Oct 26, 2009

1986 World Series: Game Seven

October 27, 1986 World Series- Game #7: After the unbelievable Game Six comeback, the Mets and their fans couldn’t wait to play Game 7. There was just no way they could lose. It rained on Sunday and the game was postponed until Monday. My Game 6 ticket has a seven strategically placed on it in an attempt to get in, it didn’t work. I was determined to get in and finally I bribed a ticket taker with a ten dollar bill wrapped around a lot of ones. He said I let to many in already, I said there’s a lot of money here, he let me in. I found the only empty seat in Shea that night and I was there.

Ron Darling got his third start and already had given up three runs by the time I settled in. Darling already had a win & loss in the Series, overall in 17 innings pitched he only gave up the three earned runs in this game, good for a 1.53 ERA. The turning point of the game came in the 4th inning when Sid Fernandez relieved Darling. El Sid shut down the Sox, retiring all batters he faced, striking out five of the last six. Boston’s Bruce Hurst was tough in the first five innings allowing only one hit.

In the 6th, the Mets began their come back. After Sid walked off to a standing ovation, he was pinch hit for by Lee Mazzilli. Mazilli singled, Mookie Wilson singled & Tim Tuefel walked. With the bases loaded, Mr. Clutch Keith Hernandez came to bat and singled up the middle scoring two runs. Gary Carter grounded out but the tying run crossed the plate. Shea Stadium was a different place; the crowd was now a factor.
Roger McDowell came on and retired the side in the 7th. After a wild 7th inning stretch, Ray Knight led off with a HR, his biggest hit as a Met. Lenny Dykstra pinch hit for Kevin Mitchell and singled. The crowd began to sing “We Will Rock You” and it rattled Calvin Shiraldi. This was the Series where the song was played & sung by the crowd at a ballgame to my knowledge. As the Queen song turned into taunts of “Caaaaalvin” Shiraldi threw a wild pitch, Dykstra moved to 2nd. Then Rafael Santana singled and Nails scored as the Mets were up by two.

McDowell gave up a run and three straight hits in the 8th and Davey Johnson pulled him for Jesse Orosco. In the bottom of the 8th, with Al Nipper now pitching for the Sox, Daryl Strawberry added to the heroics leading off with a monstrous HR to right field. The crowd roared. Ray Knight who would win the Series MVP award, got his 9th hit of the Series (good for a 3.91 average). He moved up on an intentional walk to Santana in order to get to the pitchers spot. Orosco came up and singled in his only post season at bat, scoring Knight for the final run. Steve Crawford came in to pitch and hit Mookie Wilson with a pitch.
Orosco retired the side in order in the 9th with Marty Barrett striking out for the final out. Orosco three his glove in the air and his team mates piled on him on the mound. The dream had come true again, the Mets were World Champions. There were no fans on the field this time as the NYPD had mounted police surrounding the field. Believe it or not, I found strength I didn’t know I had and ripped my seat right off. I still don’t know how. I still have it, I cant prove it by I know what it is, besides it’s not for sale!

Oct 25, 2009

The 2006 NLCS: Mets Good Until the Last Inning

October 20006- NLCS
Game #1: A sold out Shea Stadium hosted the first Game of the Series and it may have been Tom Glavine's biggest night as a Met. Willie Randolph needed an Ace with Pedro on the DL and he gave the ball to Glavine. Glavine added another gem to his post season career throwing a four hit shut out over seven innings. He only struck out two Cards , but only walked two and never had a runner reach third base. Guillermo Mota & Billy Wagner both pitched perfect eight & ninth innings to seal the shut out.

The Mets offense only needed one big blow and it came in the 6th inning off Jeff Weaver. Paul Loduca singled and Carlos Beltran blasted a long HR over the right center field fence. The Mets took the opener 2-0.

The Mets lost Game Two, 9-6 as Billy Wagner gave up three runs in the 9th inning. They were shit out in Game Three 5-0 as Steve Trachsel gave up and lost his team forever, he never returned.

