May 28, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1990) Bud Harrelson Takes Over As Mets Manager Replacing Davey Johnson

May 29th 1990: Things were starting to boil up early on in the Mets 1990 season, especially when they  kept losing. This was a team who was favored to win the National League & the World Series almost every year from 1985 to 1990. The Mets won it all in 1986 but were second place bridesmaids & never again the bride. In a day & age with no wild card winner, they just went home to long winters.

The 1987 Mets had won 92 games but finished three games behind St. Louis. The 1988 squad won the NL East but were upset by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. In 1989 the team won 87 games, their lowest total of wins since 1983 & finished second behind the Chicago Cubs.

At this point in 1990 the Mets were 22-20 & fell to fourth place. Davey Johnson was being criticized for not being a disciplinarian to the wild bunch. He was accused of not being able to motivate the team as he once did when they were younger & hungrier.

Quotes: GM Frank Cashen- ''I felt our ball club was underachieving, the time came to head in a new direction. I talked to the team about underachieving and having fire in the belly. I want this team to focus on winning because winning is what it is all about.''

Johnson was the games winningest manager over the past six seasons & had the most wins of any Mets manager in Mets history 595-417 with the best winning percentage as well (.588%).

Many of the 1986 Champions were gone with just Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson & Tim Tuefel left in the line up. But the Mets pitching staff was still one of the games best with most of the '86 cast still on the team. Frank Viola  would win twenty games in 1990 (20-12), Dwight Gooden (19-7) & David Cone (14-10). Ron Darling (7-9) & Sid Fernandez (9-14) both were struggling. John Franco was the teams solid closer (33 saves). Bob Ojeda (7-6) was pitching out of the pen as well as making 12 starts.

Mets third base coach, Bud Harrelson was named the 12th Manger in Mets history, replacing Johnson. Johnson had played for the Mets as one of the games best defensive short stops, winning a World Series with them in 1969 & a pennant in 1973. After his playing days he was the Mets third base coach & a face of the organization's history.

Ron Darling had had his differences with Manager Davey Johnson & was always outspoken about it. ''The rules have been there, what Buddy is going to do is what the government would call a strict interpretation of the rules. I think he is really going to hold to curfew. There will be no more golf and no more playing cards. There will be a tightening of the reins. On the field. Off the field. We all had our differences with him, but we all respected him. I feel us not playing well let him down. He gave us room to succeed and we didn't do it. Everywhere.'' ''Buddy was always the guy you went to when you had a problem, I hope he doesn't change that.''

Frank Viola: ''It got to the point where something had to happen,' I hate to say it but things had gotten a little stale around here.''
Dwight Gooden: "If you're not playing well, you can't take four or five guys and trade them.''The manager has to go.''

Bud Harrelson: ''I really feel in my heart that this ball club will be fired up. As a player, I was embarrassed that I had something to do with a manager getting fired. A manager gets fired because you haven't performed up to expectations.'' ''I don't think the players are surprised it happened, some players probably don't think I can do the job. That's their problem.''

The 1990 Mets won 91 games but finished second once again, it was their last winning season for the next seven years in 1997.

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