Carlos Beltran

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Posted by pompos 04/05/2009 @ 13:07

Tags : carlos beltran, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Mets steal victory from Giants - MLB.com
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com SAN FRANCISCO -- It was the type of play Carlos Beltran had executed so many times before -- some of the efforts ill-advised, others applauded. This time, the Mets were glad to take it. Dashing a rather critical 90 feet in...
Beltran, Mets show heart in comeback - New York Daily News
The winning run was scored on a bases-loaded walk from Jeff Bennett to Carlos Beltran, which may sound less admirable than it was. In reality, it wasn't that easy for Beltran to look at the full-count, low-and-away fastball....
Mets Rally With Three Walks in 10th to Top Braves - New York Times
By JOSHUA ROBINSON Carlos Beltran stood at the plate in the 10th inning Tuesday, watching pitches zip by him like cars past a bus stop. The Braves' Jeff Bennett would deliver, and Beltran would watch the spinning blur of red and white disappear into...
Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran leading the way at the plate - New York Daily News
That is not such an easy thing for a team whose toughness had been questioned for the first month of the season and whose bats - with the exception of Carlos Beltran's - have only recently awakened from hibernation. Especially when the stakes aren't so...
Beltran's switch at the plate got Nebraska-Omaha coach in hot water - Kansas City Star
Not as it was about 14 years ago when Herold put his job as a Royals minor-league manager on the line in allowing the organization's hot young prospect, Carlos Beltran, to hit from the left side. “It almost cost me my job,” Herold said....
Carlos Beltran homers twice, David Wright adds one as Mets beat Braves - New York Daily News
BY Adam Rubin Carlos Beltran (r.) is greeted at home plate by Daniel Murphy after hitting a two-run home run against the Braves in the 6th inning. He adds another homer in the 7th. David Wright helps out with a two-run home run in the 6th....
Mets Look to Extend Winning Streak to Eight - New York Times
Jose Reyes, left, scored one of two runs on Carlos Beltran's double against John Grabow. What, them worry? Such is their confidence these days that they can avert their gazes from the field without fear that something terrible is going to happen....
Mets facing injury concerns at the wrong time - FOXSports.com
If nothing else, the injuries will serve as the ultimate reality check for the Mets, who embark on what Carlos Beltran says will be "a very difficult road trip." "No doubt this is going to be a big test for us," David Wright said in agreement....
Play by play - USA Today
Out: Carlos Beltran grounded out first to pitcher. None on with one out and David Wright due up. Single: David Wright singled to left. Runner on first with one out and Fernando Tatis due up. Out: Fernando Tatis struck out swinging....
Play by play - USA Today
Runner on first with one out and Carlos Beltran due up. Stolen-base: Luis Castillo stole second. Runner on second with one out and Carlos Beltran at the plate. Out: Carlos Beltran struck out swinging. Runner on second with two outs and Carlos Delgado...

Carlos Beltrán

Carlos Beltrán.jpg

Carlos Ivan Beltrán (pronounced , bel-trahn) (born April 24, 1977 in Manatí, Puerto Rico) is a Major League Baseball outfielder with the New York Mets. Beltran currently has the highest stolen base percentage amongst active players with 250 or more steals.

In his youth, Beltrán excelled in many sports, with volleyball and baseball being his favorites. At his father's urging, he gave up volleyball to concentrate on baseball when he was seventeen. Graduating from Fernando Callejo High School in 1995, the highly-regarded five tool player was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of that year's amateur baseball draft.

Beltrán maintains homes in Port Washington, New York and Manatí.

After selecting Beltrán in the 1995 draft, the Kansas City Royals assigned him to their rookie-level team in the Gulf Coast League. Beltrán made his Major League debut on September 14, 1998, playing 15 games. Going into 1999, he won the job as the Royals' starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. He displayed significant power by midsummer, and was moved to the #3 slot in the batting order. Beltrán won the American League Rookie of the Year award, batting .293 with 22 home runs, 108 RBI and 27 stolen bases.

Injuries restricted Beltrán to 98 games during the 2000 season and he slumped to .247, losing his center field position to the popular Johnny Damon. After Damon was traded to the Athletics following the season, Beltrán regained his job in 2001 and recaptured his rookie form. He batted .306 with 24 home runs and 101 RBI in that season, followed by lines of .273-29-105 in 2002 and .307-26-100 in 2003.

Beltrán became known for starting sluggishly,and stayed like that for the rest of his career, as in 2003 when he batted .194 in April. His luck changed in 2004, as Beltrán began the year with 8 home runs and 19 RBI and was selected as American League Player of the Month for April.

Playing for a small market club and represented by agent Scott Boras, Beltrán endured trade rumors through the 2003 and 2004 seasons. As the end of his contract neared, the two sides failed to negotiate a longterm deal. Following an interleague doubleheader loss to the last-place Montreal Expos, Royals general manager Allard Baird told reporters that he was preparing to dismantle the team and rebuild it for the 2005 season.

While Beltrán's name was not mentioned specifically by Royals management, the impending free agent was considered the most likely to garner interest from other teams. On June 24, 2004, Beltrán was traded to the Houston Astros in a three-team deal, which also sent relief pitcher Octavio Dotel from the Astros to the Oakland Athletics, while the Royals picked up Oakland minor leaguers (pitcher Mike Wood and third-baseman Mark Teahen) and Astros (catcher John Buck).

While still a Royal, Beltrán had been selected to the American League starting outfield for the 2004 All-Star Game. After the trade to the National League, he was initially denied a place in the game. However, after NL starter Ken Griffey, Jr. went on the disabled list, Beltrán was named his substitute. Beltrán became the first player ever to be selected for one All-Star team but play for the other.

In the 2004 MLB playoffs, Beltrán tied Barry Bonds's single postseason record with 8 home runs. He had one in each of the first four games of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, including a game-winner in Game 4. Following his two home runs in Game 5 of the previous NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, this gave Beltrán five consecutive postseason games with a home run, setting a record.

Beltrán's timing was impeccable, because he was a free agent immediately after his torrid postseason ended. Beltrán is what scouts call a "five-tool player", with excellent fielding skills, a good throwing arm, and the ability to hit for average, power, and steal bases.

The New York Yankees were tipped as favorites and Beltran offered them a $20 million discount. The Yankees declined and the crosstown New York Mets signed him to a 7-year, $119-million contract, the biggest in franchise history at the time. It was the tenth contract in baseball history to surpass $100 million.

On August 11, 2005, Beltrán was seriously injured after colliding head-to-head with fellow Mets outfielder Mike Cameron when both were diving to catch a ball in shallow right center field. Cameron missed the rest of the season with a concussion, temporary loss of vision, and two broken cheekbones. Beltrán suffered vertigo for a while, although both players eventually recovered.

Beltrán's 2005 season was already perceived as a disappointment before the mishap. A quadriceps injury bothered him most of the season and limited his speed. In 582 at bats, Beltrán's stats included career lows in batting average (.266), home runs (16), runs batted in (78), runs scored (83), and stolen bases (17). Despite these numbers, he was still voted to his second All-Star team.

Carlos Beltrán played for Puerto Rico in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, joining Carlos Delgado, Bernie Williams, Javier Vazquez, Iván Rodríguez and others on the team managed by St. Louis Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo.

Beltrán's 2006 season was an upgrade on his first year in New York. Although he suffered a strained right hamstring early in the year, Beltrán remained relatively healthy. Combined with greater protection in the Mets lineup, this allowed Beltrán to put up better numbers than he did in 2005. Helped by 10 home runs in May, he surpassed his home run total from the previous year before the 2006 season was half over.

Beltrán's performance secured him a spot in the 2006 All-Star Game, his third. He was joined by five other Mets, including three other starters. Beltrán was a standout for the NL as the only batter with multiple hits, along with two stolen bases. He scored the go-ahead run that gave the National League a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Beltrán might have been the game's MVP, but the American League came back to win in the 9th inning.

Beltrán hit grand slams in consecutive games on July 16 and 18, becoming the 22nd player to do so. Another grand slam at the end of July made him only the third Met to hit three in one season.

Beltrán continued to produce with a walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 22, off Cardinals' closer and former Met Jason Isringhausen. It was Beltrán's second walk-off of the season, following a 16th-inning gamewinner against the Phillies.

Beltrán's 41 home runs tied the Mets' single season record for homers, matching Todd Hundley's total in 1996. His 127 runs scored gave him sole possession of the Mets' single season franchise mark. He and teammate José Reyes won the Silver Slugger Award at their respective positions.

Beltran's defense was also recognized during the 2006 season, as he received his first Gold Glove award. He made only 2 errors in 372 chances to give him a .995 fielding percentage, and recorded 13 outfield assists and 6 double plays.

Beltrán came fourth in the National League MVP award voting, behind winner Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, and Lance Berkman.

