Mets Magic Moments: Mano A Mano Edition

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.

About Joe D 7946 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.