Aug 18, 2019

Pete Alonso Sets NL Rookie HR Record

Sunday August 18th 2019: In the Mets big 11-5 win at Kansas City, Pete Alonso went into the record books. His incredible Rookie season is now highlighted by setting the NL HR record for Rookies with 40 HRs. The Amazing Alonso went 2-4 with two runs batted in his 95th RBI of the year. He is now just one HR shy of tying the Mets HR record of 41 HRs in a season held by Todd Hundley & Carlos Beltran.

A look back on Pete Alonso's 40 HRs in 2019:

On April 1st 2019, in south Florida, in the Mets fourth game of the season, Pete Alonso hit his first career HR, a three run shot off the Marlins, Drew Steckenrider. The Mets went on to a 7-3 win that night as a new era for a Mets slugger began. 

After the game Alonso squeezed into a clubhouse cart & his team mates doused him with everything they could find. "A couple of eggs," Alonso said. "Barbecue sauce. Mayonnaise. Beer. Shaving cream. Maybe ketchup and mustard. Maybe relish."

On April 6th at Citi Field, he hit HR #2, a 427 foot shot, off the Nats, Justin Miller in a 6-5 Mets win. It was his first HR at home in New York. The next day he hit another HR, this one off the Nats Matt Grace in a 12-9 loss.

On April 9th, Alonso had his first multi HR game, hitting two more at Citi Field in a 14-8 loss to the Minnesota Twins. The HRs came off Twins hurlers, Adalberto Mejia & Chase De Jong. In his first ten career games, he had 5 HRs 15 RBIs & was batting .385. Quite a start for the Rookie.

On April 11th, he hit a massive 454 foot HR, off the Braves Johnny Venters in a 6-3 Mets win. Eight days later, Alonso's 7th HR came off Ryan Helsley of the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-4 Mets win.

Two after that, he was suppose to sit out a game after getting hit in the hand. But he texted his manager when he found out Dakota Hudson was pitching, saying I hate that guy I played against him in college. Mickey Callaway put him in, he left St. Louis hitting his 8th HR, coming off pitcher Dakota Hudson. Closing out April, Alonso hit his 9th HR, this one came off Milwaukee's Alex Claudio, in a 8-6 loss at Citi Field.

Alonso became the first player in MLB history (since 1900) to have at least 11 extra-base hits in his first 10 career games. No other player ever had more than nine. His nine HRs led all MLB Rookies & are tied with four Mets players for most HRs before May 1st.

He also tied Met records for most HRs & RBIs in a single month. That month he won the Rookie of the Month Award.

On May 4th, as the Mets went to Milwaukee, Alonso blasted his 10th HR of the year, it was an opposite field shot off Junior Guerra in a 4-3 Mets loss.

On May 7th, the Mets went to beautiful San Diego, where Alonso hit a game winning top of the 9th inning HR, breaking a 5-5 tie. It was his 11th of the year, coming off pitcher Adam Warren in the 7-6 Mets win. In the game he had three hits & the first of his career high four RBI games.

On May 11th, he helped the Mets in a 4-1 Citi Field win over the Marlins with a solo shot off Sandy Alcantara.

On May 17th, as the Mets were in South Florida, getting swept by the lowly Marlins, Alonso had his second multi HR game. It came in the 8-6 loss against pitchers; Trevor Richards & Nick Anderson, both solo shots.

On May 20th, the Mets were on a rare 2019 four game win streak up to that point, sweeping the Washington Nats at Citi Field. His 15th HR came off Patrick Corbin, a solo shot. The next day he hit another dramatic, game saver. With one out in the home 8th down 5-4, Alonso homered off Tanner Rainey to tie the game. Amed Rosario's walk off HR won it in the bottom of the 9th.

On May 28th in a 9-8 loss to the Tigers at home, Alonso homered off  Zac Reininger, another solo shot #17 of the year.

On May 29th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Alonso had his third multi HR game.

