Saturday, July 31, 2010


Alex Treviño joined the New York Mets when they purchased his contract from Ciuda Victoria of the Mexican Center League on May 22, 1974. The 16-year old catcher from Monterrey, Mexico was first assigned to the club's Appalachian League team. Alex moved his way through the system and made his major-league debut as a member of the Mets at Shea Stadium on September 11, 1978. Treviño had made a good impression in New York during that late season callup. He remained primarily as the team's backup catcher playing behind John Stearns. Alex showed his versatility as a baseball player and occasionally appeared in games at third base, second base and as a corner outfielder with the Mets.

The Cincinnati Reds established him as their starting catcher when they acquired him along with Greg Harris and Jim Kern from the Mets in exchange for George Foster on February 10, 1982. Successful years with the Reds were followed by stops in Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco. Alex returned to the New York Mets as a free agent on August 3, 1990. In nine games he did hit for a .300 batting average. A short stay that ended a little over a month later when he was claimed off waivers by the Reds on September 7th.

"It's tough to judge why you move around so much," Treviño once explained. "I came to the conclusion that, one, I was not an All-Star; two, I was wanted by other teams; three, I stay out of trouble, and four, I wasn't making that much money."

After retiring from his playing career in 1990, and an abandoned comeback attempt in 1993, Alex has enjoyed a second career as an analyist for the Houston Astros Spanish radio network.

Alex Treviño signed his card in the set for my friend Wendy Woods before the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros game at Minute Maid Park on July 24, 2010.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Bart Shirley was drafted by the New York Mets from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Rule V Draft on November 28, 1966. A native of Corpus Christi, Texas who attended the University of Texas on a football scholarship. Bart was pleased to have a new opportunity with the Mets. "Playing behind "the Captain", Maury Wills was a slow process" Shirley offered about the Dodgers legendary shortstop. 

The infielder started the 1967 season with the Mets. Making his debut with the club striking out as a pinch-hitter in Philadelphia during New York's 5-1 loss to the Phillies on April 14th. Bart would score a run as a pinch-runner against the same Phillies the next day. 

His favorite memory of Shea Stadium? "I has to be the fans." Shirley remembered in 2014. "They loved their Mets, and it showed." Bart got his first of three starts at second base at Shea. After just six games with New York he was offered back to Los Angeles on May 18th. "I didn't want that to be, but going hitless, and the youngster, Bud Harrelson playing well shortened my stay." said Shirley. "I was glad that the Dodgers wanted me back."

After completing a four-year career in the major leagues he joined the Spokane Indians baseball club as a player-coach under Tommy Lasorda. His baseball journey then took Bart to Japan in 1971. He played and coached for the Chunichi Dragons of Nagoya. Seeing his success overseas the Los Angeles Dodgers brought the former player back to manage three seasons within their minor league system.

Shirley returned home to Corpus Christi in 1978. Beginning a new career in the insurance industry, and has worked with agencies and as an independent agent since 1990. He was able to remain involved with baseball as an employee of the local minor league, Corpus Christi Hooks ballclub. The team honored Shirley with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

"Bart was obviously an accomplished multi-sport athlete and built an impressive baseball resume over many years," Hooks President, Ken Schrom said. "But more importantly, he's a wonderful human being. I've talked to guys who played with him at Ray and they say he exuded class as a high school student. You'll never hear an adverse word from or about him. That may seem like a simple legacy, but you couldn't ask for a better one."

Bart Shirley signed his card from the set for me through my friend, Nick Bean in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 6, 2010.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Mike Fitzgerald was selected by the New York Mets in the sixth round of the free agent draft on June 6, 1978. He was drafted upon graduation from Lakewood High School in California. Mike was a fine defensive catcher in the minor leagues who was promoted to New York at the close of the 1983 season. Fitzgerald became part of a select group when he stepped to the plate for the first time as a major-leaguer on September 13th. He stroked a home run that made him the 48th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat in their first career at-bat. (The second Met to accomplish the feat after Benny Ayala in 1974.) It was a solo shot coming off Phillies pitcher, Tony Ghelfi in Philadelphia. Mike would appear in a total of eight games to close the year.

