Mets Merized Online » Jesse Orosco http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:38:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Random Thoughts On Granderson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-granderson.html/#comments Sun, 08 Dec 2013 16:31:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134810 Orioles at Yankees

When the news broke late Friday morning that the Mets had finally came to an agreement with outfielder, Curtis Granderson I admit I did the proverbial  “happy dance” while driving in my car. Yes Granderson is not the “savior” that the Mets need to help this team escape from mediocrity as well as ineptitude. But his signing is a start and I do agree with Daily News columnist, Andy Martino, that his signing is the type of signing that shows other free agents that the Mets are trying to field a team that is trying to win.

Is Granderson a game changing free agent like Pedro Martinez or Carlos Beltran like the Mets signed before the 2005 season? No, but I feel he will be more of a leadership type ala Cliff Floyd, and a good complimentary player that will take the pressure off some of the other players including David Wright who now doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting.

Is he worth the contract that he signed? Well he got a contract that reflects the robust free agent market this season. Would I have gone a fourth year? Obviously if I didn’t have to I wouldn’t, but hopefully by the end of his contract he will still be healthy enough to produce and that his career doesn’t mirror that of George Foster.

Lastly, I do not believe Mike Francesa’s “sources” that Jeff Wilpon had to twist Alderson’s arm to go the fourth year on Granderson. I’ll go with Mike Puma’s version of events, who tweeted that the fourth year was all Sandy. Now lets just hope the Mets GM can do some adding-on this week in Orlando.

And with that said….. HERE COMES THE INFAMY!!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

The original “Crazy Horse”, shortstop Tim Foli is 63 (1950). Foli was one of the players that was dealt in the trade that brought Rusty Staub to the Mets. The Mets would bring him back seven years later as a utility infielder.

Other transactions of note include:

The New York Mets purchased the contract of outfielder, Richie Ashburn from the Chicago Cubs on December 8, 1961. Ashburn was the first Met to ever bat over .300.

The New York Mets traded reserve infielder,  Elio Chacon and starting pitcher, Tracy Stallard to the St. Louis Cardinals for  outfielder, Johnny Lewis and middle reliever,  Gordie Richardson on December 8, 1964.

The New York Mets traded  former Rookie of the Year pitcher, Jon Matlack and power hitting first baseman/outfielder, John Milner to the Texas Rangers for first baseman, Willie Montanez, as well as reserve outfielders, Ken Henderson and Tom Grieve on December 8, 1977. This trade definitely goes down as one of the top 10 worst trades in Mets history!

The New York Mets traded fan favorite Jerry Koosman to the Minnesota Twins for future closer, Jesse Orosco and Greg Field on December 8, 1978. Koosman demanded to be traded when he saw how the Mets front office dismantled the team the season prior. M. Donald Grant granted Kooz his demands and it would take four years until we realized that the Mets got the better end of that deal.

The New York Mets traded utility infielder, Bob Bailor and spot starter/middle reliever, Carlos Diaz to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher, Sid Fernandez and utility infielder, Ross Jones on December 8, 1983. This in my opinion was one of the biggest steals in Mets history

The Florida Marlins signed first baseman, Dave Magadan of the New York Mets as a free agent on December 8, 1992.I always felt is was a no brainer that “Mags” should have been the heir apparent to Keith Hernandez‘s job after “Mex” was let go. But the Mets management didn’t see him that way and paired him with various players in a platoon role. One has to wonder what coulda been if he was given the role full time.

The Florida Marlins signed starting pitcher,  Al Leiter of the New York Mets as a free agent on December 8, 2004. Although Mets fans saw Leiter as a clubhouse lawyer type it is not crazy to say that was one of the best pitchers over the last 20 years to wear a Mets uniform.

Mo Vaughn thinks the Grandy Man can!!! He was heard singing the confectionery jingle, “I Want Candy.”

Presented By Diehards

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Gooden: If I Had Died After Mets Won Series, I Could Have Saved Many People A Lot Of Grief http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/gooden-if-i-had-died-after-mets-won-series-i-could-have-saved-many-people-a-lot-of-grief.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/gooden-if-i-had-died-after-mets-won-series-i-could-have-saved-many-people-a-lot-of-grief.html/#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 17:11:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=118256 doc a memoir goodenMarc Raimondi of the NY Post writes about Dwight Gooden who has a soon to be released biography entitled, “Doc: A Memoir.

The bio reveals some shocking and even sad details about his life in baseball and the toll that drug addiction took on his career and his life.

Gooden believes if he had died the moment the Mets won the World Series in 1986, he would have saved many people a great deal of grief – starting with himself.

The mercurial former ace’s downward spiral began just minutes after Jesse Orosco tossed his glove in the air to celebrate the Amazin’s comeback victory over the Red Sox, Gooden writes in his new autobiography “Doc: A Memoir.”

The first call Gooden made after becoming World Series champion was his father. The second was his drug dealer. That night, Gooden went on a cocaine and booze bender that ended up causing him to miss the Mets’ victory parade. Instead, he watched the celebration on television at his home – a moment he describes as the loneliest he has ever felt.

“As my teammates road through the Canyon of Heroes, I was alone in my bed in Roslyn, Long Island, with the curtains closed and the TV on, missing what should have been the greatest morning of my life,” Gooden wrote.

The book reportedly chronicles Gooden’s rise to become one of the best young pitchers in baseball history, his years with the Yankees and his complicated relationship with Darryl Strawberry.

People make mistakes, and Dwight has made a lot of them. But we have always been a forgiving people and we now know that drug addiction is a disease that can sometimes grip you and never let go.

I’m glad Gooden didn’t die and I’m even happier to see him continuing to fight through his addiction. It’s a never-ending battle.

I was talking about Gooden just last night and discussed how cool it is that this one-time mets pitching phenom is the one leading the charge and heading up the Matt Harvey Fan Club. He never misses one of his starts and he takes to Twitter every five days and joins the rest of us to cheer Harvey on.

Doc’s always had a good heart and many times I often wonder just how great his career could have been before the drugs took him down that dark path. To this day, his rookie season was one of the most thrilling and exciting times of my life as a Met fan. The World Series in 1986 was the cherry on top. I will always love Dwight Gooden for that.