Game #4 was the night the Mets bat woke up. Carlos Delgado had a big five RBI night, including a two run HR in the 5th and a ground rule double scoring Reyes & Wright in the 6th inning. That inning Sean Green & Jose Valentin added RBI hits giving the Mets a total of eleven runs. Carlos Beltran also had a big night blasting two solo HRs with three hits, two walks, two RBIs & four runs scored. David Wright also hit a solo HR, as Oliver Perez got credit for the win.

Game #6 was an exciting night at Shea. I was at this one and the crowd was sure electric and into it from the pregame to the very end. Obviously with the Mets down 3-2 in the Series it was do or die, but that night it never felt like they could lose this thing.

In the 1st inning, Jose Reyes got things started with a lead off HR. Sean Green got drove in the second run on an RBI single after singles by Beltran & Wright. In the 7th the crowd let former Met Braden Looper have it as he entered. With two outs, pinch hitter Michael Tucker singled and Reyes followed with another. Both runners stole bases and Paul Loduca drove them both in with a single center field.

On the mound it was one of Johnny Maine's finest moments as he pitched into the 6th inning, allowing only two hits while striking out five. He wasn't to happy getting yanked by manager Willie Randolph in the 6th, but left to a standing ovation. Three more relievers led the way to Billy Wagner who got the save even though he gave up two more runs.

Game Seven is still a tough one to swallow, especially after what happened the next three seasons. The game was highlighted by Endy Chavez stealing a HR in the 8th inning making one of the greatest over the fence catches in history. Oliver Perez stepped up pitching six good innings allowing only a run. The score remained tied in a 1-1 nail bitter until the 8th inning. Aaron Heilman, a name I hate to even mention served up a two run HR to Yadier Molina, the catcher with the .216 season average and just 6 HRs in 417 at bats. That was it, the Mets did threaten in the bottom of the inning as Valentin & Chavez both singled. Then Cliff Floyd struck out & Reyes lined out. Paul Loduca walked to load the bases then Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran looking to end it. Ugh!, it still hurts.

Oct 24, 2009

Game Six

October 25, 1986: This game was probably the greatest Met game of them all. It was definitely the greatest comeback of them all. I am proud to say, as a true life long Met fan, I was there. After seeing that fans were setting up TV’s and watching the game in the parking lot that was my plan for Game six. A friend of mine at the time and myself armed with a duffel bag full of cans of Bud went looking for a spot. Instead we ran into a guy looking to sell of his tickets for only a little more than the regular price. Jackpot!!! We had to put the beers back in the car and walked over by the Flushing Marina.

We met a kool cop who actually had a beer with us, when that guy Sergio jumped out of the small plane with his Lets Go Mets banner. What a night this was turning out to be. I have never felt such a change in emotions as I did in the last inning of that game. From being on the brink of the last strike and last out, it was a feeling of total depression. How could they lose this game after this great season? We stayed and I remember saying we mine as well go down with them if they are going to lose, but maybe just maybe…. Then as the hits came, the feeling of hope and joy. Then when the game was tied & won a feeling of ecstatic happiness, as everyone in our section jumped & hugged each other. Oh what a night……..now a happy recap!

The starting pitchers were Roger Clemmens and Bobby Ojeda. Both pitched well getting there team to the seventh inning tied at two. The Sox got a run in the 1st on Dwight Evans double and one in the 2nd on Marty Barrett's single. In the Mets 5th, Daryl Strawberry singled, stole second and was driven home by the hot Ray Knight. Mookie Wilson then singled and pinch hitter Danny Heep grounded into a double play but Knight scored. In the Redsox 7th, Roger McDowell walked Marty Barrett, with one out Jim Rice grounded to Ray Knight. Instead of getting the out Knight booted the ball and the next batter Dwight Evans grounded to short scoring Barrett. Catcher Rich Gedman singled to left field and on a huge play in the Series, Mookie Wilson threw out Jim Rice as the plate. Gary Carter stood his ground and put the tag on Rice, inning over.