He won the Mets' starting catching job in 1984. Appearing in 112 games for a team that went from last place the previous season to winning 90 games. Mike's defensive would again prove to be his strength and led all National League catchers with a .995 fielding percentage. That mark would tie the previous team record established by Jerry Grote. His efforts were rewarded with his selection as the catcher on the 1984 Topps All-Rookie Team.

Mike's career with the Mets ended when he was traded along with Hubie Brooks, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans to the Montreal Expos in exchange for future Hall of Fame catcher, Gary Carter on December 10, 1984.

Mike Fitzgerald signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on September 26, 2009.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Pedro Feliciano joined the New York Mets when he was traded along with Raul Gonzalez, Brady Clark and Elvin Andujar from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Shawn Estes on August 15, 2002. The left-hander made his major-league debut days later at Shea Stadium on September 4th. He worked the final two scoreless innings of an 11-3 victory over the Florida Marlins. The rest of his appearances were not nearly as effective and he was returned to the minor leagues.

Pedro spent the next two seasons shuttling between New York and Triple-A Norfolk. New York pitching coach, Rick Peterson suggested he abandon his traditional throwing style and become more of a side-arm delivery in 2004. Pedro had also made another decision. His contract was sold by the Mets to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese League on January 21, 2005. As a reliever in Japan his workload dramatically increased. "It was crazy," Feliciano said. "I had never thrown that much in my life." The daily 25-pitch bullpen sessions improved his arm strength and durability. Techniques he learned in Japan changed his warmup routine and led to increased flexibility. After a season with the Hawks he returned to New York a changed pitcher.

Feliciano established himself as the left-handed specialist for the Mets in 2006. The ability of his slider to do more than just that was obvious. "When you talk about relievers in baseball, in my mind, he's at the top because he can get out both lefties and righties," Mets General Manager Omar Minaya praised in 2007. Without fanfare he became an essential part of the team's bullpen. His durability allowed him to establish a team record of game appearances for a pitcher, with 86 in 2008, during the final season of Shea Stadium. "I'm still working," Feliciano offered. "I'm not perfect yet."

Pedro Feliciano signed his card in the set for me before the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2009.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Rick Baldwin was selected by the New York Mets in the ninth round of the 1971 free agent draft. He would reach New York and make his major-league debut at Shea Stadium on April 10, 1975. Rick threw an inning of scoreless relief against the Philadelphia Phillies that day. The rookie would lead the Mets pitching staff with 54 appearances that year. All while recording a 3.33 ERA. So Rick was understandably disappointed after learning that he was being sent to Triple-A Tidewater at the conclusion of spring training in 1976. "I was really down, but she (his wife, Sherry) told me I couldn't spend the whole year sulking." remembered Baldwin, "So then I prayed a lot, and suddenly realized that I couldn't quit. I had to show them I could pitch."

Rick earned a late season call up to New York. He finished the year even stronger than his first stint in the major-leagues. Lowering his ERA to 2.38 during 11 games in 1976, but the end result was the same. Baldwin was again the last pitcher reassigned out of spring training camp. "It didn't bother me as much as the first time from a mental standpoint," said Rick, "but it did create problems. Sherry was eight months pregnant with our second child, and on her way to New York. So I had to go up there and get her before reporting to Tidewater."

The family's stay in the minors was short. Baldwin was back with the Mets on May 24, 1977. He would close the year with the big club, but see his effectiveness falter. Having his ERA swell to 4.45 during 40 appearances. Rick earned his only save of the year in the final game of the season facing the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Seattle Mariners selected Baldwin from the New York Mets during the expansion draft on December 5, 1977. Rick would not return to the major-leagues before retiring in 1978.