 He hit two HRs off Walker Buehler, both two run shots in the 9-8 loss. He had three hits in the game driving in four runs, bringing his total to 19 HRs & 43 RBIs.

That HR tied him with Mark McGwire for most HRs by a Rookie before June 1st. 

JUNE: In a June 4th loss to the Giants, he hit his 20th HR of the year, this time off pitcher Madison Bumgarner. The next time up Bumgarner hit him with a pitch.

Later that week, on June 8th, Alonso hit #21 off Jake McGee of the Rockies. It put New York ahead for good in the home 7th inning in the 5-3 win.

In the subway series, June 11th double header, Alonso hit a 1st inning three run HR off James Paxton in the Bronx, as the Mets went on to a 10-4 win, splitting the twin bill.

Four days later, he hit #23 off the Cards Michael Wacha, in a wild 9-8 Met win over St. Louis. This one was measured at 458 feet, the longest by a Met so far in 2019.

Three days later in Atlanta, Alonso had a four hit day & hit his 24th HR, coming off Julio Teheran in a 10-2 win. The Mets were in a 4 of 5 losing streak.

As the team moved on to Wrigley Field, Alonso hit HRs in three of the four games. In the first game he homered off Tyler Chatwood for #25. 

His next two HRs were both mile stones, in the youngsters career. He hit #26 setting the record for most HRs by a rookie before the All Star break. The previous record was held by the Dodgers Cody Bellinger in 2017. That HR was off the Cubs Jose Quintana.

His HR #27 made Mets history, being the most HRs ever hit by a Mets Rookie in an entire season. Darryl Strawberry had 26 HRs in 1983. This milestone HR came off Cole Hamels. The Mets split the series in the Friendly Confines. 

Alonso closed out June with #28 off the Braves, Mike Soroka. Alonso ended the month of June with 28 HRs 64 RBIs & batting .278.

As the Phillies rolled into town in early June, Alonso hit two more HRs in the three game set. The first was off Vince Velasquez & then two days later #30 came off Aaron Nola. It was just the second time in Mets history that a Met batter had 30 HRs before the All Star break. Dave Kingman first did it in 1976.

From there Pete Alonso had the honor of being named to the NL All Star team & compete in the HR Derby, in Cleveland. He had his cousin pitch to him in the derby and went on to hit 57 overall HRs.

He didn't hit the most, but hit them when they counted. He is the first Met to win the title outright. Darryl Strawberry tied with Wally Joyner back in 1986. He was also just the second rookie to win a derby.

Quotes- Pete Alonso: “It's survive and advance, You've got to go in with kind of a killer instinct. It doesn't matter how many you hit; you just need to have one more than the guy you're facing.”

He won a million dollars in the derby & donated 5% to The Wounded Warrior Project & 5% to Tunnel To Towers Foundation.

“I respect anyone who puts their life on the line every single day, going to work knowing that they may have to make the ultimate sacrifices,” Alonso said. “There are people that are making sacrifices every single day abroad keeping us free and then there are people at home keeping us safe.”

 A week later, on July 17th, he hit #31 off Matt Magill of the Twins in a Mets 14-4 blow out win. This mammoth shot was measured at 474 feet & reportedly broke a statcast record.

Quotes- Pete Alonso: "It's not every day you kind of connect like that, so that felt good. That felt really, really good." 

The next series in San Francisco he hit HRs in two of the three games. #32 came off Williams Jerez & went past a flock of seagulls in the left field seats. #33 came off Derek Holland, in a pinch hitting role off the bench.

After the HR derby he began to slump & everyone blamed the Derby. Mets broadcaster, Keith Hernandez pointed out every Rookie goes through a slump. By now the Mets were all hitting, scoring runs & going on a seven game win streak, ten of eleven.

On July 26th, he hit #34 in Pittsburgh, off pitcher Dario Agrazal, a solo shot in the 6-3 Mets win. Nine days later in the longest streak where he hadn't hit a HR, he contributed to a big Mets inning. 