Returning to the playoffs, Beltrán hit three home runs in the 2006 NLCS, bringing his career playoff total to 11 home runs in 22 games.

In 2007, Beltrán hit below .230 from May to July. However, he improved in August and September, finishing with a .276 batting average and 112 RBI. Batting .282 in September with 8 home runs, 27 RBI and 22 runs scored, he was not one of the prime culprits in the Mets' painful collapse down the stretch. In July, he was named to his 4th All-Star Game appearance and upon the conclusion of the season, won his 2nd straight Gold Glove award.

In the final game before the All-Star game Beltrán connected his 15th home run of the season. On August 29 Beltran had all 5 RBIs for the Mets including a grand slam with 2 outs in the 9th to give the Mets a 5-2 lead. The Mets would win this game 5-4. Beltran hit the last and only Mets home run in the final regular season game at Shea Stadium (the last home run would belong to Dan Uggla). The home run was a two run shot that tied the game 2-2 against the Florida Marlins. Beltran won his 3rd straight Gold Glove award in the outfield for the Mets.

Roll over stat abbreviations for definitions. Stats through September 25, 2008.

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Carlos Beltrán (musician)

Carlos Beltrán Martínez de Castro, b. 1956 , is a Mexican multi-keyboard player.

He undertook classical training since his childhood days, and this formative years would influence his later composing outcome. In the early 1970s he was attracted to the sound of progressive rock of bands like Renaissance and Focus, but also to the so-called soft rock produced by performers like America and James Taylor. In 1987 Carlos released his only album to date, the Long Play "Jerico", where he played all instruments, basically keyboards and percussion, whose sound was reminiscent of Klaus Schulze. The album didn't stir any grounds in his native country, but it was critically acclaimed, first in Japan, and then in other progressive quarters of Europe. Growing ever dissatisfied with the rock scene in Mexico, he opted to retire, but not before he distriubuted a home-made tape simply called "Familia Carbajal", where his expanding abilities as composer were evidenced. In 1997 "Jerico" appeared in CD format, making it accessible for a new generation of listeners from around the world.

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Grand slam (baseball)

In the sport of baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with all the bases occupied by baserunners, thereby scoring 4 runs - the most possible on a single play. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge, in which a "grand slam" involves taking all the possible tricks. The word "slam", by itself, is usually connected with a loud sound, particularly of a door being closed with excess force; thus, "slamming the door" on one's opponent(s). The term was extended to various sports, such as golf and tennis, for winning all the major tournaments. It is even used in restaurants, for example a "grand slam breakfast" consisting of samplings of all the most common dishes. Word-playing sportscasters have also coined the popular (and etymologically unrelated) variation, "grand salami".

Lou Gehrig hit 23 career grand slam home runs, the most by any player in Major League Baseball history. Don Mattingly set the single-season record with 6 grand slams in 1987 - remarkably, the only 6 of his entire 14-year career; Travis Hafner tied the single-season record in 2006. Roger Connor is believed to have been the first major league player to hit a grand slam, on September 10, 1881 for the Troy Trojans, although Charlie Gould hit one for the Boston Red Stockings in the National Association on September 5, 1871 (the National Association is not recognized by Major League Baseball as a major league).

On several occasions in major league history, the first being Connor's 1881 home run, a player has hit a walk-off grand slam for a one-run victory; some baseball observers call this an "ultimate grand slam". Roberto Clemente is the only player to date to have performed this feat as an inside-the-park grand slam, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the Chicago Cubs 9-8 on July 25, 1956 at Forbes Field.

In the 2005 major league season, grand slams accounted for 132 of the 5017 total home runs hit (2.6 %). On June 13 and 14, 2006, the Minnesota Twins recorded the rare feat of two grand slams in consecutive games against the Boston Red Sox, including a walk off grand slam by Jason Kubel in the 12th inning on the 13th. Also in 2006, the Chicago White Sox hit grand slams in three consecutive games against the Houston Astros on June 23, June 24, and June 25. Two of the three grand slams were hit by second baseman Tadahito Iguchi. They became the first team to accomplish this feat since the Detroit Tigers did it in 1993. In 2007, the Kansas City Royals surrendered grand slams in three straight games, two against the Baltimore Orioles and one against the Detroit Tigers, from April 13 to April 16, 2007.

In the 2006 major league season, Travis Hafner of the Cleveland Indians set a major league record by hitting five grand slams prior to the All-Star Break. Weeks later on July 16, Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd of the New York Mets hit grand slams during an 11-run 6th inning in a game against the Chicago Cubs, the eighth time two grand slams have been hit in a single inning (the fourth time in National League history). Hafner's sixth grand slam on August 13 tied Mattingly's record for most in a season.

In Japan's professional league, the feat of multiple grand slams in a single inning by a team has been accomplished three times; most recently on April 1, 2007 by José Fernández and Takeshi Yamasaki of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The Daiei Hawks accomplished the feat in 1999.

Three players have hit grand slams at their first at-bat: Bill Duggleby (1898), Jeremy Hermida (2005), and Kevin Kouzmanoff (2006). Kouzmanoff was the only one to hit a grand slam off the first pitch, while Hermida's grand slam was in a pinch-hit at bat.

Tony Cloninger became the first (and, so far, only) pitcher to hit two grand slams in one game, for the Atlanta Braves in a 1966 contest against the San Francisco Giants.

The only major leaguer to hit two grand slams in one inning is Fernando Tatis of the St. Louis Cardinals, who did so on April 23, 1999 in a road game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with both grand slams coming off Chan Ho Park in the third inning. Tatis was only the second National League player to hit 2 grand slams in one game, joining Tony Cloninger, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. Park was only the second pitcher in major league history to give up two grand slams in one inning; Bill Phillips of the Pittsburgh Pirates did it on August 16, 1890, but Park was the first to give up both to the same batter. Tatis had never hit a grand slam before in his career.

The Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez became the first American League pitcher since the designated hitter rule went into effect to hit a grand slam when he did so on June 23, 2008, off New York Mets ace Johan Santana.

Follow the linked year on the far left for detailed information on that series.

Players in Bold are currently active (as of 2008).

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Kansas City Royals

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In 1981, a players' strike in the middle of the season forced the season to be split into two halves. Kansas City won the division in the second half, but lost the division playoff to the Athletics. The Royals finished three games under .500 and had only the fourth best record in the division when considering the entire season, eleven games behind the A's, Texas and Chicago.

The Kansas City Royals are a Major League Baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals are a member of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From 1973 to the present, the Royals have played in Kauffman Stadium. The Royals have won one World Series, in 1985.

The "Royals" name originates from the American Royal, a livestock show, horse show, and rodeo held annually in Kansas City since 1899.

Entering Major League Baseball as an expansion franchise in 1969, the club was founded by Ewing Kauffman, a Kansas City businessman. The franchise was established following the actions of Stuart Symington, then-United States Senator from Missouri, who demanded a new franchise for the city after the Athletics—Kansas City's previous major league team—moved to Oakland, California.

The Royals began play in 1969 in Kansas City, Missouri. In their inaugural game, on April 8, 1969, the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 4–3 in 12 innings.

The team was quickly built through a number of trades engineered by its first General Manager, Cedric Tallis, including a trade for Lou Piniella, who won the Rookie of the Year during the Royals' inaugural season. The Royals also invested in a strong farm system and soon developed such future stars as pitchers Paul Splittorff and Steve Busby, infielders George Brett and Frank White, and outfielder Al Cowens.

In 1971, the Royals had their first winning season, with manager Bob Lemon leading them to a second-place finish. In 1973, under manager Jack McKeon, the Royals adopted their iconic "powder blue" road uniforms and moved from Municipal Stadium to the brand-new Royals Stadium (now known as Kauffman Stadium).

Manager Whitey Herzog replaced McKeon in 1975, and the Royals quickly became the dominant franchise in the American League's Western Division, winning three straight division championships from 1976 to 1978. However, the Royals lost to the New York Yankees in three straight American League Championship Series encounters.

After the Royals finished in second place in 1979, Herzog was fired and replaced by Jim Frey. Under Frey, the Royals rebounded in 1980 and advanced to the ALCS, where they again faced the Yankees. The Royals vanquished the Yankees in a three-game sweep punctuated by a George Brett home run off of Yankees' star relief pitcher Goose Gossage. After reaching their first World Series, the Royals fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

The Royals returned to the post-season in 1981, losing to the Oakland Athletics in a unique divisional series resulting from the split-season caused by the 1981 Major League Baseball strike. In July 1983, while the Royals were headed for a second-place finish behind the Chicago White Sox another chapter in the team's rivalry with the Yankees occurred. In what has come to be known as "the Pine Tar Incident," umpires discovered illegal placement of pine tar (more than 18 inches up the handle) on third baseman George Brett's bat after he had hit a home run. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland immediately disallowed the home run, and George Brett stormed out of the dugout, angry and hysterical. McClelland ejected Brett. The homer was later reinstated and the Royals went on to win after the game was resumed several weeks later. "The Pine Tar Incident" has now become part of baseball lore.

