Thursday, September 30, 2010


Tommie Agee came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Chicago White Sox along with Al Weis in exchange for Jack Fisher, Tommy Davis, Billy Wynne and Buddy Booker on December 15, 1967. The 1967 American League Rookie of the Year was one of the first building blocks of the Miracle Mets. "The first thing that Gil Hodges wanted to do when he became manager was to acquire Tommie Agee," said long-time Mets announcer, Bob Murphy. "He wanted a guy to bat leadoff with speed and that could also hit for power. He also knew that with the pitching staff we had with Seaver, Koosman, etc., that he needed a guy in center to run the ball down. Things worked out just like Gil planned."

Agee did not impress in his first season with the Mets in 1968. The centerfielder would only hit for a .217 average with 17 RBIs. That would all change the very next year.

Tommie led the club with 26 home runs and 76 RBIs during the 1969 regular season. A season that ended with the New York Mets capturing the team's first World Championship. Agee is best remembered for the two amazing catches that he made facing the Baltimore Orioles in the pivotal Game 3 of that World Series. The Miracle Mets returned to Shea Stadium after splitting the first two games of the series on the road. Tommie hit a home run in the first inning and then made his first defensive gem in the bottom of the 4th-inning. A backhanded grab at the base of the left-centerfield wall to steal extra-bases from Elrod Hendricks. Three innings later his belly-sliding catch of Paul Blair's sinking liner, with the bases loaded, was even more spectacular and preserved the 5-0 victory. The Shea crowd of 56,335 gave Agee a standing ovation when he led off the bottom of the 7th-inning. "Words can't describe how that made me feel," he said. "I felt like I wanted to hit two home runs in that one time at-bat."

"When I think back, I take pride in how I was a vital part of that team the whole year," Agee said in 2000. "Most of the guys on that team platooned, but I played every day and I hustled on the field. I don't think I get the credit that I deserve on that particular team for what I did, but fans remember and they tell me about it every day as I walk the streets of New York."

Tommie continued to play for New York alongside Cleon Jones, his childhood friend from Mobile, Alabama for several more seasons. He was selected as an outfielder to the 1970 Rawlings Gold Glove Award team and set many single season team records during his time with the club. On May 11, 1972 he lost his centerfield position to Willie Mays when the Mets traded for the legendary outfielder. At that point a victim of nagging injuries, Agee was traded from New York to the Houston Astros in exchange for Rich Chiles on November 27, 1972.

Tommie appeared on a episode of the television series, "Everybody Loves Raymond" where the fictional sportswriter attends a function in hopes of meeting the Miracle Mets team. Agee appeared as himself on the broadcast first aired on March 1, 1999.

After his playing career, Tommie worked for the Stewart Title Insurance Company in New York. It was walking outside of their Manhattan office building that he collapsed and fell victim to a terminal cardiac arrest on January 22, 2001. Agee passed away at the young age of 58. "It's a shock to us all, " teammate Ed Kranepool said at the time. "Tommie and I maintained a close friendship since our playing days. He was a conscientious person who did so much for the kids of the city."

The Tommie Agee Foundation supports efforts in the Gulf Coast area and several charities in New York City.

Agee was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2002.

I created this card in the set from a vintage Murray Street business card that had been autographed on the back by Tommie Agee. It was a gift from my friend, Jessie in September 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Bob Shaw joined the New York Mets when his contract was purchased from the San Francisco Giants on June 10, 1966. He made his Mets' debut three days later while throwing a complete game at Shea Stadium. Bob was the starting pitcher in the 5-2 New York victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the first of four consecutive wins the right-hander would record to begin his time with the Mets.

Shaw was born in the Bronx, and later had his family settle in Garden City, New York. After graduating from Garden City High School, Bob attended St. Lawrence University where he pitched and played quarterback for the football team. So his season with the Mets was a homecoming of sorts for the veteran. Although in 1966 he was calling Jupiter, Florida his home. Purchasing citrus acreage and going into the fruit gift-packaging business.

