Remembering Mets History: (1997) Dave Mlicki Shines In First Ever Regular Season Subway Series Game

Monday June 16th 1997:
This was a historic day for New York baseball history, as for the first time the two New York baseball clubs would meet in regular season play.

There was excitement in the air for many fans, but there were also baseball purists who rather not see the berth of interleague play. There was incredible media hype, way more over the top than the usual New York over exposure. It was something everyone had an opinion on & something everyone could debate.
But on this night 56,188 came to the Bronx to see Joe Torre's second place AL New York club (37-30) host Bobby Valentines fourth place Mets (37-30).

Andy Pettitte (8-3) took the mound & threw the first pitch to Lance Johnson & the regular season
subway series era was under way.

With all the New York glitz, the high profile managers & all the All Stars the AL team had to show case, it was a quiet no named pitcher who stole the show, securing his spot in Mets as well as New York baseball history.

 Dave Mlicki (2-5) went about his business & threw a complete game shut out, scattering nine hits with two walks, while striking out eight. 

Mlicki allowed a lead off hit to Derek Jeter but retired the next three batters in a row. 
In the 2nd inning, he retired the side in order. It would be the only inning he didn't allow a base runner. 
In the 3rd, Joe Girardi doubled but then Mlicki struck out Jeter & Pat Kelly.

In the 4th, Cecil Fielder doubled with one out, but Tino Martinez & grounded out & Charlie Hayes lined out to Carlos Baerga. Mlicki allowed harmless singled in the next two innings.

In the 8th inning, it was the first time he allowed more than one base runner in an inning, with singles to Pat Kelly & Paul O'Neill. Mlicki then got Cecil Fielder to ground out weakly & Tino Martinez to fly out to center.

In the 9th, Mlicki had his roughest inning, Charlie Hayes led off with a single but was thrown out at second base by Bernard Gilkey, as he was trying to stretch it to a double.

Mark Whiten then singled, Chad Curtis grounded out for out #2, but Joe Girardi the singled up the middle to put two on. 

Mets Manager Bobby Valentine stuck with Mlicki & he would strike out Derek Jeter looking for the third out & final out of the game sealing the shut out victory.

Quotes: Mlicki remembers striking out Jeter for the final out on that big night "like it was yesterday. I remember the excitement in the Stadium, all the Met fans chanting, ‘Let's go, Mets' in the A.L. New York teams Stadium. I thought that was really cool."

The Mets gave Mlicki run support early on. In the 1st inning Bernard Gilkey doubled & John Olerud followed with another double making it 1-0. 

Todd Hundley drew a walk & then Butch Huskey singled bringing in Jon Olerud with the Mets second run. Carl Everett then stepped in & Bobby Valentine put on a double steal.

Huskey took off for second & Hundley came running down the line from third stealing home plate safely. It was an exciting 3-0 lead for the Mets. Half the crowd were Mets fans & they were loving it cheering loudly in that other New York ballpark.

In the Mets 7th, with the Mets holding the 3-0 lead, Matt Franco & Luis Lopez both singled . Next Pettitte walked Bernard Gilkey to load up the bases. 

The fine hitter, John Olerud came through once again, with a base hit bringing in Franco & Lopez with two more Mets runs, making it 5-0 Mets. The Mets fans now cheered even louder in the Bronx & all over New York.

In the 9th, the Mets added their sixth run when Matt Franco led off with a base hit off reliever Graeme Lloyd. Luis Lopez reached on an error by Tino Martinez at first. Lance Johnson grounded into a force advancing Franco. Bernard Gilkey then hit a sac fly off to right, scoring Franco with the sixth Mets run.

Trivia: Dave Mlicki would pitch four seasons with the Mets going 66-80 with a 4.72 ERA. His best performance as a Met was that night in the first subway series game. He still gets a lot of e-mails, face book traffic, phone calls & mail about that night, especially around the time of year the subway series is played.

Quotes: Mlicki told the Daily News in 2009: "I remember the day after, my wife Annie and I were out to breakfast at a diner and people were talking about the game and no one had any idea I was sitting there. It's what people want to talk about."


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