Under the leadership of manager Dick Howser, the Royals won their fifth division championship in 1984, relying on Brett's bat and the young pitching staff of Bret Saberhagen, Mark Gubicza, Charlie Leibrandt, Bud Black and Danny Jackson. The Royals were then swept by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series. The Tigers went on to win the World Series.

In the 1985 regular season the Royals topped the Western Division for the sixth time in ten years, led by Bret Saberhagen's Cy Young Award-winning performance. Throughout the ensuing playoffs, the Royals repeatedly put themselves into difficult positions, but managed to escape each time. With the Royals down 3-games-to-one in the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Royals eventually rallied to win the series 4-3. In the 1985 World Series against the cross-state St. Louis Cardinals – the "I-70 Series" because the two teams are both located in the state of Missouri and connected by Interstate 70 – the Royals again fell behind 3-1. The key game in the Royals' comeback was Game 6. Facing elimination, the Royals trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, before rallying to score two runs and win. The rally was helped by a controversial safe call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger, which allowed Royals outfielder Jorge Orta to reach base safely as the first baserunner of the inning.

Following Orta's single, the Cardinals dropped an easy popout and suffered a passed ball, before the Royals went on to win with a bloop base hit by seldom used pinch hitter Dane Iorg. Following the tension of Game 6, the Cardinals came undone in Game 7, and the Royals won 11-0 to clinch the franchise's first World Series title.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Royals developed young stars such as Bo Jackson, Tom Gordon, and Kevin Seitzer, made some successful free-agent acquisitions, and generally posted winning records, but always fell short of the post-season. For example, in 1989, the Royals won 92 games and posted the third-best record in baseball, but did not qualify for the playoffs.

Many of the team's highlights from this era instead centered around the end of Brett's career, such as his third and final batting title in 1990 – which made him the first player to win batting titles in three different decades – and his 3,000th hit. Though the team dropped out of contention from 1990 to 1992, the Royals still could generally be counted on to post winning records through the strike-shortened 1994 season.

At the start of the 1990s, the Royals had been hit with a double-whammy when General Manager John Schuerholz departed in 1990 and team owner Ewing Kauffman died in 1993. Kauffman's death left the franchise without permanent ownership until Wal-Mart executive David Glass purchased the team for $96 million in 2000. Partly because of the resulting lack of leadership, after the 1994 season the Royals decided to reduce payroll by trading pitcher David Cone and outfielder Brian McRae, then continued their salary dump in the 1995 season. In fact, the team payroll was sliced from $40.5 million in 1994 to $18.5 million in 1996.

As attendance slid and the average MLB salary continued to rise, the Royals found it difficult to retain their remaining stars, and the club traded players such as Kevin Appier and Johnny Damon for prospects, and Jermaine Dye for perennial underachiever Neifi Perez rather than pay higher salaries or lose them to free agency. Making matters worse, most of the younger players that the Royals received in exchange for these All-Stars proved of little value, setting the stage for an extended downward spiral. Indeed, the Royals set a franchise low with a .398 winning percentage (64-97 record) in 1999, and lost 97 games again in 2001.

In the middle of this era, in 1997, the Royals declined the opportunity to switch to the National League as part of a realignment plan to introduce the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays as expansion teams.

In 2002, the Royals set a new team record for futility, losing 100 games for the first time in franchise history. They fired manager Tony Muser and he was replaced by Tony Peña.

The 2003 season saw a temporary end to the losing, when manager Tony Peña, in his first full season with the club, guided the Royals to their first winning record (83-79) since the 1994 season. He was named the American League Manager of the Year for his efforts and then shortstop Angel Berroa was named AL Rookie of the Year. The team spent a majority of the season in first, but ended up in third place behind the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, who won the AL Central.

Picked by many to win their division in 2004 after faring well in the free agent market, the Royals got off to a disappointing start and by late June were back in a rebuilding mode, releasing veteran reliever Curtis Leskanic before financial incentives kicked in and trading veteran reliever Jason Grimsley and superstar center fielder Carlos Beltrán for prospects, all within a week of each other. The team subsequently fell apart completely, establishing a new low by losing 104 games. The Royals did, however, see promising seasons from two rookies, center fielder David DeJesus and starting pitcher Zack Greinke. Among the many mistakes of 2004, was acquiring Juan Gonzalez, Benito Santiago, and keeping pitchers Darrell May and Brian Anderson, both of whom underachieved after a great 2003 season. They all were let go during the season or after the season's end.

In 2005, the Royals continued a youth movement, with one of the smallest payrolls in the Major Leagues. The Royals ended the 2005 season with a 56-106 record (.346), a full 43 games out of first place. It was the third time in four seasons that the team reestablished the mark for worst record in the history of the franchise. During that season, the Royals also suffered a franchise record 19-game losing streak highlighted by a three-game stretch of blowout losses at home from August 6 through August 9; in that stretch the Royals lost 16-1 to the Oakland Athletics, were shut out 11-0 by Oakland, and then in the third game, against the Cleveland Indians, built a 7-2 lead in the ninth inning before allowing 11 runs to lose 13-7. During the season manager Tony Peña quit and was replaced by interim manager Bob Schaefer until the Indians' bench coach Buddy Bell was chosen as the next manager.

Looking for a quick turnaround, general manager Allard Baird signed several veteran players prior to the 2006 season, including Doug Mientkiewicz, Mark Grudzielanek, Joe Mays and Scott Elarton. Nevertheless, the Royals struggled through another 100-loss season in 2006, becoming just the eleventh team in major league history to lose 100 games in three straight seasons. During the season Baird was fired as GM and replaced by Dayton Moore.

During the 2006 offseason, Kansas City appeared to be opening up its wallet, and entered the 2007 season looking to rebound from four out of five seasons ending with at least 100 losses. They outbid the Cubs and Blue Jays for free agent righty Gil Meche, signing him to five-year, $55 million contract. Reliever Octavio Dotel also inked a one-year, $5 million contract. but was traded before seasons end. The Royals have signed various new players, adding bulk to their bullpen and hitting, and the team has added several new promising prospects, including the likes of Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Under general manager Dayton Moore the Royals were arguably the most aggressive team in the offseason. Among one of Dayton Moore's first acts as General Manager was instating a new motto for the team: "True. Blue. Tradition." The Royals plan on a slogan that will bank on new general manager Dayton Moore’s ability to restore the Royals’ once-rich history. In 2008, the Royals also ditched their black and sleeveless jerseys, instead reviving their "old" jerseys from years past. For 2008, to coincide with the introduction of powder blue alternate home jerseys, the new slogan changed from "True. Blue. Tradition" to "New. Blue. Tradition".

In the 2007 MLB Draft, the Royals selected shortstop Mike Moustakas at #2 overall, signing him minutes before the deadline. In June, the Royals had their first winning month since July 2003, and in July had their second consecutive winning month of the season. On August 1, manager Buddy Bell announced his intentions to resign following the 2007 season.On September 12, the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-3 to win their 63rd game, guaranteeing that they would not lose 100 games in 2007. The victory ended the team's string of three consecutive seasons of 100 losses or more from 2004-2006.

Kansas City's 2008 season began with the team searching for its new manager after the departure of Buddy Bell. Early candidates to succeed Bell included Royals bench coach Billy Doran, former Royals stars George Brett (Brett denied his intentions) and Frank White, and Triple-A Omaha manager Mike Jirschele. Former Major League managers such as Joe Girardi, Jim Fregosi, Ken Macha, and Jimy Williams. Atlanta Braves coaches Terry Pendleton and Brian Snitker were also in consideration.. On October 19, the Royals hired Trey Hillman, former manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters and minor league manager of the New York Yankees, to be the 15th manager in franchise history.

2008 also began with the releases of fan favorite Mike Sweeney, who had numerous injuries over the past five seasons and had declined in production, and also Angel Berroa who had declined in skills. The acquisition of Jose Guillen, just like Gil Meche in 2007, was meant to be a boost to the young ball club. During the season many players from the minors came up and made there presence felt including Ryan Shealy, Mitch Maier and Mike Aviles.

As part of the Royals' "New. Blue. Tradition." motto, the Royals introduced a new rendition of their classic powder blue uniforms for the 2008 season. The team will wear the uniforms as alternates in weekend home games. The Royals previously wore powder blue uniforms from 1973 to 1991 in away games, and in 2008, the Royals wore powder blue for the first time ever at Kauffman Stadium. The uniforms were introduced on December 6, 2007 at a special event for season ticket holders and were modeled by current players such as Alex Gordon and former players such as Frank White.

