Skip to main content

Don't call him "Iron Mike"

Basically I'm looking for a little filler material here, because I plan to write about another Mets walk-off that involves Mike Piazza, but I don't want to be accused of writing too often about recent events rather than nostalgia.

That prompted a "What looks interesting here?" search through my database, and "This Date in New York Mets History" and the walk-off win that caught my eye took place on September 16, 1975. It was a 4-3, 18-inning triumph, tied in the ninth and won in the 18th, by the same man, outfielder Del Unser. Unser capped a two-out rally in the ninth with an RBI single to even the score, than won the contest nine innings later by walking on four pitches with the bases loaded and two outs.

Other than that it was the year I was born, 1975 doesn't stand out in any particular way for the Mets, save for one or two statistical measurements. One was that for a stretch of three weeks or so, a rookie outfielder named Mike Vail "went DiMaggio," mustering hits in 23 consecutive games. Vail set a precedent for future Mets rookies, like Gregg Jefferies with an impressive run that began just five games into his major-league career.

The odds were in Vail's favor that day. He had eight shots to break NL mark for longest hitting streak by a rookie (done previously by Joe Rapp in 1921 and Richie Ashburn in 1948, both with the Phillies) and break what was then the Mets mark for longest hitting streak by any player (set by Cleon Jones in 1970), but came up empty. He went 0-for-7 after walking in his first at bat and was left in the on-deck circle when Unser's walk won the game. Alas, September 16 was an unlucky day for 23-game hitting streaks, as coincidentally, Jones' hitting streak was snapped that day in 1970 as well.

The future was promising for Vail, until he "went Aaron Boone", and broke his ankle playing basketball in February, 1976. He played two more unimpressive seasons for the Mets before being waived. The only other significant trivia I could find from his career was that he was thereafter traded four different times for a hodgepodge of mediocrity (the combination of Joe Wallis, Hector Cruz, Rich Gale and Wallace Johnson) in an injury-bugged career that lasted until 1984. His next-longest hitting streak, by my checking, was 10 games, with the 1980 Cubs.

Vail and Jones shared the record for longest Mets hitting streak until Hubie Brooks broke it in 1984 and Mike Piazza tied his mark in 1999. Yes, I know that I was looking to avoid referencing Piazza here, but circumstances dictated that I must.

True Metstreaks know...The Mets have had three 18-inning walk-off wins, but have never had a walk-off win in a game that went longer than 18 innings (though they did have a 19-inning road win on July 4, 1985).

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