1) Ron Darling lost to the Phillies in his major-league debut. I'd ask who the winning pitcher was for the Phillies, but I don't believe that's a challenging question, once I refer to him as a former Met. So I ask instead: What future Hall of Famer struck out as the first batter of that game?
2) On the subject of strikeouts. Name the Hall of Famer who was Darling's most frequent strikeout victim? From 1983 to 1991, this player (not a pitcher) had 82 AB against Darling and whiffed 21 times.
3) The first 3 batters to hit home runs against Ron Darling all played for the Mets at some point in their careers. The first played only a season for them, playing 79 games, with 10 home runs on a team that didn't hit many home runs. The second hit a grand slam, one of 11 grand slams he'd hit in his career. Four came with the Mets. The third hit 3 home runs for the Mets but is better known for being traded for someone who hit a significant Mets home run. Now that I've fully confused you with my hints, name any of the 3.
4) Darling went to Yale, as did one other Mets pitcher, whose career record with the team was 8-5. That's not bad considering how bad the team was when he pitched for them. Name this other Yalie.
5) Darling was drafted 9th by the Rangers in 1981. The Mets selected Terry Blocker with their pick, No. 4 overall. In between that pick and Darling's selection, 2 other players were drafted that went on to become Mets. One was on the field with Darling during the 1988 NLCS. The other shares the name of a city quite familiar to Darling. Name them.
6) Darling pitched a CG to clinch the 1988 NL East title, against the Phillies on September 22. The last out of that game has the same number of career home runs as Gary Carter. Name him.
7) Darling was talking about how the Terry Pendleton game-tying home run (September 11, 1987) hit his car in the parking lineup. What Darling missed during his drive to the hospital (to treat his injured hand) was how the Cardinals won the game in the 10th inning. A future Met got the go-ahead hit and a future Met score the go-ahead run. Name them, as well as the starting pitcher for that game, who also started the game in which Mike Scioscia hit his 9th-inning game-tying HR in the 1988 playoffs.
8) What former Cardinals infielder, with a connection to the Mets, hit into a double play to conclude Darling's first major-league shutout?
9) Darling's last major-league game was against the Royals in 1995. The winning pitcher in that game is best noted for pitching a shutout in his 2nd career Mets start. Name him.