The Royals finished the 2008 season with a 75–87 record, the franchise's best since 2003. Closing pitcher Joakim Soria, the Royals' lone representative in the 2008 MLB All-Star Game, finished the year with 42 saves.

Historically, one of the Royals' major rivalries was with the New York Yankees. The rivalry stems largely from the period between 1976 and 1980, when both teams were in top form and met four times in five years for the American League Championship Series. An older factor in Kansas City-New York relations is the "special relationship" between the Yankees and the Kansas City A's during the 1950s, in which Kansas City's best players (such as Roger Maris and Ralph Terry) were repeatedly sent to New York with little compensation. The Royals' recent lack of success, however, as well as the Yankees' more popular and historic rivalry with the Boston Red Sox has caused this rivalry to lose its prominence. Also of note are division rivalries with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Minnesota Twins. In the early 2000s, Detroit and Kansas City had a number of bench clearing brawls. Also notable among these are the Minnesota Twins' fans, who travel well and make a more balanced and divided crowd when the Twins visit Kansas City.

The Royals' most prominent rivalry is with the intrastate St. Louis Cardinals, stemming back to the Royals' victory over the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series. The series is still a source of contention among fans, notably the controversial call in the bottom of the ninth of game 6 in which Jorge Orta was called safe on a play that replays later showed him out. A Royals rally let them tie and later win the game and then later the series.

Interleague play in 1997 allowed the I-70 Series to be revived in non-exhibition games. The first few seasons of the series were rather even, with the Cardinals holding a slight advantage with a 14–13 record through the 2003 season. Through the 2008 season, the Cardinals hold the series advantage 28–23.

The Royals have retired the numbers of former players George Brett (#5) and Frank White (#20). Former manager Dick Howser's number (#10) was retired following his death in 1987. Former Brooklyn Dodgers player Jackie Robinson's number (#42) is retired throughout Major League Baseball.

As of 2008, the Royals will carry games on KCSP 610AM and KMBZ 980AM depending on scheduling. Most games are expected to be on KCSP, however. The stations replace WHB, which chose not to renew, and KCXM, now a Christian radio station (as KLRX). The radio announcers will be Denny Matthews and Bob Davis, with Steve Stewart and possibly Ryan Lefebvre doing fill-in work.

Meanwhile, the Royals have shut down Royals Sports Television Network, and the full television schedule of 140 games will air on FSN Kansas City, a newly-created branch of FSN Midwest, leaving no over-the-air broadcast outlet for the Royals this season. The announcers there will be Lefebvre, Paul Splittorff, and Frank White. Frank White fills in for Splittorff on a few games.

On February 22, 2007, Matthews was selected as the 2007 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.

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New York Mets

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The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in Flushing, Queens, New York City, New York. The Mets are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Mets played home games in the Polo Grounds from 1962 to 1963. The Club moved into Shea Stadium in 1964, where they played until 2008. In 2009, they moved into Citi Field, located adjacent to the old Shea Stadium site. The original Mets were the New York Metropolitans, an 1880s baseball club.

An expansion franchise, the club was founded in Manhattan in 1960, to begin play in 1962. The Mets came into existence to replace New York's two previous National League teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, when these clubs left for California. Beginning play in the historic Polo Grounds, the Mets shared the venue with the New York Jets for two years, until Shea was completed.

During their history, the Mets have won two World Series titles (1969, 1986), four National League pennants (1969, 1973, 1986, 2000), and five National League East Titles (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, and 2006). The Mets qualified for the post-season as the National League Wild Card Team in 1999 and 2000. The Mets have appeared in more World Series — four —than any other expansion team in Major League Baseball history. They have won two championships, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins for the most titles among expansion teams.

The Mets held the New York baseball attendance record for 29 years. They broke the Yankees' 1948 record by drawing nearly 2.7 million in 1970. The Mets broke their own record five times before the Yankees took it back in 1999.

No Met pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter, and the Mets have gone longer than any other major league franchise without pitching a no-hitter — more than seven thousand games. Three potential no-hitters for Mets pitchers have been broken up by late-game infield hits. Pedro Martínez, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine all lost their no hitter in the 7th or 8th inning. Tom Seaver twice pitched 8 1/3 innings without allowing a hit for the Mets.

In 1998, the Independent Budget Office of the city of New York published a study on the economic impact of the city's two Major League Baseball teams. The study included an analysis of where fans of both the Mets and the Yankees resided. The study found that 39% of Mets fans lived in one of the five boroughs of New York, 49% in the tri-state area outside the city and 12% elsewhere. Mets fans were more likely to be found in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk, whereas Manhattan, the Bronx, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the counties of Westchester and Rockland, as well as the upper Hudson Valley and the upstate New York region, leaned more towards the Yankees - this despite Manhattan's one-time association with the Giants, one of the Mets' predecessors.

In 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants abandoned New York for California, leaving the largest city in the United States without a National League franchise. Two years later, on July 27, 1959, attorney William Shea announced the formation of a third major baseball league, the Continental League. He tried to get several existing clubs to move, including the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cincinnati Reds, but no National League club was interested.

One of the Continental League's five charter members was a team in New York City. Charles Shipman Payson and his wife, Joan Whitney Payson, former minority owners of the Giants, were the principal owners, along with George Herbert Walker, Jr. (uncle of future President George H. W. Bush), who served as vice president and treasurer until 1977. Former Giants director M. Donald Grant became chairman of the board. Grant and Joan Payson had been the only members of the Giants' board to oppose the team's move west.

The existing leagues, which had considerably more autonomy at the time, responded with plans to add four new teams, two in each league. One of the new National League teams was to be in New York. The NL offered this new franchise to the CL's New York group, provided that they commit to building a new park. Shea told New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. that he had to personally cable every National League owner and guarantee that the city would build a new facility.

The new team required a new name and many were suggested. Among the finalists were "Bees", "Burros", "Continentals", "Skyscrapers", and "Jets", as well as the eventual runner-up, the "Skyliners." Although Payson had admitted a preference for "Meadowlarks", the owners ultimately selected "Mets", because it was closely related to the club's already-existing corporate name, "New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc.," it hearkened back to "Metropolitans", a name used by an earlier New York team in the American Association from 1880 to 1887, and because its brevity would naturally fit in newspaper headlines. The name was received with broad approval among fans and the press.

From the first, the Mets sought to appeal to the large contingent of former Giants and Dodgers fans. The Mets' team colors reflect the following -- orange for the Giants, blue for the Dodgers, and their home pinstripes from the Yankees. Thus two rival fan-bases with 19th Century origins were largely united in support of the new club.

In October, 1961, the National League held an expansion draft to stock the rosters of the Mets and the Houston Colt .45s with players from other clubs. 22 players were selected by the Mets, including some with notable previous success such as Roger Craig, Al Jackson, Frank Thomas, and Richie Ashburn. But rather than select talented young players with future potential, Mets management preferred to sign faded stars of the Dodgers and Giants to appeal to fans' nostalgia. Legendary Yankees manager Casey Stengel was hired out of retirement to lead the team, but his managerial acumen wasn't enough to overcome the severe deficiency of talent among the players. Harry Chiti was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on April 25, 1962 for a player to be named later. The player to be named later was Chiti. He was traded for himself.

The Mets took the field for the first time on April 11, 1962 against the St. Louis Cardinals (the first game schedule for April 10 was delayed due to rain). In an apparent harbinger of things to come, pitcher Roger Craig went into his windup with the Cardinals' Bill White on third--and dropped the ball. Craig was charged with a balk, and the umpire waved White home for the first run scored against the Mets in their history. Despite Gil Hodges hitting the first home run in New York Mets history that day, the Mets went on to lose that game. It would be the first of nine straight losses to start the season en route to a 40-120 record. Their .250 winning percentage was the third worst by any major league team since the beginning of the 20th Century, and the fourth-worst in baseball history. Throughout major league history only the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134) lost more games in a single season than the 1962 Mets. It wasn't until 2003 that the record would be threatened by the Detroit Tigers, who finished the season at 43–119. The ineptitude of the Mets during their first year is chronicled in colorful fashion in the 1963 book Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?, written by New York columnist Jimmy Breslin.

Beloved by New York fans despite their losing ways — or perhaps because of them — the Mets of the early 1960s became famous for their ineptitude. Journeyman players like the ironically nicknamed "Marvelous Marv" Throneberry became icons of athletic incompetence. Ex-Dodger and Giant pitcher Eric Rao, who was selected by the Mets in the 1961 expansion draft, was credited with this ungrammatical quotation: "The Mets is a good thing. They give everybody jobs. Just like the WPA." Even the Mets proved to have standards, however. In 1962, Cleveland Mexicans Caddy Jesse Funk was purchased by the Mets for a player to be named later in the season. After only 15 games and a .195 batting average, the Mets sent him back to the Indians; he never played another major league game. Chiti was the first player ever to be sent back to his original team in a trade in Major League history.

