— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | Ex-Mets | Mets | Shea
by Kingman on January 4 at 11:53AM
Sunday's New York Daily News has a nice little profile of former Met Anthony Young.

AY is, of course, part of Met lore and baseball history for his 27-game losing streak in the early '90's.

Yet for those of us who watched this record unfold, AY is still registered in our collective mind as a good pitcher. The guy could throw, he was just ridiculously unlucky. AY was also ridiculously gracious throughout and after the streak. He never melted down or blamed anyone else. And it's great to see him years later, at peace with himself and his career.

AY also has a special bit of history in Loge13. The day he ended his streak - July 24, 1993 - was also the day our own Ron Hunt caught a foul ball IN HIS ARMPIT  in Loge13. It is still one of the greatest catches - dare I say one of the greatest feats of athletic prowess - I have ever witnessed. The man had a cup of ice cream in one hand and a glass of Jack Daniels in the other and still caught the Benito Santiago foul ball. Try that, Endy Chavez!

Someday, Ron or I will write up that entire play for posterity. For now, here is the AY article:

Fans sent Anthony Young all sorts of good-luck talismans while he was enduring his infamous losing streak - four-leaf clovers, horseshoes, rabbit's feet. One woman gave him her treasured $2 bill. Psychics called the Met offices offering aid. Letters of encouragement poured in from folks who sat in the bleachers as well as Hall of Famer Bob Feller.

More than 15 years after his record 27-game losing streak ended, Young still holds onto his memories of "what I'm known for," as he puts it. He still has most of the trinkets, stored in his attic in the same box he kept them in at his locker at Shea. Recently, he says, he poked around in the box and watched several old videotapes - his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and a meeting he had with the family of Cliff Curtis, the pitcher who set the record from 1910-11 that Young eventually broke.

Nowadays, deep into a coaching career, Young gets occasional reminders from the kids on the five select teams he oversees. "Once they find out you were in the big leagues, they 'Google' you," Young says. "Then they say, 'Coach, you're known for a losing streak!'"

Young, who will be 43 later this month, had a 9-5 job at a chemical plant for eight years after his playing career ended in 1996. But he wanted to coach and now runs five different teams of kids from 9-13 years old in Houston, his hometown. He also gives private pitching lessons as part of his own company, AY Enterprise.

"It's a big business now and there's a lot of competition," Young says. Young says his teams have played tournaments against teams coached by ex-players such as Charlie Hayes, Chuck McElroy and Eric Anthony.

"Life is good," Young adds. "I'm a grandfather. It's been a pleasure watching my kids grow up and I'm keeping busy with baseball."

Young, who is also a regular at Met fantasy camps, knows that people will forever remember him as the promising pitcher who dropped 27 consecutive decisions from May 6, 1992 to July 24, 1993 - he's gone to memorabilia shows where people want him to acknowledge the streak next to his autograph. But sometimes he wishes everyone also remembers that he didn't pitch that poorly during the streak - managers don't keep giving you the ball if you're getting clobbered every time you pitch.

"I got a bad rap on that," Young says of the streak, in which he had a 4.36 ERA. "I always said I didn't feel like I was pitching badly. It just happened to happen to me. I don't feel like I deserve it, but I'm known for it. It was an 82-year-old record and it might be 82 more years before it's broken.

"Everything that could happen, happened. It was just destiny, I guess."

At one point during the streak, Young converted 12 straight save chances and threw 23.2 straight scoreless innings subbing for closer John Franco. He was 0-14 as a starter and 0-13 as a reliever.

It all ended on July 28, 1993 when the Mets scored twice in the bottom of the ninth against the Marlins. Young had entered at the top of the inning and allowed a tie-breaking unearned run after a Todd Hundley throwing error.

A few weeks later, Young flew to Los Angeles to be on The Tonight Show. While mired in the streak, he had been prime monologue material for Leno and when they met, Leno offered the chance for comic retribution, telling Young, "You can make fun of my chin if you want to."

"It was a lot of fun," Young says.

While the end of the streak offered relief, it is not nearly Young's favorite moment of his six-year career with the Mets, Cubs and Astros. That would be his debut against the Cubs on Aug. 5, 1991 when he relieved Pete Schourek with the bases loaded in the seventh and got Shawon Dunston to ground out to end the inning.

"That," says Young, "is one of the best memories of my life."

[January 4, 2009 2:55 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

I think I'm too young to remember AY for any promise he had or any bad luck dealt to him. But I was there the night he got the win. And that's all I remember about the streak. I would love to see video of the foul ball in the armpit.

[January 6, 2009 10:13 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

While I appreciate Kingman's comments, and it clearly was the highlight of my athletic career, I feel a need to set the record right.

It was my daughter's Coke, she was only six then and now a senior at UW - Madison, that was in my left hand while I, somehow, managed to finesse the ball into my elbow / armpit without dropping either drink, which btw came from our beloved Casey's Pub, which was right behind Loge13.

I will leave it up to the readers to determine if my decision was correct - drop the drinks and grab the ball - or try to catch the ball while maintaining the integrity of the beverages.

I'm comfortable with my choice.

[January 12, 2009 8:56 PM]  |  link  |  reply

I am blessed to have Anthony as my sons baseball coach. He is a fantastic person and is great with the kids. He will also attest that I am one of the biggest if not the biggest Met fan in the country, easily the biggest in Houston Texas. Hi whole family is wonderful and I am a better person just knowing the guy. Jason Bernstein

[April 22, 2009 3:32 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Randall bush said

My name is Randall Bush I played with Anthony throughout our entire high school football careers & on the track team I would love to invite you Anthony to one of my son's TBall games and remember in high school when you and James Pratt started that chant who dat cat dat blocked dat punt bush bush. Love you Man. your friend RB

[May 6, 2009 5:46 PM]  |  link  |  reply
tippy cameron said

I loved AY in Columbia, SC and would love to have a contact source now. Does anyone know how to contact him?? He was a pleasure to watch while he played in SC

[July 27, 2009 11:10 PM]  |  link  |  reply
lisa said

I think AY was an awesome player and he always kept a smile. I am glad that he is working with kids and I bet that he is a real blessing to all of them. Forever AY!!!! your biggest fan

[December 23, 2009 12:34 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Charles Crosby said

Can anyone get me contact information for AY. I would love for him to conduct a motivational speach for my company. Contact me at 786-287-3512.

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