Pre Order “Doc: A Memoir” Now!

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Special Feature: Saluting The 1973 Mets; The Start Of A Series http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/special-feature-saluting-the-1973-mets-the-start-of-a-series.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/special-feature-saluting-the-1973-mets-the-start-of-a-series.html/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2013 13:59:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111966 mays

MAYS: ENDURING IMAGE OF A FORGOTTEN TEAM

The Mets have made four World Series appearances, with each of those seasons and Octobers giving us cherished memories.

But, only one – the nearly forgotten 1973 team, with the still memorable rallying cry of “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ – identifies with the tumultuous ride this franchise has been on since its birth as the replacement child for the kids New York really loved – the Dodgers and Giants.

Think of it, the Mets’ colors are Giant orange and Dodger blue. The early rivals, before realignment with divisions, were against the teams that fled, namely because the wounds were still fresh.

Ah, c’mon, we don’t have to think that much. Let’s not go forty years to analyze. Go back only four when the owner of this team was criticized for honoring his beloved Dodgers at the opening of Citi Field – complete with the Jackie Robinson rotunda – more than his own team.

The Summer of 69 was special in that it was the first. It was the summer of Vietnam, the year after the race riots than burned numerous cities in America, including nearby Newark, and, the close of the decade seeing a man walk on the moon.

Countless times that summer, the improbability of the Mets’ drive to the World Series was compared to the moon landing. They were the Miracle Mets, but often overlooked in that season was dominant pitching, and dominant pitching usually wins.

That team doesn’t totally identity with the franchise because of how close it was to its birth. Seven years after first pitch in the Polo Grounds and the Mets are champions? That stuff only happens in the movies, and while it was a special, sometimes the ride is still hard to believe. Then again, there are some who still can’t believe man walked on the moon.

The 1986 champions did not identify with the franchise’s personality in that it was brash, bold and overwhelming, hardly descriptors fitting the Mets. During the season it bullied the National League. Only in the playoffs and its two Game Sixes, did it show the comeback, gritty nature associated with the franchise.

The 2000 team lost to the Yankees in the “Subway Series,’’ which was a marketing salute to a past that existed before the Mets were even a gleam William Shea’s eye. Wasn’t the whole build up of that World Series just a love-fest for what baseball was in the Fifties, the Golden Age of the sport in New York?

Remember, that was age that didn’t include the Mets and the Yankees won.

The World Series run that most identifies with this franchise’s nature was the gritty season of 1973. The Mets, as usual, were underdogs to Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the division, to Cincinnati in the NLCS, and Oakland in the World Series.

When the Mets won they’ve had good pitching. Tom Seaver was still here and joined by Jon Matlack, but they didn’t have a 20-game winner that season. They also didn’t have a .300 hitter and were at the bottom in runs scored. Save the 1986 monster and a few subsequent seasons with the Darryl Strawberry-Keith Hernandez-Gary Carter core, the Mets have rarely been a masher franchise. That’s just not them.

They were in last place as late as August 26. Then came the free-for-all pennant race in September, with the Mets getting a disputed call that enabled them outlast the Pirates, Cardinals and Cubs. The Mets won the win the division with a muddied 82-79 record, the worst in baseball history for a division winner.

For the number of teams involved, it was one of the more compelling pennant races in history, but lost in the mediocrity of the combatants. The still new divisional alignment required another step, which was the expected slaughter at the hands of the Big Red Machine, which was on its own historic run.

The Mets brawled their way through the NLCS with the enduring image being Bud Harrelson going afterPete Rose on a play at second. The Mets rallied to beat the Reds and hung tough against Oakland with their arms, those on the mound and Rusty Staub’s dangling at his side.

It was a season that showed the improbable, yet resilient nature that has been the Mets. The record typifies the franchise, which has lost more than it has won in fifty years. At 3885-4237, there has been more frustration than glory. The irony is it was managed by a man, Yogi Berra, whose career was all about winning.

From start to finish, the 1973 season most typifies the ride of this franchise than any of the other pennant winners. The 1973 team tells the story, with its collection of non-descript players joined by its best player and an iconic star on his last legs. The 1973 team overachieved, which has been a Mets’ signature, but left us unsatisfied and wanting more, feelings all Mets’ fans know so well.

The story of the Mets is captured in two images.

There’s the unabashed joy of Jesse Orosco in 1986 after striking out Marty Barrett to end the World Series as champions. There’s also the pain and anguish of Willie Mays – somebody else’s star – on his knees, pleading for a call in the 1973 Series.

Now, which picture best shows us fifty years of Mets’ baseball?

This season I will salute the 1973 team on New York Mets Report, with a series that each week highlights a game, event or player profile. Hope you enjoy.

Thoughts from Joe D.

John, I’m very excited to be working with you again on another new Mets feature. I loved the 1973 season. As I look at the image we have on the top of this post, I can’t help but notice how symbolic it is of our plight during the last 51 years of Mets baseball. So close, but yet so far… Next week, we’ll retell the tale of how the slogan “Ya Gotta Believe” first came about. All you newbies out there pay attention.ya gotta believe button

This season me and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerized Online will be collaborating on this new feature saluting the 1973 Mets.  Both on MMO and here on New York Mets Report, each week we will highlight a game, event or player profile commemorating that unforgettable season. Hope you enjoy.

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Remembering The Great No. 8 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/remembering-the-great-no8.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/remembering-the-great-no8.html/#comments Sun, 03 Mar 2013 05:35:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=109666 PetanickI was walking around the mall yesterday with my wife, trying to get her to go into labor with our second child (first son). They say walking is good for kick-starting the labor process at this point, and as we were walking around, I decided to duck into the sports memorabilia store. I was pacing through the store, looking at the autographs of all the great players hanging on the wall, and I came across a beautiful autographed picture of Gary Carter.

The funny thing is, I was talking to Joe D earlier that day about how I was going to groom my son to be the next great Mets catcher, and then found myself standing in front of that beautifully framed picture of Carter. I had been in that store many times in the past, and never have seen a picture of Carter.