On August 5th, the Mets were down by two runs in the second game of a double header with the Marlins at Citi Field.

The Mets blasted three HRs in the inning, JD Davis, Michael Conforto & then Alonso hit his #35 of the season. It came off Jeff Brigham, losing pitcher, as the Mets went on to the twin bill sweep & their 10th win in 11 games.

After the game in the on field interview, he addressed the fans with LFGM!!

Alonso went on a roll homering in four straight games, as the Mets went on another eight game win streak, right up in the front of the wild card race. 

For Alonso #36 came on the next night on August 6th, as the Mets won their fifth straight, 11 of 12. His shot similar to #35 down the left field line, off pitcher Hector Noesi.

On August 7th he wasted no time, homering in the 1st inning, a two run shot off Jordan Yamamoto. On Friday August 9th, he electrified the Citi Field crowd with his 38th HR of the year, coming in the 4th inning off Steven Strasburg, in a big win over the Washington Nats. Michael Conforto followed with a back to back shot.

After what seemed like four long days not hitting a HR, Alonso homered tying the NL record set by the Dodgers Cody Bellinger in 2017. In his big game, Alonso drove in a career high six runs. His HR was a 1st inning three run shot off Atlanta's Julio Teheran. 

Alonso had a two run single in the 5th & topped off his big night with an RBI single in the 7th, as the Mets salvaged the final game of the three game series against the division leading Braves.

Pete Alonso is now in the record book with most HRs by a National League Rookie.

1986 World Champion Mets Pitcher & Emmy Award Winning Broadcaster: Ron Darling (1985-1991)

Ronald Maurice Darling was Born August 19th, 1960 in Honolulu, Hawaii to a Hawaiian-Chinese mother and French-Canadian father. He speaks both Chinese and French fluently.

His family moved to Millbury, Massachusetts, where he grew up and later attended Yale University. He had a majored in French and Southeast Asian history, and of course played baseball. Darling was one of the best baseball players in Yale’s history & pitched in the schools most famous game.

On May 21, 1981 Darling went up against St. John’s Frank Viola, and the two tossed no hitters until the 12th inning. In the 12th St. Johns got their first hit & won the game 1-0 on a double steal. In 1981 The six foot three right handed, Darling was the first round draft pick of the Texas Rangers. The following April he was traded to the New York Mets along with Walt Terrell, for the popular Mets player, Lee Mazzilli.

Darling pitched well at AAA Tidewater in 1983 going 10-9, but gave up 102 walks in 159 innings pitched. That September he was called up to the Mets staff, getting his first start on September 6th at Shea Stadium.

He pitched 6.1 innings giving up only one run against the Philadelphia Phillies, but earned a 2-0 loss. After losing his first three decisions, he pitched a complete game victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 28th, finishing the year at 1-3 with a 2.50 ERA.

Darling got a spot on Davey Johnson’s 1984 starting staff behind Dwight Gooden & Walt Terrell. He won his first start in the second game of the season at Cincinnati, throwing six shutout innings against the Reds He won two starts in May including an eight inning, two hit shut out performance against the Houston Astros. He was 3-3 by the end of May with a 4.64 ERA and then rolled through the summer.

He won his next seven decisions, including 5-0 month of June, posting a 1.88 ERA. Darling threw a four hit shutout in St. Louis on June 14th beating John Stuper 6-0. On July 6th at Shea Stadium, he threw a four hit shutout against the Cincinnati Reds & Jeff Russell.

That summer the Mets stayed in contention for first place for the first time in a long time & there was a new excitement at Shea Stadium. He struggled from August on, going 2-6 the rest of the way. He was much better pitching at Shea Stadium than on the road, getting seven wins at home.

He finished the year at 12-9 with a 3.81 ERA gathering 136 strikeouts, walking 114 in 205 innings pitched. He came in fifth place in the Rookie of the Year voting, in the shadows of rookie super star Dwight Gooden. Darling quietly went about his business as New York's 1 & 2 pitchers were among the best in the league.