Following his baseball career, Rick has served with his wife, Sherry as the Elementary Chapel instructors at Modesto Christian School. He has remained involved in baseball ministry by serving as the Camp Director and Head Coach for the Total Baseball Academy at River Ranch Church where he is an Associate Pastor.

Rick Baldwin signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on January 10, 2009.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Jorge Velandia was traded by the Oakland Athletics to the New York Mets in exchange for (future American League All-Star outfielder) Nelson Cruz on August 30, 2000. He would make his debut with the major-league team as a late season call up on September 6th of that year. Velandia appeared in 15 games to close the campaign, but mainly as a defensive replacement. The Venezuelan born infielder did not collect a hit in his seven at-bats during that time.

He was a knowledgeable player that continued to show a much greater glove than bat during his time in the Mets organization. Jorge would spend much of his time with Triple-A Norfolk, but returned to New York in both of the next two years. Playing in nine games in 2001, and 35 more in his last season. Velandia left the Mets when he became a free agent and signed with the Atlanta Braves on November 14, 2003.

After his active playing career, Jorge became the hitting coach for the Williamsport Crosscutters in 2010. "A lot of people play professionally for a long time and end up hating the game," Valendia shared. "That's not me at all. I feel lucky to have played all this time, because the competition is so hard. Now I'm excited for the next step."

Jorge Velandia signed his card in the set for me following the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and Indianapolis Indians game at Victory Field on June 5, 2009.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Miguel Cairo joined the New York Mets when he signed a free agent contract on January 10, 2005. When the veteran arrived in Port St. Lucie for spring training camp he brought his Yankees equipment bag. A Mets official joked, "You are going to have to burn that thing." and Cairo laughed and said, "No way." Miguel placed the enemies bag on top of his locker, but it soon found it's way into the bench chest inside. The versatile veteran was a favorite of manager, Willie Randolph and he played him at several different defensive positions. Many people felt Cairo might have been a better choice for the starting second baseman than the struggling Kaz Matsui. Randolph liked his value off the bench. Still, Miguel made his way into 100 games and posted a .251 batting average.

After only one season with the Mets, Cairo returned to the New York Yankees when he signed a free agent contract on January 5, 2006.

Miguel Cairo signed his card in the set for me following the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and Indianapolis Indians game at Victory Field on June 4, 2009.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Ed Bauta was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the New York Mets in exchange for Ken MacKenzie on August 5, 1963. He actually debuted with the Mets in 1963, but came to Shea Stadium when it opened the next season. Bauta pitched in the first game ever played at the new ballpark. He was given the loss after coming on in relief of starter, Jack Fisher.

The Cuban born right-hander was not with the club long during the 1964 season. Bauta made eight appearances with New York before throwing his last game in the major-leagues on May 9th. Ed was sent to Triple-A Buffalo to finish the year. He started the next year there too, but finished it with the Baltimore Orioles Triple-A affiliate in Rochester.

Ed Bauta signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on November 4, 2008.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Anthony Young was selected by the New York Mets in the 38th round of the free agent draft on June 2, 1987. He was a scholarship defensive back at the University of Houston. Anthony made his major league debut as a member of the Mets on August 5, 1991. He became the lowest draft pick to make the team since 38th-rounder Dave Schneck in 1967. "Anthony started slowly this year at Tidewater, but he turned it around and based on what he's shown up here, we think that Anthony has a chance to make the team as a starter next year," offered Mets' Assistant Vice President Gerry Hunsicker on his debut.

On May 6, 1992 he was the losing pitcher when the Mets fell to the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium. That started what would become a streak of losses which elevated the young right-hander to national attention. Young would drop 27 consecutive decisions (14 as a starter, and 13 as a reliever) before finally ending it with a win on July 24, 1993. "I got a bad rap on that," Anthony says of the streak, in which he had a 4.36 ERA. "I always said I didn't feel like I was pitching badly. It just happened to happen to me. I don't feel like I deserve it, but I'm known for it. It was an 82-year old record and it might be 82 more years before it's broken." His 27 straight losses eclipsed the mark of 23 recorded by Boston hurler, Cliff Curtis in 1911. The New York Times described Anthony as a "Noble Loser" and wrote, " Mr. Young endures all this with remarkable dignity, acknowledging the pain of his predicament but never giving in to it by whining."

