Skip to main content

More Fun Than a Trip to the Dentist

Most people don't like going to the dentist. I've become somewhat desensitized to it, as I've gone through enough painful experiences (4 wisdom teeth and I believe 8 regular teeth pulled in my days as a youngster) to know that a trip for a cleaning, like the one I'm making into NYC this morning, is a walk in the park. My dentist happens to be a baseball fan, which makes things a little easier.

An excursion like this gives me the opportunity to ruminate on a Mets comparison. What is the Metsian equivalent to a trip to the dentist? I suppose that for some, the answer could be "Watching Keith Miller try to play centerfield."

A couple of days ago I hinted at Miller's lack of skill in the outfield. Today I'll approach it in more of a full-fledged manner. Keith Miller was not a very good centerfielder. There you have it.

I don't know why, but my most significant memory of Miller is watching him take a blooper of a 65 mile-per-hour curveball from Bob Knepper to end a loss against the Astros on July 8, 1988, rather than his lone walk-off moment as a Met, which happened a few weeks prior.

Miller was one of those players who raised expectations with a cup-of-coffee appearance, this one a .373 batting average, eight steals effort in 25 games in 1987. He was a scrappy player and that made him popular pretty quickly.

Miller was never quite able to live up to that effort over the next four years of his Mets career. His batting average took a significant dip after that initial burst. Miller, a second baseman by trade, was aggressive and fast, and that inspired Mets management to do what they seem to do best (or do worst, depending on your perspective) and that is: have one of their guys play out of position. Miller made seven starts in center in 1989 and than 42 in 1990. Though he didn't make many errors, let's just say that it didn't work out. His overagressive play led to injuries, something that plagued him for the rest of his baseball career, after the Mets dealt him to KC in the Bret Saberhagen trade.

Anyway, if you stuck it out through the 14-inning affair, 262-minute affair between the Mets and Phillies on June 18, 1988, good for you. It was tough in those days to watch a full Sid Fernandez effort without getting a little impatient (though his starts didn't last as long as Al Leiter's). This was actually a good pitcher's duel between Fernandez and Phillies lefty Shane Rawley, and it went to bonus-baseball mode with the score even at one after Wally Backman was thrown out at home trying to score on Gary Carter's single. The Mets also had a chance to win in 12 cut short when Mackey Sasser grounded into a 4-2-3 double play.

The Phillies (who also had a Keith Miller on their roster at the time) took the lead in the top of the 14th on Steve Jeltz's sacrifice fly off Terry Leach, but the Mets specialized in extra-inning rallies in 1986 and 1988, and this would be one of them. With two lefties due up, the Phillies used southpaw Todd Ritchie to try to shut the Mets down. He went 1-for-2, walking Dave Magadan, but retiring Darryl Strawberry. Having already used their primary closers, the Phils followed Ritchie with middle reliever Todd Frohwirth, who was looking for his first career save. Instead, Frohwirth was tagged with his second major-league loss. Kevin McReynolds singled, and after a wild-pitch, Carter brought in the tying run with a sacrifice fly.

The Phillies went 65-96 under Lee Elia and that was partly because moves like this one backfired. With a runner on third and two outs, Frohwirth intentionally walked both Len Dykstra and Sasser to pitch to the righty, Miller. Those who have watched how David Wright has responded to intentional walks in front of him this season will be pleased to note that Miller apparently was a little insulted, at least enough to hit a slow grounder that the shortstop, Jeltz, couldn't come up with. It was good enough to plate the winning run.

True Metsquests know...A perfectly good random piece of trivia. The only two Mets with a walk-off home run and a walk-off walk in the same season are Hobie Landrith (1962) and Ron Swoboda (1966). Stump your dentists with that one.


Kermit said…
I liked Miller. But he jammed a finger every week from sliding headfirst into something.

Popular posts from this blog

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

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

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