The righthander also held a pilot's license with many flying hours to his credit. "Just call me Captain Midnight," he said in 1967. "I can fly any single engine job. Anything. Except a jet."

During the 1966 season he would tie for the team lead with 11 wins, while registering a 3.92 ERA. His second year with New York was not as successful. With a 3-9 record, and 4.29 ERA the Mets sold his contract to the Chicago Cubs on July 24, 1967.

Following his playing career, Shaw became the manager for the Daytona Beach Dodgers, and later the pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. He authored an instructional book titled, "Pitching" in 1972. Bob remained around the sport he loved by coaching American Legion Baseball in the Palm Beach and Martin County Florida area for many years.

The longtime entrepreneur was involved with businesses as varied as a catfish farm and the creation of Synthetic Turf International. He found much success as a real estate developer with Shaw Management, Inc. in Florida, but realized a dream when he opened "Bob Shaw's Driftwood Grille" in 1988.

Bob Shaw passed away in Tequesta, Florida on September 23, 2010 at the young age of 77.

I created his card in the set from an autographed index card from the legendary autograph guy, Jack Smalling in January 2009. Jack's website is

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Kevin Bass was traded by the San Francisco Giants to the New York Mets in exchange for Rob Katzaroff on August 8, 1992. Mets fans remembered the outfielder as the man that struck out, with two runners on base, to end the legendary 16-inning Game Six of the 1986 National League Championship Series. A year that also saw Bass a member of the National League All-Star team with the Houston Astros.

The trade was initially made for a player to be named later, and was in response to both Bobby Bonilla and Howard Johnson finding themselves on the disabled list. Actually in a season full of injuries, Mets third baseman, Dave Magadan fractured his wrist the same day that Bass was added to the team. "All I foresee is a chance to play," said Kevin. "But, one guy can maybe ignite a different attitude with his air or flair. I'm not saying I'm necessarily that guy."

After a slow start Bass finished with a .270 batting average, two home runs, and nine RBIs in the 46 games he played for the Mets to close the 1992 season. His second home run coming at Shea Stadium to defeat the Braves on September 2nd. A blow that contributed to ending Atlanta's consecutive win streak in New York at 10 games. "Produce and you'll play," Bass told reporters following the game. "Those are my main thoughts."

He would sign as a free agent with the Houston Astros on January 7, 1993.

Kevin Bass beautifully signed his card in the set for my friend, Wendy at an Alumni Autograph Session held before the Houston Astros faced the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park on September 19, 2010.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Bob Myrick was selected by the New York Mets in the 20th round of the free agent draft on June 5, 1974. The left-handed reliever made his major league debut as a Met on May 28, 1976. Getting the final out of the fifth inning for Craig Swan at Shea Stadium during a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Myrick was a very dependable member of the bullpen during his three years in New York. Compiling a 3-6 record, two saves and a 3.48 ERA. Bob was used as a spot starter five times during those years as well. The Mets traded him along with Mike Bruhert to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Dock Ellis on June 15, 1979.

Bob became a scout for the California Angels in 1990. He would work with them until moving to the San Francisco Giants in 1997.

Bob Myrick signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on September 17, 2010.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Nick Evans was selected by the New York Mets in the fifth round of the free agent draft on June 7, 2004. He made his major-league debut with the Mets on May 24, 2008. Evans started in left field that game and clubbed three doubles off the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Nick had been called up from Double-A Binghamton when New York outfielder, Marlon Anderson went on the disabled list. "I was very nervous," the 22-year old rookie said following the game. "I haven't really eaten." Evans was optioned back to Binghamton on June 6th after struggling with a .174 batting average in nine games.

A natural first baseman throughout his career, Nick continued to learn the outfield in the minor-leagues. Evans was returned to the major-league roster when Ryan Church was placed on the disabled list on July 8th. Forming a left field platoon with his close friend, and fellow rookie, Daniel Murphy when he was also promoted on August 2nd. "Nick and I are just trying to put together quality at-bats," explained Murphy. Both young men were recognized as students of hitting and often dissected one another's plate appearances. "We've seen probably almost 700 or 800 of each other's at-bats in the last two years, so we know each other pretty well," Evans said. "So, if you see something, we do not hesitate to let the other guy know."