People sometimes wonder what the big deal of owning an autographed picture of a great athlete is. Well, if you find the right piece of memorabilia, it should stir up some memories…

Only the good die young.

We hear that saying all the time, but for a man that carried the nickname “the Kid,” it couldn’t be truer. As I sit here and reflect on one of my childhood heroes, it’s hard to envision the 1986 Mets team that we hold so dear in our hearts, ever reaching the heights they did that season without Carter. He brought stability and leadership to a young and immature team that was in desperate need of guidance. The Mets may have only one World Series under their belts today if it wasn’t for the Mets bringing Carter in for the 1985 season. I think everyone that knows the story of the ’86 Mets would agree that (sorry for the cheesy line but) without No. 8, they would have never been great.

Carter was the only good guy portrayed in the book The Bad Guys Won, which chronicled the crazy journey of 1986 Mets. He has an entire chapter dedicated to himself. The chapter starts off by calling him a “geek.” Literally.

The reason people called him a geek was because if you lumped all the other Mets players in a tank, and the water that filled the tank was represented by all the drug use, womanizing, and alcohol they consumed, Carter was like a bead of oil sitting on top of the water.

He never cursed, never wore cool clothes, never drank alcohol, never smoked, never used illegal drugs or cheated on his wife. For these behaviors, he was alienated in the clubhouse, and labeled a “geek.” The truth is Carter wasn’t a “geek.” He wasn’t a “kid.” He was what we would consider a man in it’s truest form. He was a role model. He was who every parent hoped their child would grow up to be. Oh, and the man could play ball.

The picture that stirred the echoes

The picture in the mall that stirred the emotions.

I remember when I was in little league, I convinced my coach to move me from my main position of shortstop, where I was an all-star, to catcher. I wanted to strap on those shin guards for one reason: Gary Carter. I still had the No. 1 on my back because Ozzie Smith’s back flips and smooth shortstop play had me hooked, but I was behind the plate grinding it out every game because of Carter. And I mean I was grinding it out. I’m not sure how many of you have played catcher in little league, but it isn’t as easy as it seems on the T.V. screen.

The professional pitchers hardly ever throw the ball in the dirt. Little League pitchers, on the other hand, throw it in the dirt quite often. I was bruised up from blocking all the balls, but I stuck with it, and it wasn’t long before I was named an all-star at catcher too. I remember the umpires would thank me at the end of every game because I would block all the wild pitches, saving them from taking their usual beating behind the plate. Evidently that was a rarity at that age.

They really should have thanked Gary Carter. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been back there blocking the balls that would normally giving them bruises. Carter was my favorite Mets player, but I eventually couldn’t take the abuse anymore that comes with blocking all those wild pitches. I ended up moving to the outfield to try and follow in the footsteps of my next childhood hero who also carried the nickname “the kid” – Ken Griffey Jr. I played the outfield all the way through college, and it earned me some tryouts for some major league teams, but I always regretted giving up on catching too soon.

I was a young boy during 1986, so I don’t remember much from that season. However, there are two moments that always stick out in my mind: the ball squibbling through Buckner’s legs in game six, and Gary Carter jumping into Jesse Orosco’s arms with that completely elated look on his face at the end of the ’86 World Series.

I also vaguely remember being at a game one summer night with my parents. At some point during the game, the umpire made a bad call. The three young men sitting in front of us decided to show the umpire how displeased they were with the call. First they got the umpire’s attention. Then they turned around very calmly, so that their backs were facing the field. After that, they dropped their pants in perfect unison, and proceeded to “moon” the umpire. Evidently, the 80s were a different time, because they didn’t get in trouble, but I can’t go to a Mets game without thinking about that moment.

Gary Carter will always be remembered as a great player (11 time All-Star and Hall of Famer), but he should also be remembered as a great man.  He showed us young Mets fans growing up how to play the game the way it was supposed to be played, and how to be a man, and not a “kid” like his nickname portrays him.

When looking back at that 1986 Mets team, it’s hard to believe that Carter was the youngest man to perish. With the way some of those Mets players abused their bodies with that indestructible feeling so many young men have, it’s amazing they haven’t experienced more health issues. It doesn’t seem fair that a person such as Carter was taken from us so young, especially when he lived his life in a manner that is said to provide us with longevity. I guess it must be true…the good really do die young.

garycarter

We’ll always remember you No. 8…

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Mets Magic Moments: Mano A Mano Edition http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/mets-magic-moments-mano-a-mano-edition.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/12/mets-magic-moments-mano-a-mano-edition.html/#comments Sun, 16 Dec 2012 16:46:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=102979 Earlier this morning, during a twitter exchange with my friend Michael Baron of MetsBlog, the name of Matt Franco came up, and of course you can’t mention Matty without recalling one of the most memorable at-bats in franchise history.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Mariano Rivera on the mound, and two strikes on him, Franco lined a walk off single to right field to score Rickey Henderson and Edgardo Alfonzo and give the Mets a thrilling 9-8 victory over the Yankees. I still get chills when I think about that…

It reminded me of a post we once featured from one of our former writers, Mikey, in which he listed his favorite Mets at-bats of all time. While we wait for word of the Dickey trade to become official, enjoy this short trip down memory lane.

robin ventura grand slam single

Mets Magic Moments: Mano A Mano

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 went all the way on a complete game, two-hitter in the Mets 2-1 victory.
  • # 9 Darryl Strawberry vs. Ken Dayley: On 10/1/1985 the digital clock behind the bleachers in right-center at Busch Stadium read 10:44 when Darryl Strawberry’s 11th-inning blast off left-handed St. Louis reliever Ken Dayley hit it. The homer, estimated at 440 feet, gave the Mets a 1-0 victory and moved them within two games of the Cardinals in the NL East with five to play. The Mets would win the next night, cutting their 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, it was the bottom of the 16th inning and the Mets were 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 NL Division Series, Todd Pratt launches a 411 foot blast 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 1-1. In game four he homered off of Mike Cuellar to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, and in game five, he hit a two-run home bomb off of McNally to begin the Mets comeback from a 3-0 deficit.  For his efforts Clendenon was named the World Series MVP.
  • # 5 Ron Swoboda vs. Steve Carlton: On 9/15/1969, the Cardinals’ Steve Carlton sets a record by striking out 19 Mets including Ron Swoboda twice.  However, Swoboda also smashed a pair of two-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 the tragic events of 9/11, the Mets found themselves trailing the Braves 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th. Mike Piazza then launches a two-run home run over the centerfield fence giving the Mets a dramatic 3-2 victory that lifted the spirits of the entire city.
  • # 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 next.
  • # 2 Benny Agbayani vs. Aaron Fultz: On 10/7/2000, Benny Agbayani gives the Mets an exciting 2-1 NLDS lead with his 13th inning walk-off home run.
  • # 1 Robin Ventura vs. Kevin McGlinchy: On 10/17/1999, Mets third baseman Robin Ventura wins Game 5 of the NLCS against the Atlanta 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.