By 1985 Darling became known around the league as a good pitcher in his own right. He had a great pickoff move and was one of the best defensive pitchers in baseball.

He allowed just one run pitching seven innings in each of his first two starts of the year, but earned no decision each time, even though the Mets won both games. On April 26th he struck out eleven Pittsburgh Pirates, in his first victory tossing a five hit shutout. He won five straight decisions from May 7th through the middle of June capped off by a five hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs on June 17th at Shea.

Darling started out the first half of the season going 9-2 making his first All Star team although he did not pitch in the game. Darling had another good streak from August 19th through September 15th where he won six straight games, allowing two earned runs or less five times. Overall in that year he had seven no decisions where he had allowed two runs or less.

He finished up the year at 16-6 with his career best winning percentage (.727). His 2.90 ERA was 9th in the league, as he pitched 248 innings (8th in the NL) with 167 strikeouts (7th in the NL) throwing two shut outs. His weakness was giving up 21 long balls and leading the league with 114 walks.

In the second game of the 1986 season he allowed six runs at Philadelphia, losing to the Phillies 9-7. He only notched one victory in the month, it came in his second start his first at Shea where he always pitched better. Soon everything came together for the Mets and Darling was no exception. He won all five straight decisions in the month of May, pitching eight or more innings in three of the outings.

On May 27th at Shea Stadium he matched his personal career-high of 12 strikeouts in a five-hit complete game victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Once again Darling, pitched well at Shea Stadium, going 10-2 at home during the 1986 championship season.

In June after two straight losses, he won three straight decisions going into the All Star break. He shut out the Expos in Montreal for seven innings on June 16th but earned no decision.

Drama: On July 19, he and teammates Bob Ojeda, Rick Aguilera and Tim Teufel were arrested outside a bar in Houston, Texas for fighting with security guards, who were also off-duty police officers. In the highly publicized ordeal, the four were quickly released & ordered to pay $200 fines. Darling appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated & GQ magazine less than a month later.

His next start came in Cincinnati where he pitched eight innings, out dueling Tom Browning 3-2, allowing just five hits along the way. From mid August on he went 4-2 through the end of the season.

On September 15th, he pitched nine shutout innings, allowing just four hits in a game in St. Louis, but earned no decision as the Mets lost it in the 13th inning, when Roger McDowell walked in Willie McGee with the winning run. Darling ended the regular season with a 9-0 two hit, five inning shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the last game of the regular season.

He finished the season posting a 2.18 ERA (third-best in the N.L.) with a 15-6 record (8th most wins in the league) 184 career high strikeouts (7th in the NL) four complete games, two shut outs, pitching in 237 innings making 34 starts (10th most in the NL). He lowered his base on balls allowed to 81, which was 33 less than the previous year. For the second straight year he led all NL pitchers in assists on the mound, and at the plate he added ten sacrifice hits.

Post Season 1986 NLCS: The 1986 NLCS was tied at one game each, when Darling started Game #3 at Shea Stadium. But he allowed four runs on seven hits and left the game losing 4-0 after six innings. The Mets recovered to win the game on Lenny Dykstra’s walk off HR in the bottom of the 9th inning.

1986 World Series: Darling then opened the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Shea Stadium. He pitched well in Game #1 allowing only one unearned run (coming on Tim Teufel’s error) with eight strike outs, through seven innings, but lost a hard-luck 1-0 game to Bruce Hurst, who blanked the Mets bats. With the Mets in danger of falling into a 3-1 series deficit, Darling started Game #4 at Fenway Park.

He pitched seven shutout innings in his home town, with four strike outs & six walks allowed. He got out of jams when he had to & extended his 0.00 ERA to 14 World Series innings as the Mets easily won this game 6-2.

In the legendary Game Six at Shea Stadium, Darling gave a high five to Mike Sergio who jumped out of a small airplane landing on the Shea infield in a parachute & a sign that read Lets Go Mets.