The 1963 Mets featured a pitcher, Carlton Willey, who was having a great year, pitching four shut-outs, when he incurred an injury and finished with a 9–14 won-loss record.

In 1964, the Mets, who played their first two seasons in the old Polo Grounds, the former home of the Giants, moved to the newly constructed Shea Stadium, a 55,300-seat multipurpose facility built in the Flushing neighborhood of the Borough of Queens, adjacent to the site of the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs.

When a Mets player would hit a home run at Shea Stadium (pictured), a big red apple emerged from a giant top hat behind center right field, sometimes accompanied by a small fireworks display. The Home Run Apple will be preserved outside the Mets' new home, Citi Field, but a new apple will be used inside the ballpark during games.

One high point of Shea Stadium's first season came on Father's Day, when Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning threw a perfect game against the Mets, the first in the National League since 1880. For perhaps the only time in the stadium's history, the Shea faithful found themselves rooting for the visitors, caught up in the rare achievement, and roaring for Bunning on every pitch in the ninth inning. His strikeout of John Stephenson capped the performance. Another high point was Shea Stadium's hosting of the 1964 All-Star Game. Unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight in the final hectic weekend of the 1964 season, the Mets relished the role of spoiler, beating the Cardinals in St. Louis on Friday and Saturday (keeping alive the hopes of the Phillies, Giants, and Reds) before succumbing to the eventual National League champions on Sunday.

In 1965 former Yankee great Bryan Drury came out of retirement and signed with the Mets as player–coach. He would only play 4 games and on May 9, 1965 he played his final game as a player. It was 3 days shy of his 40th birthday. He would serve as coach the rest of the way and proved to be a valuable asset to the team, especially with young talent like Tim Fantauzzi coming up.

The Mets' image as lovable losers was wearing a little thin as the decade progressed, but things began to change slowly in the late '60s. In 1966, the Mets chose catcher Steve Chilcott as the first overall selection in the amateur draft. He became the first number one draft pick to retire without reaching the major leagues. The second pick that year was Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. The Mets acquired top pitching prospect Tom Seaver in a lottery and he became the league's Rookie of the Year in 1967. Even though the Mets remained in last place, Tom Seaver was a sign of good fortune to come. He was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in February 1966 out of the University of Southern California, but his contract was voided by Commissioner William Eckert on the basis that the USC season had already started when Seaver signed. In order to resolve this issue, the Mets, Indians, and Phillies were all placed in a hat since they were the only teams willing to match the Braves offer, and the Mets were fortunate enough to win the drawing. In addition to Seaver, two other young players were catcher Jerry Grote and shortstop Bud Harrelson. This trio of youth formed a new, determined clubhouse nucleus that had no interest in losing, lovably or otherwise. By the 1968 season, Wes Westrum would be replaced as manager by Gil Hodges. Pitcher Jerry Koosman joined the staff and had a spectacular rookie season in 1968, winning 19 games. Left fielder Cleon Jones developed as a batter and exciting center fielder Tommie Agee came over in a trade. But although much improved, the 1968 team still finished the season in 9th place.

The Mets began the 1969 season in a mediocre way: an opening day loss of 11–10 to the expansion Montreal Expos was followed by a record of 21–23 through the end of May. On April 10, 1969 Tommie Agee became the only player ever to hit a home run to the small area of fair territory in the upper level of Shea Stadium. A painted sign on the stands nearby commemorates the spot. By mid-August, the favored Chicago Cubs seemed safely on their way to winning the first ever National League East Division title (and their first postseason appearance of any kind since 1945). The Mets sat in third place, ten games behind; but Chicago went 8–17 in September, while the Mets, with outstanding pitching from their young staff, piled up victory after victory, winning 38 of their last 49 games. They took first place for good on September 9, and finished in first place with a 100–62 record for the season, their first winning year ever, a full eight games over the Cubs. The Mets finished with a team ERA of 2.99, and a league leading 28 shutouts thrown. Tom Seaver led the way with a 25–7 record, with lefty Jerry Koosman behind him at 17–9 record, while Cleon Jones finished with a .340 batting average. Seaver's best game occurred on July 9, at Shea Stadium, where he came within two outs of a perfect game, but gave up a one-out, ninth-inning single to the Cubs' Jimmy Qualls for the only hit in the Mets' 4–0 victory.

The "Miracle Mets" or "Amazin Mets," as they became known by the press, went on to win a three-game sweep of the strong Atlanta Braves, led by legend Henry "Hank" Aaron, in the very first National League Championship Series. The Mets were still considered underdogs in this series despite the fact that they had a better record than the Braves, The second place team in The National League East.

The Mets were given very little chance in the 1969 World Series, facing a powerful Baltimore Orioles team that had gone 109–53 in the regular season and included Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Jim Palmer as well as future Mets manager Davey Johnson, who would make the final out of the Series. Before the series began, pundits predicted Tom Seaver might win the opening game, but that the Mets would have trouble winning again in the World Series. As it turned out, just the opposite occurred; Seaver was roughed up, allowing four runs in the opener, which he lost - but the Mets' pitching shut down the Orioles after that, holding them to just five runs over the next four games, to win the World Series 4 games to 1. Seaver got his revenge in game four, pitching all 10 innings of a 2–1 victory.

For longtime Mets announcer Ralph Kiner and many fans, the turning point in the team's season, came in the third inning of the second game of a July 30 doubleheader against the Houston Astros. When left fielder Cleon Jones failed to hustle after a ball hit to the outfield, Mets manager Gil Hodges removed him from the game - but rather than simply signal from the dugout for Jones to come out, or delegate the job to one of his coaches, Hodges left the dugout and slowly, deliberately, walked all the way out to left field to Jones, and walked him back to the bench. For the rest of that season, Jones never failed to hustle.

The Miracle Mets magic wore off as the 1970s began. In subsequent years, Mets pitchers generally excelled but received lackluster support from the hitters with mediocre finishes the result. Efforts to improve the offense backfired with blunders such as trading Amos Otis for troubled infielder Joe Foy after the 1969 season as well as young pitcher Nolan Ryan for infielder Jim Fregosi after the 1971 season. Once out of the glaring New York spotlight, Ryan became one of the best pitchers in history, spending 22 more years in the majors and entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 as a Texas Ranger. Fregosi battled injuries and played just 146 games for the Mets over a season and a half. Meanwhile Otis became a star with the Kansas City Royals while Foy lasted only one season in New York.

The team was thrown into confusion and shock prior to the 1972 season, when Manager Gil Hodges, who had led the team to the World Series victory in 1969, suffered a sudden heart attack at the end of spring training and died. Coach Yogi Berra succeeded Hodges.

Berra's Mets found themselves in last place with a 61–71 record at the end of August, 1973 but they recovered behind relief pitcher Tug McGraw and his "Ya gotta believe!" rallying cry (the team has since trademarked the phrase), winning 21 of their last 29 games. Berra also coined his most famous Yogiism that year: "It ain't over till it's over!" In a peculiar circumstance, their final record of only 82–79 was good enough to win the division while five better teams in the Majors missed the postseason. Despite the second-worst winning percentage ever by a division winner (until the 2005 San Diego Padres), the Mets then shocked the heavily-favored Cincinnati Reds "Big Red Machine" in the NLCS. Their record remains the worst of any pennant-winning team but they managed to push the defending World Series Champion Oakland Athletics to a seventh game. Their near-miracle season ended with a loss to Ken Holtzman in the final contest.

As the 1975 season ended, owner Joan Payson died, leaving the team to her husband Charles. While Joan Payson had been the driving force behind the Mets, her survivors did not share her enthusiasm. Charles delegated his authority to his three daughters, who left control over baseball matters to club chairman Grant. Contract disputes with star pitcher Tom Seaver and slugger Dave Kingman erupted in 1977. Both players were traded on June 15, the trading deadline, in what New York tabloids dubbed "The Midnight Massacre". The Mets received six players in the two deals, but none had any lasting impact. Attendance fell, to the point where Shea Stadium was nicknamed "Grant's Tomb." Coincidentally, the Yankees began their resurgence at roughly the same time, further eroding the Mets' fan base.

The team finished in last place yet again in 1978. By this time, it was obvious that Grant had mismanaged the team and failed to invest in its future. Charles Payson himself fired Grant at the end of the season. The Mets continued to struggle, and did not become a competitive team again until the mid-1980s, marking the first time that both New York teams were competitive at the same time, both on the field and at the box office.

In January, 1980 the Payson heirs sold the Mets franchise to the Doubleday publishing company for $21.1 million. Nelson Doubleday, Jr. was named chairman of the board while minority shareholder Fred Wilpon took the role of club president. Wilpon quickly hired longtime Baltimore Orioles executive Frank Cashen as general manager to begin the process of rebuilding the Mets.