It was the hard-luck nature and no excuse attitude of Young during the losing streak that kept the Shea Stadium faithful firmly behind the pitcher. He was even satirized by late-night talk show host, Jay Leno on a regular basis. Anthony made an appearance on his program once back on the winning track. "It was a lot of fun." Anthony remembers. During the struggle his locker was filled with good luck talismans mailed to him from supporters hoping to help. Psychics called the team and offered their assistance. All this added to the mystique of the Mets pitcher.

Other baseball clubs saw the promise in Young and routinely contacted New York in efforts to acquire him. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Ottis Smith in exchange for Jose Vizcaino on March 30, 1994.

After his active pitching career came eight years working at a chemical plant. But he followed his desire to coach and developed AY Enterprises. Anthony formed teams of 9-13 year-olds in the Houston area. He also returned to the Mets organization as a regular at Mets fantasy camps in Port St. Lucie, Florida. "Life is good," Young said. "I'm a grandfather. It's been a pleasure watching my kids grow up and I'm keeping busy with baseball."

Anthony Young signed his card in the set for my friend Jessie, when the Mets faced the Minnesota Twins at Citi Field on June 27, 2010. Young was being recognized along with Mets 2010 Fantasy Camp members at the game.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Mike Hampton was traded along with Derek Bell from the Houston Astros to the New York Mets in exchange for Roger Cedeno, Octavio Dotel, and Kyle Kessel on December 23, 1999. The All-Star pitcher was in the final year of his contract with the Astros, who felt they had no chance of resigning the impending free agent. "I didn't ask for a trade, but it didn't come on a whim. There was a lot of thought," said Hampton upon coming to New York after telling Houston he would not negotiate a long-term deal with them. "No, I didn't have any second thoughts. I made a decision and I'll stick it out until the end of the season and take it from there."

Mike pitched well for the Mets during the 2000 regular season. A fierce competitor who ended the year with a 15-10 record and 3.14 ERA. In his 33 starts for New York, Hampton threw three complete games including a shutout. On August 17th he strained an oblique muscle, but missed only one start due to the injury. He explained, "It's late in the season. I'm not out there just trying to get through. I'm out there trying to help my team win." Mike was selected as the pitcher on the National League Silver Slugger team for 2000. Evidence of his ability to help a team both on the mound and at the plate.

As good as Hampton was during the season he was even better in the National League Championship Series. Mike was dominant in his two starts facing the St. Louis Cardinals. The left-hander won the series opener by shutting out the Cardinals during his seven innings of work. Then followed that with a complete game victory in Game 5 while striking out eight batters. Hampton will be remembered by Mets' fans for the image of him raising his fist triumphantly into the air at the conclusion of that game. Mike had led the Mets back to the World Series and was named the NLCS Most Valuable Player. "I'm close," he said, wiping champagne out of his eyes after clinching. "The way I see it, we still have four to win to fufill that fantasy. We're content, but we're still four away."

The Mets would fall to the New York Yankees in the Subway Series of 2000. Mike was the starting pitcher in Game 2, but did not have quite the same success as before. Matching up against Roger Clemens at Yankee Stadium he would be given the loss that evening. Hampton surrendered four runs during his six innings of work in what would become a 6-5 defeat. The 2000 World Series was won by the Yankees four games to one.

Mike would sign with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent on December 9, 2000.

He developed the Mike Hampton Pitching In Foundation that assists many local Florida charities and youth based organizations. In 2003 it awarded it's first scholarships to deserving area high school seniors.

