Skip to main content

Dyer Straits for No-No Nolan

The walk-off time machine takes us back 34 amazing years to June 20, 1971 and our focus is again on Father's Day, but more specifically, Game 1 of a doubleheader between the Mets and Phillies at Shea Stadium.

The two teams were coming off a 15-inning marathon, the day before, in which the Mets won in walk-off fashion (we'll tell the tale of that game eventually), so manager Gil Hodges needed to figure out how to get through this day without overtaxing his bullpen any more than it already had been.

The problem for Hodges was that he had his most inconsistent pitcher on the mound, a flamethrower from Texas who had struck out 16 Padres less than a month prior, but who also had a three-start stretch early in the season in which he walked 22 batters in 23 innings, and had dropped his last three decisions. This was the kind of pitcher who would load the bases, then strike out the side, as he did in the first inning on of this game. In fact, this moundsman looked pretty sharp through the first half of the contest, building a 4-0 lead after five innings of one-hit ball, and appeared ready to improve upon his 6-4 mark and lower his already impressive 1.78 ERA

But this pitcher's erratic nature caused him to unravel in the sixth. The Phillies plated six runs on a combination of singles and homers (two to batters he had struck out in the first inning), and Hodges was forced to go to his bullpen to keep the game close, which it did.

The Mets bailed their starter out, but it took a furious ninth inning rally to do so. New York had left the more than 50,000 in attendance on edge in the seventh and eighth innings by stranding a pair of runners, but in the ninth, they made things look easy. The Mets got five straight singles, the last a chopper by pinch-hitter Duffy Dyer, which plated the last two runs for a 7-6 win. Joseph Durso of the New York Times called it "one of the most memorable finishes in their 10-year history of memorable finishes."

Game 2 of the double dip featured some intrigue as well, and not just because the Phillies pitched Jim "Perfect Game on June 21, 1964" Bunning. This one went extra innings as well, with Hodges stuck pitching Jim McAndrew for 5 1/3 innings of relief because Tug McGraw had toiled for too long the day before. Ron Taylor, who pitched 2 1/3 innings in Game 1, surrendered a go-ahead grand slam to Deron Johnson in relief of McAndrew in the 11th and though the Mets threatened in their half, they came up on the short end of a 9-7 loss.

We can't help but think that Mets management was particularly frustrated with their Game 1 starter that day. The trend continued throughout the season: brilliant for a couple of weeks, miserable for others. Though he started the season 6-1 with a 1.08 ERA, he finished only 10-14 with a 3.97 ERA.

It had to have been games like the one this day that caused Bob Scheffing to do what he did
on December 10, 1971, when he traded this pitcher to the Angels, along with three prospects, for shortstop Jim Fregosi, whom the Mets planned to convert to third base.

In announcing the trade, Angels GM Harry Dalton was quoted as saying his team had gotten "one of baseball's best arms." Scheffing told reporters that same day, perhaps harkening back in his mind to June 20 "...We've had him for three years and although he's a hell of a prospect, he hasn't done it for us. How long can you wait? I can't rate him the same category with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry"

Dalton was right. Scheffing was wrong. The starting pitcher for the Mets in their walk-off win that day was Nolan Ryan.

True Metronomes know...The Mets had 14 walk-off wins in 1971, the most they have had in any season.

PS: The entry below this one is a fun one...didn't get a lot of traffic on Saturday/Sunday, but it's worth a look

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Offs in Movies, TV, and Other Places

Note: I'm leaving this post up through the end of the week, a) because I don't have time to pump out something new and b)because I was hoping to build a really good list of entertainment industry walk-offs...so if you're looking for something new, check back on Monday or so... Of course, if there's a major trade or move, I'll adjust and try to post something... In the meantime, click on the "Table of Contents" link as well. It has been updated. SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own risk Caught the ending of "A League of Their Own" on one of the movie channels the other day and it got me to thinking that it would be fun to compile a list of walk-offs from movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. Here's the start, and only the start, as I spent about 30 minutes or so thinking it over Help me fill in the blanks by filling out the comments section. "A League of Their Own"-- Racine beats Rockford for the All-American Girls

The 'Duca of Earl (and walk-offs)

If I told you that the Mets had just obtained a guy who is a career .316 hitter with runners in scoring position? How about if I told you that the Mets just traded for a hitter who has consistently ranked among the toughest in baseball to strike out? Or if I mentioned that the Mets just dealt for a player who was selected to the NL All-Star team the last three seasons, with the last honor coming via a vote by his peers? So, although he's on the down side age wise, his throwing arm isn't as good as it used to be, and he doesn't provide much power, there are a lot of good things that Paul Lo Duca brings to the New York Mets. For example: He'll sacrifice his body for the good of the team The Dodgers and Braves squared off on August 23, 2002 and Lo Duca made an impact both on the start and finish of this game. Three pitches after being dusted by Greg Maddux, Lo Duca made him pay with a first-inning home run. The Braves rallied to tie the game, 3-3 in the ninth, but thei

Minutiae Break: Worst Mets Relievers

It occurs to me after 79 straight walk-off related posts and some fatigue still remaining from Saturday's finish that I did promise to bring Metspective on other issues related to the Flushing 9, so I offer this posting up as a "Minutiae Break." This came about after several discussions related to the offhand Dick Tidrow/Danny Graves remark the other day , the conclusion of which indicated that it would be fun to create a list of the worst Mets relievers of all-time. I don't want to step on the territory of other bloggers, like " Faith and Fear in Flushing ," Mets Guy in Michigan " and " Metstradamus ," so I'll tread carefully here, aided by their influence. Should any friends, family members, or fans of these pitchers visit this site, I mean no harm. I'm just here to have a little fun with this topic. The ground rules are as follows: The pitcher must have had a Mets stint as long as Dick Tidrow's (11 games, 15 2/3 innings), for