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Showing posts from June 12, 2005

A Father/Son Walk-Off Memory

About a year ago, John Buccigross penned a column for ESPN.com that told the story of how his son kept him updated on an important hockey game by sending text messages, as the elder Buccigross was on a lengthy drive, with limited access to radio updates.

I really liked that piece and it reminded me of something that my dad used to do with me. When I was a young Mets-fan pup in 1984, 85, and 86, I had the misfortune of having to go to bed before many games were over. I was not a kicker and a screamer about this, because I understood the importance of a good night's sleep at an early age, but I think my dad sensed that I was eager to know the results of games as soon as I possibly could. So, he took to leaving notes scotch-taped on my bedroom door. Usually they just had the final score with a one or two-line summary. I remember two in particular. One was a Mets-Dodgers classic pitching duel between Dwight Gooden and Fernando Valenzuela that went extra-innings on the West Coast. The …

Rocky Mountain High

The Mets weren't a particularly good team in their first seven seasons of existence, but their penchant for dramatic comeback victories is such that you can find one from practically every one of their 44 years of existence.

Ron Swoboda reminded us of this when we briefly chatted with him about Mets walk-offs on Thursday. Now a broadcaster for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, Swoboda had his share of remarkable Mets moments, such as the two home runs he hit to beat Steve Carlton the day in 1969 that Carlton whiffed 19 Mets and the 9th inning diving catch that was an significant moment of the Mets win in Game 4 of the World Series that season. Swoboda, known by the nickname "Rocky," had one walk-off hit during his career with the Mets and he shared his memory of that moment with us.

First, some background, with some help from Swoboda and Bob Lipsyte's story of that game in the New York Times. It was August 4, 1966 and the Mets trailed future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal…

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 l…

Name in the News

Don't know how many of you saw the footage the other day of the nasty brawl in an International League game between Richmond and Syracuse. In case you didn't, here's the description from the AP story.


(Richmond outfielder Esix)Snead charged the mound in the second inning after SkyChiefs pitcher David Bush threw a pitch that went between Snead's legs. Snead started walking toward Bush and both dugouts emptied, but the incident was limited to heated jawing from both sides. Moments later, after Snead walked, he started up the line toward first, then suddenly sprinted toward the mound with his helmet in one hand, tackling Bush, who had his back to Snead and was bent over. Both dugouts quickly emptied again.

Apparently this dated back to something that happened the day before, when a Snead bunt, with a four-run lead angered Syracuse pitcher Matt Whiteside, to the point where he hollered some profanities Snead's way. There's more to the story, but the gist of it is tha…

Hendu Can Do

Before there was Cliff Floyd, there was Steve Henderson.It was 25 years ago today, June 14, 1980, that the Mets staged one of their most remarkable comebacks, in a history lined with improbable comebacks. Trailing the Giants 6-0 after 4 1/2 innings and 6-2 with two outs in the ninth, the Mets rallied for another amazing win.During the relatively dismal 10-year period that was 1974 to 1983, this was probably the win that left fans with the most hope.

The Mets, newly purchased by owners Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon a little more than five months previous, were coming off taking 3 of 4 from the defending champion Pirates, and a sweep of the Dodgers. The slogan that year was "The Magic is Back!" and it was particularly fitting on this homestand, one filled with big hits in key spots.

Still, the Mets found themselves down four runs against Giants closer Greg Minton, with two outs and a runner on second base. Two singles and a walk got the Mets two runs and got Minton out of 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…