In the bottom of the 8th Gary Carter tied it with a sac fly, and the game went to extra innings. Rick Aguilera had an easy 9th but in the 10th Dave Henderson led off with a HR down the left field line, a blow that looked like it was a nail in the Mets coffin. Aguilera struck out the next two batters but then The Sox scored an insurance run taking a 5-3 lead.

Calvin Shiraldi took the mound trying to win the Sox first World Series since 1918. Back then there was no talk about curse’s or anything like that. Wally Backman flied out, Keith Hernandez flied out next. The Mets were down to their last out. Hernandez went to the locker room he didn’t want to see the Redsox celebrate on his field. Davey Johnson huffed in disgust in the dugout, and New York held it’s breath. Gary Carter singled, Kevin Mitchell pinch hit and he singled as well. Ray Knight singled and it was 5-4. The crowd began to stir and make some noise, Hernandez was going to come back to the dug out but superstition told him; “there’s hits in that chair’ he stayed in the locker room.

Bob Stanley was brought in to pitch, to the crowd chants of “We Will Rock You” the anthem which was born this night at Shea Stadium. Mookie Wilson came to the plate in the most important at bat in Mets history. Bob Stanley got Mookie down to his last strike and he fouled a few off. Then it happened, amazingly Stanley threw a wild pitch that Mookie had to jump over to avoid getting hit. The ball rolled to the backstop, Mitchell score
d the game was tied. Shea Stadium was pandemonium; you just knew there was no way we were losing now.

Next, Mookie hit a little roller up along first, it got by Bill Buckner right under his legs. Ray Knight came scampering home, holding his helmet in amazement, the Mets win it!! Unbelievable!! The madhouse they call Shea Stadium is now way beyond pandemonium. There is insanity on the field as the team mobs Knight & Wilson. Years later many feel Mookie would have still beat out Buckner to first base due to his bad knees. It didn’t matter the Mets win it & force Game Seven.

Oct 23, 2009

2000 World Series- Game #3: Agbayani's Double Puts Mets Ahead For Good In 8th

October 24th 2000- World Series Game #3: It was the only game I acknowledge from that Series, as we sat in the very last seats in the left field upper deck at Shea Stadium and let the other NY teams fans have it.

It was the first World Series game back at Shea since the Championship of 1986, which I was at as well. Tonight the Mets stopped Orlando Hernandez's post season win streak at eight games as they won 4-2. In the bottom of the 2nd, Robin Ventura put the Mets on the board with a HR to right center field, almost hitting the apple.

Rick Reed lost the lead and the Mets trailed 2-1 until the 6th inning. Ventura got aboard on a walk, and Todd Zeile doubled him home to tie it. Turk Wendell, Dennis Cook & John Franco got the Mets to the 9th inning with out any further damage.
In the bottom of the 8th, Zeile singled and Benny Agbayani who hit over .350 in the post season doubled home what would be the winning run. Agbayani was removed for pinch runner Super Joe McEwing. Next Jay Payton got an infield hit and pinch hitter Bubba Trammell's sac fly made it 4-2.

Armando Benitez got the save in the 9th, and the Mets had a happy recap.

Oct 16, 2009

1986 Mets Beat Houston in 16 Inning Epic to Win the Pennant

1986 NLCS Game #6: Game six began in the late afternoon New York time with the Mets up three games to two. It ended four hours and forty five minutes later in one of the greatest games ever. The epic began with Bobby Ojeda & Bob Knepper facing off again, and the possibility of Mike Scott already 2-0 in the Series looming for game seven.

Bobby O got roughed up for three runs in the first inning, he settled down but left after five innings, Rick Aguiler came on to throw three more scoreless innings but the Mets were still down 3-0 in the 9th. Houston’s Bob Knepper was outstanding until the 9th, with the Series on the line, he only allowed one hit & one walk. But in the 9th the Mets woke up. Lenny Dykstra sparked the team with a leadoff triple, he was brought home by Mookie Wilsons base hit. Then with one out, Keith Hernandez doubled home Mookie bringing the score to 3-2. Houston’s manager brought in reliever Dave Smith who walked Carter & Strawberry. Ray Knight hit a sac fly to tie the game. The city of Houston was devastated; New York was just waking up.

