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Score One For Selma

The highest game score recorded by a WINNING Mets pitcher not named Tom Seaver or David Cone is a 96, but it's not likely you'll be able to guess who recorded it.

It wasn't Jerry Koosman or Nolan Ryan. It wasn't Dwight Gooden or Sid Fernandez. It wasn't Tom Glavine, or Pedro Martinez. It wasn't Jon Matlack or Ron Darling.

It was by Dick Selma.

On September 12, 1965, Selma, a prized 21-year-old righthanded Mets prospect making his second major-league appearance, pitched one of the best games in Mets history, certainly the best one to that point.

"He's the best pitcher the Mets have ever put out there on the mound," Milwaukee Braves manager Bobby Bragan told the media afterward, and admittedly that wasn't saying much considering how pathetic the Mets had been, but it was still a nice compliment coming from someone whose lineup that day featured, among others, Rico Carty, Joe Torre, and Eddie Mathews. Those three, by the way, were a combined 0-for-11, outdone by (current Mets coach) Sandy Alomar, who had one of Milwaukee's four hits.

Selma had to work extra hard in rainy weather to get this win. The Braves had four hits after five innings, but didn't get another one the rest of the way. They did threaten in the eighth inning, but Selma escaped a two-on, no-out jam without issue.

This one would require an extra inning, as the Mets failed to score through the first nine against Bob Sadowski. That was no problem for Selma, who set the side down in order in the top of the 10th, striking the opposing pitcher out for his 13th whiff of the game. That set a club record for strikeouts in a game (since surpassed many times).

Westrum's team won it in the home half when Charley Smith's walk-off single plated Joe Christopher with the winning run, but that wasn't the story so much as the Mets starter of great promise.

"The only pitcher we have who may throw harder is Tug McGraw," an unusually happy Mets manager Wes Westrum told writers afterward.

There would be others who would come along who would throw just as hard and Selma was moved to the bullpen, given the occasional start. By 1968, even though Selma was 9-10 with a 2.76 ERA after being put back in the starting rotation (he was 7-1 with a 1.77 ERA after winning on June 21), he was expendable enough to be exposed in the expansion draft (some fan comments on indicate the Mets were annoyed at Selma for having shoulder surgery without permission one offseason). Selma was selected by the Padres, then traded early in the season to the Cubs, for whom he went a respectable 10-8 in 1969 and became a favorite of Wrigley Field's Bleacher Bums. It is something to wonder whether his fate would have been different had he been a '69 Met.

Instead, Selma was traded again, this time to the Phillies, who turned him into a closer. That worked for a year, but then injuries set in. By 1974, Selma's career was done. He finished 42-54, but left his mark on the Mets with one of the best pitched games they've ever seen.

True Metmas know...Dick Selma finished his career with an 0-9 record against the New York Mets. That's tied with Pete Falcone for the all-time worst record against the Mets.


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