Remembering Mets History: (1976) Reserve Infielder Mike Phillips Hits For the Cycle

Friday June 25th
, 1976:
Manager Joe Frazier's New York Mets were in third place (35-37) going up against Jim Marshall's fourth place Chicago Cubs (30-38). 

It was a usual matinee at Wrigley Field in front of a crowd of 11,280. The Mets Jon Matlack (8-2) went up against Chicago's Ray Burris (3-9).

The Cubs biggest nemesis that day, was a Mets utility infielder named Mike Phillips, who was filling in playing at short stop for the injured Bud Harrelson. 

Mike Phillips spent part of 1975 with the Mets after being picked up on waivers from the San Francisco Giants. He would remain with New York for the entire bicentennial year & midway through 1977. 
On this afternoon he no doubt had his best day,

 Trivia: In 1976, Phillips was just the third Mets player to hit for the cycle. The last to do it was Tommie Agee six years earlier. It would be nine more years until Keith Hernandez did it in 1985.

The Cubs pitcher, Ray Burris struck out
leadoff man, Mike Phillips to start the game. In his next at bat, in the 3rd inning, Phillips doubled down the right field line. 
He was erased on Felix Millan's fielder's choice. 

Leading off the top of the 5th, Phillips tripled with a liner out to right field. He scored two batters later, when second baseman Many Trillo made a fielding error on John Milner's grounder.

In the 7th inning, with Jon Matlack on first base, Phillips hit a two run HR off Burris, putting the Mets up 6-3. 

It was his first of the year & just the fifth HR in his career. Phillips would hit a total of eleven HRs in 1719 at bats over eleven seasons. 

In the 9th inning, Phillips only had the easy hit to go, if he could collect four hits in a game. And, yes he completed the cycle with a single off Mike Garman. 

Phillips went 4 for 5 on the day, hitting his first HR & first triple of the year. The double was his third. He scored two runs & was now batting .237.

The Mets won the game 7-4, back in the 3rd inning Dave Kingman hit his league leading; 24th HR of the year, a three-run blast. Overall Kingman drove in four runs on the day. Ed Kranepool had three hits & was batting .290 for the season. 

Jon Matlack threw a complete game victory, allowing four runs, on nine hits, while striking out six. He was now 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA. He would finish the year with 17 wins (7th in the NL) 16 complete games (3rd in the NL) a 2.95 ERA (10th in the NL) & a league leading six shutouts.


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