Nick was the starting left fielder for the final game played at Shea Stadium. He finished the 2008 season with a .257 batting average, two home runs, and nine RBIs during 50 game appearances.

Nick Evans signed his card in the set for me following the Buffalo Bisons and Indianapolis Indians game at Victory Field on July 27, 2009.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Phil Mankowski was traded with Jerry Morales by the Detroit Tigers to the New York Mets in exchange for Richie Hebner on October 31, 1979. The third baseman was brought in to serve as part of a platoon with Elliott Maddox. He made his Mets' debut on the second day of the season, April 11, 1980 at Shea Stadium. After just six game appearances Mankowski was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Once healed he was optioned to Triple-A Tidewater as part of baseball's new 20-day rehabilitation program. It was during this time that Phil was diagnosed with a case of hepatitis that unfortunately did not allow him to return to New York until September 23rd. He would only make a pair of pinch-hit appearances to close the 1980 season.

"It was great to put on the Met uniform and play at Shea Stadium," Mankowski remembered in 2016. "Unfortunately, I injured my throwing shoulder at the very start of training. It was a golden opportunity to come and have a position open for me. Healthy I honestly believe I would've played and proven myself there. But it wasn't supposed to be. I picked up hepatitis when the arm was ready and our season was almost ended after that."

After managing just a short season of 55 games back in Tidewater during 1981, Mankowski appeared healthy enough for a full 1982 campaign. Starting that year again with the Triple-A Tides club. Phil was returned to the major-league roster when Hubie Brooks was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He started at third base in Montreal on June 29, 1982, and remained in the Mets lineup until Brooks retuned on July 22nd. Mankowski had only managed a .229 batting average in his 13 games during that time.

"When baseball ended for me after the 1982 season, I moved to New York City to partner with Rusty Staub for nine years in the restaurant business." Phil shared when asked about life after his playing career. Mankowski served as a food sales representative for a total of 26 years until his retirement in 2017.  
In 1984, Phil would return to baseball in a different role. He was cast as the fictional New York Knights third baseman, Hank Benz in the Robert Redford film, The Natural. "My ball parking days were over," said Mankowski. "I was working one day when one of my waitresses, who's also an actress, told me they were casting a baseball picture. She said, 'Why don't you leave a couple photos of yourself with the casting director?' I thought, 'Why not?' There must've been 300-400 guys trying out. I guess I hadn't lost much, so they took me." The film was shot at War Memorial Stadium in Phil's hometown of Buffalo, New York. "I received my Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) card and worked seven more years in New York City doing extra work," Phil explained. "Moving back to the Buffalo area stopped all that work!"

Phil has also coached women's softball teams featuring his talented daughter, Meg Mankowski.

Phil Mankowski signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on October 30, 2009.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Duaner Sanchez joined the New York Mets when he was traded along with Steve Schmoll from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Jae Seo and Tim Hamulack on January 4, 2006. The right-handed reliever was acquired to be the set-up man for closer, Billy Wagner.

A Dominican Republic native who wore goggles while pitching. "I am a different person when I'm on the mound," Duaner explained. "I know I look different, and that's O.K. with me. Doesn't bother me at all." The eyewear were necessary once Sanchez learned he needed corrective lenses and struggled with contacts. At night he would wear clear Kaenon googles because he liked how they looked, but change to tinted ones during day games.

Duaner pitched very well for the Mets during the first half of the 2006 season. He appeared in 49 games with a 5-1 record and 2.60 ERA. Establishing himself as a crucial member of the New York bullpen until tragedy struck on July 31st. Sanchez was a taxi cab passenger on interstate 95 when a Ford Crown Victoria cut across three lanes of traffic. The car collided with his cab and sent it spinning into a concrete road barrier. Duaner used his right arm to brace for the blow. "I sat down right in the middle of the freeway and tried to push it down. It just didn't work," Sanchez recalls about his futile attempt to adjust his shoulder, which had become dislocated. "Actually I didn't see the impact when we got hit with the car. But I saw we were going to impact the wall, so I put up my arm. When I put up my arm, I took all the hit in my arm, so it just popped out."

