— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | CitiField | Mets
by Kingman on November 5 at 9:20AM
The Mets can't get lucky.

Anytime they get on a bit of a winning streak with PR, something inevitably goes bust.

After hiring a shiny new GM and a few backups just in case last week, the news comes down this week that beloved equipment manager Charlie Samuels has been suspended while being investigated by the feds on gambling charges.

This is not an issue of Radomski-esque proportions (although Charlie did hire the Mitchell snitch) but enough already. Can't this team just have one solid week where nothing stupid happens?

Here be the details:

Longtime Mets equipment manager Charlie Samuels has been suspended amid an investigation into mob-run gambling, law-enforcement sources told The Post yesterday.

The probe -- which has been ongoing for at least six months -- centers on allegations that Samuels placed illicit wagers on various sporting events, the sources said. The investigation was launched when an informant went to the office of Queens DA Richard Brown with details about alleged bets Samuels made with members of organized crime, according to the sources.

The criminal investigation is being conducted by Brown's office and the NYPD's Organized Crime Investigations Division.

Samuels placed wagers ranging from a couple of hundred bucks to $5,000 on horse racing and NFL games, the sources said.

Investigators are looking into whether he also bet on other sports, including baseball.

Samuels -- who sometimes allegedly phoned bets in from work -- would also place wagers for other team employees, but not baseball players, the sources said.

The Mets let investigators check Samuels' work computer, but they found no evidence of wrongdoing, the sources said.

He was suspended indefinitely, without pay, on Oct. 27, the Mets said yesterday.

Major League Baseball is conducting its own probe, questioning people close to Samuels, the sources said. The Mets refused comment beyond acknowledging the suspension. MLB refused to say whether it's investigating Samuels.

The popular Samuels, 53, joined the Mets in 1976 after working for the Phillies.

He has been equipment manager since 1983, when he succeeded the late Herb Norman after serving as his assistant for four years.

He has also worked as the team's associate travel director for the past 15 years -- and probers are looking into whether he skimmed money off hotel room bookings, the sources said.

In addition, he's suspected of ripping off bats, balls and jerseys from the clubhouse, according to the sources.

In 1985, Samuels hired future steroid pusher-turned-whistleblower Kirk Radomski as a clubhouse attendant.

Radomski, who worked for the Mets until 1995, was convicted of supplying performance-enhancing steroids to major leaguers. He admitted acquiring human-growth hormone for MLB superstars, according to the Mitchell Report, the 2007 congressional investigation into steroid use among major-leaguers.

Samuels' suspension is not related in any way to steroids, the sources said.

This isn't the first time a Mets employee has been linked to illicit gambling.

In 2005, Dominic Valila, once the head groundskeeper at Shea Stadium, was nailed after authorities tied him to a $360 million Bonanno crime family-run sports-betting ring.

Valila copped a plea to promoting gambling, and admitted using Shea phones to call in action.

He also took bets from two clubhouse employees.

Valila dodged prison time but lost his high-profile, $80,000-a-year job with the Amazins'


[November 5, 2010 9:50 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Seems the stench coming out of the Mets clubhouse, both home and on the road, the last few years was more organic than we could have thought. I always thought is was just the players.

It makes you wonder how many members of the organization were aware of this but turned a blind eye.

[November 7, 2010 4:15 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Tom said

Good job. It's disappointing to see how several (it seems) folks upstairs at the Mets front office have looked the other way. I have a post coming out tonight on this as well and will link to your story.

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