Merry Christmas-Plus Some Baseball News

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Here is today’s special edition.  As our correspondent Dan Cummo said in our Facebook group last night, the Mets bid adieu to Daniel Murphy as Washington gave him a deal for less money but over a longer term. He gets about 12.5 million a year for 3 years, rather than taking the Mets’ qualifying offer of 15.8 mill. for one year.

Mets fans will have bittersweet memories of Daniel Thomas Murphy, the Jacksonville Florida native who turns 31 next April Fool’s Day. He was an Allstar in 2014 and MVP of the 2015 NLCS where the Mets mauled the Cubs in four straight. Considering he was only taken in the 13th round of the draft in 2006 it’s amazing he reached the show in 2008. WFAN talk show hosts Boomer and Carton got on his back for missing Opening Day, 2014 to attend the birth of his first son. In my broadcasting  experience, I was not allowed to miss Opening Day 2001 while my then wife was hospitalized following an epileptic seizure. While the union allows paternity leave I feel that what I was told holds true. My absence would hurt the team while my presence with my former wife would not change her condition in any way.
The Flushing Faithful will miss the Murphy of 7 home runs this postseason, only one shy of Barry Bonds’ record. But Mets fans won’t miss holding their breath every time a ball came Murphy’s way at second base. He made pivotal errors in both games 4 and 5 of the most recent World Series, turning it into a romp for the Kansas City Royals.  When the Mets traded with the Pirates for Neil Walker, a secomd baseman by trade Murphy’s cards were marked.
With Ian Desmond at shortstop and Murphy at second (instead of Brandon Phillips whom they hoped to wheedle away from the Reds,) the Nationals now have one of the most error-prone middle infield combos imaginable. Add to that the presence of two notably combustible relief pitchers-Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen, and you have the potential for more dugout fireworks of the kind Papelbon provided by choking Bryce Harper last Sept. 27. Or you could have another locker punch by Storen if the former Stanford student isn’t sent packing.
Rickey Henderson is 57 today. A Chicago native, Oakland drafted Rickey Nelson Henley Henderson in the 4th round in 1976. He spent four tours of duty in the East Bay and 2 with the Yankees in a career where he did more bouncing around than a child waiting to open Christmas gifts. He demolished the season record and career mark for stolen bases. With the lack of hustle in today’s games for fear of injuring themselves, players will never approach Henderson’s records.
Al Jackson is 80 either today or tomorrow. Sources disagree. Alvin Neil Jackson was an original Met in 1962, sent to St. Louis in 1966, back to the Mets for 1968 and early 1969 but unloaded to the Reds. With that move he missed the World Series win by the Mets that year. His career record of 43 wins was the Mets franchise record until Tom Seaver bested it in that miraculous year. Now Jackson is  an elder in a Presbyterian church in his native Texas, doubtless not using the kind of language he must have used while losing 20 games in both 1962 and 1963.
Hall of Famer Nelson “Nellie” Fox was born this day in 1927 and died young at 47.

Our correspondent John William Greenbaum who also sends material to the Facebook group Baseball As I See It has the following to add as far as birthdays.

1. Buster Chatham. A long-forgotten shortstop who was a superstar in the Minor Leagues before WWII.
2. Jack Hamilton. Tony Conigliaro aside, he also was the only man to give up a homerun to Tommie Aaron but not Hank. He also was one of less than five professional pitchers to beat Steve Dalkowski in a shutout…and his was the most spectacular, hurling a no-hitter with the 1957 Wytheville Cardinals against Steve’s Kingsport Orioles.
3. Dennis Musgraves. Probably should have been a superstar pitcher for the sixties Mets, but had his pitching mechanics altered four times at the behest of Mets manager Wes Westrum. Arm problems brought his career to a screeching halt.
4. Rickey Henderson. Rickey says that Rickey can steal bases whenever Rickey wants and Rickey also reminds everyone that Rickey to Rickey in the third person.
5. Hideki Okajima. The Japanese Red Sox relief pitcher with the Stu Miller-like head jerk.
6. Ruben Gotay. The nephew of Julio Gotay and like his uncle, something of a super-prospect. Though he never enjoyed the success his uncle had in the Majors, he did solidly as a pinch-hitter with the Mets in 2007.
7. Waldis Joaquin. Great fastball with the Giants organization and even called called up a few times. Too bad he didn’t even seem to have a modicum of control. He’s still pitching in the Mexican League.”

  I wish to thank John William Greenbaum of Indiana for his support on this Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope it was a wonderful day wherever you may be.

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