The Mets were forced to make a desperate move knowing they were to lose Duaner for the remainder of the season. While keeping the accident secret, they dealt outfielder Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez at the major-league trading deadline that same night. Later also adding pitcher, Guillermo Mota from Cleveland.

Following surgeries and a long rehabilitation the determined Sanchez returned to the Mets on April 15, 2008. He threw a scoreless ninth-inning during the team's 6-0 victory over the Washington Nationals at Shea Stadium. Prior to the game Duaner had told reporters, "It feels like my first day in the big leagues." The reliever would finish his second season in New York with a 5-1 record, but a higher 4.32 ERA.

Duaner Sanchez signed his card in the set for my friend, Chris when the Sussex Skyhawks visited the New Jersey Jackals at Yogi Berra Stadium on August 20, 2010.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Rusty Staub was traded by the Montreal Expos to the New York Mets in exchange for Tim Foli, Ken Singleton, and Mike Jorgensen on April 6, 1972. The trade was announced just days following the passing of the great Gil Hodges. While growing up in New Orleans a young Daniel Staub had been given the nickname "Rusty" due to his distinctive hair color. In New York he was also known as "Le Grande L’Orange" and became one of the most popular players in franchise history.

Rusty played well during his first season with the Mets before being struck by a pitch that fractured a bone in his hand. The injury placed him on the disabled list from July 21st to September 1, 1972. Staub became a favorite teammate during that time using his second talent. "I always liked to cook," said Rusty. "When I come off a road trip I don't want to go out to eat." Instead the slugger used his ability as an expert cook and prepared Louisiana dishes for his friends. A skill he had first learned in the minor-leagues. "They deducted the rent from our paychecks, and after that there wasn't much left," he recalls. "So we found a wholesale market, and we'd write home and ask how to cook what we'd bought. Mother always came through."

Staub would lead the club with 76 RBIs, and hit for a .279 average during his first full season with the team. His hustle and determination were showcased during Game 4 of the 1973 National League Championship. Rusty made a spectacular catch of a ball hit by Cincinnati's Dan Driessen in the 11th inning. The play ended with Staub crashing into the right field fence and separating his shoulder. Against medical advice he was given several cortisone treatments. "I insisted 0n it. I had to have something to relieve the pain," Rusty said. "I had to play." Even with that assistance he was limited to throwing balls in from the outfield underhanded during the World Series. The Mets would fall to the World Champion Oakland A's in seven games, but Staub batted a superb .423 average during that series.

The 1975 campaign was his finest as a New York Met. Rusty established a then franchise record with 105 RBIs. Becoming the first Mets player to ever drive in 100 runs in a single season. Staub added 19 home runs and a .282 batting average to complete a fine offensive display.

He was traded along with Bill Laxton to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Mickey Lolich and Billy Baldwin on December 12, 1975. The team was addressing a need for pitching in acquiring the veteran Lolich. "He took it like a pro," said general manager Joe McDonald. "Rusty said that he understood that business was business."

"Le Grande Orange" returned to the Big Apple when he signed a free agent contract on December 16, 1980. Staub's greatest strength with the Mets was now as a quality pinch-hitter. Rusty was awarded the National League Player of the Week Award on June 19, 1983 after recording a league record eight consecutive pinch-hits during that time. His 81 pinch-hit at-bats established a N.L. single season record, and his 25 pinch-hit RBIs tied the all-time mark.

He opened "Rusty's", a pub-style restaurant in New York City in 1977, and later in 1989 launched, "Rusty Staub's on Fifth", a sports style restaurant with a superior American-wine list.

The Rusty Staub Foundation was founded in 1985 and provides emergency food pantries for children in need. In 1986, Rusty started the New York Police and Fire Widow's and Children's Benefit Fund to assist the survivors of service men killed in the line of duty.

