Skip to main content

Dis'Gust'ing Baseball

You may think that this month is among the worst in Mets history, but I don't know that you'd do that if you were familiar with August, 1966.

The Mets were actually midly respectable at 47-55 through the first 4 months of that season and we say that relatively speaking because the previous four campaigns were disastrous. There weren't any delusions of a pennant chase, with the team being 12 1/2 games out but there was the hope of at least avoiding the loveable losers tag. This was a team that was good enough to avoid losing by walk-off at any point during the season. Then came August.

It wasn't so much that the Mets went 11-21 that month that was bothersome. It was how they managed to salvage so many defeats from victory that had to really bug manager Wes Westrum, a man best known for saying after defeats "Oh my gosh, ain't that awful?"

On the first day of the month, the Mets blew a 2-0 lead and lost to the Giants, 4-2. That set the tone. Of the 21 games the Mets lost that month, the Mets blew leads in nine of them, and a good number of them were of the major stinkeroo variety.

The most amazing thing about this run was that a team that hadn't lost by walk-off all season, dropped six games via walk-off in a two-week span. How do you do that?

* On August 11 they led the Pirates 5-4 with one out in the ninth inning, but Pittsburgh won on Roberto Clemente's game-tying single and Willie Stargell's follow-up two-run home run.

* On August 14, they were one out away from sweeping a doubleheader from the Cardinals, with a two-run lead and nobody on base in the home ninth. But the next five Cardinals hitters reached base. Mike Shannon tied the game with a two-run single and ex-Met Charley Smith won it with a walk-off single.

* On August 19, they led the Phillies by a run with two outs in the ninth before Harvey Kuenn's pinch-single tied it in the ninth inning. Dick Allen then won the game in the home 10th with a roof-clearing walk-off home run off Bob Friend.

* On August 20, they couldn't hold a 3-1 seventh-inning edge against the Phillies, then missed two chances to bring in a runner from third after tying the game in the top of the ninth. The Phillies won it in the 11th on Tony Gonzalez's RBI single off Dick Selma.


* On August 24, they had a 5-2 eighth-inning lead against the Cubs before yielding two runs apiece in the last two frames. The tying tally scored on a Ron Santo double. The winner came home on Randy Hundley's bunt single.

* On August 25, they led the Cubs 2-1 in the eighth and, as usual, couldn't hold the lead. Byron Browne tied the game with an eighth-inning home run and then the winning tally crossed on a wild pitch by Bill Hepler with the bases loaded in the home ninth.

The Mets closed out the month in appropriate fashion, blowing a lead and losing to the Giants 2-1 (Juan Marichal's 20th win). Though September opened with a victory, it wouldn't get much better for the Mets, who went 8-19 to close out a 66-95 campaign, the lone highlight of which was this game: http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2005/08/perfect-walk-off.html.

So while you're all morose over the recent goings-on for the Flushing 9, just take a little consolation in that it isn't August, 1966 all over again.


True Metgusts know...The Mets actually had 5 walk-off wins in 1966 before that first walk-off defeat.

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…