The game went on for seven more innings of nail biting drama, Roger Mcdowell pitched five shutout innings allowing only one run. Houston's Larry Anderson matched him with three hitless innings. In the 14th Aurelio Lopez came in to pitch for the Astros, Carter led off with a single, then Straw walked. Ray Knight attempted a sac bunt but Carter got nailed at third base. Backman then singled to right field putting the Mets ahead in what looked like the game winner. Not so fast, Houston came right back as Billy Hatcher blasted a HR off Jesse Orosco tying it again in a wild crazy scene at the Astrodome.

In the top of the 16th with a depleted bullpen, Lopez started the inning. Strawberry hit a leadoff double to center and was brought right home by Gary Carters single. Jeff Calhoun was brought in and threw a wild pitch and then walked Backman. Jesse Orosco got a rare plate appearance and wouldn’t ya know it, Calhoun threw another wild pitch scoring Knight. Orosco then bunted Backman to third, and Lenny Dykstra drove home what would be the all important winning run.

Davey Johnson stuck with his relief ace Jesse Orosco through another intense drama filled bottom of the 16th. Craig Reynolds struck out to start out the inning, then Davey Lopes drew a walk. Bill Doran singled, and then Billy Hatcher struck again with a single driving in Lopes. Denny Walling then grounded out for out number two. Glen Davis then singled bringing the score to within one. Next up was the dangerous Kevin Bass who kept fouling off Orosco’s curve balls.
Keith Hernandez visited the mound and told Jesse if he threw another curveball they were going to fight. He reared back struckout Bass and the Mets won the pennant. New York City had come to a stop the past few hours following the excitement of the game, and now it celebrated and went wild. They advanced to the World Series for the third time in their history to face the Boston Red Sox.

Oct 15, 2009

2000 NLCS Game #5: Mike Hampton's Three Hit Shutout Clinches NL Pennant

October 16th 2000- NLCS GAME#5: It was an exciting night at Shea as all of us 56,000 fans knew tonight was the night the Mets would advance to the World Series. I had been to the World Series winner, an Eastern clincher, an NLDS winner, & centerfield maz had to be at a pennant winner. It was a mad house as the rafters rocked and on the TV broadcast Tim McCarver said it was the loudest he ever heard old Shea.

The Mets began in the 1st inning; Timo Perez singled & stole second. Eduardo Alfonzo immediately singled him home, then Mike Piazza walked, Robin Ventura singled hoe Fonzie & Todd Ziele’s ground out brought in Piazza. It was 3-0 Mets and they never looked back. In the 5th Pat Hentgen was still pitching for St. Louis when Timo singled again, Piazza doubled & Ventura walked. With the bases loaded Ziele doubled and cleared the bases as the Mets were up six runs to none. After a festive seventh inning stretch, Tony Larussa brought in Rick Ankiel to pitch. Just what us fans needed as we let him have as he went wild again. Mr. Ankiel walked two batters and threw two wild pitches, allowing another run to score, and the fans laughed & went wild. The seven runs were all the Mets needed to win the pennant and become the 2000 NL Champions.
On the mound it was Mike Hampton’s biggest night as a Met. He pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits and one walk. He struck out eight batters and never let anyone even get to second base. Hampton had gone 15-10 as a Met in 2000 and won two games in the NLCS earning him the Series MVP award. Although his stay in New York was brief, he played an important role in their history.
The fans celebrated long after the game was over in the stands, but no one was allowed on the field like 1986. In the clubhouse Mike Piazza, the team leader was finally going to the World Series, this is why he was brought here & Piazza delievered.

Oct 14, 2009

1969 World Series Game #4: Tom Terrific, Swoboda's Catch & J.C. Martins Bunt

October 15th 1969- World Series Game #4: Shea was rocking again as another Amazing victory was in store for the Mets. In a rematch of Game one, Cy Young winner Tom Seaver got the call vs. Baltimore's Mike Cueller.