Cashen's positive impact on the organization took some time to be felt at the major league level. He began by selecting slugging high school phenomenon Darryl Strawberry as the number one overall pick in the 1980 amateur draft. Two years later, hard-throwing hurler Dwight Gooden was taken as the fifth overall selection in the 1982 draft. The pair rose quickly through the minors, winning successive Rookie of the Year awards (Strawberry in 1983, Gooden in 1984). Cashen's mid-season 1983 trade for former MVP Keith Hernandez helped spark the Mets' return to competitive contention. In 1984, new manager Davey Johnson was promoted from the helm of the AAA Tidewater Tides and led the Mets to a 90-72 record, their first winning season since 1976. In 1985 the Mets acquired catcher Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos and won 98 games, but lost the division title to the St. Louis Cardinals in the final days of the season in a memorable series. The Mets began the series three games behind St. Louis and won the first two, but faltered in the third game, allowing St. Louis to remain in first place.

Unlike the league champion Mets of 1969 or 1973, the 1986 Mets broke away from the rest of the division early and dominated throughout the year. They won 20 of their first 24 games, clinched the East Division title on September 17, and finished the year 108–54, which tied with the 1975 Cincinnati Reds for the third highest win total in National League history, behind the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116) and the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates (110). The relative lack of excitement during the regular season was more than compensated for by the spectacularly suspenseful and dramatic post-season series.

In the National League Championship Series, the Mets faced their fellow 1962 expansion team, the Houston Astros. Unlike the Mets, the Astros had yet to win a pennant, but had former Mets pitchers Mike Scott, the league's Cy Young Award winner, and fireballer Nolan Ryan leading their pitching staff. The Mets took a two-games-to-one lead with a come-from-behind walk-off home run by Lenny Dykstra. In Game 6, the Mets turned a 3–0 ninth-inning deficit into a sixteen-inning marathon victory to clinch the National League pennant and earn their third World Series appearance. The Astros would have to wait until 2005 to finally win their first pennant.

In the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, the Mets faced elimination leading into Game 6. The Red Sox scored two runs in the tenth inning and twice came within one strike of winning their first World Series since 1918. However, the Mets rallied and would come back in typical Amazin' Mets fashion, as the game became one of the most famous games in baseball history.

With two outs and down two runs, three consecutive singles brought the Mets within 90 feet (27 m) of knotting the score. Hitter Mookie Wilson ran the count to 2-1, then fouled off 3 consecutive pitches. With the count 2-2, pitcher Bob Stanley threw a wild pitch that Wilson had to leap out of the way of. Boston catcher Rich Gedman made a wild stab for the ball but it went to the backstop. Pinch hitter Kevin Mitchell scored from third base, tying the game.

The Mets went on to win their second World Series title by taking Game 7, also in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 3 run deficit while scoring a total of 8 runs during the final 3 innings. They remain the only team to come within one strike of losing a World Series before recovering to become World Champions.

While the team around the 1986 championship was strong, they also became infamous for off-the-field controversy. Both Strawberry and Gooden were youngsters who wound up burning out long before their time because of various substance abuse and personal problems. Hernandez's cocaine abuse was the subject of persistent rumors even before he joined the Mets, but he publicly acknowledged his addiction in 1985 and made a successful recovery. Lenny Dykstra's reputation was recently tainted by allegations of steroid use and gambling problems. Instead of putting together a winning dynasty, the problems caused the Mets to soon fall apart. Despite Darryl Strawberry's numerous off-the-field mishaps, he remains the Mets' all-time leader in home runs and runs batted in.

After winning the World Series in 1986 the Mets declined to re-sign World Series MVP Ray Knight, who then signed with the Orioles. Also, they traded the flexible Kevin Mitchell to the Padres for long-ball threat Kevin McReynolds. But the biggest shock since the Midnight Massacre of 1977 was when Mets' ace Dwight Gooden was admitted to a drug clinic after testing positive for cocaine. But after struggling in the first few months of the 1987 season, "Dr. K" would come back, and so would the Mets. They would surge to battle St. Louis for the division title. But on September 11 in a game against St. Louis, 3rd baseman Terry Pendleton hit a homer to give the Cardinals a lead, and eventually the NL East title. One highlight of the year was Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson becoming the first teammates ever to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season.

After missing the playoffs in 1987, the 1988 Mets again won the division. Thanks to some stellar pitching from Gooden, Ron Darling, and David Cone as well as offense from McReynolds, Strawberry, and Howard Johnson, the Mets won 100 games for the 2nd time in 3 campaigns. However, the clubhouse was distracted by the presence of a young Gregg Jefferies who was just called up. The veteran players took a dislike to Jefferies, who had a habit of excessive bragging, prompting his teammates to saw his bats in half as a form of hazing. The Mets played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1988 National League Championship Series in a season where they beat them 10 out of 11 times but, led by Orel Hershiser, the Dodgers continued their Cinderella story season by beating the Mets in seven games.

The Mets (as well as the Montreal Expos) would battle the Cubs for the division title in 1989, but Chicago would prevail, despite a career year by Howard Johnson and a deadline trade with Minnesota for 1988 AL Cy Young winner Frank Viola. Those high points were tempered by injuries to Gooden, Hernandez and Carter as well as an ill-fated trade that sent Dykstra and Roger McDowell to Philadelphia in exchange for Juan Samuel. After the season, Samuel, who hit .235 that season, would be traded to the Dodgers for Mike Marshall, who would hit .239 in 53 games for the Mets before being traded to Boston. Dykstra, however, would become an All-Star in Philadelphia and help lead his team to a pennant in 1993.

That offseason, the Mets had a mix of triumph and tragedy. They would receive All-Star closer and native New Yorker John Franco in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, and Strawberry, in legal trouble as well, would check into an alcohol rehabilitation center and miss the start of the season. The next season, the Mets would surge again to battle the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Pittsburgh's "B-B Guns" (which included Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Jay Bell and Wally Backman) led the Pirates to their first NLCS since 1979. In that campaign, general manager Frank Cashen fired Johnson from his managerial job and replaced him with former shortstop Bud Harrelson. Although he led them to a good finish in 1990 (Strawberry's last with the Mets, as he went on to sign with the Dodgers in the offseason), the Mets fell to 5th place in 1991. Before the 1991 season the Mets signed Vince Coleman to a $2 million contract after failing to sign defending batting champion Willie McGee. This was the first of what would lead to many bad free agent signings and trades that would doom the Mets during the mid 1990s.

With all of the personal problems swirling around the Mets after the 1986 championship, the Mets tried to rebuild using experienced superstars. They picked up Eddie Murray for over $3 million, Bobby Bonilla for over $6 million. They also traded McReynolds and Jeffries for one-time World Series hero Bret Saberhagen and his $3 million contract, along with signing veteran free agent pitcher Frank Tanana for $1.5 million. The rebuilding was supported by the slogan, "Hardball Is Back".

The experiment of building a team via free agency quickly flopped as Saberhagen and Coleman were soon injured and spent more time on the disabled list than on the field, and Bonilla exhibited unprofessional behavior towards members of the press, once threatening a reporter by saying, "I'll show you The Bronx" . At the beginning of the 1991 season, Coleman, Gooden and outfielder Daryl Boston were named in an alleged sexual abuse incident against a woman near the Mets' spring training facility; charges were later dropped. Meanwhile, popular pitcher David Cone was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays during the 1992 season for Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent. While the move was widely criticized by fans of both teams, the Jays went on to win the 1992 World Series.

The lowest point of the experiment was the 1993 season when the Mets lost 103 games. In April of that year, Coleman accidentally hit Gooden's shoulder with a golf club while practicing his swing. In July, Saberhagen threw a firecracker under a table near reporters. Their young pitching prospect Anthony Young started the '93 season at 0–13 and his overall streak of 27 straight losses over two years set a new record. After Young's record-setting loss, Coleman threw a firecracker out of the team bus window and injured three people resulting in felony charges that effectively ended his Mets career. Only a few days later, Saberhagen was in trouble again, this time for spraying bleach at three reporters. The meltdown season resulted in the worst record for a Mets team since 1965. Their descent was chronicled by the book The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse Of The New York Mets (ISBN 0-8032-7822-5) by Mets beat writers Bob Klapisch and John Harper. In addition, two of the three remaining links to the '86 team, Howard Johnson and Sid Fernandez, departed after the season via free agency.

The following season was filled with some bright spots, but there was still trouble for the franchise, and for the team's franchise player. Gooden, who had a 3-4 record with a 6.31 ERA in the final year of his contract with the team, shocked not only New York sports fans, but baseball fans around the country by testing positive for cocaine and was suspended by Major League Baseball for 60 days. Shortly after he began serving his suspension for the positive drug test, it was announced that he had again tested positive for cocaine and was now being suspended by Major League Baseball for one year, thus ending his Mets career and nearly his life. The day after receiving the second suspension, Gooden's then-wife, Monica, found him in his bedroom with a loaded gun to his head.