There were many more memorable confrontations like these ten, but these were the ones that will always stand out for me. What are some of yours?

Originally published on January 10, 2010.

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October 27, 1986: The Dream Has Come True http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/october-27-1986-the-dream-has-come-true-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/10/october-27-1986-the-dream-has-come-true-2.html/#comments Sat, 27 Oct 2012 18:51:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131827 Miraculous as Game 6 of the 1986 World Series was, all it did was force a seventh and deciding game.  Do you remember seeing the replay of Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk waving for the ball to stay fair in the 1975 World Series?  That home run gave the Red Sox a thrilling 12-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Game 6.

That’s right.  It happened in Game 6.  Just like the Mets’ dramatic Game 6 victory in the 1986 World Series, the home run by Fisk did not give the Red Sox the World Series trophy.  All it did was force a seventh game, a game won by the Reds to give Cincinnati the championship.

Had the Mets followed up their Game 6 heroics with a loss the following night, the miracle comeback would have been for naught.  The Mets had to win Game 7 to validate their season.  The stage was set at Shea Stadium for the final game of the 1986 baseball season.  It was up to the Mets to make the dream come true for their fans.

Game 7 was originally scheduled for Sunday, October 26.  However, a steady rain forced the postponement of the game until the following night.  Red Sox starter Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd was supposed to start the seventh game against Ron Darling.  However, with an extra day of rest, the Red Sox chose to bypass Boyd (who had given up six runs to the Mets in his Game 3 loss) and gave the ball to Bruce Hurst.

Hurst had already defeated the Mets in Game 1 and notched a complete game victory against them in Game 5.  Although he was pitching Game 7 on three days rest, the Mets were still wary about Hurst.  His performances against the Mets in the World Series were reminiscent of Mike Scott‘s outings in the NLCS.  If the Mets were going to beat Hurst, Ron Darling was going to have to match him pitch for pitch.  Unfortunately, that was not the case in the early innings.

Bruce Hurst was his usual strong self in the early innings, keeping the Mets off the scoreboard.  Ron Darling?  Not so much.  After a scoreless first inning, he gave up three runs in the second inning, including back-to-back home runs by Dwight Evans and Rich Gedman.  By the time the fourth inning rolled around, Darling had already given up six hits and walked a batter.  He then hit Dave Henderson with a pitch to lead off the fourth inning.  After facing two more batters, Darling was relieved by fellow starter turned reliever Sid Fernandez.  The score was still 3-0 in favor of the Red Sox and the game was slipping away from the Mets.  It was up to El Sid to stop the fire from spreading.

In perhaps the guttiest (no pun intended) performance by Fernandez in his Mets career, he shut down the Red Sox.  After walking his first batter (Wade Boggs), Sid retired the next seven batters he faced, with four of them coming via the strikeout.  Fernandez did everything he could to keep his team in the game, but his efforts would go in vain unless the Mets could finally solve the puzzle that was Bruce Hurst.

With time running out on the Mets and their dream season, Davey Johnson was forced to make a difficult move in the bottom of the sixth inning.  After Rafael Santana grounded out to start the inning, the Mets were down to Sid Fernandez‘s spot in the batting order.  Would Johnson take Sid out for a pinch hitter, hoping that the Mets would start a rally or would he leave him in the game, possibly giving up on another inning in which to mount a comeback against Bruce Hurst?  Johnson chose to pinch hit for Fernandez and it ended up being one of the best managerial decisions he ever made.

Lee Mazzilli stepped up to the plate in lieu of Fernandez.  He greeted Hurst with a single to left.  Game 6 hero Mookie Wilson followed Mazzilli with a hit of his own, followed by a walk to Tim Teufel.  The base on balls loaded the bases for Keith Hernandez and brought the crowd of 55,032 to its feet.  The cheering rose to a crescendo when Hernandez delivered a two-run single to center, scoring Mazzilli and Wilson and sending Teufel to third.  Since Teufel represented the tying run, Davey Johnson sent in the speedier Wally Backman to pinch run for him as Gary Carter stepped up to the plate.  Carter came through as he drove in Backman with a ball that would have been a base hit to right had a confused Hernandez not been forced out at second base when rightfielder Dwight Evans rolled over the ball.  Hernandez had to freeze between first and second until he knew that the ball had not been caught.  Despite the out being recorded, the Mets had tied the game at 3.  They had finally gotten to Bruce Hurst and hope was alive at Shea.  That hope became greater when Ray Knight came to bat in the seventh inning against a familiar face.

Calvin Schiraldi had been brought in by the Red Sox to start the seventh inning.  Schiraldi was the losing pitcher in Game 6, having allowed Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight to deliver hits off him in the tenth inning.  This time, he was facing Knight with no one on base, trying to erase the bitter memories from his previous outing.  Knight would not provide him with the eraser.

On a 2-1 pitch from Schiraldi, Knight got under a pitch and launched it to deep left-center, barely clearing the outfield wall.  A jubilant Knight celebrated as he rounded the bases.  The Mets finally had their first lead of the game and they were going to make sure that they weren’t going to give it back.  The hit parade continued in the seventh inning, as an RBI single by Rafael Santana and a sacrifice fly by Keith Hernandez gave the Mets a 6-3 lead.  The Mets were in front, but the Red Sox weren’t going to go away quietly.

