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Showing posts from June 26, 2005

Clairvoyance, Prognostication, and Walk-Offs

One of my cousins, a young, Brooklyn-based chap named Matthew Sunday, thinks that my choice of vocabulary during conversation is too complex. He's not going to like this essay on clairvoyance and prognostication. Perhaps you will.

Clairvoyance is a skill that millions of sports fans think they have, but only a select few do.That's one of the reasons that prognosticating for money is so popular, because so many have a clouded belief of expertise in a subject matter that is as unpredictable as any in the world.

I have experienced moments of clairvoyance and take pride in my ability to selectively prognosticate with great accuracy. For example, moments after the New York Rangers lost Game 6 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, I told my friends Daniel Gordon and David Cooper "Game 7 will be won by a captain." Let the record reflect that Vancouver captain Trevor Linden scored two goals in a losing effort and Rangers captain Mark Messier was credited (admittedly incorrectly) wit…

Fireworks Knight!

Today I'm going to write about one of my favorite Mets walk-offs from my childhood. It happened in 1986. The Mets rallied from two runs down in the 10th inning to win, 6-5. Ray Knight scored the winning run.

No, I'm not writing about October 25 and Bill Buckner, Rich Gedman, Bob Stanley and Mookie Wilson. Instead, I'm writing about July 3, 1986 and a game that served to foreshadow the team's postseason run.

It was Fireworks Night at Shea Stadium and with lefty Jim Deshaies on the mound for Houston, manager Davey Johnson decided to sit one of his lefthanded bats. Inserting catcher Ed Hearn in place of Keith Hernandez (Gary Carter played first) gave the Mets an extra righthander in the lineup and the decision paid off when Hearn homered in the second inning, cutting an early deficit to 2-1.

The lineup manueverings, or at least the idea of leaving Darryl Strawberry in against a southpaw, paid off again in the fifth inning when Strawberry launched a two-run shot to right-cent…

Name in The News: A Kenny Rogers Roaster

So it seems that Kenny Rogers had a little tiff with a couple of Texas tv cameramen on Wednesday and another incident that resulted in a broken pinkie earlier in the month. Mr. Rogers neighborhood hasn't been a friendly place for the media this season. He has been boycotting reporters since it was reported in the spring that he threatened retirement if he wasn't given a contract extension.

Let me first say that there's no truth to the rumor that these cameramen were taunting Rogers with chants of "Ball Four!"

Let me next tell you that, following the words of inspiration of "Cheers" barmaid Diane Chambers, I am a humanist. I try to find some good in everyone. And in this case, that means finding something good in a player that every Mets fan hates.

So I shall harken back to October 1, 1999, a game that, in my little world, is known as "The American Beauty Game" because I went to the movies early in the evening, rather than torture myself listening…

Read This too

Today is also the anniversary of a more well-known game in Mets history...see documentation here... June 30 entry

http://mets2005.myblogsite.com/blog

In other news, recent events (and 2 days off) have me itching to write about a couple more walk-offs...I usually post once every 24 hours, but there may be some bonus coverage over the next 72 hours...Keep checking in...

The Walk-Off That Wasn't

There are 324 Mets walk-off wins in my database. There might have been one more, had things broke right on June 30, 1974, 31 years to the date of this post.

Little went right for the Mets in their defense of the NL championship in 1974, starting on Opening Day, when the No. 8 hitter in the Phillies lineup (a second-year man by the name of Mike Schmidt) hit a walk-off home run off Tug McGraw. Injuries and poor play resulted in a miserable season and a final record of 71-91. The Mets were never contenders for the NL East title and limped through June at 30-42 entering a doubleheader on the final day of the month.

Jerry Koosman lost the opening game of the double dip, and the Mets trailed the second game, 3-1, in the ninth inning when things suddenly got very interesting. The Mets loaded the bases on singles by Don Hahn, Ron Hodges and George Theodore, scored on a force play and subsequent RBI single by Teddy Martinez to tie the game. After Rusty Staub flied out, Cleon Jones hit a line dri…

Moonlight Mets Minutiae

Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the major-league debut of Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, the player who served as the inspiration for a character bearing that name in the movie "Field of Dreams." Graham's big league career consisted of one game, but no plate appearances for the 1905 world champion Giants. He retired not long afterwards and became a highly-regarded doctor in Minnesota.

Graham is the most famous of many moonlight players, whose careers consisted of one game and no plate apperances. The Associated Press did a really nice piece on the subject over the weekend and got quotes from one Mets moonlighter, Kevin Morgan, who now works as the Mets Director of Minor League Operations after a career that consisted of one plate appearance.

For the purpose of that story, the definition of a "Moonlight" player was expanded slightly, to cover those players whose careers consisted of one game. We'll further broaden it to define a Mets "Mo…

Walk-Off Hype

It was about 15 years ago that my dad went to Florida to meet with someone for a business deal. This person wanted to impress my dad, so he arranged for a few meetings. One was dinner with Hall of Famer Monte Irvin. Another was a quick meet-and-greet with former big leaguer Max Lanier. The third person he met was one that was larger than life- he got to spend nearly an hour talking with Ted Williams.

During this conversation, the name of a rising Mets prospect came up. His swing, that's the one that most reminds me of mine, Williams said. My dad came back to New York all excited in having this knowledge and we looked forward to watching this player for a long time.

For those too young to remember, think of Gregg Jefferies the rookie in basically the same way you think of David Wright. Jefferies was the subject of much hype, befitting of a player who was twice named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. In 1988, he was recalled in late August and became an immediate co…

Hendu Part II

Thank you for indulging me and my Little League ramblings... Here's Monday's post, a few hours early.

Steve Henderson called back on Friday! We told the story of Henderson's most noteworthy walk-off, a three-run homer to cap a five-run rally against the Giants in 1980 not long ago. "Hendu" gave us the scoop on why that was the second-most significant thing that happened that day.

"I officially got engaged that day," Henderson said, talking from the road while on assignment as the Devil Rays minor league hitting coordinator. He went on to explain that he picked up his girlfriend of nearly four years (and now wife of nearly 25) Pamela at LaGuardia Airport. The two had agreed to get married, but it wasn't really official until Pamela put on the engagement ring in the car.

"I didn't let the papers know about that," Henderson said. "She knew about it and it was all that mattered." Hendu went on to explain his knack for the walk-offs…