Seaver was sensational pitching 10 innings, allowing only one run on six hits, walking two & striking out six. He got some help from a guy who was considered a below average outfielder, right fielder Ron Swoboda. Swoboda etched himself as another hero in Mets history in the ninth inning.
Seaver was beginning to tire, when the O's got two singles from Boog Powell & Frank Robinson. With unners on first & third Hodges came to the mound but chose to stick with his ace, Seaver. Brooks Robinson then hit a smash toward right center that Swoboda raced for. He ran as far as he could, stretched, and made a diving backhanded catch. He looked in his glove, and there was the ball. The crowd roared, although Frank Robinson tagged and scored the tying run. There is no doubt that Swoboda's grab prevented the go-ahead run from being scored. Seaver got the final out, tied 1-1.
The Mets got their run back in the 2nd inning when Don Clendenon hit his second HR of the Series. He would go on to win the MVP award. Ron Swoboda had a good day at the plate getting three hits. Jerry Grote also hitting well in the Series led off the 10th with a double off reliever Pete Richert. Al Weis was walked intentionally to get to the pitchers spot. Gil Hodges put in pinch runner Rod Gaspar at second, and called on back up catcher J.C. Martin, to pinch hit for Seaver. Martin got the bunt sign, and bunted perfectly to the mound. Richert chose to field it, instead of letting catcher Elrod Hendricks handle it. His throw to first hit Martin in the arm and ricocheted into right field, allowing Gaspar to score the winning run.

After the game the Orioles protested that Martin was running inside the baseline, which could have resulted in interference. The umpires said they didn’t make the call because they felt Martin didn’t intentionally interfere with the play. Another miracle at Shea.

It was before the Series during an interview when the cocky Frank Robinson said he heard enough about the Mets hype, who the hell in Ron Gasper anyway. He sure knew that it was Rod Gaspar, not Ron, as he crossed the plate with the winning run, didn't ya hank.

2000 NLCS Game #4: Met Bats Score 10 Runs- 1 Win Away From the Pennant

October 15th 2000- NLCS Game #4: Bobby Jones made his first start since throwing a one hitter clinching the NLDS. Tonight’s start wasn’t anywhere near that good, as he surrendered six runs in four innings. Luckily for the Mets they got seven runs off Daryl Kile in the first two innings and rolled along to a 10-6 victory & commanding three games to one Series lead. After Jones gave up two 1st inning runs, a Packed Shea crowd of just under 56,000 watched the Mets hit five doubles in the bottom of the 1st inning to take a 4-2 lead. Timo Perez, Eduardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura & Benny Agbayani all contributed to the cause. In the 2nd, seven Mets came to the plate and RBI hits from Todd Zeile & Agbayani gave the Mets a 7-2 lead. Mike Piazza added a HR in the 4th inning to extend the lead to 8-2. The Cards came back to make it 8-6 but a wild 6th inning sealed the Mets 10-6 victory.

In the 6th the Cards made two errors, Mike Timlin walked a batter & threw a wild pitch to score a run. Robin Ventura added a sac fly RBI as well. Glenden Rusch got the victory as he threw three solid innings of shutout baseball. John Franco & Armando Benitez each had a shutout inning apiece.

Oct 13, 2009

1969 World Series Game #3: Agee Saves the Day With Two Incredible Catches

October 14th 1969- World Series Game #3: Shea Stadium hosted its 1st ever World Series game for Game 3. Gil Hodges sent his rookie Gary Gentry to the mound against Hall of Famer Jim Palmer. But the day would belong to Tommy Agee who put on one of the best performances in World Series history. He started out the game putting the Mets on the board with a lead off home run in the bottom of the 1st to put the crowd in a frenzy.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Jerry Grote walked and Bud Harrelson singled. Gary Gentry came up and doubled down the left field line scoring both runners. Gentry had only six hits, one double & one RBI all season in 84 at bats.

Then in the 4th Agee made the first of his two great catches. With runners on the corners, Elrod Hendricks ripped Gentry's pitch to the left center field gap. Agee ran a long way and stuck out his glove, catching the ball backhanded in the webbing for the third out.

