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Didja ever notice the other goats?

And no, I'm not talking about Rich Gedman, Bob Stanley, Calvin Schiraldi, and John McNamara. If you're reading this post, chances are that you know about their foibles in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I'm here to spread the word about the others, whose poor showings hurt their squads in postseason matchups against the Mets. Such as...

Tony Gonzalez and Orlando Cepeda, whose eighth-inning errors in Game 1 of the 1969 NLCS led to a five (unearned) run rally, and a 9-5 Mets win that set the tone for the next two games, in which the Mets pounded Braves pitching for 18 runs and 27 hits.

Paul Blair, Don Buford, Davey Johnson, Brooks Robinson, and Frank Robinson: The Orioles hit only .146 in losing the 1969 World Series in five games to the Mets. This supposedly fearsome fivesome went a combined 9-for-91 against the Amazins.

Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, because if we're going to pick on the Hall of Fame Robinsons, there are two Cooperstown residents who wore the horns in the Mets upset of the Reds in the 1973 NLCS. Morgan went 2-for-20 and Perez was worse at 2-for-22. The mighty Reds were anemic against Mets pitching, mustering two runs or fewer in all five games.

Dave Smith, who struggled against the Mets at various points in his career, but particularly during the 1986 postseason. His blunders weren't quite as significant as Brad Lidge's from Monday night, but Astros fans won't easily forget them. First, he took the loss in Game 3, allowing a two-run walk-off home run to Len Dykstra in the ninth inning (Smith gave up five homers in the 1986 regular season, but amazingly none in 60 IP in homer-happy 1987). Then, brought in with a 3-2 edge and a runner on second with one out in the ninth inning of Game 6, Smith got a little freaked out, walking both Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry before yielding a sacrifice fly to Ray Knight. Smith would have walked in the go-ahead run as well, but was taken off the hook when Danny Heep swung at an errant 3-2 pitch with two outs, sending the classic contest into extra innings. Had Smith been a little better perhaps Hal Lanier would still be managing in the majors, instead of in an independent league in Winipeg (and yes, I know Lanier didn't have a great series either).

Kevin Bass, because even though he is a former Met, that doesn't make him immune to criticism. Bass, a master of impersonations (as shown on ABC's playoff telecasts) , passed himself off as a struggling big leaguer in Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS, which was a shame because other than that he had a terrific season. Bass went 1-for-6 and is best known for making the last out, whiffing at a 3-2 slider in the 16th inning against Jesse Orosco. He also was twice caught stealing (once on a botched squeeze) and made a pair of dreadful throws to home plate when the Mets got go-ahead hits to right field in both the 14th and 16th innings.

Buck Showalter, a good manager, who made one particularly unwise move in the 1999 NLDS, bringing Bobby Chouinard into the 9th inning of Game 1, with the score knotted at four. The move initially looked good, as Chouinard got Rickey Henderson to hit into a force play, but Edgardo Alfonzo made Showalter regret his decision not to use Matt Mantei or Gregg Olson by crushing a go-ahead grand slam. Perhaps I'm being a little harsh here, and those who think so can cite Tony Womack's lack of performance (2-for-18) as being problematic for the Diamondbacks that postseason. Womack had a couple of big hits in future postseasons, so we'll chalk up his struggles to first-time jitters.

Barry Bonds, who made the last out for the Giants in Game 2, 3 and 4 of the 2000 NLDS (yes, Game 3 was a walk-off, but that win was set up when Bonds popped out against Rick White to end the top of the 13th). After going 2-for-3 in Game 1, Bonds went just 1-for-14 in the next three games of the series and flew out to cap Bobby Jones' one-hit wonder performance in the series-clinching Game 4.

Cardinals pitching, which was depleted both by injuries and other issues heading into the 2000 NLCS, but in the postseason, excuses don't cut it. In all four Mets wins in the series, the Flushing 9 put multiple runs on the board in the first inning. Darryl Kile, Rick Ankiel and Pat Hentgen all had trouble against a Mets lineup that sizzled before fizzling against the Yankees in the World Series.

So Bill Buckner, you shall not stand alone for your misfortune. There are others whom you overshadowed, but whose misaccomplishments are not forgotten here.

Comments

TheCzar said…
Funny how Joe Morgan never brings up his performance in the '73 playoffs. He'll talk all about Harrellson-Rose, but always seems to forget his dismal performance.

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