Remembering Mets History: (1994) John Franco Sets All Time Save Mark For Lefties

Wednesday June 22nd, 1994:
Dallas Green's New York Mets (33-38) came to Atlanta to face Bobby Cox's Braves (45-24).

In a little over two months, the baseball strike would end the season early & no post season would be played. It was a sad time for baseball fans. The Mets would finish third in the NL East at 55-58. The Braves would finish second 68-46 to the Montreal Expos 74-40 who had the best record in baseball.

A large Georgia crowd of 47,907 were on hand to see the Mets Pete Smith (3-7) go up against Cy Young Award Pitcher; Greg Maddox (10-2).

The Braves struck Smith first as Roberto Kelly & Jeff Blauser hit back to back HRs in the Atlanta home 1st inning to start the game off Pete Smith.

 In the top of the 2nd, Jeff Kent doubled for the Mets & Ryan Thompson then singled him in with a two out base hit, making it 2-1 Braves.

The game stayed that way until the 8th inning, after both pitchers had settled in & dueled it out. Pete Smith holding his own against the Hall o Famer Maddox.

Todd Hundley & Ryan Thompson started off the 8th with base hits. Shawn Hare who play in just 22 games with Mets, all in 1994, pinch hit & delivered with an RBI single to tie the game. Hare had nine hits in 40 Mets at bats.

A Young Fernando Vina attempted a sac bunt & reached safely on an error. The Braves third baseman Bill Pecota threw wild to Fred McGriff at first. 

Shawn Hare
Both Ryan Thompson & Shawn Hare scored putting the Mets up 4-2. With Vina on third, Jose
Vizcaiano hit a sac fly making it a 5-2 Mets lead.

The Mets pitcher, Mauro Gozzo pitched a scoreless 8th inning holding the save op. for Franco. In the 9th John Franco came on to close it out & secure himself a spot in MLB history. Franco got Javey Lopez to line out for the first out. Bill Pecota then flew out to left field. Mark Lemke then flew out to right field to end the game.

With this save, Franco's 253rd of his career & his 17th of the season, John Franco became the all time saves leader for left handed pitchers.

Franco would go on to lead the NL with 30 saves that season.

He ended his career with 1,119 appearances, third most all time. He has 424 saves, placing him fourth on the all-time list & is still first among left-handers.

In 14 years with the Mets (1990-2004) Franco saved 276 games for New York, first on the Mets all time list. Franco became Mets team Captain & was elected to the clubs Hall of Fame.


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