By John Schweibacher
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Just as they did in 1973 when the All-Star game was last played at a newly-opened Royals Stadium, the Mets will send two players to this year’s mid-summer classic in Kansas City.
David Wright is heading to his sixth All-Star game and R.A. Dickey his first. Wright has gone 6-for-13 with a home run in his five previous All-Star appearances, going 2-for-2 in his last trip two years ago in Anaheim.
Dickey is an All-Star rookie at age 37, five years younger than fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was when he made the AL squad in 2009 as the oldest first-timer other than Satchel Paige (age unknown) back in 1952.
Dwight Gooden (1986 and 1988) and Tom Seaver (1970) are the only Mets pitchers to have started an All-Star game.
Dickey is the third-oldest Mets player to go to the All-Star game:
•Willie Mays, 1973, 42
•Tom Glavine, 2004, 38
•R.A. Dickey, 2012, 37
•Billy Wagner, 2008, 36
•Mike Piazza, 2005, 36
•Duke Snider, 1963, 36
•Richie Ashburn, 1962, 35
There have been four instances where the Mets’ representative did not appear in that year’s All-Star game:
•1965 Ed Kranepool
•1978 Pat Zachary
•1994 Bret Saberhagen
•2003 Armando Benitez
On July 24, 1973, the brand-new Royals Stadium was the site of the classic. The National League defeated the American League, 7-1, for their 10th win in the previous 11 games thanks to San Francisco’s Bobby Bonds, who won the MVP honors with a homer a two RBI’s in the victory.
Willie Mays and Tom Seaver were the Mets representatives in that game. The 42-year-old Mays was making his 24th and final All-Star Game appearance, matching Stan Musial for the all-time lead.
Mays pinch-hit for Willie Stargell in the top of the 8th and struck out against the Yankees’ Sparky Lyle. It was Mays’ second straight all-star appearance as a Met.
Seaver, who was making the 7th of his nine All-Star Game game trips as a member of the Mets, pitched the bottom of the eighth, getting three groundouts (Ed Brinkman, John Mayberry and Reggie Jackson) around a walk to future Mets coach Cookie Rojas.
Other all-stars with Mets ties who took part in that 1973 game included Davey Johnson, Joe Torre, Nolan Ryan, Amos Otis and Wayne Twitchell.
Royals Stadium is now known as Kauffman Stadium, having been renamed for the club’s original owner; Ewing Kauffman back in 1993. It was the newest ballpark in the majors back in 1973, it now ranks as the 6th-oldest behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium and the Oakland Coliseum.
Mets manager Terry Collins will join retired Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa’s staff as one of the NL coaches. Collins joins Casey Stengel (1962 and 1964) and Davey Johnson (1986) as Mets skippers who have served as All-Star game coaches. Willie Randolph was named as a coach for the NL back in May of 2008 but did not go to the All-Star game that season at Yankee Stadium after being replaced as Mets manager that June.
David Wright tied the Mets’ club record in walk-off RBI’s with his eighth in last Wednesday night’s dramatic ninth-inning comeback win against the Phillies. Thanks to the Ultimate Mets Database for its help with this list of the most career regular season walk-offs in club history (note: these totals include plate appearances in which the batter might not have been credited with a run batted in):
•David Wright 8
•Ed Kranepool 8
•Kevin McReynolds 8
•Cleon Jones 7
•Rusty Staub 7
•Carlos Beltran 6
•George Foster 6
•Jerry Grote 6
•Mike Piazza 6
Jon Niese allowed one run over eight innings and had two RBI in the Mets’ 11-1 win over the Phillies last Tuesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau Niese is the first Mets starter to do both of those (one run, at least eight innings/two-RBI game) since John Maine in 2008:
•Jon Niese 2012
•Ron Darling 1989
•Dwight Gooden 1985
•Tom Seaver 1971
•Jay Hook 1962
Schwei’s Runs, Hits and Errors:
Runs: Bobby Parnell. Mets reliever is 1-0 with two saves in last nine appearances, allowing no runs, two hits, no walks and seven strikeouts in 8 and 1/3 innings.
Hits: Ike Davis. Mets first baseman his batting .294 (25-for-85) with seven homers and 28 RBI’s since June 9th.
Errors. Blanked. Mets are shutout for just the fourth time overall this season (third time at Citi Field) in 7-0 loss to Cubs in final game before All-Star break.
Will Wright and Dickey shine in Kansas City? Be heard in the comments below…