Skip to main content

A Father/Son Walk-Off Memory

About a year ago, John Buccigross penned a column for that told the story of how his son kept him updated on an important hockey game by sending text messages, as the elder Buccigross was on a lengthy drive, with limited access to radio updates.

I really liked that piece and it reminded me of something that my dad used to do with me. When I was a young Mets-fan pup in 1984, 85, and 86, I had the misfortune of having to go to bed before many games were over. I was not a kicker and a screamer about this, because I understood the importance of a good night's sleep at an early age, but I think my dad sensed that I was eager to know the results of games as soon as I possibly could. So, he took to leaving notes scotch-taped on my bedroom door. Usually they just had the final score with a one or two-line summary. I remember two in particular. One was a Mets-Dodgers classic pitching duel between Dwight Gooden and Fernando Valenzuela that went extra-innings on the West Coast. The other took place on May 30, 1986.

The season of the Mets second championship will be a popular topic in this blog, simply because I remember many of the walk-offs this season. Here's one I missed.

The Mets were rolling along pretty well to that point in the season, with a 30-11 record as the Giants came to town for a three-game series. New York grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but veteran pitcher Bruce Berenyi struggled and was unable to hold the lead. Neither starter made it deep into the contest and the Giants rallied from a 6-4 deficit, scoring in the eighth to tie it on Will Clark's RBI double.

In the 10th inning, the Giants took the lead on rookie second baseman Robby Thompson's home run off Jesse Orosco, but the advantage would not last for long.

The bottom half of that inning requires much more of a description than my dad could have written on a single sheet of paper. That's why I recall it necessitating a lengthy explanation once we both woke up that morning.

Keith Hernandez led off with a single against Giants reliever Greg Minton, who then got Gary Carter to fly out for the first out of the inning. With Darryl Strawberry due up, Giants manager Roger Craig made a pitching change, bringing in Mark Davis. Mets manager Davey Johnson countered by doing something unthinkable at the time, but understandable after the fact. He pinch-hit for Strawberry, who had a thumb injury, with rookie Kevin Mitchell, who promptly singled to left field. The managerial chess match continued with Johnson sending up Tim Teufel, then countering with Howard Johnson after Craig brought in Juan Berenguer, who walked Johnson after wild-pitching the runners to second and third (following all that?).

That brought up Ray Knight, who was probably, for that season, the best clutch hitter on a team of great clutch hitters. Knight delivered, bringing in the tying run with a sacrifice fly.

Having nothing to lose at this point and having used up virtually his entire bench, Johnson (Davey, not Howard) let weak-hitting shortstop Rafael Santana bat for himself and Santana hit what appeared to be a harmless pop up in the direction of second base.

You probably know where this is going. Thompson (previously the hero) turned into the goat, colliding with shortstop Jose Uribe, as both attempted to make the catch.

As Bob Murphy said on the radio. "The ball drops! The game is over! The Mets win! The Mets win! They collided, and the ball landed on the ground between them. Uribe (who was charged with the error) and Rob Thompson, on the easiest pop up you'll ever see. They rammed together. The ball hits the ground. The game is over. The Mets win the darn (not damn) ball game!"

I don't remember my dad writing me too many notes on the door after that game because I think I grew out of needing them. I'm 30 now and I'm allowed to stay up a little later. The postgame notes have been replaced by in-game e-mails, IMs, and phone calls. He's pretty optimistic about the Mets this season, so the exchanges have been pretty frequent.

So I guess what I'm getting at, is that this Sunday is as good a day as any to say: Thanks for the updates, dad.

Happy Father's Day, everybody...Back with more on Monday.

True Metethists know...Well, actually none of you are going to know this, unless you know my dad. On Father's Day, 1964 (June 21), he went to a game between the Mets and Phillies that made baseball history. It was Hall of Famer Jim Bunning's perfect game against the Mets. Yes, I know this is not walk-off related , but it falls into the category of "Other Minutiae" and is appropriate for this weekend.


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 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 Profess

They Don't Make Em Like The Mook Any More

"There are certain things that stay with you, your whole life in sports. Mookie flying is one of those things." -- Blogger's father, 1:10pm on Feb 9. During the 1987 season, Mookie Wilson was on first base in seven instances in which the batter at the plate hit a double. How many times do you think Mookie scored? I'll give you a hint: Every time. According to some recent reading I've done, The average runner scores from first base on a double around 40-45 percent of the time. Mookie's career percentage: 65 percent (45 of 69) The average runner goes first to third on about 27 percent of singles hit. Mookie's percentage: 50 percent (120 of 240) The average runner scores from second base on about 58 percent of singles hit. Mookie's percentage: 75 percent (162 of 215) How good was Mookie Wilson? Let me put it to you this way. The guy turns 54 years old today (and got an early present by being re-hired by the Mets as a minor league instructor). I'd take

The best Mets ejections I know

When you think of the Mets and famous ejections, I'm guessing you first think of the famous Bobby Valentine mustache game, when after Valentine got tossed, he returned to the dugout in disguise. You know it. You love it. I remember being amused when I asked Bobby V about it while we were working on Baseball Tonight, how he simply said "It worked. We won the game." (true) But the Bobby V mustache game of June 9, 1999 is one of many, many memorable Mets ejection stories. And now thanks to Retrosheet and the magic of , we have a convenient means for being able to share them. Ever since Retrosheet's David Smith recently announced that the Retrosheet ejection database was posted online , I've been a kid in a candy store. I've organized the data and done some lookups of media coverage around the games that interested me post. Those newspaper accounts fill in a lot of blanks. Without further ado (and with more work to do), here are some of my findings