Quiet anniversary: The sober end of the Original Mets

Joe Pignatano, warming up at Wrigley Field, where . . .

At a Baseball Assistance Team dinner over a decade ago, Joe Pignatano—once a reserve major league catcher whose career began with the Brooklyn Dodgers and ended with the New York Mets; later a respected Mets bullpen coach—eased himself into a stool behind a table. His old Brooklyn Dodgers teammate, Sandy Koufax, was stationed behind the same table, signing assorted memorabilia and bric-a-brac.

“Hey,” a voice hollered, “how come he gets to sit there?”¬†Koufax flashed a grin and replied, “Roomie seat.”

They, Too, Shone On Brightly—For Awhile . . .

With the All-Star Game come and gone, you almost can’t help thinking of more once-upon-a-time comers, All-Stars and others, who didn’t—or couldn’t—quite live up to their earliest promise . . .

They didn’t come more bullheaded than Pistol Pete . . .

Pete Reiser—Pistol Pete (Reiser was hung with that nickname decades before it got hung on basketball legend Pete Maravich) won the National League batting title in his rookie season (1941) and damn near won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in his second season. He was a five-tool switch-hitter who had Brooklyn fans salivating, after Leo Durocher scotched an unscrupulous deal by which the Dodgers’ then-boss Larry MacPhail kept Reiser buried in their farm system before he could be returned to the St. Louis Cardinals, from whom he’d been liberated by commissioner’s edict.