Mike Hampton signed his card in the set for Wendy Scott in Arizona on May 20, 2014.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


John Cangelosi signed with the New York Mets as a free agent on November 17, 1993. The veteran outfielder was brought on to strengthen the bench, and was used primarily as a reserve during his season with the team. A Brooklyn native, who possessed great speed that produced a career high 50 stolen bases during 1986 with the Chicago White Sox. He led a much slower New York team with five steals for the 1994 season. A feat accomplished while playing in only 62 games.

The 5-foot 8-inch tall Cangelosi was the center of controversy following an incident with John Smoltz on May 14, 1994. The Mets were facing the Braves that day at Shea Stadium. New York's Ryan Thompson broke out of a 2-for-36 slump in a big way by delivering a grand slam home run off the Atlanta starting pitcher. Smoltz took exception to the celebratory fashion in which Thompson rounded the bases, "He looked like he was going to go to their dugout and give everyone a high-five before he got to first base." Cangelosi who had been hit by a Smoltz pitch earlier in the same game was the next batter. He was promptly struck in the back by the Atlanta right-hander and charged the mound in retaliation. A bench clearing brawl followed and the event was even featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. The league handed out suspensions to the three players involved. Team historians have even pointed to this event as the beginning of the Mets-Braves rivalry.

In a roster move to activate a returning Kevin McReynolds, the Mets officially optioned Cangelosi to Triple-A Norfolk and he exercised his option to be released on July 8th. "With my limited role, I thought I did everything in my power to keep this job and I can't figure out their decision," John said at the time. "It just doesn't make sense." With the Mets then in a position of making their discontented first baseman David Segui an occasional outfielder he may have had a point.

John teamed up with fellow major-leaguer Bo Jackson to create a state-of-the-art baseball training facility in the Chicago area. Cangelosi Baseball, a youth instructional program was formed in 2008. He also has served as the Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Joliet Jackhammers baseball team of the Northern League.

I created John Cangelosi's card in the set from an autographed index card given to me by my friend, Jessie on June 24, 2010.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Harry Parker was traded along with Jim Beauchamp, Chuck Taylor, and Tom Coulter by the St. Louis Cardinals to the New York Mets in exchange for Art Shamsky, Rich Folkers, Jim Bibby, and Charlie Hudson on October 18, 1971. It would take a season in the minor-leagues before he would make his Mets' debut on April 15, 1973. Parker would post a 4-0 record in his first four starts for New York and tie a then team record shared with Ray Sadecki and later Terry Leach. That mark was broken on June 23, 2010, when pitcher R.A. Dickey started his Mets' career at 6-0.

Harry's best year with New York came that first season and found him pitching for the 1973 National League Championship team. Compiling a record of 8-4 and a nice 3.35 ERA. Parker was effective as both a starter and reliever and that versatility added five saves to his line. 

He would pitch two more seasons for the Mets before they sold his contract to the St. Louis Cardinals on August 4, 1975.

Harry Parker died on May 29, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia at the young age of 64.

I created Harry Parker's card in the set from an index card that was purchased from the John Leptich Collection in 2013.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Gil Flores came to the New York Mets when they selected him off waivers from the California Angels on July 28, 1978. A native of Puerto Rico, he was initially assigned to Triple-A Tidewater to finish the season. Flores would make his Mets debut as a year-end roster expansion on September 5, 1978. Gil appeared in 11 games and hit for a nice .276 batting average.

Flores was used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter in New York the next season. His production in that role was not nearly as effective and saw his batting average drop to .194 for his 93 at-bats during the 1979 season. Gil remained in the Mets organization for the next five years returning to play at Triple-A Tidewater through the 1984 campaign. Finishing his career recording a total of 13 minor-league seasons and a cumulative batting average there of .298.

I created Gil Flores' card in the set from an autographed index card that came from the extensive collection of Dr. John Davis, Jr. Purchased for me by my good friend, Jessie.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Jon Adkins joined the New York Mets when he was traded along with Ben Johnson from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Heath Bell and Royce Ring on November 15, 2006. The day of the trade, Mets general manager Omar Minaya explained, "Jon Adkins has had success on the major league level and can pitch multiple innings. He's another quality arm to add to our bullpen staff."

