Sep 17, 2020

Remembering Mets History: (2006) Mets Clinch NL Eastern Division

Monday September 18, 2006: On this night Shea Stadium  was filled with 46,729 fans to watch the Mets clinch their first NL Eastern Title since 1988. There had been two wild card births  since then but this was special, finally another Divisional Title.

In 2006 the New York Mets took over first place on April 6th, never losing a lead & finished up 12 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Willie Randolph's Mets (91-58) sent Steve Trachsel (14-7) to the mound to face Joe Girardi's Florida Marlins & pitcher Brad Moehler (7-8).

Starting Lineups

Steve Trachsel who at the time was the longest tenured Met, pitched into the 7th inning without giving up any runs, allowing only three hits, walking just one & striking out three Marlins. He earned his 15th win of the year (15-7). 

Relievers Guillermo Mota & Aaron Heilman(8th inning) led the way to closer; Billy Wagner who finished it out with a perfect 9th inning. 

The Marlins, Josh Willingham flew out to left fielder; Cliff Floyd for the final out & the Mets celebrated in victory.

Quotes: "I got that ball in my back pocket. For a small fee, I might give it up," Floyd said, laughing.

In the Mets 3rd inning, Shawn Green was hit by a pitch, then that night's hitting star; Jose Valentin hit a two run HR making it 2-0. Valentin homered again in the 5th inning, a solo shot making it 3-0 New York, as the fans went wild. It was Valentin's 16th & 17th HRs of the year.

In 2006 the 36 year old Jose Valentin was the Mets primary second baseman hitting 18 HRs with 24 doubles, 62 RBIs & a .271 batting average.

In the 6th inning, Cliff Floyd singled to right field, bringing in Carlos Beltran with the final run.

In the joyful Mets clubhouse the team celebrated with cigars & champagne. The lockers were covered so none of the fancy clothes get wet & the players wore goggles to protect their eyes from the burn of the bubbly.

Back on the field after the game, the two young faces of the franchise; David Wright & Jose Reyes celebrated & posed for the press in celebration.

Remembering Mets History: (1972) Dyer's Walk Off Single Seals Matlack's ROY Award

Monday September 18th, 1972: Yogi Berra's Mets were 73-67 in third place 15 games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. On this night 15,622 came to Shea to see the Mets host the Pirates.

It was a good pitching match up, as the Mets sent that years Rookie of the Year; Jon Matlack (12-9) to the hill against Nelson Briles (14-7). The game certainly stood up to the billing as both pitchers were on their game.

Matlack would scatter just five hits along the way, striking out six Pirates allowing three walks. Briles had allowed five hits & two walks along the way, striking out seven Mets. Both pitchers kept their shut outs into the 9th inning.

Matlack got the first two outs of the inning, but then gave up back to back singles to Richie Hebner & Bob Roberstson. Matlack then got the weak hitting Gene Alley to pop out.

In the bottom of the 9th, Rusty Staub led off with a base hit. Cleon Jones sacraficed Staub over to second. Ed Kranepool then was walked intentionally. The Mets catcher Duffy Dyer came to the plate. Dyer had already had a fine week and a half, he had driven in five runs in his last seven games, including three in a 4-2 win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Dyer would continue that week & overall drive in runs in seven of ten games. For a brief period in this season, Manager Yogi Berra had  named Dyer the teams main catcher over Jerry Grote.

In heroic fashion, Dyer delivered with a single to left field scoring Staub. The game may have not meant anything in the standings but it was one of the most exciting wins in the month or even the year for the Mets. This game sealed Matlack as the Rookie of the Year winner as well, & showed the Pirates who had just win third straight NL East title that the Mets were coming in 1973. The Mets would win the 1969 & 1973 NL East titles breaking up the Pirates stretch, that would last until 1976.

Randy Myers: 1988 NL Eastern Champion Mets Reliever (1988-1989)

Randall Kirk Myers was born September 19th 1962 in Vancouver Washington. The tall six foot one left hander was drafted after high school by the New York Mets as a first round pick (9th overall) in 1982.

By 1988 Myers would become the Mets main closer saving 26 games (7th most in the NL) to Roger McDowell’s 16 saves. In April he saved four games, and had a better May with four more saves plus two wins, lowering his ERA to 1.10. By the All Star break he was 5-0 & had 13 saves with a 1.35 ERA.

