Last month, I asked you to help me organize my baseball cards by making trades that let me clear out some of my unneeded ones. Gary sent me a pair of autographed cards in exchange for a stack of Oakland Athletics.
Gene Clines spent 10 years in the major leagues, but his playing career was before my time. He is probably best remembered for his time in Pittsburgh, where he won a World Series ring in 1971. Clines also played for the Cubs and Texas Rangers in addition to the Mets. In 1979, Clines retired as a player and immediately became the Cubs’ first base coach. He’s remained in baseball since then, taking coaching jobs and front office positions with the Astros, Mariners, Brewers, Giants and Dodgers.
Jamey Carroll spent parts of 14 seasons in the major leagues despite not making his major league debut until the age of 28. Carroll started at second base in the Montreal Expos’ last game in 2004 and was part of the original Washington Nationals team in 2005. He also played for the Colorado Rockies, Cleveland, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals. Carroll went to spring training with the Nationals this year, but did not make the team.
Hall of Famer Gary Carter will be honored tonight before the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays play the first Major League Baseball game in Montreal since the Expos left after the 2004 season.
Carter’s widow Sandy and daughter Kimmy Bloemers will represent the late Expos and Mets star, who died of brain cancer in 2012.
“It is going to be hard. It hasn’t been two years yet, but I knew we had to be there,” Sandy Carter said. “I agreed when I heard there would be a game at the old park and then when I heard it was the Mets, I knew it was right.
“It’s like two pieces of our hearts joining together that night.”
Pascucci went 3-for-11 in a 2011 September callup for the Mets. He also played in 32 games for Montreal in 2004. In the Expos’ final game in franchise history, an 8-1 loss to the Mets at Shea Stadium, Pascucci went 3-for-4 including a pair of hits off of Tom Glavine.
In 2010, Pascucci played in 14 games for Camden, so this will not be his first Atlantic League experience. Unfortunately, during that time I didn’t manage to get his autograph – I don’t think I was able to find any of his baseball cards in time. So Pascucci remains among the 101 current and former Mets players who are not represented in my autograph collection.
The Riversharks open the 2013 season on Thursday, April 18th, in Lancaster, Pa. against the Barnstormers. Their home opener is Tuesday, April 23rd vs. the Bridgeport Bluefish. My first shot to get to Camden this year will probably be on Sunday, April 28th for a game against the Barnstormers – hopefully I’ll be able to get a baseball card signed this time.
The other players signed by Camden today were Ruddy Yan and Raul Padron, both returning Riversharks.
Perez pitched for the Pirates, Braves, Expos and Yankees during a career that lasted from 1980 to 1991. His lifetime record was 67-68, one game under .500, but he was an All-Star for the Braves in 1983. For a time, he was credited with a no-hitter – the first in Veterans Stadium history – but the five inning rain-shortened game was later removed from the record books.
But I won’t remember for wins and losses – I’ll remember him for his comical eephus pitch, guaranteed to make someone look foolish. It usually got the better of hitters, but a batter can hit one really far if he’s expecting it. I’ll remember Perez for throwing the ball between his legs on pickoff attempts.
But most of all, I’ll remember the story of how he got lost on the way to the ballpark.
Pascual Perez, recently acquired from Pittsburgh and just up from Richmond, was scheduled to start on a Thursday night in August. His new team had lost 19 of 21 to fall four games behind the hated Dodgers. Only just outfitted with a driver’s license, Perez went literally in circles, stopping only because he was almost out of gas. A guy at the service station recognized him and spotted him a splash of petrol — Pascual had forgotten his wallet, too — and by the time he arrived at the old stadium Phil Niekro was on the mound in his stead.