Game Six ran so long, past midnight, NBC had to start Saturday Night Live later than usual. That night Darling recorded a video message apologizing for the late start & the bit opened up the night's show.

Then he got the ball to pitch for the final Game # 7 to close out the Series.

The Sox scored three early runs in the second inning, including back to back HRs by Dwight Evans & Rich Gedman. Darling appeared tired & shaky getting only into the fourth inning. He was relieved by Sid Fernandez who shut down the Sox, and the Mets went on to win the World Championship.

In the World Series he was 1-1 posting a 1.53 ERA in 17.2 innings pitched with 12 strike outs & ten walks.

Darling & his model wife Terri were big hits at the ticker tape parade held in the Mets honor in New York City. The pretty couple enjoyed the spot light at many of the New York hot spots as well being treated like celebrities.         

After the Championship: He had a rough start as did the whole ball club coming off the Series Championship & the drama of Dwight Gooden’s drug problems. He was given the role of taking over as the ace of the staff when Gooden was off to rehab as the season began. He earned no decision in the second game of the season, pitching into the 7th inning in the Mets 4-2 win over the Pirates. In his next start he pitched eight innings at Philadelphia allowing five runs, but still got the win as the Mets scored seven runs in his support.

In April Darling was 2-1 but his ERA was over six. Then he didn't win a game in all of May or June, going 0-4 with eight no decisions. On June 28th he had a no-hitter going through seven innings in Philadelphia, but Greg Gross broke it up with a lead off triple in the 8th inning. Juan Samuel drove in the first run & the Mets wound up losing the game 5-4.

In July he began to get better then after the All Star break he really got it going, winning six consecutive starts. On August 7th he struck out eleven Chicago Cubs, pitching a four hit one run victory at Shea Stadium.

From July 7th through the end of the season he was 10-2 keeping the Mets in contention. On September 11th during the heat of the pennant race with the rival St. Louis Cardinals, Darling pitched six shutout innings against the Cards, when he tore his thumb fielding a Vince Coleman bunt.

He got to the bench & realized his season was over. Darling said; “They put me in my car and told me, ‘drive over to Roosevelt Hospital, take X-rays and they’re gonna repair your thumb.’ I said, ‘okay, fine,’ got in my car…and back in those days we parked out past center field…and as I got in my car Terry Pendleton’s homer nearly hit me in the head.”

The Mets lost the game and it was this night that people look back on as the Mets elimination from contention.

Without Darling their finish was even tougher, needless to say they finished second that year. He finished the year at 12-8 with a 167 strikeouts (7th in the NL), 96 walks (4th most in the NL) and a high 4.29 ERA, the worst of his first seven seasons.

1988 NL East Champs: In 1988, Darling bounced back strong; he pitched three hit complete game win at Shea beating the Expos for his firts win of the year. On April 22nd he shut out the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in another complete game. On May 8th Darling pitched a three hit one run victory over the Reds and went 4-2 in the month. In June he tossed another complete game, a seven hitter over the Pirates in a 9-0 Mets win.

Darling had ten wins in the first half of the season (10-5) with a 2.70 ERA. He had a great finish helping lead the team to another Eastern Division title, winning seven of nine games from July 31st through the end of the year. He won his last five decisions in August & September, tossing two complete games in that period. On September 2nd, Darling struck out eight Dodgers pitching a five hit shut out to beat former Met Tim Leary.

On September 22nd he beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-1 allowing just six hits to clinch the NL Eastern title for New York, their second divisional title in three years.

Darling was an incredible 14-1 at Shea Stadium for the year and his ERA was twice as low at home than on the road. Overall he finished 1988 with a career high 17 wins (8th most in the league) going 17-9.

That year he was third behind David Cone (20 wins) & Dwight Gooden (18 wins) on the Mets strong staff. Darling pitched four shut outs (6th in the NL) & seven complete games. He threw 240 innings, with 161 strikeouts (10th in the NL) and 60 walks (lowest in his career up to that point) posting a 3.25 ERA. At the plate he batted .220 with six extra base hits, ten sac hits & four RBIs.