The Mets promoted Adkins from Triple-A New Orleans on July 27, 2007. He entered the game that day at Shea Stadium. Throwing a perfect seventh inning by retiring all three Washington Nationals batters he faced. New York would still lose the contest 6-5.

Both Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran were nursing injuries that kept them out of the lineup, but not severe enough to place them on the disabled list. This forced Mets' manager, Willie Randolph to work with a short bench of position players. "It's aggravating to not have a full squad," Randolph explained. "I mean, I had to use a pitcher to hit last night. It's aggravating to deal with what you have to deal with, but that's the way it goes."

A solution was on it's way, and 30 minutes before the start of the July 29th game Adkins was designated for assignment. Allowing the club to quickly promote outfielder, David Newhan from New Orleans. Jon would not return to the New York roster and that made his appearance days earlier the only one of his Mets' career.

Jon Adkins signed his card in the set for me before the Louisville Bats faced the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field on July 5, 2010. Adding the inscription of his only Mets' appearance.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Mookie Wilson joined the New York Mets organization when the club selected him in the second round of the free agent player draft on June 7, 1977. He would go on to become one of the most beloved Mets in franchise history. Possessing both tremendous speed and an incomparable charisma which made him instantly popular with New York fans.

Wilson made his Mets' debut as a late season call-up on September 2, 1980. That day he started in center field and batted lead-off. The club fell to the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but the young switch-hitter had begun his major-league career. It was also the first Mets' game for minor-league teammate, Wally Backman. Three years later, Mookie would set the Mets' club record for triples in a season, and then break his own record with 10 in 1984.

An accident occurred to Mookie during spring training camp of 1986. While involved in a base-running drill he was struck in the right eye with a thrown baseball. Vision glasses that Wilson was wearing at the time were broken. "The glasses shattered," he said, "but they didn't do any damage. And, in fact, they took the full impact of the blow and probably prevented more damage." The injury caused Mookie to miss the first month of the season. Allowing another piece to the puzzle, young prospect Lenny Dykstra a chance to fill-in as the center fielder during his absence.

During the 1986 World Series he was involved in the biggest single play in New York Mets team history. With the Boston Red Sox one out away from a World Championship, Wilson hit a ball that rolled between first baseman, Bill Buckner's legs and ended the game. Mookie shared with Mike Piazza in 2000, that even an hour after that Game 6 there were players in the training room still asking, "What happened?" It elevated the outfielder to legend. "Sadly, yes, that's the first thing people remember about me," Mookie conceded. "When people see me on the street, that's how they remember me. It used to bother me, but now I accept that it was one of the most unbelievable moments." Wilson's Mets would go on to win an improbable 1986 World Championship.

Wilson played in New York until he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Jeff Musselman and Mike Brady on August 1, 1989. The trade was requested by Mookie who saw the club beginning a youth movement. "I have mixed feelings about leaving," he said at the time. "I've always wanted to play regularly, so it's an opportunity for me. But the thought of leaving New York is sad. I have strong ties to New York." Mets' vice-president for baseball operations, Joe McIlvaine commented, "Since I came here, I think that Mookie Wilson is the finest individual we ever had in this organization."

Mookie Wilson was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1996. The same year that he earned his bachelor's degree in behavioral sciences from Mercy College in New York. Completing his secondary education as a 40-year old graduate. Afterward he rejoined the Mets organization as a coach from 1997 through 2002, and managed the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones in 2005.

In 2009, in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field, Wilson was presented the prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Before the 2010 season he rejoined the New York Mets as a roving outfielder instructor, and worked with players during spring training camp.

Mookie Wilson beautifully signed his card card in the set for my good friend, Jessie through "The Man for All Things Mets"—Jack Berke on June 23, 2010. Jack's website can be found here.