Roger McDowell had come into the game in the seventh inning once Sid Fernandez had been pinch hit for.  He continued where Sid had left off by retiring the Red Sox in order in the seventh.  However, things went a little differently for McDowell in the eighth inning.  Bill Buckner led off the inning with a single.  Jim Rice followed Buckner with a single of his own.  After Dwight Evans doubled into the gap in right field, scoring both Buckner and Rice, the lead had been cut to a single run.  The Red Sox were down 6-5 with the tying run on second base and nobody out.  It was time for Davey Johnson to make one last move, with the World Series on the line.

Jesse Orosco came in from the bullpen, hoping to shut down the Red Sox to preserve the lead for the Mets.  His first batter, Rich Gedman, had homered earlier off starting pitcher Ron Darling.  This time, he hit the ball hard again, but in the direction of second baseman Wally Backman.  Backman caught the line drive in the air, holding Evans at second base.  The next batter was Dave Henderson.  He had given the Red Sox the lead with a home run in the tenth inning of Game 6.  Now he had a chance to duplicate the feat, as a home run would have given Boston the lead.  This time, the only thing he made contact with was the air.  Orosco struck him out on four pitches and then induced Don Baylor to ground out to short to end the threat.  The Mets were now three outs away from a championship, but they weren’t finished scoring yet.

The Red Sox called upon Al Nipper to face Darryl Strawberry to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning.  Nipper was trying to keep the Mets’ lead at one so that the Red Sox could make one last attempt in the ninth inning to tie the game or take the lead.  It didn’t take long for that one run lead to grow.

Strawberry greeted Nipper with a towering home run to right field that almost took as long to come down as it did for Strawberry to round the bases.  After Darryl finally finished his home run “trot” (To call it a trot would be putting it mildly.  It was more like a stroll and it led to a bench-clearing brawl the following season in spring training when Nipper and the Red Sox faced Darryl Strawberry and the Mets again.), the Mets had a 7-5 lead.  After a hit, a walk and an RBI single by Jesse Orosco on a 47-hopper up the middle (how appropriate since 47 was Jesse’s number), the Mets had regained their three-run lead.  After being held scoreless by Bruce Hurst for the first five innings of the game, the Mets had exploded for eight runs in the last three innings to take an 8-5 lead into the ninth inning.  Orosco was still on the mound, hoping to throw the season’s final pitch.

With the champagne ready to be uncorked in the Mets clubhouse, Orosco went to work on the Red Sox batters.  Ed Romero popped up to first base in foul territory for the first out.  That was followed by Wade Boggs grounding out to second base for the second out.  The Mets were one out away from a championship.  Nothing was going to stop them from winning this game.  Well, nothing except for the pink smoke bomb that was thrown onto the field.

That did not matter to Jesse Orosco or the Mets.  After the smoke cleared, Marty Barrett stepped up to the plate.  Barrett had already collected a World Series record-tying 13 hits, trying to set the record and keep the season alive for the Red Sox.  However, that was not to be.  We now turn the microphone over to the late Bob Murphy for the final pitch.

“He struck him out!  Struck him out!  The Mets have won the World Series!  And they’re jamming and crowding all over Jesse Orosco!  He’s somewhere at the bottom of that pile!  He struck out Marty Barrett!  The dream has come true!  The Mets have won the World Series, coming from behind to win the seventh ballgame!”

The Mets had completed their dream season with a World Series championship.  After 108 regular season victories and a hard-fought six-game NLCS against the Houston Astros, the Mets were able to bring the trophy home.  At times, it seemed as if the season was going to come to a screeching halt, but through determination, perseverance and perhaps an extra pebble or two around the first base area during Game 6, the Mets came through for themselves, for their fans and for the city of New York.

In 1986, the Mets owned New York.  They were a blue (and orange) collar team for a blue-collar city.  Twenty-seven years ago today, the Mets became the World Champions of baseball.  Victory never tasted so sweet.

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For Mike Pelfrey, The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/for-mike-pelfrey-the-hits-just-keep-on-comin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/for-mike-pelfrey-the-hits-just-keep-on-comin.html/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:15:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=47985 Mike Pelfrey is entering his sixth season with the Mets, compiling a 43-41 record over his first five seasons in New York (43-42 after his Opening Day loss to the Florida Marlins). Although Pelfrey is just 27 years old, there have been only 17 pitchers in franchise history who have won more games than Big Pelf.

More than likely, Pelfrey will continue to move up the all-time wins leaderboard as his career progresses, but how much longer will he pitch for the Mets, especially if he continues to give up base hits at an alarming rate?

Consider the facts. In his first two starts of the 2011 season, Pelfrey has given up 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings, a rate of nearly two hits per inning. Let’s compare that to the 17 pitchers who rank ahead of Pelfrey on the all-time club leaderboard for wins.

 

  • Tom Seaver (12 years, 198 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Dwight Gooden (11 years, 157 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Jerry Koosman (12 years, 140 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Ron Darling (9 years, 99 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Sid Fernandez (10 years, 98 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Al Leiter (7 years, 95 wins): no seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Jon Matlack (7 years, 82 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • David Cone (7 years, 81 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Bobby Jones (8 years, 74 wins): five seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Steve Trachsel (6 years, 66 wins): two seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Tom Glavine (5 years, 61 wins): four seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Rick Reed (5 years, 59 wins): two seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Craig Swan (12 years, 59 wins): four seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Bob Ojeda (5 years, 51 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.
  • John Franco (14 years, 48 wins): five seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Tug McGraw (9 years, 47 wins): two seasons with more hits than innings pitched.
  • Jesse Orosco (8 years, 47 wins): one season with more hits than innings pitched.

 

Dwight Gooden’s sole season allowing more hits than innings pitched was 1994. That was his final season in a Mets uniform. Ron Darling also had one such season in his career, which came in his final full season as a Met (1990). In 1977, Jon Matlack suffered his first season with more hits than innings pitched. He never did it again as a Met because that was his final year in New York. The only year in which David Cone gave up better than a hit per inning was (you guessed it) his final season (2003), when he allowed 20 hits in 18 innings.

Bob Ojeda and Jesse Orosco also finished their Mets careers with only one season giving up more hits than innings pitched. In both cases, that season came in their final year with the Mets.

