Aug 27, 2016

Remembering Mets History: Regular Season Walk Off Grand Slam HRs

centerfieldmaz looks back on Mets regular season walk off grand slams of the past:

1963: On Wednesday June 26th 1963, Tim Harkness hit the first walk off grand slam HR in Mets history. The game was in the 14th inning at the old Polo Grounds in New York. Galen Cisco had just gave up a two run inside the Park HR to the Chicago Cubs future Hall of Famer; Billy Williams. With the Mets now down 6-4 in the home 14th, Jim Hickman & Ron Hunt both singled, but Hickman was thrown out trying to go to third base.

Next the wacky Jimmy Piersall  drew a walk but slugger Frank Thomas flew out for the second out. Pitcher Jim Brewer was brought in & gave up a walk to Sammy Taylor to load them up. Harkness stepped in & hit a HR down the right field line, to win the game.

It was Harkness' 7th HR of the year & thrilled who ever was left of the 8183 fans in attendance. Tim Harkness would only play two seasons with the Mets (four in the majors). In 1963 he saw the most playing time (123 games) batting just .211 with 10 HRs & 41 RBIs.

1963: Six weeks later, on Friday night August 9th 1963, Jim Hickman hit the second walk off Mets grand slam. The game was in the Polo Grounds against the Chicago Cubs & tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 9th. The Cubs'; Paul Toth was still on the mound after making the start, nine innings earlier.

With one out Jim Hicks singled, Cho Cho Coleman struckout & the Mets were down to the last out. But Al Moran doubled, putting two men on. Cubs manager Bob Kennedy brought in Lindy McDaniel to close it out.

The Cubs remembered what Tim Harkness had done to them a little over six weeks ago & weren't going to let it happen again. They gave him a free pass to first, bringing up Hickman with the bases loaded. Hickman blasted the grand slam & the Mets had a 7-3 win for the 11,566 fans in attendance. Jim Hickman led the Mets in HRs in 1963 with 17 & was second in RBIs with 51 batting just .229.

1980: It took another 17 years, before the Mets had another walk off HR. On June 11th, 1980 the Mets hosted the L.A. Dodgers in front of 23,540 fans at Shea Stadium. Craig Swan had gone the entire way for New York, allowing late HRs to Dusty Baker & Steve Garvey tying up the game.

The game now in the bottom of the 10th inning & Rick Sutcliffe was the Dodger pitcher. Mets infielder; Doug Flynn lead off with a base hit & stole second. With one out, Lee Mazzilli was walked intentionally to get to Frank Taveras, who struck out. With two outs, Steve Henderson also drew a walk, to load up the bases.

Mike Jorgensen who was on his second go around as a Met, won the game with a walk off grand slam. Jorgensen was a local boy, born in New Jersey but moved to Queens, attended Francis Lewis high school & St. Johns University.

He was a Mets reserve player in 1968, 1970-1971 then moved on to a good career in Montreal. He returned to the Mets from 1980-1983. In 1980 he hit seven HRs & batted .255 in 119 games.

1986: Six years later, on Tuesday June 10th 1986, Tim Teufel hit the next walk off granny, coming in front of 27,472 fans against the Philadelphia Phillies in Shea Stadium.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, the Mets & Phils were tied up at 4-4, as Randy Lerch gave up a lead off single to Ray Knight. After Rafael Santana grounded out, pinch hitter Barry Lyons was walked as was Lenny Dykstra. Wally Backman was scheduled to hit but as Tom Hume was brought in relief, Tim Teufel got the pinch hit assignment.

In classic 1986 Mets dramatic fashion, Teufel hit the first Mets pinch hit, grand slam in team history for the 8-4 win . Teufel was in his first year with the Mets in 1986, sharing time at second behind Wally Backman. He would hit just four HRs all year (279 at bats) & hit .247. The following season he hit a career high 14 HRs (matching his total in 1984 with  Minnesota).

Trivia: Teufel was the Mets third base coach in 2014 & congratulated Ike Davis on his walk off blast as he rounded third.

1991: On Tuesday, June 25th 1991, it was the quiet Kevin McReynolds who hit the next walk off grand slam. 28,809 fans came out to see the Mets face the Montreal Expos. Many left as the Mets trailed 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Veteran Gary Templeton led off with a base hit & Keith Miller was brought inn to pinch run. He was quickly picked off, but an error made him safe. Tom Herr struck out , but Daryl Boston drew a walk & a pitching change was made, Scott Ruskin in for Barry Jones.

With Dave Magadan up, Manager Bud Harrelson called for a double steal, which was successful. Magadan was walked & up came McReynolds who took the ball over the center field wall for the game winner, 8-5 New York.

McReynolds was in his fifth season as a Met, hitting 16 HRs with 74 RBIs & a .259 average. He had hit twenty or more HRs with 80 plus RBIs the four previous years. He was a good player who never got the recognition he deserved, a true quiet professional going about his business. He returned briefly in 1994 (51games) ending his career.

2013: It was another 22 years before Jordany Valdespin did it last season against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On April 24th 2013 the Mets were in a 3-3 deadlock with L.A. going into the tenth inning. W

ith Josh Wall on the mound, John Buck singled & Ike Davis walked. Marlon Byrd sacrificed & Lucas Duda was walked intentionally. Valdespin delivered with a walk off grand slam, for a 7-3 Mets win, in front of 24,130 fans at Citi Field.

The fired up Valdespin showed a lot of emotion & this would eventually hurt him since he did not produce long enough stay in the big leagues.

He had moderate success in 2012 & had a good start in 2013. But he was sent down that June & finished up batting .188 with 4 HRs 8 steals & 16 RBIs in 66 games.

2014: On Saturday afternoon April 5th 2014, Ike Davis delivered with a walk off pinch hit grand slam leading the Mets to a 6-3 win over JJ Hoover & the Cincinnati Reds. It was the last hurrah for Ike as a New York Met. After Dillon Gee had pitched a fine game, he served up a two run 8th inning HR to Brandon Phillips putting the Reds ahead 3-2.

In the bottom of the 9th, Juan Lagares walked & was moved over on a successful bunt hit by Anthony Recker. At first Lagares was called out at second but Terry Collins challenged the call, & the new replay review showed he was safe. The call was over turned to safe & the rally continued. Ruben Tejada then walked setting the stage for Ike.

The Mets had tried to shop Davis all winter but there were no takers for the asking price. Just that week he was told Lucas Duda won the first base job & he would be a role player.

Duda had just hit two HRs the night before, leading to the Mets first win. But on this day Ike pleased the 25,424 fans at Citi Field with his walk off grand slam blast.

It was the seventh walk off grand slam in team history, the second pinch hit grand slam & it came the earliest in any season.

Note: The grand daddy of Mets walk off grand slams was Robin Ventura's walk off "grand slam single" in the 1999 NLCS. It was officially ruled a single as Todd Pratt never rounded the bases after the winning run had crossed the plate.

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