Met J.C. Martin Ran Inside My Baseline!



Is  this the closest I’ll
get to J.C.’s signature?

 I am the OH. Not the initial, but the rare hitless team member who did nothing in the one-sided victory. The box score is filled with crooked numbers for hits and runs scored. I’m nothing but zeroes.

J.C. Martin broke my eight-month winning streak. The letter got returned, along with the blank piece of stationery. First time! I’ve had a few players offer a consolation prize signature, instead of answering questions. Pitcher Gary Peters (Martin’s teammate and alter ego on the 1960 Topps card!) wrote back, saying that he doesn’t fill out questionnaires. Others will tackle their favorite of three questions. I’m grateful for any attempt at a reply.

My first thought? Martin is 73? Is he ill?

Maybe not. I checked the ever-helpful http://www.sportscollectors.net/. Martin had signed for 182 of 184 hobbyists writing to him, with replies received THIS WEEK! He’s even added special, requested inscriptions like “1969 Miracle Mets.” Collectors report he’s signed as many as six cards per reply.

Additionally, Martin is far from another silent Steve Carlton or George Hendrick. J.C. gave an impressive interview to Baseball Almanac.

And, for the record, I never quizzed him on that 1969 World Series bunt controversy.

I try to learn from every attempt. I keep sending a letter a day. Daily, I seek new ways to beef up my pitch to former players. Meanwhile, I’ll count my hits, not my misses.

Walter Alston & Casey Stengel Successful Today? Not Likely, Says Pitcher Larry Miller


Back in 2001, former pitcher Larry Miller still threw strikes.

Verbal strikes, that is.

Miller didn’t sugar-coat his opinions when asked about hurling for two
Hall of Fame managers in a three-year career. Furthermore, Miller slung
a high, hard one at the 1960s Mets organization.

“I never got to know either Alston or Stengel as people,” Miller began. “As managers, they had similar skills as far as making proper strategic moves during a game. Neither spent much effort trying to connect with the players. My belief is that neither would be very successful managing today’s players who require and demand special considerations.”

When coach Wes Westrum took over the Mets following Stengel’s retirement, Miller felt that the new manager was doomed.

“Westrum took over a team still brimming with expansion players. The core of the ’69 Mets (Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, McGraw, etc.) were just coming into the organization as minor leaguers. The best manager in baseball at that time would have had difficulty improving the Mets record.

“The old saying ‘You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s – – – ‘ applies here.”

Walter Alston & Casey Stengel Successful Today? Not Likely, Says Pitcher Larry Miller


Back in 2001, former pitcher Larry Miller still threw strikes.

Verbal strikes, that is.

Miller didn’t sugar-coat his opinions when asked about hurling for two
Hall of Fame managers in a three-year career. Furthermore, Miller slung
a high, hard one at the 1960s Mets organization.

“I never got to know either Alston or Stengel as people,” Miller began. “As managers, they had similar skills as far as making proper strategic moves during a game. Neither spent much effort trying to connect with the players. My belief is that neither would be very successful managing today’s players who require and demand special considerations.”

When coach Wes Westrum took over the Mets following Stengel’s retirement, Miller felt that the new manager was doomed.

“Westrum took over a team still brimming with expansion players. The core of the ’69 Mets (Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, McGraw, etc.) were just coming into the organization as minor leaguers. The best manager in baseball at that time would have had difficulty improving the Mets record.

“The old saying ‘You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s – – – ‘ applies here.”

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