Of the seven pitchers who allowed more hits than innings pitched in multiple seasons (Jones, Trachsel, Glavine, Reed, Swan, Franco, McGraw), all but one of them accomplished the feat in his final full season in New York. The lone exception was John Franco, who barely missed, allowing exactly one hit per inning in 2004 (46 hits in 46 innings pitched).

So that brings us back to Mike Pelfrey. How many times do you think he’s allowed more hits than innings pitched over a full season? Once? Twice? Take a look at his career numbers below:

 

  • 2006: 21.1 innings pitched, 25 hits allowed.
  • 2007: 72.2 innings pitched, 85 hits allowed.
  • 2008: 200.2 innings pitched, 209 hits allowed.
  • 2009: 184.1 innings pitched, 213 hits allowed.
  • 2010: 204.0 innings pitched, 213 hits allowed.
  • 2011: 6.1 innings pitched, 12 hits allowed.

 

Mike Pelfrey has allowed more hits than innings pitched in EVERY SEASON that he’s pitched in the major leagues! Judging by his start this season, he might be on his way to his sixth consecutive season allowing more hits than innings pitched. Of the 17 pitchers who rank ahead of Pelfrey in career victories as a Met, none accomplished the feat more than five times.

Because of Johan Santana’s injury, Pelfrey is now the de facto No. 1 pitcher in the rotation. But looking over his career numbers, the only thing Pelfrey is No. 1 in is allowing base hits. Considering the fates of other Mets pitchers who gave up more hits than innings pitched, especially late in their careers, Mike Pelfrey should be careful when he turns around. Another team’s uniform might be gaining on him.

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Time Waits For No One. But Mets Fans Continue To Wait http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/time-waits-for-no-one-but-mets-fans-continue-to-wait.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/12/time-waits-for-no-one-but-mets-fans-continue-to-wait.html/#comments Wed, 01 Dec 2010 08:07:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=39554 Gas was 89 cents per gallon. The average cost of a new car was $9,200. One could buy a new home for just over $89,000. Median household income was $22,400 and the Dow Jones was under 1900. A nuclear power plant blew up in Chernobyl and the Challenger blew up over Florida.

The top grossing films that year were Top Gun, Platoon and Crocodile Dundee. The top rated TV shows were Magnum PI, Family Ties and Dynasty. Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history. Madonna was telling her Papa not to preach, Robert Palmer admitted he was Addicted to Love, The Bangles taught us how to walk like Egyptians and Van Halen introduced the world to their replacement for David Lee Roth. Hollywood legend Jimmy Cagney died. And Lindsey Lohan was born.

Sound like ancient history? It is. It also is the last time the Mets were World Champions.

I was recently discussing the 2010 post-season with a couple of friends of mine. They are “casual fans” for other teams. They don’t bleed blue and orange like we do. One asked me, “When is the last time the Mets won it all?” The image of Mookie running down the first base line and Jesse tossing his glove into the air immediately came to the forefront of my mind. “1986” I proudly replied, but my beaming smile quickly vanished. “That’s really a long time ago,” my other friend responded. And as I thought about it, they were right. It was a long time ago. Too long.

Even our language has changed. Words like ‘website,’ ‘blog,’ and ‘Ipod’ had not entered our vocabulary. If you wanted to see a video you had to wait for MTV and not just sign into YouTube. A monitor was someone who stood in the hallway at school. A keyboard was something played by the one guy from Journey.

Yes, 25 years have now passed since a Championship flag flew over Shea. Shea, a stadium that no longer exists.

How long has it been?

Since we fans use Baseball to mark our lives like notches on a doorframe, consider these facts: The 1986 All-Star Game highlighted two of the youngest superstars as starting pitchers: Roger Clemens and our own Doc Gooden. In 1986, Mike Schmidt was MVP. Cal Ripken was only one-third of the way to catching Gehrig. The AL Rookie of the Year award went to a slugger from Oakland named Jose Canseco. Barry Bonds’ HR total stood at 16. Mark McGwire had 3. Ken Griffey Jr was in high school. David Wright was in kindergarten.

There was a drug scandal in Baseball but it was cocaine, not steroids. The highest paid player was Gary Carter with an unheard salary of $2.1 million.

A quarter of a century has passed. An entire generation. The members of that 86 championship team have moved on. Some have gone on to manage, others to coach. Some have gone to rehab, others to jail. Several have gone to the broadcast booth. One has gone to Cooperstown. Hitting coach Bill Robinson has passed away.

And where were you that magical night in October? Think back to where you were the last time the Mets were World Champions. And think back how much your life has changed. I’m sure many reading this article were not even alive. Or many others were too young to remember.

I first learned Baseball and became a Mets fan in 1973, a pretty good first year. But as the Mets fell short to the powerhouse Oakland A’s in 7, honestly, I didn’t watch many of the games. I was not quite 8 years old and didn’t grasp the concept. My first year of rooting for the Mets and we go to the World Series??? This whole World Series thing must be pretty easy. I’ll just watch it next year.

But ‘next year’ would not happen until 1986 and by then, this former 7 year old was now a senior in college.

October 27, 1986 was a Monday. With an entire team payroll of just over $15 million, only a little more then one year for Jason Bay, the Mets defeated Boston 8-5 and became Champions. But that same day, 600 miles west of Flushing, in the small town of Lima, OH, Jeffery and Annette Niese welcomed their son into the world and named him Jon.

Yes, it’s been that long…

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Reevaluating the Past and My Fandom http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/reevaluating-the-past-and-my-fandom.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/reevaluating-the-past-and-my-fandom.html/#comments Thu, 26 Aug 2010 14:44:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=34988 After Jesse Orosco struck out Marty Barrett, I lost my passion for the Mets. I don’t know why, but its never been the same. I just didn’t care as much in 1987 as I did in all the previous years, and with each passing year I cared less and less.

In 2007 I started rooting against the Mets because I saw how lazy and uninspired they played. My lasting memory is Lastings Milledge jogging after a ball hit by Dontrelle Willis in Game 162. The Mets needed to win the game to force a one-game playoff. The Marlins needed that game for…well nothing really. Except pride. And as Milledge slowly jogged to retrieve the ball, Willis sprinted towards third. Milledge turned a double into a triple in the most important game of his life.