1988 Post Season: Darling was terrible in the 1988 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the series tied 1-1, he fell behind 3-0 in Game #3 pitching in six innings before getting relieved by Roger McDowell. But the Mets came back to win the game 8-4.

In the deciding Game #7 he went up against Orel Hershiser, giving up six runs while getting knocked out in the second inning. The Dodgers won the game & moved on to the World Series, as the Mets season came to a shocking end.

In 1989 the Mets would finish second, six games behind the Chicago Cubs. Darling started out the year at 0-3 not winning his first game at the end of April. He would stay around the .500 mark all year. At the start of August he pitched two straight complete games, first allowing just two runs to the Expos & then allowing just one run to the Cardinals, both at Shea Stadium. On August 26th he allowed just one run while pitching into the 9th inning, in a 4-1 win against the San Francisco Giants.

During the summer, he hit HRs in back to back games that he started, the only two HRs of his career. That year he also had a career high, five RBIs while at the plate. In September he lost four of six decisions, although he allowed two runs or less in four starts.

That season Darling became the first Mets pitcher to win a Gold Glove Award making just four errors in 56 chances. He had a .500 season going 14-14 with 153 strike outs in 207 innings over 33 starts (7th most in the NL) posting a 3.52 ERA. He also threw 12 wild pitches, six most in the league.

In 1990 he struggled again and was sent to the bullpen for a while to work things out. He made 18 starts in 33 appearances, didn’t get any saves and went 7-9 on the year, having the first losing season of his career. In 126 innings he struck out 99 batters, walked 44 & posted a 4.50 ERA. The 1990 Mets fell short again, coming in second place four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 1991 he was back on the starting staff again but continued to struggle. He was 2-4 by mid June & got himself to .500 by the end of the month. He pitched a two hit, eight inning shut outs in Montreal on July 3rd against the Expos, in a game which turned out to be his last good outing as a New York Met.

He was 5-6 by mid July, and on July 15, 1991 Ron Darling was traded to the Montreal Expos for pitcher Tim Burke. After just three games the Expos sent him to the Oakland A’s two weeks later, in exchange for two minor leaguers. On a good Oakland A's club Darling won his first three decisions, but then got wild & lost seven straight.

Overall in 1991 he was 8-15 with a 4.26 ERA for the three teams. In 1992 he made a solid return, having his last quality year. He pitched over 200 innings, going 15-10 with 99 strike outs & a 3.66 ERA. He tossed three shut outs (4th in the AL).

On May 24th he he pitched a two hit shutout in his home town of Boston to beat the Red Sox. Later in the year on July 12th, he pitched another two hitter against the eventual World Champion Toronto Blue Jays. Later In the ALCS he pitched Game #3 against the Blue Jays & gave up two HRs taking the loss.

In 1993 he struggled, at 5-9 with a 5.16 ERA, as the A's fell to a 7th place last place finish, their worst run since 1979. Darling came back with a good 1994, leading the Athletics staff going 10-11 as the only pitcher in Oakland to win double figures. He posted a 4.50 ERA leading the league with 25 starts. He was released in 1995 ending his playing career.

In his 13-year career, he was 136-116 with 1,590 strikeouts (174th all time), 13 shut outs, 37 complete games in 2360 innings pitched and a 3.87 ERA. He made 364 starts (182nd all time) allowing 906 walks (156th all time) 97 wild pitches (111th all time) & 239 HRs (138th all time).

At the plate he is a .144 hitter with 76 hits in 526 at bats, 2 HRs 21 doubles & 21 RBIs.

Mets All Time List: In his Mets career he is fourth all time in wins (99) & innings pitched (1620). He is sixth all time in strike outs (1148) fourth in walks (614) seventh all time in shut outs (10) tenth in complete games (25) & sisteenth in games pitched (257).

Trivia: Darling was the last N.L. pitcher to win the Gold Glove award before Greg Maddux's remarkable streak of 13 consecutive Gold Gloves.

