Skip to main content

Getting Your 'Phil' of Labor Day Wins

By my calculations, the Mets have only one Labor Day walk-off win in their illustrious history, and for good measure, it came exactly 22 years prior to Labor Day 2005

The NL East was a bit of a mishmash on this date in 1983, similar to how the race for the NL wild card looks this season. The Mets weren't among the teams battling for the top spot, as the Pirates, Expos, Phillies and Cardinals duked it out, with no team seeming to want to take control (similar to this year's NL West). The Pirates, at 70-65, had a one-game edge on the Phillies, who happened to be the Mets opponents that day.

Fewer than 8,500 were on hand for this one as most Mets fans had lost interest at this point, with the team 22 games under .500, even though the lineup featured some excitement in the form of first baseman Keith Hernandez and rookie rightfielder Darryl Strawberry. That's too bad because they missed a dandy of a finish to this contest.

Perfectly willing to play the spoiler role, the Mets staked starter Mike Torrez to a 3-0 lead, but he couldn't hold it against a Hall of Fame Phillies lineup. Mike Schmidt hit a two-run home run in the third inning and Joe Morgan singled in the tying run in the fifth.

The score held through the middle innings as the Mets couldn't do anything against relievers Willie Hernandez and Ron Reed while young Mets righty Doug Sisk held the Phillies off the scoreboard with three innings of perfect pitching (not a misprint!).

Jesse Orosco was the Mets best pitcher in 1983, but this was not one of his better performances. On in the ninth to relieve Sisk, Orosco got into immediate trouble by walking leadoff man Sixto Lezcano, who stole second with one out and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Ron Hodges. After Bo Diaz walked, light-hitting shortstop Ivan DeJesus singled in the go-ahead run and Gary Matthews plated another with a sacrifice fly. So the Mets appeared headed to a rather distasteful loss as they entered the home ninth down by two.

Fortunately for the Flushing 9, Phillies closer Al Holland chose this night to melt down like LaTroy Hawkins did against Victor Diaz last season. Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez sandwiched singles around an out, bringing George Foster to the plate as the winning run. The newspapers tell us that Foster was in an 0-for-11 funk, something not uncommon during his reign with the Mets. In fairness, Foster was very, very clutch in 1983 and his bid to win the fans over was helped by what he did here. He crushed Holland's first pitch into the left field picnic area for a game-winning three-run home run.

While the win had little impact on the Mets fate, it served a much more meaningful purpose to the Phillies, a team that was in need at that point of a good kick in the ass. The Phillies were 69-67 after a defeat that really should have been devastating, but bounced back quite nicely. Philadelphia won its next three (two straight against the Mets) and closed the season by winning 21 of its last 26 games, a good enough run to win the NL East and eventually make it to the World Series, in which it lost to Baltimore in five games.

True Metophones know...The day after this win, Ron Darling made his major-league debut, tossing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 2-0 loss to the Phillies. A good piece of trivia attached to this one in that the Phillies winning pitcher that day was a well-known former Met, Tug McGraw.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mets Top 100 Home Runs: From No. 76 (Alex Ochoa) to No. 80 (Dom Smith)

In 2009, I did a project for my website, Mets Walk-Offs and Other Minutiae, celebrating the best home runs in Mets history. I selected the top 60 regular season home runs and the top 15 postseason home runs. The reason I picked 60 was because it represented the top 1% of home runs in Mets history (and 15 just felt right for postseason, giving us 75 overall).
This was fun to do, but it was imperfect. I had one egregious omission. I tended to favor oddities.
It’s time to give that project an update. And why not do it as a top 100?
The Mets have hit 7,671 regular season home runs. The top 80 represent about the top 1%. And the top 20 postseason home runs get us to an even 100 to celebrate.
Come along for the ride. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the reminiscing. 
Hopefully you’ll find it Amazin’.
80. Dominic Smith’s season-ending walk-off 
(Sept. 29, 2019 vs Braves) True story: I pulled into a parking spot right in front of my apartment as Dominic Smith came to bat. Rather than stay and listen to the ra…

Mets Top 100 Home Runs: From No. 16 (Carl Everett & Bernard Gilkey) to No. 20 (Tommie Agee)

In 2009, I did a project for my website, Mets Walk-Offs and Other Minutiae, celebrating the best home runs in Mets history. I selected the top 60 regular season home runs and the top 15 postseason home runs. The reason I picked 60 was because it represented the top 1% of home runs in Mets history (and 15 just felt right for postseason).
This was fun to do, but it was imperfect. I had one egregious omission. I tended to favor oddities.
It’s time to give that project an update. And why not do it as a top 100?
The Mets have hit 7,671 regular season home runs. The top 80 represent about the top 1%. And the top 20 postseason home runs get us to an even 100 to celebrate.
Come along for the ride. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the reminiscing. Hopefully you’ll find it Amazin’. 


The rest of the list can be found here.


20. Tommie Agee reaches new heights 
(April 10, 1969 vs Expos) Tommie Agee set the tone for a new beginning in the first week of the 1969 season. Agee had a dreadful 1968 that began in spring t…

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 that…