The next season Luis Castillo routinely jogged towards first while Carlos Delgado barely moved at all. Until Willie Randolph got fired, and then all of a sudden Delgado played like an MVP.

Last season I had to endure Carlos Beltran ripping his teammates for getting swept in Pittsburgh, and then ripping a double in his first at bat in the next series. Problem was it should have been a triple but Beltran stared at the ball, jogged towards first, and then went into a full sprint after he realized it wasn’t a home run. The third baseman had the ball and waited for Beltran to be tagged out.

Great speech Beltran, maybe next time back it up with your actions. You also had Gary Sheffield routinely jogging on balls that smacked off the walls, Jose Reyes standing and being tagged out instead of sliding and the great Fernando Martinez watching a pop up drop in his second Major League game.

All the while Jerry “The Enabler” Manuel sat and did nothing. How could I freaking root for this team if they didn’t seem to root for themselves?!?!?

And then something happened. I don’t know what happened but it appeared Manuel did his best Popeye impersonation because it was all he could stands and he cant stands no more.

This season every ground ball the Mets run out. They slide, take the extra base, force throws, hurry their opposition, etc. Basically, play the game the way its supposed to be played. Hard. Really, baseball like it oughta be.

Now I know what most people will say. So what? They still stink. But that’s not even true. The Mets don’t stink. They aren’t really good, they aren’t really bad. Beltran and Reyes seemed to get old fast, Jason Bay has turned into Jason Bust and Cinderella struck Midnight along time ago for Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas.

But you know what? I don’t care. I honestly would rather lose with my team playing with grit, determination, and heart, then win with an abundance of talent. I know I’m in the vast/vast/vast/vast/vast minority, but that’s just how I roll I guess.

Looking ahead, the future is bleak for the Mets and most of their fans. But not for me. I’m enjoying every single second of this season. And truthfully, its my favorite since 1986.

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October 27, 1986: The Dream Has Come True http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/october-27-1986-the-dream-has-come-true.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/10/october-27-1986-the-dream-has-come-true.html/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2009 10:00:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=15012 Two days ago, I wrote about the twenty-third anniversary of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.  Miraculous as that game was, all it did was force a seventh and deciding game.  Do you remember seeing the replay of Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk waving for the ball to stay fair in the 1975 World Series?  That home run gave the Red Sox a thrilling 12-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Game 6.

That’s right.  It happened in Game 6.  Just like the Mets’ dramatic Game 6 victory in the 1986 World Series, the home run by Fisk did not give the Red Sox the World Series trophy.  All it did was force a seventh game, a game won by the Reds to give Cincinnati the championship.

Had the Mets followed up their Game 6 heroics with a loss the following night, the miracle comeback would have been for naught.  The Mets had to win Game 7 to validate their season.  The stage was set at Shea Stadium for the final game of the 1986 baseball season.  It was up to the Mets to make the dream come true for their fans.

Game 7 was originally scheduled for Sunday, October 26.  However, a steady rain forced the postponement of the game until the following night.  Red Sox starter Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd was supposed to start the seventh game against Ron Darling.  However, with an extra day of rest, the Red Sox chose to bypass Boyd (who had given up six runs to the Mets in his Game 3 loss) and gave the ball to Bruce Hurst.

Hurst had already defeated the Mets in Game 1 and notched a complete game victory against them in Game 5.  Although he was pitching Game 7 on three days rest, the Mets were still wary about Hurst.  His performances against the Mets in the World Series were reminiscent of Mike Scott’s outings in the NLCS.  If the Mets were going to beat Hurst, Ron Darling was going to have to match him pitch for pitch.  Unfortunately, that was not the case in the early innings.

Bruce Hurst was his usual strong self in the early innings, keeping the Mets off the scoreboard.  Ron Darling?  Not so much.  After a scoreless first inning, he gave up three runs in the second inning, including back-to-back home runs by Dwight Evans and Rich Gedman.  By the time the fourth inning rolled around, Darling had already given up six hits and walked a batter.  He then hit Dave Henderson with a pitch to lead off the fourth inning.  After facing two more batters, Darling was relieved by fellow starter turned reliever Sid Fernandez.  The score was still 3-0 in favor of the Red Sox and the game was slipping away from the Mets.  It was up to El Sid to stop the fire from spreading.

In perhaps the guttiest (no pun intended) performance by Fernandez in his Mets career, he shut down the Red Sox.  After walking his first batter (Wade Boggs), Sid retired the next seven batters he faced, with four of them coming via the strikeout.  Fernandez did everything he could to keep his team in the game, but his efforts would go in vain unless the Mets could finally solve the puzzle that was Bruce Hurst.

With time running out on the Mets and their dream season, Davey Johnson was forced to make a difficult move in the bottom of the sixth inning.  After Rafael Santana grounded out to start the inning, the Mets were down to Sid Fernandez’s spot in the batting order.  Would Johnson take Sid out for a pinch hitter, hoping that the Mets would start a rally or would he leave him in the game, possibly giving up on another inning in which to mount a comeback against Bruce Hurst?  Johnson chose to pinch hit for Fernandez and it ended up being one of the best managerial decisions he ever made.

Lee Mazzilli stepped up to the plate in lieu of Fernandez.  He greeted Hurst with a single to left.  Game 6 hero Mookie Wilson followed Mazzilli with a hit of his own, followed by a walk to Tim Teufel.  The base on balls loaded the bases for Keith Hernandez and brought the crowd of 55,032 to its feet.  The cheering rose to a crescendo when Hernandez delivered a two-run single to center, scoring Mazzilli and Wilson and sending Teufel to third.  Since Teufel represented the tying run, Davey Johnson sent in the speedier Wally Backman to pinch run for him as Gary Carter stepped up to the plate.  Carter came through as he drove in Backman with a ball that would have been a base hit to right had a confused Hernandez not been forced out at second base when rightfielder Dwight Evans rolled over the ball.  Hernandez had to freeze between first and second until he knew that the ball had not been caught.  Despite the out being recorded, the Mets had tied the game at 3.  They had finally gotten to Bruce Hurst and hope was alive at Shea.  That hope became greater when Ray Knight came to bat in the seventh inning against a familiar face.