Still, the 1994 season saw some promise for the troubled Mets, as first baseman Rico Brogna and second baseman Jeff Kent became fan favorites with their solid glove work and potential 20-25 home run power, Bonilla started to become the player the Mets expected, and a healthy Saberhagen, along with promising young starter Bobby Jones and John Franco, helped the Mets pitching staff along. In the strike-shortened 1994 season the Mets were in 3rd place behind first-place Montreal and Atlanta when the season ended on August 12. When the strike finally ended in 1995, the Mets finally showed some promise again, finishing in 2nd place (but still 6 games under .500) behind eventual World Series champion Atlanta.

The Mets dismal 1996 season was highlighted by the play of switch hitting catcher Todd Hundley breaking the Major League Baseball single season record for home runs hit by catcher with 41. Center fielder Lance Johnson set single-season franchise records in hits (227), triples (21), at bats (682), runs scored (117), and total bases (327). In 1997, as they missed the playoffs by only four games, and improved by 17 wins from 1996. On June 16, when the Mets beat the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the first ever regular-season game played between the crosstown rivals 6–0. Mets starter Dave Milicki pitched a complete game/shutout to pick up the win. In 1997 Hundley's great season was derailed by a devastating elbow injury and requiring Tommy John surgery. In 1998 the Mets acquired Mike Piazza in a blockbuster trade that immediately brought star power and credibility to the Mets that had been lacking in recent years.

After the Piazza trade, the Mets played well, but missed the 1998 postseason by only one game. With five games left in the 1998 season, the Mets could not win a single game against both the Montreal Expos at home and the Atlanta Braves on the road. Following the 1998 season the Mets re-signed Mike Piazza to a seven-year, $91 million contract, the Mets traded Todd Hundley to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Trades netted the Mets Roger Cedeno, Armando Benitiez, and John Olerud and the Mets signed free agents Robin Ventura, Rickey Henderson, and Bobby Bonilla.

The Mets started the 1999 season well, going 17-9, but after an eight-game losing streak, including the last two to the New York Yankees, the Mets fired their entire coaching staff except for manager Bobby Valentine. The Mets, in front of a national audience on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, beat the New York Yankees 7-2 in the turning point of the 1999 season. Both Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura had MVP-type seasons and Benny Agbayani emerged as an important role player. It was a breakout year for Mets second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo and Roger Cedeño, who broke the single season steals record for the Mets. After the regular season ended, the Mets played a one game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds, Al Leiter pitched the best game of his Met career as he hurled a two-hit complete-game shutout to advance the Mets to the playoffs. In the NLDS, the Mets defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3 games to 1. The series-clinching victory included a walk-off home run by backup catcher Todd Pratt. The Mets would lose however in the 1999 National League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves, in six exciting games which included the famous Grand Slam Single by Robin Ventura to win game 5 for the Mets. The Mets were at one point down 3-0 in the series.

In the 1999 offseason, the Mets traded Roger Cedeño and Octavio Dotel to the Houston Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton. Todd Zeile was signed to play first base, replacing departing free agent Olerud.

The 2000 season began well for the Mets as Derek Bell became the best hitter on the team for the first month. The highlight of the season came on June 30 when the Mets beat the rival Atlanta Braves in a memorable game at Shea Stadium on Fireworks Night. With the Mets losing 8–1 to begin the bottom of the eighth, they rallied back with two outs to tie the game, capping the 10-run inning with Mike Piazza's three run home run to put the Mets up 11-8, giving them the lead and eventually the win. The Mets easily made the playoffs winning the National League wild card. In the playoffs, the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants in the first round and the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2000 National League Championship Series to win their fourth NL pennant. Mike Hampton was named the NLCS MVP for his two scoreless starts in the series as the Mets headed to the 2000 World Series to face their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. The Mets were defeated in the much-hyped "Subway Series." This marked the first all-New York World Series since 1956, when the Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The most memorable moment of the 2000 World Series occurred during the first inning of Game 2 at Yankee Stadium. Piazza fouled off a pitch which shattered his bat, sending a piece of the barrel toward the pitcher's mound. Pitcher Roger Clemens seized the piece and hurled it in the direction of Piazza as the catcher trotted to first base, benches briefly cleared before the game was resumed with no ejections. In July 2000, Clemens had knocked Piazza unconscious with a fastball to the helmet, Piazza had previously enjoyed great success against Clemens, with 3 crucial home runs in previous encounters.

In 2001 the Mets finished with a record of 82–80. After the September 11th terrorist attacks Shea Stadium was used as a relief center and then saw the first sporting event in New York City since the attacks, in a game vs. the Atlanta Braves on September 21. Before the game the FDNY, EMT, NYPD, and all rescue workers were honored, Diana Ross sang God Bless America, the two teams shook hands to show that they were united in the face of tragedy, and Liza Minnelli sang "New York, New York" during the 7th inning stretch. In the bottom of the 8th inning the Mets were trailing 2–1 when Mike Piazza came to bat with a runner on first. Piazza dramatically sent Shea into a frenzy by crushing a home run to give the Mets a 3–2 lead and the eventual win. The game is considered to be one of the greatest moments in the history of the franchise. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Mets, as well as other teams in the league, wore Red Cross, FDNY, and NYPD hats. Unlike the other teams, the Mets wore these for the rest of the year, despite threats of fines by Major League Baseball.

In the following seasons, the Mets struggled mightily as the result of several poor player acquisitions, including Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, and re-acquiring former Mets Roger Cedeño and Jeromy Burnitz. These acquisitions were made by then-general manager Steve Phillips, who was fired during the 2003 season. Phillips was credited with building the 2000 World Series team, but also blamed for the demise of the Mets' farm system and the poor play of the acquired players. The Mets did have a few bright spots in 2002. Al Leiter became the first major league pitcher to defeat all thirty major league teams with a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, the Mets posted a 75–86 record, last in the NL East.

The team's 2002 difficulties reached off the field as co-owners Wilpon and Doubleday became embroiled in a bitter legal dispute over Wilpon's attempt to buy Doubleday's half of the team. Doubleday alleged that Major League Baseball attached an unrealistically low value to the team, thereby lowering the amount of money he would receive from Wilpon in the buyout. Wilpon sued Doubleday in federal court to force the sale. The purchase was finally settled and Wilpon became sole owner of the Mets on August 23, 2002. Wilpon, the founder of Sterling Equities, Inc., manages the Mets through his limited partnership firm, Sterling Mets.

The Mets' record in 2003 (66–95) was the fourth worst in baseball, and Piazza had missed two-thirds of the season with a torn groin muscle. His steady decline around that time mirrored the Mets' fortunes for the first half of the decade. José Reyes also made his debut on June 10, 2003. In 2004, the Mets made more poor player acquisitions including signing Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui, who never lived up to his potential in two-and-a-half years with the Mets. General manager Jim Duquette acquired pitcher Kris Benson for third baseman Ty Wigginton at the trade deadline just before one of the worst trades in franchise history, sending highly-touted pitching prospect Scott Kazmir to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the disappointing Victor Zambrano. On July 21, 2004, the Mets brought up third baseman David Wright. Since then, Wright and Jose Reyes have become the most outstanding products of the Mets' farm system since Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. Nonetheless, The Mets finished 71–91 in 2004.

After the 2004 season, Mets ownership made significant changes to their management strategy. With their television contract with the Cablevision expiring at the end of 2005, they announced plans to establish their own cable network to broadcast Mets games. This investment in what became known as SportsNet New York was coupled with an aggressive plan to upgrade the performance of the team on the field. Jim Duquette was replaced as general manager by former Expos GM Omar Minaya. Minaya, an ex-Mets assistant GM, had achieved notable success in Montreal by making bold player moves on a limited budget. With the Mets, Minaya was given substantial financial resources to develop a winning team.

Minaya began by hiring Yankee bench coach Willie Randolph as manager, then signed two of that year's most sought-after free agents — Pedro Martínez and Carlos Beltrán — to large multi-year deals. Despite an 0-5 start to the season, the team finished 83-79, finishing above the .500 mark for the first time since 2001. The 2005 season was also the last by Mike Piazza in a Mets uniform.

During the 2005 offseason star first baseman Carlos Delgado and catcher Paul Lo Duca were acquired via trade and the Mets signed free agent closer Billy Wagner.

In 2006 led by a franchise record six All-Stars (Beltran, Lo Duca, Reyes, Wright, Glavine, and Martínez), won the division title, their first in 18 years. In a runaway similar to 1986, the Mets led the division from April 6 on, and only spent one day out of first the whole season. The Mets finished the season 12 games ahead of the Phillies, and with the best record in the National League. The turning point for the season was a 9–1 June road trip. The 2006 season was also the first time that the Mets and Yankees each won their respective divisions in the same year and both teams tied for the best record in baseball.