He rolled along during the pennant race with nine saves from August 23rd to the end of the season, gathering up 19 strike outs in 16 innings, earning two more wins. He closed out the Mets NL Eastern championship year at 7-3 with a 1.72 ERA, 26 saves & 69 strike outs in 68 innings over 55 appearances.

Post Season 1988 NLCS: In the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers he was the winning pitcher in Game #1 in Los Angeles, as the Mets scored three times in the ninth inning on doubles by Daryl Strawberry & Gary Carter.

In Game #3 at Shea Myers got another win, as the Mets scored five times in the 8th inning. He went 2-0 overall in the series without any strike outs in 4.2 innings of work. 

In 1989 Myers began the year with a save & a blown save resulting in a loss on April 11th at Pittsburgh. From there he would win five straight decisions & have eight saves by mid June. 

On June 21st he saved his ninth game, then over the next two months he would save 12 more games while only blowing one save, maintaining a 1.67 ERA. 

His September faded away just like the Mets season, as he earned just two saves. The Mets finished second that year to the Chicago Cubs. That December he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds so the Mets could get native New Yorker John Franco to be the teams closer.

In 1990 he joined Reds relievers; Rob Dibble & Norm Charlton to form the “Nasty Boys trio” who were instrumental in the Reds surprising World Championship. 

Myers saved 31 games (second to Franco in the NL) going 4-6 with 98 strike outs in86 innings, finishing 59 games in 66 appearances. 

He came in fifth in the Cy Young voting & 17th in the MVP voting. Dibble saved 11 with 17 holds & a 1.74 ERA. Both relievers made the All Star team. Charlton was the other set up man with two saves.

Post Season- 1990 NLCS: In the NLCS over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Myers saved three games, with seven strike outs in 5.2 innings. He & Dibble shared co-MVP honors.

1990 World Series: In the World Series Lou Pinella’s Reds shocked everyone with a series sweep over the mighty Oakland Athletics. 

In the Series the Nasty Boys pitched eight & two thirds scoreless innings allowing six hits overall. Dibble was the winning pitcher in Game #2. Myers earned the save in the final Game #4 in relief of Jose Rijo in the 2-1 win at Oakland. 

That year he & fellow reds team mates appeared on a Wheaties box.

In 1991 Dibble became the Reds main closer (31 saves) as Myers went 6-13 with eight holds & a 3.55 ERA. With Dibble as teams closer, Meyers was traded to the San Diego Padres where he save 38 more games (second in the NL to Lee Smith). 

In 1993 he signed a three year deal with the Chicago Cubs replacing Smith as the closer. In those three years he led the league in saves in both 1993 & 1995.

He would go to the Baltimore Orioles in 1996 & lead the league in saves in 1997 with (45). 

1997 ALCS: He made the post season both years in Baltimore getting all the way to the ALCS with his old manager from the New York Mets Davey Johnson, both years. He was the losing pitcher in Game #1 after serving up a walk off HR to Bernie Williams. The game only went to extra innings because umpire Rich Garcia called a HR on a ball that a fan had clearly interfered with.

In 1998 he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays having his last good season, saving 28 more games. Late in the season he was traded to the San Diego Padres to serve as set up man for Trevor Hoffman for the stretch run & the post season. 

1998 Post Season: He had a terrible NLCS allowing three runs to the Atlanta Braves in four games for a 13.50 ERA.

In the World Series he posted an ERA of 9.00 in three appearances. That season the Padres placed a waiver claim on him because they didn’t want him to go to the Braves, expecting the Blue Jays to claim him. They didn’t & Padres had to pay the remainder of his contract.

Retirement: At the time of his retirement Myers was 7th all time in saves, he is now 12th all time with 347. In 728 games he had 884 strike outs with 396 walks in 884 innings pitched with 548 games finished (30th all time).

Remembering Mets History (1975): Rusty Staub Becomes First Met To Drive in 100 Runs

Thursday September 18th 1975: The Mets now being managed by interim skipper Roy McMillan after the firing of Yogi Berra were in fourth place (78-75) nine & half games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

On this night they hosted the Chicago Cubs (73-81) behind the Mets in the standings. A small crowd of 6,336 came out to Shea Stadium on this night to see Hank Webb take on Donnie Moore.

Hank Webb didn't get out of the 1st inning, giving up two lead off walks & then a double to Jerry Morales & a single to Jose Cardenal. Randy Tate relieved him & Manny Trillo brought in the fourth Cub run.