Calvin Schiraldi had been brought in by the Red Sox to start the seventh inning.  Schiraldi was the losing pitcher in Game 6, having allowed Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight to deliver hits off him in the tenth inning.  This time, he was facing Knight with no one on base, trying to erase the bitter memories from his previous outing.  Knight would not provide him with the eraser.  On a 2-1 pitch from Schiraldi, Knight got under a pitch and launched it to deep left-center, barely clearing the outfield wall.  A jubilant Knight celebrated as he rounded the bases.  The Mets finally had their first lead of the game and they were going to make sure that they weren’t going to give it back.  The hit parade continued in the seventh inning, as an RBI single by Rafael Santana and a sacrifice fly by Keith Hernandez gave the Mets a 6-3 lead.  The Mets were in front, but the Red Sox weren’t going to go away quietly.

Roger McDowell had come into the game in the seventh inning once Sid Fernandez had been pinch hit for.  He continued where Sid had left off by retiring the Red Sox in order in the seventh.  However, things went a little differently for McDowell in the eighth inning.  Bill Buckner led off the inning with a single.  Jim Rice followed Buckner with a single of his own.  After Dwight Evans doubled into the gap in right field, scoring both Buckner and Rice, the lead had been cut to a single run.  The Red Sox were down 6-5 with the tying run on second base and nobody out.  It was time for Davey Johnson to make one last move, with the World Series on the line.

Jesse Orosco came in from the bullpen, hoping to shut down the Red Sox to preserve the lead for the Mets.  His first batter, Rich Gedman, had homered earlier off starting pitcher Ron Darling.  This time, he hit the ball hard again, but in the direction of second baseman Wally Backman.  Backman caught the line drive in the air, holding Evans at second base.  The next batter was Dave Henderson.  He had given the Red Sox the lead with a home run in the tenth inning of Game 6.  Now he had a chance to duplicate the feat, as a home run would have given Boston the lead.  This time, the only thing he made contact with was the air.  Orosco struck him out on four pitches and then induced Don Baylor to ground out to short to end the threat.  The Mets were now three outs away from a championship, but they weren’t finished scoring yet.

The Red Sox called upon Al Nipper to face Darryl Strawberry to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning.  Nipper was trying to keep the Mets’ lead at one so that the Red Sox could make one last attempt in the ninth inning to tie the game or take the lead.  It didn’t take long for that one run lead to grow.  Strawberry greeted Nipper with a towering home run to right field that almost took as long to come down as it did for Strawberry to round the bases.  After Darryl finally finished his home run “trot” (To call it a trot would be putting it mildly.  It was more like a stroll and it led to a bench-clearing brawl the following season in spring training when Nipper and the Red Sox faced Darryl Strawberry and the Mets again.), the Mets had a 7-5 lead.  After a hit, a walk and an RBI single by Jesse Orosco on a 47-hopper up the middle (how appropriate since 47 was Jesse’s number), the Mets had regained their three-run lead.  After being held scoreless by Bruce Hurst for the first five innings of the game, the Mets had exploded for eight runs in the last three innings to take an 8-5 lead into the ninth inning.  Orosco was still on the mound, hoping to throw the season’s final pitch.

With the champagne ready to be uncorked in the Mets clubhouse, Orosco went to work on the Red Sox batters.  Ed Romero popped up to first base in foul territory for the first out.  That was followed by Wade Boggs grounding out to second base for the second out.  The Mets were one out away from a championship.  Nothing was going to stop them from winning this game.  Well, nothing except for the pink smoke bomb that was thrown onto the field.

That did not matter to Jesse Orosco or the Mets.  After the smoke cleared, Marty Barrett stepped up to the plate.  Barrett had already collected a World Series record-tying 13 hits, trying to set the record and keep the season alive for the Red Sox.  However, that was not to be.  We now turn the microphone over to the late Bob Murphy for the final pitch.

“He struck him out!  Struck him out!  The Mets have won the World Series!  And they’re jamming and crowding all over Jesse Orosco!  He’s somewhere at the bottom of that pile!  He struck out Marty Barrett!  The dream has come true!  The Mets have won the World Series, coming from behind to win the seventh ballgame!”

The Mets had completed their dream season with a World Series championship.  After 108 regular season victories and a hard-fought six-game NLCS against the Houston Astros, the Mets were able to bring the trophy home.  At times, it seemed as if the season was going to come to a screeching halt, but through determination, perseverance and perhaps an extra pebble or two around the first base area during Game 6, the Mets came through for themselves, for their fans and for the city of New York.

In 1986, the Mets owned New York.  They were a blue (and orange) collar team for a blue-collar city.  Twenty-three years ago today, the Mets became the World Champions of baseball.  Victory never tasted so sweet.

One final postscript on the whereabouts of Jesse Orosco’s glove: I’m sure many of you who watched Game 7 remember Jesse Orosco flinging his glove up in the air after striking out Marty Barrett to end the World Series.  Have any of you wondered what happened to that glove?  Now it can be told!

If you have the 1986 World Series DVDs, watch the final out of Game 7.  After Orosco throws the glove up in the air and falls to his knees, he gets up just as Gary Carter and the rest of his teammates mob him at the pitcher’s mound.  If you slow it down a little, watch closely as Bud Harrelson (wearing #23) runs around the crowd of players to the left of them.  He has nothing in his hands as he goes around the pile of ecstatic players.  Right before he goes off-camera, you can see him start to bend over.  When he comes back a split second later to celebrate with the team on the mound, he has a glove in his left hand.  That’s Jesse Orosco’s glove!

I hope you enjoyed these recaps of the final two games of the 1986 World Series.  The memories I have of those classic games remain vivid in my mind as if they had happened yesterday.  I wish I could have blogged about them at the time they happened, but Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet.

Stay positive, Mets fans.  Our dreams of another World Series will come true again.  Whether it be next season or a number of seasons from now, always remember to keep the faith alive and keep rooting for the orange and blue.  Let’s Go Mets!

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