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THE CURSE OF THE OWNER’S SON

By Murray Chass

May 26, 2019

Fred Wilpon, owner (minority or majority) of the New York Mets for four decades, is a wonderful human being, a genuine humanitarian, but he has made two huge mistakes in his life.

A decade or so ago, he invested millions of dollars with his friend Bernie Madoff. Given that Madoff was running an illegal Ponzi scheme and bilking friends rich and poor out of their life savings, that was certainly a Wilpon mistake.

What was the other Wilpon mistake? Well before the Madoff debacle, Wilpon put his son, Jeff, in charge of the Mets as chief operating officer. That idea hasn’t worked out for Fred either.

Named Chief Operating Officer in August 2002, the younger Wilpon quickly established himself as the most disliked executive in major league baseball. When Jeffrey Loria owned the Miami Marlins, his stepson, David Samson, the Marlins’ president, was in close competition with Wilpon, but Loria sold the Marlins and took Samson with him, leaving the field to the younger Wilpon.

In Wilpon’s case, though, the appraisal goes beyond like and dislike. Wilpon runs the team, meaning decisions are often dictated by Wilpon. The general manager may make trades, but he doesn’t act without Wilpon’s approval.

Wilpon incidentally does not have a baseball background. The last line about him in the Mets’ media guide says, “A former catcher, he was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1983.”

That is true; the Expos indeed drafted Wilpon. But they did so as a …

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JUDGING AARON AND JOEY BY THEIR STRIKEOUTS

By Murray Chass

May 19, 2019

In his 20th game of the season Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees’ multi-talented right fielder, strained a muscle and took himself out of what in the last few years has become my favorite individual batting race of the season.

I’m referring to strikeouts. They fascinate me. I don’t understand how major league hitters can strike out so much. I don’t understand either how major league pitchers have so much trouble throwing strikes, but that’s a question for another day. Today I will deal with the frequency with which batters strike out.

In his first full season in the major leagues, 2017, the year he was voted American League rookie of the year, Judge led the majors with 208 strikeouts. He was in position to repeat last season until he was hit by a pitch and suffered a chip fracture of his right wrist, causing him to miss 45 games. At the time, he had struck out …

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METS’ MEDICAL MATTERS, GOOD, BAD AND UNCERTAIN

By Murray Chass

May 12, 2019

Tom Seaver, Ed Kranepool and Ron Darling all played for the New York Mets. Seaver and Kranepool were teammates for 11 years, from 1967 through 1977. Seaver and Darling were teammates for the final month of the 1983 season.

All three players, of course, are now retired, but in recent weeks they have been brought together in a way that is less than ideal.

About two months ago Seaver’s family revealed that the Hall of Fame pitcher was suffering from dementia and would withdraw from public participation. Several weeks ago Darling stepped away from his role as an analyst on Mets’ telecasts, disclosing that doctors had discovered a mass on his chest. Subsequent surgery revealed that he has thyroid cancer.

Kranepool, who at the age of 17 had two at-bats for the Mets in 1962, their first season, has emerged from the Mets’ medical malaise in the most positive condition of the three former players. Last week he received a …

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