Remembering Mets History (1988) Mets Come Back To Win As Pete Rose Bumps Umpire

Saturday April 30th, 1988:
Davey Johnson's New York Mets (15-6) were off to a good start, on their way to their 1988 NL Eastern title. On this wild night they came to Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, always am interesting place for the Mets, to face Pete Rose's Reds (11-11).
33,346 fans would certainly make their presence known tonight, in what would be an ugly situation before it was all over. 

The Mets sent Bobby Ojeda to the mound, against the Reds Tom Browning. It turned out to be an infamous game that tarnished an umpire's career & added more drama to a Player/Manager's legacy.

Things started out quietly, the Mets got a run in the 2nd, on Gary Carter's sac fly & the Red answered in the bottom of the inning, with an RBI single from Barry Larkin. 

In the top of the 4th, Tim Teufel singled & moved along the bases, scoring on Kevin McReynold's two out single. The Reds tied it up, but in the top of the 6th, Darryl Strawberry blasted a two run HR making it 4-2 Mets.

In the 7th inning, Mookie Wilson hit a two out triple. Things began to get weird, Tom Browning was called for a balk & Wilson came home with the Mets fifth run. 5-2 New York.

By the 8th inning, the Mets had Roger McDowell on the mound. He issued a lead off walk & then a base hit to Larkin, and then a one walk to load the bases. Nick Esasky singled, knocking out McDowell in favor of Randy Meyers. Tracy Jones then singled off Meyers to tie the game at five.

The crazy 9th inning began, in what was to be an inning remembered forever. The Reds reliever & future Met captain, John Franco started the inning by walking Howard Johnson. Kevin Elster sacrificed him over to second. After Barry Lyons struck out, Mookie Wilson stepped in. Mookie always seemed to be in the center of attention or in the eye of the hurricane in those days.

He hit a bouncer to short, Barry Larking took the hop & threw tp first base, pulling Nick Esasky off the base.First base umpire, Dave Pallone, delayed his safe call. With the delay, Howard Johnson scored what turned out to be the games winning run & the Reds went nuts. 

Reds Manager, Pete Rose came running out of the dugout to argue the late call. Things quickly got heated, Rose raised his arms & pointed his finger at Pallone. Pallone pointed back, possibly mimicking Rose. Rose went nuts & bumped the umpire forcefully. His team mates & coaches held him back from who knows what, as the fiery tempered Rose was all revved up.

Rose was immediately ejected from the game. Rose claimed that Pallone poked him with his finger, Pallone denied the charge. As calm was staring to get restored, the Reds fans showered the field with any kind of debris they could find. 

Umpire Dave Pallone was removed from the field for his safety. It was an ugly scene for the city & fans of Cincinnati. Play was delayed as the field was cleaned up. 

The Mets went on to a 6-5 win, as Randy Myers retired the Reds in order in the bottom of the 9th, after allowing a leadoff single.

In the aftermath, Rose was fined $10,000 & suspended a month. Dave Pallone, who had a controversial history as an umpire was forced to resign at the end of the season. 

Trivia: In 1985, Dave Pallone had been the home plate umpire when Pete Rose tied Ty Cobb for the all-time MLB record for hits.

Dave Pallone had, had a bad history with the Reds. He admitted to having an ongoing feud with shortstop Dave Concepcion, since 1983. Pallone later admitted he would even try to block Concepcion's view while at his position on the field. In another incident the umpire ejected Concepcion for arguing a strike call, that he later admitted he had missed the pitch.  

On another bade note, Pallone was also accused of once threatening pitcher, Jeff Reardon. 

Pallone admitted having outstanding gambling debts in his past but was never accused of gambling on baseball. His ratings as an umpire were usually among the league's lowest. 

Years later, he came out publicly, as being MLB's first gay umpire. He now teaches diversity courses to business & sports companies.

Pete Rose of course has his own controversies outside of this incident, the all-time hit leader is still banned from being inducted into the Hall Of Fame because of his gambling issues.


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