Tuesday June 21st 1977: It was less than a week after Tom Seaver had been traded away & the Mets were in last place. Everything about the Mets seemed dismal. Joe Torre's Mets (29-37) were already 13 1/2 games out & hosted the last place Western Division Atlanta Braves (23-44).
The Mets sent Jon Matlack to the mound against Andy Messersmith, who's best days were behind him after being one of the games top pitchers. In the 1st, the Braves Willie Montanez hit a solo HR. The Mets got a run back when Messersmith threw a wild pitch allowing Bud Harrelson to score.
Both pitchers settled in to pitch well, Matlack 8 innings, two runs on five hits with seven strike outs & Messersmith was entering the 9th inning looking for a complete game.
But the long time Mets veteran; Eddie Karanepool blasted a lead off HR to tie the game. From there the game stayed tied into the bottom of the 11th inning. The Mets had left the bases loaded in the 10th as reliever Don Collins issued three walks. He came on in the 11th & gave up a double to John Stearns, then intentionally walking Felix Millan.
Up came the newest Met; young Steve Henderson. Henderson had come over highly touted as a future superstar in the Tom Seaver deal. In just his fourth game he added some excitement to a dark period in Mets history. Henderson hit a three run walk off HR giving who ever was left of the 10,613 fans at Shea a huge thrill.
The Mets won it 5-2 as reliever Rick Baldwin got the win. For at least one day Steve Henderson was a hero & some of the pressure was lifted off him.
In his rookie year Henderson hit 12 HRs with 16 doubles & 65 RBIs batting .295 in 99 games.