In the 6th Ken Boswell singled and scored on Jerry Grotes double giving the Mets a 4-0 lead. In the 7th Agee did it again.With two outs Gary Gentry lost it and walked three straight batters. Gil Hodges seen enough and brought in fire baller Nolan Ryan.

Ryan served up a fastball to Paul Blair that he ripped to right center. Agee got on his horse and made a sliding diving grab saving at least two runs from scoring. The threat, the inning and the game were essentially over.

The crowd of 56,335 gave Agee a standing ovation when he led off the bottom of the seventh. Ed Kranepool added a HR of his own in the 8th inning making it 5-0.

Rookie Gary Gentry went 6.2 inning only allowing 3 hits, but walked five. Nolan struck out 3 batters & allowed 1 hit in 2.1 innings pitched, closing the door. It was the only time Ryan ever pitched in a World Series in his 23 year career.

1986 NLCS Game #5: The Kid's RBI Single Wins It In Extra Innings

October 14th 1986- NLCS Game #5: It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon and I was at work as usual, when my boss Big Dom called me in his office asking if I wanted to go to the game. I said sure, he gave us three tickets and let us go, Me, Paulie & Artie the Welder flew out to Shea Stadium in my burgundy Monte Carlo for Game #5. I had attended Game #4 with Pie as Mike Scott scuffed the ball and shut down the Mets, so I was looking forward to a win.
We arrived a bit late as did most of the crowd due to the rainy start. This ended up being one of t
he best pitched games I ever attended in my life. Two of my all time favs went head to head, Doc Gooden vs. Nolan Ryan. Both pitchers were sensational. Nolan Ryan went nine innings surrendering a 5th inning HR to Daryl Strawberry, it was one of only two hits he gave up while striking out 12 Mets along the way. Gooden went 10 innings, he only allowed one run, on nine hits while striking out four batters.
The game was up to the bullpens. Jesse Orosco was perfect for two innings, striking out two batters. For Houston the chubby guy with a sun glasses & a cheekful of tobacco came on to pitch, he was Charlie Kerfeld. In the bottom of the 13th pesky Wally Backman reached base on an infield hit. He was picked off of 1st base but got to second because Kerfeld threw the ball away. Keith Hernandez was intentionally walked as Gary Carter stepped up to the plate. Carter was in a miserab
le slump, going 1-21 in the Series up to that point. Carter took Kerfelds pitch up the middle for a base hit scoring Backman with the winning run, sending the Mets back to Houston with a three game to two lead. Quite a game, quite an exciting ending.

Oct 11, 2009

2000 NLCS Game #2: Paytons Single in 9th Wins It

October 12th, 2000- NLCS Game #2: After winning the first game it was Al Leiter’s turn in Game two, taking on Rick Ankiel who was a wild pitcher in those days. Ankiel had trouble in the 1st inning, issuing three walks, two wild pitches, a sac fly by Todd Zeile & a double by Benny Agbayani putting the Mets up 2-0. The Cards got two runs off Leiter who pitched seven innings and struck out nine. In the top of the 8th with two outs Timo Perez singled and scored on Eduardo Alfonzo’s single. Mike Piazza was walked & Todd Zeile then singled giving the Mets a two run lead. A lead the bullpen couldn’t hold in the bottom of the 8th. Eight Cardnials came to the plate in the inning. John Franco allowed a walk, a single then threw a wild pitch allowing a run to score. Turk Wendelll came in giving up a game tying double to J.D. Drew.

In the top of the 9th Mike Timlin replaced Daryl Kile for St. Louis. Robin Ventura reached on an error made by third baseman Craig Paquette who had replaced Fernando Tatis earlier in the game. Bobby Valentine went to work managing against Tony Larussa. Then Agbayani laid down a successful bunt, moving Ventura over to second base. Super Joe McEwing was brought in to pinch run, and then Jay Payton singled to center bringing him home what would be the winning run. Armando Benitez closed out the 9th for the save, sending the Mets home with a 2-0 Series lead.