Remembering Mets History (1996) Mets Have Their Biggest Opening Day Comeback
Monday April 1st, 1996: It was Opening Day at Shea, as 42,060 Mets fans came to Shea hoping for a good season.
The '1995 Mets had finished second in the NL East, but with a 69-75 record. Dallas Green would start out the season as Mets manager, but after going 59-72 was let go & Bobby Valentine began his successful run as Mets manager.
On this Opening Day at Shea, Bobby Jones took the mound for the Mets, as they hosted Tony LaRussa's St Louis Cardinals. Andy Benes got the start for St. Louis.
After the 7th inning stretch, the Mets had one of the best Opening Day comebacks in team history. They would score four runs with five hits off Cardinal relievers- Rick Honeycutt, Cory Bailey & Tony Fossas.
After Todd Hundley grounded out, Jose Vizcaino & Rey Ordonez both singled off Rick Honeycutt. Then Chris Jones delivered an RBI base hit up the middle off Cory Bailey. Bailey faced just one batter as Tony Fossas was brought in to pitch.
Lance Johnson, who would set a Mets single season record with 227 hits that season, hit a little roller to third base, Ordonez scored to make it 6-5 & Johnson reached safely with a base hit. Bernard Gilkey then tied the game with a base hit scoring Chris Jones.
With Lance Johnson now on third base, Rico Brogna hit a sac fly to short right field bringing in Johnson giving the Mets a 7-6 lead.
But on the play, Bernard Gilkey was thrown out at second base, ending the inning.
Mets reliever, Doug Henry held the Cardinals down in the 8th inning. Then John Franco notched his first save of the year as the Mets took the opening day victory.1996 Mets: The Mets would finish fourth in 1996, with a 71-91 record. Dallas Green would be fired & Bobby Valentine would take over to start a winning era. That season there were some team milestones made as well.
That year (although the stat didn't exist at that time) Bernard Gilkey put up the Mets third best WAR at 8.1. Gilkey hit 30 HRs & drove in 117 runs (the fifth best single RBI season in team history).