Monday, July 14, 2014


Josias Manzanillo joined the New York Mets when he was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Wayne Housie on June 12, 1993. The right handed pitcher from San Pedro de Macoris of the Dominican Republic is the 17th of 18 children in his family. Josias was assigned to Triple-A Norfok after the trade, and primarily served as a starting pitcher for the Tides. He earned a promotion to New York to make his Mets debut at Coors Field in Colorado on August 21, 1993. He would make six appearances with the club to record a 3.00 ERA over 12 innings of relief work.

Manzanillo was unable to retain a spot in the Mets bullpen during spring training the following season. A disappointed Josias almost refused his assignment to Norfolk but reconsidered. "I didn't want to start over and rebuild with another club," Manzanillo told The New York Times. "I felt like what I had to do was show them here what I can do." Less than a month into the season he was rewarded for that decision when the Mets added him to the major league roster.

The spirited pitcher was known for ending innings in an unusual way. Josias would place his head down and sprint full speed into his team's dugout whenever the third out of an inning was recorded. This bold display would occasionally irritate the opposing batter who had created that out. Something which might encourage an opposing pitcher to retaliate. "It's my nature. It's the way I play the game. It's nothing I plan," explained Manzanillo. "It's not to show anybody up or to be a hot dog. I don't want to do anything that would put my teammates at risk. That's not good for the team, either."

"Manzy" fit well into the job of a major league reliever. Mets manager, Dallas Green established him as the set-up man to the club's closer, John Franco. "This is all new to me," Josias observed. "but I like the idea of throwing one inning. I like the idea of setting up for Johnnie, because he's one of the best in the game at that role." His season took a bad turn when an MRI on August 2nd revealed a bone spur in his right shoulder. The injury ended his 1994 campaign with 37 appearances over 47.1 innings, with a 3-2 record, 48 strikeouts, and a 2.66 ERA.

He returned to pitch the beginning of the 1995 season with much different results. "I think it's a matter of confidence as much as anything," Green said in mid-May. "Manzy breeds on confidence, and he doesn't have it right now." Josias was designated for assignment and selected off waivers by the New York Yankees on June 5, 1995. His 12 appearances for the Mets finished with a 7.88 ERA over 16 innings.

The Mets returned Manzanillo to the organization when he resigned on July 3, 1998 following his release by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It was not until Opening Day the next season before he pitched for New York in a major league game. He threw two scoreless innings of a 2-6 loss to the Miami Marlins at Dolphin Stadium on April 5, 1999. "I see myself as a guy that needs a job in the big leagues and will pitch in any type of role that throws me out there," Josias told the NY Daily News. Pitching for the Seattle Mariners two years earlier, Manzanillo had been struck in the groin by a Manny Ramirez line drive. He was not wearing a protective cup. The extreme injury forced emergency reconstructive surgery to both testicles. "I came back and I wasn't the same guy," Manzanillo offered. "My confidence was tough because I was trying to protect myself before I threw the ball." His work during the 1999 season was brief as the Mets designated the right hander on May 10th. His final run with the Mets ended with a 4.90 ERA over 18.2 innings of work.

Josias pitched for three other clubs before retiring from baseball in 2005. "I love baseball. I have a passion for the game," Manzanillo said. "I enjoy every single time I walk on that field." He remained around baseball by establishing Manzys Pitching Farm in Florida. HIs program offers pitching instruction to prepare youth for high school and college programs.

Josias Manzanillo signed his card in the set at a private signing in Florida by Signatures4U on July 2, 2014.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Tom Veryzer was traded to the New York Mets from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Ray Searage on January 8, 1982. "With the trade of Frank Taveras, we were looking for an experienced infielder to team with our youngsters like Ron Gardenhire and Wally Backman," Mets general manager, Frank Cashen told the New York Times. "Tom Veryzer provides us that infielder."

The 29-year-old Long Island native was glad to join the Mets. "I'm thrilled about the trade," Veryzer said from his Islip home. "Nothing could be better than going home to play. I was a regular for four years in Cleveland and I know there is a chance to play here too."

Veryzer made his Mets debut on April 9, 1982 facing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. He entered as a replacement for the starting shortstop Gardenhire. Tom was used primarily as the backup to the younger infielder until an injury essentially ended his season. Veryzer fractured his leg when Atlanta Braves outfielder, Claudell Washington slid into him at second base on June 1st. Tom was unable to return to play until September. "I've played long enough to know you accept these things," Veryzer reflected later. "You can't change what has happened. A lot of things could be worse." He appeared in a total of 40 games with 54 plate appearances and a .333 batting average.

Veryzer returned to battle for one of the starting middle infielder jobs the next spring. Although the veteran really considered himself a shortstop. "Everybody says that if you can play shortstop you can play second base," Tom explained. "My problem is that while I'm at shortstop I don't have to think. But at second, a little thing like a ground ball to third, I'm supposed to run to first. But half the time, I just stand there." The club valued his bat but decided to remain with their two younger options. They traded Veryzer to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor leaguers, Rob Schilling and Craig Weissmann on April 2, 1983.

Tom continued his major league career two more seasons before retiring from the game following the 1984 campaign. He was inducted into the Suffolk County Hall of Fame in 1995.

Veryzer suffered a stroke and passed away at the young age of 61 on Tuesday July 8, 2014.

Tom signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on January 28, 2009.