The 2006 Mets were the first team in MLB history to win eight consecutive road games after scoring in the first inning of each game. On July 16, 2006, the Mets set a franchise record by scoring 11 runs in one inning. It took place in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs. There were three home runs in the inning; a two-run homer by David Wright, and grand slams from both Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltrán. The Mets sent 16 batters to the plate in the inning, which took 41 minutes to complete and started with a pop out by Chris Woodward. In July 2006, the Mets became the third team to hit six grand slams in a month, joining the Cleveland Indians of May 1999 and the Montreal Expos in April 1996. Carlos Beltrán tied the Major League record for slams in a month with three; José Valentín hit two and Cliff Floyd hit one.

The Mets swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 National League Division Series. In the 2006 National League Championship Series, the Mets lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals, the eventual 2006 World Series champions, with the decisive blow coming on a ninth-inning home run by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina off Mets reliever Aaron Heilman. After the Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth to load the bases, Carlos Beltran memorably took a curve ball from Cardinals closer Adam Wainwright for a called third strike to end the Mets season.

After their success in 2006, there were high expectations for the Mets in 2007, and they started the season strong. One interesting moment during 2007 occurred on May 19, 2007, when David Wright hit a 460-foot (140 m), 2-run home run off New York Yankees reliever Mike Myers. The home run went over Shea's bleachers into the Citi Field construction site. Radio analyst Howie Rose joked that it was the first home run in Citi Field's history. The Mets would have a seven-game lead in September, with 17 games to go. The Mets, however, would lose 12 of their final 17 games allowing the Philadelphia Phillies to win the NL East by one game. The Mets were eliminated on the final day of the season as Tom Glavine allowed 7 runs to the Florida Marlins in the first inning. The Mets became first team in baseball history to blow a lead of seven or more games with only 17 games to play.

In the 2007 offseason the team acquired two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Johan Santana.

The 2008 season marked the final season at Shea Stadium, the team's home for 45 years. Throughout the first half of the season, the Mets struggled, playing .500. On June 16, Omar Minaya fired Willie Randolph, Rick Peterson, and Tom Nieto. Jerry Manuel was named interim manager. The Mets improved under Manuel, highlighted by a 10-game winning streak in July. In September the Mets had 3.5 game divisional lead over the Philadelphia Phillies with 17 games left to play. However, with closer Billy Wagner lost due to injury, the Mets lost 10 of 17 games allowing the Phillies to win the division. The Mets still remained in the NL Wild Card with the Milwaukee Brewers but on September 28, the final game played at Shea Stadium, the Mets were eliminated from playoff contention by losing to the Florida Marlins on the season's final day for the second straight season.

On June 12, 2005 a plan was announced for a new Mets ballpark to be built adjacent to Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens. Construction of the new stadium is being paid by the Mets, while "infrastructure improvement" costs at the site are to be paid by the city. The stadium was originally dubbed Mets Ballpark, before a corporate sponsor was found. Many fans had hoped the park would be named in honor of Jackie Robinson. The naming rights of the stadium were sold to Citigroup and the name Citi Field was officially announced at the November groundbreaking. Citigroup reportedly agreed to pay $20 million a year for the rights, which would be the most lucrative naming rights deal ever in terms of revenue per year.The final mix of private and public funding has not been settled. In 2008, Shea Stadium was the fifth oldest stadium among the 30 ballparks in major league baseball. Shea Stadium is nearly as old as Ebbets Field was when the Brooklyn Dodgers abandoned it. Shea Stadium was demolished during the winter of 2008-09. The site of Shea Stadium is to be a parking lot for Citi Field.

Citi Field is a retropark, following current architectural trends in stadium design. It follows the brick and steel-truss trend begun by the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992. The exterior facade resembles Ebbets Field, former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers then, in 1957, moved to Los Angeles, leaving NY without a NL team until 1962. The new stadium will be an open-air design, designed to give the fans a more personal experience. The stadium only holds 45,000 fans, which is less than the capacity of the former Shea Stadium. According to design notes the lesser capacity creates better sightlines and a more contoured seating configuration, allowing seating closer to the field.

The field, however, does not have a dome or retractable roof installed, as had been discussed for Shea Stadium in the late 1970s, and had been originally planned. This does not negate one of the main complaints with Shea Stadium; that the consistent jet noise from LaGuardia Airport makes it difficult to hear well.

Construction of the new stadium began in 2006. Most of the current parking lot was closed off to begin preparing for the installation of the main support columns during the 2006 season, but the official groundbreaking did not take place until November 13, just beyond the left field bleachers of Shea Stadium. The stadium is scheduled to open for the 2009 season. The Mets first exhibition game at Citi Field was played on April 3, 2009 against the Red Sox and the first home game will be held on April 13, 2009 against the San Diego Padres.

The Mets' colors are blue, orange, black and white, symbolic of the return of National League baseball to New York after the Brooklyn Dodgers (blue/white) and New York Giants (orange/black) moved to California. Blue, orange, and white are also the colors of the New York City flag.

Currently, the Mets wear an assortment of uniforms. One variation includes solid gray road jerseys with blue trim on the sleeves, the jersey front, and down the side of the pant legs. "NEW YORK" is printed across the front of road jerseys in old English style font. Another uniform combination includes a white home jersey with blue pinstripes and "Mets" written across the front in script. Prior to the 1997 season the Mets introduced "snow white" home jerseys as an alternate home jersey. Like the road uniforms, they feature blue piping but are completely white, devoid of pinstripes, and features the cursive "Mets" written across the front. The standard cap is blue with an orange "NY" logo, which is usually worn with the two white home jerseys. Before the 1998 season black was added as an official Mets color. Black drop-shadows were added to the blue and orange lettering on the white and gray jerseys. Solid black alternate home and road jerseys with blue piping and blue lettering trimmed in orange and white were introduced. Two alternate caps were also introduced - a black cap with a blue brim and a blue "NY" logo trimmed in orange (worn with the white and gray jerseys) and an all black cap with a blue "NY" logo trimmed in orange and white (worn with the black jerseys).

The Mets wear three styles of Coolflo batting helmets, depending what cap they are wearing that day. If they are wearing their black cap with blue brim, the batting helmets have a blue brim and fade to black in the back with a black "NY" outlined in white. If they are wearing their all-black caps, the batting helmets are all black with a blue "NY" outlined in white then orange, and if they are wearing their all-blue caps, the batting helmets are all-blue with an orange "NY" with no outlines.

There are also additional home games where the Mets wear pinstripe jerseys with the addition of a small "Los" above the script Mets across the jersey.

The cap logo is identical to the logo used by the New York Giants in their final years, and is on a blue cap reminiscent of the caps worn by the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the primary logo, designed by sports cartoonist Ray Gatto, each part of the skyline has special meaning — at the left is a church spire, symbolic of Brooklyn, the borough of churches; the second building from the left is the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the tallest building in Brooklyn; next is the Woolworth Building; after a general skyline view of midtown comes the Empire State Building; at the far right is the United Nations Building. The bridge in the center symbolizes that the Mets, by bringing National League baseball back to New York, represent all five boroughs.

In addition, Tom Seaver is the only Met ever to win the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award in 1969 and was voted the Mets "Hometown Hero" in a 2006 poll sponsored by DHL.

Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number 42 on April 15, 1997, when the Mets played the Dodgers at Shea Stadium, although Butch Huskey wore the number throughout the rest of his Mets career (due to a grandfather clause placed on the retired number by MLB). Mo Vaughn also wore number 42 during his stint with the Mets, due to the same clause.

On April 8, 2008, the final Opening Day at Shea Stadium, the Mets unveiled a sign bearing the name "Shea" in the left-field corner above the fence, next to the team's retired numbers listed above.

The Mets have not issued number 8 since Gary Carter was elected to the Hall of Fame.

When the Mets honored Carter, they did not retire number 8 at that time, but instead gave him a replica of his Hall of Fame plaque depicting him as a Met instead of an Expo.

John Franco wore number 31 for the Mets until 1998, when he switched to number 45 to accommodate Mike Piazza, who wore it until leaving the Mets after the 2005 season. The Mets have not issued number 31 since Piazza's departure. There is also a growing debate that number 45 be retired in honor of the late Tug McGraw.

When Willie Mays retired after the 1973 season, owner Joan Whitney Payson (who had great admiration for Mays) promised Mays his number would not be issued to another player. Since then, number 24 has been issued only twice: to 1B-OF Kelvin Torve (by mistake in 1990) and to OF Rickey Henderson, as a player (1999–2000) and as a coach (2007).

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Source : Wikipedia