posted a 1-1 record with a 2.55 ERA.  He earned his first Major League win on September 9 against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  In his only start of the season on August 15 against the Philadelphia Phillies he pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 hits and 1 unearned run.  He got a no-decision as the Mets won 3-1.

He started the 1982 season in the minors before getting brought up to New York in June.  Once again, he appeared in 21 games, all but one out of the bullpen, and posted a 2-1 record with 1 save and a 4.17 ERA.  His only start came on October 1 was a memorable one.  He pitched a complete game shutout and allowed only 1 hit and struck out 7 in 10 innings of work as the Met won 1=0.

Leach spent the entire 1983 season in the minors pitching for the Tidewater Tides.  He posted a 5-7 record with 6 saves and a 4.46 ERA.  Following the season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, He started the 1984 season in the Cubs minor league system before being traded to the Atlanta Braves.  He didn’t last long in the Braves organization.  He was released by the Braves on May 25 and was immediately picked up by the Mets.  He finished out the season in the minors.

He started the 1985 season in the minors before once again getting called up the New York in June.  This time he appeared in 22 games 4 as a starter, and posted a 3-4 record with 1 save and a 2.91. His best performance came on August 22 when he pitched a compete game 3 hit shut out against the San Francisco Giants.

Leach started the 1986 season with the Mets but made only 6 appearances, all out of the bullpen, before being shipped back to the minors.  He posted a 0-0 record with a 2.70 innings in 6 2/3 innings.

 He spent the entire 1987 season with the Mets and enjoyed his best season with the Mets.  He started the season in the bullpen before a rash of injuries in the Mets starting staff he was forced to join the rotation.  In 12 starts he posted a 7-1 record, He finished the season with an 11-1 record and 3.22 ERA.  His best appearance came on July 2 when he pitched a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds

Leach pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 1988 appearing in 52 games.  He finished with a 7-2 record with 3 saves and 2.54 ERA in helping the Mets win the National League Eastern Division title.  In the postseason he appeared in 3 games and did not allow any runs in 5 innings of relief.  But the Mets lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

In 1989 he appeared in 10 games before being traded to the Kansas City Royals on June 9.  At the time of the trade his record 0-0 with a 4.22 ERA.

In 176 games for the Mets over 7 seasons Leach posted a 24 and 9 record with 7 saves and 3.11 ERA.

While with the Mets Leach wore number 43 in 1981 and 1986 and number 26 from 1985 to 1986.

Terry Leach also played for the following teams:
Kansas City Royals – 1989
Minnesota Twins – 1990-1991
Chicago White Sox – 1992-1993

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Ray Knight – His New York Mets Career 1984-1986

Ray KnightFormer All-star third baseman Ray Knight, was suffering through a down season when the Mets acquired him from the Houston Astros on August 28, 1984. At the time of the trade he was hitting just .223.

Knight finished out the 1984 season with the Mets appearing in 27 games; he hit .280 as the Mets made a late season push to make the playoffs only to come up short.  Knight returned to the Mets in 1985 and struggled mightily hitting just .218 with 6 home runs and 36 RBIs.  Based on his poor performance the Mets attempted to trade Knight during the off-season but could not find any takers, they even entertained the idea of releasing him.  But Knight got off to a fast start in 1986 hitting 6 home runs during the first month of the season.  With his new-found power surge the Mets decided to keep him, a move that they would not regret. He finished out the season hitting .298 with 11 home runs and 76 RBIs as the Mets ran away with the National League’s Eastern division. But it was during the postseason in which Knight made a name for himself and solidified his place in franchise history. 

After hitting just .167 during the NLCS against the Houston Astros, Knight hit .391 with a home run and 5 RBIs during the World Series vs. the Boston Red Sox.  Of his 9 hits two stand out, the first being his single off Calvin Schiraldi in the 10th inning of game six.  With the Mets down to their last out and trailing by two runs, Knight singled to centerfield to pull the Mets to within a run.  He would eventually come around to score the winning run on Mookie Wilson’s ground ball which went through the legs of Boston’s Bill Buckner.  The next night during game seven his seventh inning solo home run gave the Mets the lead, a lead they would not relinquish as they went on to win their second World Series title.  For his efforts Knight was named MVP of the series. 

Despite his new-found cult status among Met fans Knight and the organization could not agree on a contract for the 1987 season and he left as a free agent to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.  During his two plus seasons in New York Knight hit .271 with 18 home runs and 118 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Knight wore number 22. 

Ray Knight also played for the following teams:
Cincinnati Reds – 1974, 1977-1981
Houston Astros – 1982-1984
Baltimore Orioles – 1987
Detroit Tigers – 1988

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Ronn Reynolds – His New York Mets Career 1982,1983,1985

Ronn ReyoldsAfter three seasons in the Mets minor league system catcher Ronn Reynolds finally made his Met debut on September 29, 1982.  He started the game and went 0 for 2 before being removed for a pinch hitter.  He would appear in just one more game in 1982 and finished the season 0 for 4.  Reynolds started the 1983 season in the minors with the Tidewater Tides, the Mets top farm club, before being recalled at the end of April.  He appeared in 24 games, 23 as the starting catcher, but hit only .197 in 66 plate appearances and was shipped back to Tidewater in the middle of June.  He got his first hit on May 8th against the Cincinnati Reds.  Reynolds finished out the season in Tidewater; in fact, he would not make another appearance with the Mets until 1985.  After starting the season with Tidewater, playing in just three games, he was promoted to New York to be the backup catcher to Gary Carter.  Although he spent the entire season with the Mets he appeared in only 28 games and batted just .209 in 43 at bats.

Following the season, the Mets traded Reynolds to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

In 54 games for the Mets over three seasons Reynolds batted .195 with 3 RBIs

While with the Mets Reynolds wore number 8 in 1982 and 1983 and number 9 in 1985.

Ronn Reynolds also played for the following teams:
Philadelphia Phillies – 1986
Houston Astros – 1987
San Diego Padres – 1990

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Kelvin Chapman – His New York Mets Career 1979,1984,1985

Kelvin ChapmanAfter spending three seasons in their minor league system Kelvin Chapman earned his way on to the Major League roster following a phenomenal spring training in 1979.  He made his debut as the Mets starting second baseman.  He got his career off to a fast start, singling in his first at-bat, and hitting safely in his first three games.  But than his bat went cold and with his average at just .150 he was demoted to the minors in the middle of May. Chapman spent the remainder of the season in triple-A before returning to the big club as a September call-up.

Chapman spent the next four seasons playing exclusively for the Tidewater Tides, the Mets top minor league club.  He finally returned to big club in 1984 serving as a part-time player and pinch hitter and put up decent numbers, hitting .289 with 3 home runs and 23 RBIs.  Chapman returned to Mets in 1985 but once again struggled at the plate and was demoted back to the minors halfway through the season with his average at just .174.

The Mets released Chapman following the 1985 season ending his pro baseball career.  Chapman appeared in a total of 172 games for the Mets and hit .223 with 3 home runs and 34 RBIs.

While with the Mets Chapman wore number 10 in 1979 and number 11 in 1984 and 1985.

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