He is the author of "Few and Chosen Mets: Defining Mets Greatness Across the Eras" and the illustrated children's book, "Hello, Mr. Met!".

Staub was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1986.

Rusty Staub signed his card in the set for my friend, Jessie during the Mets Hall of Fame luncheon at Citi Field on July 21, 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Kevin Morgan was traded to the New York Mets from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Joe Dellicarri on February 18, 1994. The minor-league shortstop was faced with a dilemma during spring training of 1995. A Major League Baseball strike that started on August 12, 1994, had the regular players not participating. Forcing the use of "replacement players" and selected minor-leaguers. Kevin was instructed to play in the exhibition games leading up to Opening Day. He was sent to Double-A Binghamton when the strike was ended on April 2nd.

Morgan split time between Binghamton and Triple-A Norfolk before his promotion to New York. Kevin made his major-league debut with the Mets on June 15, 1997. "Floating to the plate" as a pinch-hitter facing the Boston Red Sox at Shea Stadium. He would pop-up to the shortstop to end the seventh-inning, but remain in the game as the New York third-baseman. That game and at-bat would be his only appearance of his major-league career. "I definitely thought there would be more opportunities," said Morgan. The 27-year-old would finish the season with Norfolk. His last as a professional baseball player.

Kevin has remained with the New York Mets first serving as the Director of Minor League Operations in 1998, and more recently the Coordinator of Instruction and Infield. Morgan became the Binghamton Mets interim Manager in May 2006. Filling in for an injured Juan Samuel who missed time after being struck in the face by a batted ball.

Kevin Morgan signed his card in the set for my friend, Allen when the Kingsport Mets visited the Bristol White Sox at Boyce Cox Field on July 7, 2010.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Frank Seminara was traded from the San Diego Padres along with Tracy Sanders and Pablo Martinez to the New York Mets in exchange for Marc Kroon and Randy Curtis on December 10, 1993. The Brooklyn native was an outstanding rookie in 1992. "Our hope is that he'll help our starting rotation," Ed Lynch, the special assistant to General Manager Joe McIlvaine said the day of the deal. "Hey, it's hard to go trade for a pitcher who can strike out 250 folks a year. We believe that Frank can be a successful pitcher at the major league level."

The right-hander was a boyhood fan of the team. "What can I say, I loved the Mets," Seminara said. "I was wearing their uniform when I was in sixth grade. That was my team. That was our whole family's team." Frank grew up playing stickball on the streets of his neighborhood only 10 minutes from Shea Stadium. He was organizing games at the age of five. Out of respect of his family's wishes, Seminara attended Columbia University. He had scholarship offers from several universities but applied only to Ivy League schools. "God blessed him with a brilliant mind," explained his father, Joe Seminara. "So you dream of your children inheriting the law practice that you worked so hard to build."

Frank was a member of the Mets bullpen at the start of the 1994 season. Joining the club from the minor leagues on April 30th when Dwight Gooden was placed on the disabled list. He was given one starting assignment on May 9th in Montreal. Throwing five innings in a 5-4 New York victory. Seminara made a total of 10 appearances and registered a 0-2 record and a 5.82 ERA. He was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk on June 10th and finished the season there. Frank would sign with the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent on November 23, 1994.

Seminara has stayed around baseball by coaching his son's youth tournament team. He began a second career in financial management. Becoming a Senior Vice President of the Seminara Group at USB bank in Manhattan. Frank was named to Barron's 1000 Top Financial Advisors in March of 2011. "It's every kid's dream to play Major League baseball and it was a thrill and an honor to be one of baseball's top 750 players," said Seminara. "Most kids do not know what a Financial Advisor is, but the challenge to make it into this prestigious group of 1000 was as competitive as that of making it to the pros. And while as a pitcher standing on the mound I certainly felt a responsibility to my teammates and the fans, in my current role, handling other people's money, the responsibilities are in a league of their own."

Frank Seminara signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on September 2, 2010.

Special thanks to my friend Paul for pointing me to this photo of Frank in a Mets uniform. Before reading of the Bill Shultz baseball card set on his blog I never knew of it's existence.