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The Mets Opponents Walk-Off Hall of Fame

If there were such a thing as The Mets Opponents Walk-Off Hall of Fame (and thank goodness there isn't), you could make a great case for many candidates, but I just want to make an argument for one. He has the distinction of having three walk-off RBI against the Mets (two more than Cal Ripken Jr. and 3 more than Mark McGwire, for those curious.), tied for the most by any Mets opponent.

It took Tony Gwynn all of five major league games to string together three consecutive multi-hit efforts, with each in that span coming against the Mets. In the last of that trifecta, Gwynn showed that he was not only going to be a great hitter, but he was going to be a clutch one as well.

On July 25, 1982, the Mets wrapped up a three-game series with the Padres and the story, for the first eight innings, was the unlikely pitchers duel between Mets rookie Charlie Puleo and John Montefusco. Puleo was almost as good as he was in a shutout of the Padres in May, allowing one run through the first eight frames, an effort matched by Montefusco who yielded but one tally in seven innings.

The Mets took the lead in the 9th when Mookie Wilson homered off Luis DeLeon and George Bamberger elected to stick with Puleo to start the bottom of the frame. But Gwynn led off with the 8th of 3,141 career hits, advanced to second on a bunt and scored on Rupert Jones' RBI single off Pete Falcone.

In the 10th, the Mets had a rally squashed when Rusty Staub hit into a double play with two men on base and the Padres took advantage against Mets reliever Neil Allen. With one out, Tim Flannery walked, and pinch-runner Joe Pittman went to third base on a pinch-single by Broderick Perkins (with Perkins going to second on the throw to third). Allen intentionally bypassed future Mets minor league manager to load the bases for Gwynn. The decision failed, as Gwynn singled over the head of shallow-playing left fielder George Foster to plate the winning run.

It was the first of many memorable moments for Gwynn and the first of many Metmorable moments as well. Gwynn hit .356 for his career against the Mets (the only NL teams he hit higher against were the Rockies and Brewers) and .397 against them in his home ballpark. That included two more walk-off hits- a home run vs Jesse Orosco in 1986 and a single against John Franco in 1996. He is well deserving of the spot he'll earn in Cooperstown today and he's well deserving of his destination in the non-existent Mets Opponents Walk-Off Hall of Fame.

True Metsynn know...

The complete list of opponents with 3 walk-off RBI against the Mets.

Dusty Baker
Ron Cey
Jim Davenport
Andre Dawson
Jim Edmonds
Tony Gwynn
Dale Murphy
Tony Perez
Mike Schmidt
Manny Trillo
Jerome Walton

Those on the current HOF Ballot with a walk-off RBI against the Mets
Dante Bichette
Bobby Bonilla
Ken Caminiti
Dave Concepcion
Andre Dawson
Steve Garvey
Tony Gwynn
Dale Murphy
Cal Ripken Jr.

Those on the Hall of Fame Ballot with a walk-off RBI for the Mets
Bobby Bonilla

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