Throughout history, the greatest conflicts are the ones which pit man against his fellow man. Moses vs. Pharaoh; Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr; Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker. However, not all conflicts must end in death. On that note, there is nothing more exciting than a showdown between a pitcher and batter in an important and critical moment of a baseball game.
The Mets have had some incredibly exciting and hair raising moments. Below is a compilation of my top 10 magic moments between a pitcher and batter in Mets history. Post your own favorites.
- #10 – Tom Seaver vs. San Diego Padres on 4/22/1970. Nate Colbert of the San Diego Padres becomes Tom Seaver’s 10th consecutive strikeout. Seaver fanned the last 10 batters of the game in striking out 19 in total. Seaver pitched a complete game two hitter in the Mets 2-1 victory.
- # 9 – Darryl Strawberry vs. Ken Dayley on 10/1/1985. Darryl Strawberry broke up a scoreless game in the 11th inning when he belted a home run, breaking a light bulb in the clock tower far out in right center field at old Busch Stadium. The Mets beat the Cardinals cutting their lead to two games. The Mets would win the next night cutting the lead to one game but that was as close as they would get.
- #8 – Jesse Orosco vs. Kevin Bass on 10/15/1986. In game six of the 1986 NLCS, in the bottom of the 16th inning and the Mets clinging to a 9-8 lead, Jesse Orosco strikes out Kevin Bass swinging on a nasty down and in slider. The Mets clinch the series and eventually win the World Series.
- # 7 – Todd Pratt vs. Matt Mantei on 10/9/1999. In the 10th inning of game four of the Division Series, Pratt launches one 411 feet just over the outstretched glove of Steve Finley. The Mets walk off with a 4-3 win and a 3-1 series win.
- # 6 – Donn Clendenon vs. Baltimore Orioles. During the 1969 World Series, Donn Clendenon hit three massive home runs. In game two, he hit one off of Dave McNally to tie the game at 1. In game four he homered off of Mike Cuellar to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. And in game five, he hit a 2 run home run off of McNally to begin the Mets comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Clendenon was the World Series MVP.
- # 5 – Ron Swoboda vs. Steve Carlton on 9/15/1969. Steve Carlton sets a record by striking out 19 Mets including Swoboda twice. However, Swoboda also smashed a pair of 2 run homers leading the Mets to a 4-3 victory.
- # 4 – Mike Piazza vs. Steve Karsay on 9/21/2001. In the emotional first game following “9/11”, and the Mets trailing the Braves 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, Piazza launches a 2 run home run over the center field fence giving the Mets a 3-2 victory.
- # 3 – Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight vs. Calvin Schiraldi on 10/25/1986. In “game six” of the 1986 World Series the Mets trailed Boston 5-3 going to the bottom of the 10th inning. With two out and nobody on, Carter, Mitchell and Knight hit consecutive singles cutting the lead to 5-4. Mike Stanley replaced Schiraldi and we all know what happened.
- # 2 – Benny Agbayani vs. Aaron Fultz on 10/7/2000. Agbayani gives the Mets a 2-1 NLDS lead with his 13th inning walk off home run.
- # 1 – Robin Ventura vs. Kevin McGlinchy on 10/17/1999. Ventura wins game 5 of the NLCS against the Braves with the famous walk off “grand slam” single. Ventura cannot evade Todd Pratt’s bear hug and is not able to complete his home run trot.
Next up in a few days – The sad and sour side of the Mets pitcher/batter battles.