May 8, 2021

Remembering Mets History (1982): Rusty Staub's Walk Off Pinch Hit HR

Sunday May 9th 1982: It was a Mothers Day matinee at Shea, as a small crowd of 15,008 came to see George Bamberger's second place Mets (14-15) take on Frank Robinson's fourth place San Francisco Giants (13-16).

The Mets sent Pete Falcone to the mound against the Giants Alan Fowlkes.

Starting Lineups

In the Mets 3rd inning, Hubbie Brooks doubled to left field & came into score on Ron Gardenhire's base hit. In the 4th inning, Mets catcher Ron Hodges hit his first HR of the season, also his first since April 1982. 

Hodges had been on the Mets roster since 1973 as a back up catcher to Jerry Grote & John Stearns. In 1983 he would finally be the teams main back stop.

In the 5th the Giants hit back to back HRs (Chili Davis & Johnny LeMaster) off Falcone to tie it up.

In the 6th inning, Gary Rajsich singled to right field to start the inning. Then Mets slugger Dave Kingman who was making his second go around with the Mets, hit his eleventh HR of the young season. The two run shot put New York up 4-3.

Pat Zachary, making his first relief appearance since 1980, came in to relieve Falcone but blew a save opportunity in the 8th inning giving up a HR to Tom O'Malley tying the game.

The game would go to the bottom of the 9th inning. The Mets Craig Swan, once one of the teams best pitchers who's career was ruined by injuries, came in to pitch for the Mets. He would earn the victory.

In the bottom of the 9th, with two outs, the Mets sent up veteran fan favorite, Rusty Staub to pinch hit. Staub was currently in a 0-16 slump, he was soon to become one of the best pinch hitters in the game over the next few years.

Staub delivered, giving the Moms in the Mothers Day crowd a special treat, as he hit a walk off, pinch hit HR off Greg Minton. Minton had just gone 269 innings without giving up a HR.

It was Staub's first HR of the season, he would hit three on the year, batting .296 in 132 at bats.

Quotes: Rusty Staub- "You go up there and you know he doesn't give HRs up,'' Staub said of Minton. ''If he makes a mistake, you got a chance to drive the ball into the gap.'' 'Hoping for a double'.

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