Retirement: Ron began his career as a broadcaster for the Oakland A's & also had a FOX show called Baseball Today.

In 2005 he was commentator for the inaugural season of the Washington Nationals. In 2006 he came home to the New York Mets on the new SNY Network as a color commentator & studio analyst.

Since 2007 he has worked the post season, for the TBS network. For his outstanding television work, he was won an Emmy Award. Darling lives in Manhattan with his wife. The Mets broadcast team of Darling, Kieth Hernandez & Gary Chen have created a website & hold various events with the proceeds going to charities.

In 2009 he published a book called "The Complete Game" which is broken down in chapters titled innings. The book expains the mind of an MLB pitcher breaking down what goes through his head in certain situations.

Family: In 2004, he married Joanna Last, a makeup artist for Fox Sports.

Previously he was married to Irish model Antoinette O'Reilly. She had small roles on television and in movies, using her married name: Toni Darling. During their marriage, they appeared in numerous magazine features together. They had two children, Tyler and Jordan Darling.

Darling & his wife live in Williamsburg Brooklyn. One of his favorite hangouts is Bamonte's Restaurant, this is the place I met him the first time.

Quotes:  Two blocks away is an Italian place called Bamonte’s. It’s an institution in Williamsburg. We all love the food there, but for me it’s also a historical place. After game days, Joe DiMaggio would go there — he’d get a seat at the corner table. More times than not, I get that seat, too, and to sit where DiMaggio sat and eat the chicken and sausage that DiMaggio ate, it’s just a huge thrill.

Author: Darling is the Author of three books, The Complete Game Reflections on Baseball & the Art of Pitching, Game 7; 1986 Failure & Triumph In the Biggest Game of My Life & 108 Stitches. Loose Threads Ripping Yarns & the Darndest Characters From My Time In the Game.

In that 2019 release, Darling wrote that former teammate, Lenny Dykstra yelled racial slurs to Red Sox pitcher, Oil Can  Boyd, during the 1986 World Series. Dykstra denies the comments & filed a law suit against Darling.

Health Scare: In March of 2016 Darling announced he had been diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. He had surgery to remove a mass on his chest & the prognosis was that the cancer was treatable. He returned to the booth in early June.

Quotes- Ron Darling: “My doctors have informed me that my thyroid cancer has been stabilized for now and that I have been cleared to return to work,” Darling said in a statement. “The doctors will continue to closely monitor me over the next several months to assure my progress remains on the right track. I look forward to rejoining my partners Gary and Keith in the SNY booth to call tomorrow night’s Mets vs. San Francisco Giants game at Citi Field.”

Honors: He threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game #7 of the 2006 NLCS.

He was on hand for the 20th & 30th Anniversary tributes to the 1986 Championship teams.

He was also on hand for the Ralph Kiner Tribute night, and the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008.

Trivia: Ron Darling has also had small roles in the films Shallow Hal, Mr. 3000 and The Day After Tomorrow.

Remembering Ron Darlings 1988 NL Eastern Champion Season With A Career High 17 Wins

As the Mets entered September in the 1988 season, they had an 81/2 game lead in the NL East. They pretty much knew they'd be facing the Dodgers in the NLCS, as LA was holding a six game lead in the NL West. 

The Mets were confident, over confident as it turned out & were heavily favored since they had their way walking all over the Dodgers in the regular season.

On September 2nd a crowd of 44,889 came out to Shea to see Ron Darling face Tim Leary. Darling blew through the game easily, pitching a complete game five hit shut out. It was one of his four shut outs on the season. 

Darling also struck out eight in the game, walking just one as the Mets rolled to an 8-0 win. Kevin Elster hit two HRs that day, Mookie Wilson & Greg Jefferies also hit HRs.

Darling would roll through September as maybe the Mets best pitcher, he went 4-0 in the month & closed out the year winning five straight, if you counted his August 27th start.

