Skip to main content

Inspired by Charles Schulz?

Joe Shlabotnik may be the most creative baseball manager I've ever come across. As manager of the Waffletown Syrups of the Greengrass League, Shlabotnik was fired after calling for a squeeze play- albeit with nobody on base.

That was a fictional reference, one coming from a Peanuts comic strip (I believe Lucy once called for a squeeze play as the defensive team, saying she would "Squeeze the catcher"). In real life, the most creative baseball manager I've seen is former Mets third baseman Don Zimmer, and his unusual managerial methods played an integral role in the walk-off we'll discuss today.

The Mets-Cubs game on June 2, 1988 featured a terrific pitchers duel between David Cone and Calvin Schiraldi (better known for his role in another walk-off win). Both pitchers held their opponents scoreless for nine innings, and Davey Johnson, going against his usual approach, sent Cone out for the 10th inning. Damon Berryhill led off with a home run, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead and Cone was done for the night after striking out 10 and allowing only five hits in 10 innings of work. The Mets rallied against Gossage in the 10th, tying the game with two outs on a Lee Mazzilli single that scored Kevin McReynolds.

Neither team scored in the 11th, but in the 12th, the Cubs threatened against Roger McDowell. Vance Law singled, Berryhill doubled him to third and Shawon Dunston was intentionally. walked. McDowell struck out Jody Davis, but then was relieved and Randy Myers ran the count to 3-0 on Manny Trillo before battling back with two strikes.

Zimmer won the NL East title with the Cubs in 1989 with his aggressive maneuvering, but on this occasion, his boldness cost him. Zimmer did something I've never seen before and haven't seen since. He ordered a HIT AND RUN with the bases loaded and one out.

Well, Myers, a strikeout pitcher, blew Trillo away and Law, hung up with nowhere to go, was tagged out by Myers in a rundown to end the inning.

In the 13th inning, Howard Johnson homered to center field off Frank Dipino and the Mets had an unlikely 2-1 walk-off win, made possible by some bizarre decision making. Here's what Zimmer told the media after the game, which ran in the New York Times story from the following day.

''I took a chance. I sent all three runners. I didn't want to hit into a double play. I've done it four times before, and it worked every time. I was 4 for 4. I know Myers is a strikeout pitcher. But I also know Trillo is a contact hitter who doesn't strike out much. All he has to do is hit the ball on the ground. We had every chance to win the game before, but didn't hit at the right time. So, I took a chance."
Joe Shlabotnik would have been proud.

True Metiacs know...Marco Scutaro, who beat the Mets late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning with a walk-off hit, played in four Mets walk-off wins during his 75-game Mets career. That includes the previously mentioned Esix Snead home run. Scutaro also scored the winning run on Tony Clark's walk-off single that beat the Phillies, 5-4, on May 21, 2003.


Popular posts from this blog

Cliff Notes

Alright, so it's 2 days later and the challenge for me now, after reading through about a dozen game stories and listening to talk radio, is to provide a fresh perspective on walk-off #324. If you're going to be a serious reader of this blog, you know what happened already, so let's look at what made this particular walk-off stand out. It would seem that the place to start is with the idea that everything broke just right on both sides of the ball. Particularly, I'm talking about Carlos Beltran's catch in the 7th inning, where he went over the center field fence to rob Jose Molina of a home run. Every no-hitter seems to have one defensive gem that makes it possible and perhaps that's true of great walk-off moments as well (We'll be looking into that!) Marlon Anderson's home run required a remarkable combination of events. It was only the sixth inside-the-park home run at Shea Stadium by a Met and the first since Darryl Strawberry in 1989. It required t

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

The greatness and the frustration of Nolan Ryan the Met

I was looking over dominant pitching versus opponents and over various stretches in Mets history and came upon one I found interesting. In his first six starts in 1971, Nolan Ryan went 5-1 with an 0.77 ERA. In 46 2/3 innings, he allowed 19 hits and struck out 47. Opponents hit .121 and slugged .172 against him. And oh yes, he walked 37 batters (!), or more than 7 per 9 innings. As you go back through those six starts, you can see both the brilliance and the frustration that eventually led to Ryan’s departure in one of the worst trades in baseball history. April 29 at Cardinals – 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 5 K, 8 BB Ryan’s first start of the season was 7-0 win over the Cardinals that completed a four-game sweep, though it wasn’t the most artful of efforts. Ryan walked eight, but held the Cardinals to only two hits. That included the thwarting of Joe Torre’s season-opening 22-game hitting streak. Torre would go on to win the MVP. The big moment in the game came with the score 1-0 in the