Thursday, March 15, 2018

R.I.P Ed Charles, Metropolitan Poet Laureate

Saddened to hear of the loss of Ed Charles. Mr. Charles was a character of the game and will be missed by every Mets fan who ever was.

In 1968, he led the Mets in home runs with 15.

On September 24, 1969, Ed Homered off Steve Carlton in the N.L. division clincher. This was the last home run in his 8 year career.

Meh, sometimes I get a little over dramatic with the captions. Great stop though.

I had to show the ball getting by Brooks.

Ed played for the Mets from 1967 to 1969 and ended his career on a high note, contributing to and celebrating the Mets 1969 World Series win. 

I will never forget his smiling jubilation at becoming a world champion.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The mildly interesting tale of The Sadecki Spot!! Part III

Okay, we have a little background on Huggins- Stengel Field, the home of The Sadecki Spot. But to really grok the experience we're just gonna have to go down there.

Yea, let's take a road trip! 
A Google road trip! Come on, come with me!! We're going to the...

Once again we will consult the specialized Google Mets search engine and get ready to hit the road! Wow, now with MetMaps! Perfect!
Well this looks like an easy enough trip. 
Lets get goin'! We've got to get from the A green balloon lookin' thingy to the B green balloon looking thingy!
Don't question it! Just come with me!

Oh darn, I got lost a few times. 
I keep getting sidetracked.

How about a little pit stop at Apollo Beach for absolutely no good reason. 
Don't question it!
Whoa! There's at least one good reason! Hey Google Girl! 
I dig the bathing suit.

Look at that interesting view from the beach!

*Zvon takes out his compass and heads back north grumbling to himself*

Am I lost again? OW! I stepped in a hump...
Is that Google Girl following me?
Well, there's the green balloon lookin' thingy. The Spot's gotta be around here somewhere.

I could use some divine intervention right about now...
<insert divine intervention noise here>
Mine's the AHHHHHHHHH choir from 2001 A Space Odyssey 
Me: Thank you God of Monty Python!
GoMP: YOU'RE WELCOME! It's just a few blocks south.
Me: Are you sure, almighty Guy?
GoMP: Of course I'm sure!
Don't question it!
LOOK! Here it is! Here's the lake! We're close!

I need to get a better view to find the location of the Sadecki Spot. An aerial view would be most helpful. 
But how? There are no tall buildings down here.
Let's consult Google Mets Images...
Wow! More great photos!

If there was only somewhere above the park so I could get a good view of the area...

Hey! The watertower!

That'll give me a great view!

Cripes! It's 2018, shouldn't these things have elevators by now?

There! It should be right down there! 
But that doesn't look right...


There's supposed to be two fields down there.

Things have changed since the turn of the century. DUH!
I guess I'm just going to have to go back in time.
Good thing I have this cool little time jumping gizmo. 

Well, I guess you can question that.

I got it from one a those "Men In Blue" on a past adventure. You'll hear more about them in a future post because that adventure hasn't happened yet. 

Lets see...
I'll set it to the year 1972.

WOW! I did it! Look! The two fields are there! 
I'm back in 1972!!

And there's someone down there! Wow, he's right on the spot. Who could that be?

Well I'll be dipped in pine tar!
It's Ray Sadecki himself!!!

I've gotta get down there and talk with him! 
But first, let's take a look at Ray's real Topps baseball cards, 1960 to 1977. And I'd like to share some of the mans history.

Raymond Michael Sadecki was born on December 26, 1940, in Kansas City, Kansas, to Frank and Josephine Sadecki. His family was of Polish ancestry and had roots in the city’s Polish Hill neighborhood, where his grandparents ran a grocery store. Decades after growing up, he returned to serve as a grand marshal for the neighborhood’s Polski Day celebration.

At 17 years old he began to garner serious attention as a player while at Ward High School in Kansas City (where he was also an excellent student). Not long after graduating in 1958, Sadecki signed with Cardinals scout Runt Marr for a

$50,000 bonus plus another $18,000 over the first three years. While in high school, Sadecki had also attracted the attention of a cheerleader named Diane Rush. The two married on July 13, 1960.