In the home 3rd, Del Unser doubled & was brought in by Felix Millan. It was in the home 5th, the Mets had a new record.

With Felix Millan on first after a base hit, Rusty Staub stepped in & blasted a HR over the Shea fence.

 It was his 18th HR of the year, but more importantly his 99th & 100th RBIs. This made Staub the first Mets player in team history to drive in 100 runs. He would drive in 105 runs on the year total, fourth most in the NL. Not until 1986 would a Mets player drive in 100 runs again, that year Gary Carter tied Staub's record.

The Cubs would get another run in the 8th but in the bottom of the inning, Dave Kingman doubled & was brought in by Jesus Alou. Joe Torre then tripled to tie the game up at five.

In the bottom of the 9th, with two outs Rusty Staub collected his third hit of the night. Then in dramatic walk off fashion, Dave Kingman hit his 35th HR of the year. He would come in second to Mike Schmidt in the NL with 36 HRs on the year. That was also a Mets team record at the time.

Trivia: Rusty was known for wearing two black batting gloves at the plate,  he was one of the few players in those days to wear batting gloves.

Sep 16, 2020

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Mets Clinch NL Eastern Title

Wednesday September 17th, 1986: The 1986 Mets had been in first place all season long. They ran away with the division back in the summer & magic number countdowns to the clinching of the NL East began in August.

 On this night they had a 19 game lead over the second place; Philadelphia Phillies. It seemed kind of funny, but us fans were actually happy that the Mets got swept in a weekend series at Philadelphia, then split a two game series in St. Louis, putting them on a streak of six losses in eight games. 

All it meant was that they would have the chance to clinch the NL East title at home in Shea Stadium. I got my ticket & centerfieldmaz was on hand with 47,823 crazy, excited Mets fans.

How fitting Dwight Gooden (14-6) was on the mound that night to face Gene Michael's Chicago Cubs & starting pitcher; Dennis Eckersley (6-9).

Starting Lineups

Doctor K went on to have a good night, going the distance, pitching his 12th complete game of the season, while earning his 15th win (15-6). Gooden allowed two runs on six hits while striking out eight & walking five.

 In the Mets 3rd, Len Dykstra & Wally Backman both singled. Then rookie Dave Magadan, who was making his first MLB start (his third game overall) singled bringing in the first run of the night. Magadan was playing for an injured Keith Hernandez.

Daryl Strawberry followed, with an RBI single of his own making it 2-0 in a very loud Shea Stadium. 

In the 5th inning the crowd roared again, Dykstra doubled & Wally Backman reached on an error. Next rookie Dave Magadan singled home Dykstra making it a 3-0 Mets lead. 

In the 7th Magadan got his third hit of the night, then gave way to pinch runner Stanley Jefferson. He would come home on Strawberry's base hit, for his second RBI of the night. That was all Gooden & the Mets needed for the 4-2 win.

The Cubs scored their only runs in the 8th inning, on a two run HR by Rafael Palmeiro.

Keith Hernandez, who was out of the line up due to injury begged Davey Johnson to put him on the field for the final outs of the 9th inning. The Manager agreed.

In the 9th, Gooden who may have appeared to be tiring, walked Jody Davis. The fans were on their feet awaiting the clinching, and were ready to storm the field. The walk just seemed to prolong things.

Next Shawon Dunston grounded into a force for the first out. Then Jerry Mumphrey struck out looking. The crowd erupted & the anticipation grew even more.

Then, Chicago's Chico Walker grounded to Wally Backman, he threw to Keith Hernandez at first base and the Mets clinched their third NL Eastern title. Gooden jumped for joy & was greeted by is team mates. Then they ran for safety.

The fans went wild. In a flashback of 1969 & 1973 they stormed the field. It was a wild scene once again, as they tore up the infield. 

from centerfield: I was in the upper deck & made my way down the ramps to the infield seats. There was a cop trying to coral people trying to get by him. I waited for him to grab some one & ran around him. I remember the feeling I had when I jumped onto the field; it was like "This is where They play". 

I ripped up some grass & milled about with all the happy Mets fans. We were all escorted out through the center field gates into the parking lot. On my way out I got my piece of infield grass & a piece of the original wooden, center field wall. Quite a souvenir, I may not be able to prove it's authenticity but I know what it is!

It was to be the last time in Shea Stadium history that the fans would storm the field. As after this game, the NYPD got involved, with mounted police, making sure no damage would ever occur on a baseball field in New York City.