 On September 7th the Chicago Cubs rocked him for six runs & on the 12th he got a no decision while allowing just two runs in 8.2 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gary Carter's walk off HR off Jeff Robinson won it, as Randy Meyers earned the win, pitching to just one batter in relief of Darling.

Darling then beat the Montreal Expos on September 17th, pitching eight innings with only one strike out & two earned runs allowed. Another complete game victory, where he allowed just one run to the Phillies at Shea, followed that start on September 22nd. That win was #16 for Darling tying his career high set back in 1985.

He couldn't get a win in his next start but got one final chance to hit a career high victories total, on October 2nd on a start against the ST. Louis  Cards. That day he allowed five runs in just six innings, but the Mets bats provided him seven runs, so he won his 17th game of the year. It would be the most wins he ever earn in a single season. 

In 1988 Darling was 17-9 with161 strike outs & a 3.25 ERA in 34 starts in 240 innings, second best of his career.

In the NLCS against the Dodgers, Darling pitched Game #3 where he took a no decision. In six innings he gave up two earned runs while striking out five, the Mets did win the game 8-5. He went to the mound in the final Game #7 & was terrible, he gave up six runs in the 1st inning before getting pulled & Orel Hershiser shut the Mets out the rest of the way, ending the Mets late eighties glory days.

Aug 17, 2019

2019 Mets Reliever: Justin Wilson (2019)

Justin James Wilson was born August 18th 1987 on Anaheim, California. The six foot, two left hander was drafted out of high school, by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He opted not to sign & attended Fresno State where he pitched for the Fresno State Bulldogs. In his Junior year there, his team won the College World Series & he was named to the College World Series All Tournament Team as well. Also that year he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as their fifth round pick.

While at AAA, he pitched two no hitters. In the first one, he pitched 7 1/3 innings of no hit ball when he taken out of the game. Two other relievers saved & combined in the no hitter. The second came in 2012, soon after he was promoted to the Pirates big league club.

In 2013 he was a solid mid reliever, going 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 56 games. He made two appearances in the NLDS giving up pne run to the St. Louis Cardinals. He made two post seasons while in Pittsburgh.

Two years later he was traded to the AL New York team for Francisco Cervelli. There he went 5-0 in 74 appearances (2nd most in thee AL). At the end of the year he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Chad Green & Luis Cessa. He had a closers role saving 13 games at the start of the 2017 season, replacing Francisco Rodriguez who had blown four saves early on in the season.

After a season and a half in Detroit he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for their playoff run. He made one appearance in the NLDS win over the Nationals & no appearances in the NLCS loss to the LA Dodgers. 

In 2018 he made 71 appearances, going 4-5 with a decent 3.46 ERA, 16 holds & 12 games finished for the Cubs. He pitched 0.1 innings in the Wild Card game loss to the Rockies & was then granted free agency.

Mets Career: In 2019 he signed with the New York Mets. He earned his first Mets win in the second game of the season, pitching a perfect 7th inning, in the Mets 11-8 win over the Nationals in D.C. But the next day he gave up a Trea Turner HR taking the loss.

He got credit for a save & a hold through April 19th. He then suffered elbow issues & would miss over 2 1/2 months of action. His comeback attempt in May was too soon & extended his time on the IL.

He returned in July and got three straight holds through mid month. In July he pitched 9.1 innings and allowed just one earned run lowering his ERA from 4.50 to 2.89 by August 1st.

During the Mets seven game win streak he earned a win on July 31st in Chicago against the White Sox. And then earned another win on August 3rd as the Mets continued their streak winning nine of ten. In that game a scoreless 7th inning in Pittsburgh, earned him the win over the Pirates.

On August 7th, Wilson earned his 6th hold of the year in a 7-2 win over the Marlins. Wilson pitched a scoreless 7th inning in the  Mets seventh straight win on August 9th.  

As of August 16th Wilson has pitched in eight seasons going 29-20 with 15 saves, 430 strike outs, 177 walks in 393 innings with a 3.29 ERA. As a Met he is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in his first 27 Met games.