In 1960 the Cardinals were short on left-handed pitching, and had decided that the 19-year-old had gotten enough minor-league seasoning.

By 1960 the Cardinals had already assembled much of the talent that would eventually lead them to the pennant in 1964. But the youngsters—Sadecki, Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Tim McCarver—needed time to develop, and they got it on the major-league roster. 
As Sadecki later recalled, it was an ideal proving ground: "If you join a first place ballclub you sit on the bench. But the Cardinals were in fourth or fifth place in 1960, back when it was an eight-team league…. The fact that the Cardinals weren’t going anywhere, they gave me the ball, and I got to pitch. 

I kind of struggled through a nine and nine year, but it was enough to get my feet wet."

Though he established a career high for victories, 1964 was not Sadecki’s best. His defense-adjusted ERA was 4.89, a mark he topped in six other seasons. 
He later attributed his high win total to a combination of luck and offensive support: "It’s only natural that everybody reflects back, “You won 20 games. That must have been a great year.
You must have been a great pitcher.” Well, it’s not necessarily true. I won ballgames that year where they pinch hit for me in the fifth, and they’d get the hit that puts you ahead, and then the bullpen would hold them."

 1968 was Sadecki’s best season statistically—an accomplishment obscured by his record of 12-18. The 18 losses were the most for a pitcher in a season since the Giants moved to San Francisco. Sadecki received shockingly poor run support; in his 36 starts, the Giants scored one or no runs 16 times. 

Still, he posted career highs in innings pitched (253?), shutouts (six), and strikeouts (206, a huge leap from his previous high of 145).  In December of 1969 Sadecki and outfielder Dave Marshall were traded to the World Champion New York Mets in return for spare parts Bob Heise and Jim Gosger. In New York he was a spot starter and long reliever in 1970, with 19 starts in 28 appearances. 
He pitched well but found it tough to break into a rotation that included Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. After his career ended, Sadecki lamented, “I was 29, feeling good. I’d finally learned how to pitch, but I couldn’t get out on the mound anymore. 

His overall line in six seasons with the Mets: a 3.36 ERA and 30-25 record in 165 appearances, including 62 starts.
Ray was on the mound for the 
"Ball On The Wall" play in 1973. 
Topps never commemorated that classic Mets moment, but, of course, I did.

Sadecki did not appear at all during the 1973 National League Championship Series.
He pitched four times in relief for the Mets in the 1973 World Series against the Athletics, allowing one run and five hits while striking out six in 4 2/3 innings. He picked up one save.

Ray was traded by the Mets back to his original team, the St. Louis Cardinals, in December of 1974 for infielder and future Mets manager Joe Torre. He did stints with the Atlanta Braves (1975), the Kansas City Royals (1975-76), the Milwaukee Brewers (1976), and then returned to the Mets in 1977.
In April 1977, after posting a 6.00 E.R.A. in 3 innings of work, the Mets released Sadecki and he retired. Of the end of his career, Sadecki said, “I was cheap help (for the Mets), $25,000, and by the time the Mets released me I didn’t even try to find something else. My arm was healthy but I was done. … I said goodbye and I had no gripes.”

In a 1977 article in the New York Times, Ray recalled that he once was traded from St. Louis to San Francisco for slugger Orlando Cepeda. Then Cepeda was traded to Atlanta for Joe Torre, who finally was traded to the Mets for Sadecki, who by then was in New York. “That means,” Sadecki quipped to Torre, “that I was traded for you in three deals that helped none of the clubs.”

In his 18-year career, Sadecki won 135 games against 131 losses, with a 3.78 ERA and 1614 strikeouts in 2500⅔ innings pitched.

When Catholic Charities of Kansas City and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund renovated a baseball field in 2002, it was dedicated and renamed Ray Sadecki Field in honor of the neighborhood native. It stands at 9th and Homer Streets in Kansas City, Kansas.

On June 14, 2007 Sadecki was inducted into The National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Ray Sadecki's 1977 Mets Fantasy Card

Unfortunately, Mr. Sadecki died from complications of blood cancer on November 17, 2014.

Much of the Ray Sadecki information
written by Justin Murphy
from Ray's page.

More on the Sadecki Spot next post!