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The Strong and the Week

For some reason, I was going around telling myself that Mike Pelfrey was the most unlikely Mets NL Player of the Week selection since John Pacella. This is not to be confused with undeserving, as I felt Pelfrey was rightly selected for his 15 shutout innings. I just think that there are a bunch of other Mets who would be more likely choices.

John Pacella never won Player of the Week though, and I'm still wondering why I thought he had. But these unlikely pitchers did...

Neil Allen
Weeks ending July 6, 1980, and August 23, 1981

Yes, that's right: Neil Allen twice won Player of the Week honors, impressive now since I don't think closers win this award too often any more.

Allen's first award was given for a three-appearance stretch in the midst of the time when it seemed like the magic was back. He threw 6 2/3 shutout innings of relief, earning a pair of saves, and may have been more of an award for the two-month spurt in which he managed 10 saves and an 0.96 ERA.

Allen went into the crapper not long thereafter (so did the team), allowing 11 earned runs, with an 8.03 ERA in his next eight efforts.

Allen was next a recipient in the Mets second-half run late in 1981, this time for 6 1/3 shutout innings over three games. An artful bases-loaded escape in a one-run win over the Reds was the highlight of that stretch.

Randy Jones
Week ending May 23, 1982

Randy Jones was a great Padre, but a lousy (read: 8-18) Met. After going 1-8 for the team in 1981, Jones started 1982 with a 6-2 mark, including a pair of wins in May to cop the award. Jones won on the strength of his 2-0 win at Houston on award deadline day, a game in which he retired the last 12 Astros he faced. The Mets were 23-18 at that point and Jones was looking solid. He finished 7-10 and the team was a rather horrendous 65-97.

Dave Mlicki
Week ending June 22, 1997

This one is pretty understandable. Mlicki went 24-30 as a Met, but the only thing people remember is why he won this award. On June 16, in the first Mets-Yankees regular-season game, Mlicki pitched a shutout, as the Mets won 6-0. He followed that up with eight stellar innings in a 3-2 walk-up win over the Pirates. Edgardo Alfonzo provided the hit that earned Mlicki the win, a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

Octavio Dotel
Week ending July 25, 1999

Octavio Dotel owes Edgardo Alfonzo a little something too. Dotel did pitch great in the two game stretch for which he was given the honor, allowing two runs in 14 1/3 innings. But give Alfonzo some kudos for homering in each of the two games. You could argue that Alfonzo should have won the award, as he netted 14 hits and seven RBI over seven games in which the Mets went 6-1. In fact, I'd argue that it's a travesty that in the compilation of Player of the Week honors, Edgardo Alfonzo's Mets tally lands on zero.

Steve Trachsel
week ending August 24, 2003

Trachsel's kudos were rightful, at least I can't argue with them, and I had a strong dislike for the guy. Over two starts in the week the award was given, Trachsel pitched a one-hit shutout against the Rockies (Chin Hui Tsao had the only hit), and allowed five hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings in a victory over the Dodgers. That seems like legit awarding to me.

and special mention to...

Pat Zachry
NL Pitcher of the Month, July 1980

In "This Date in Mets History," author Dennis D'Agostino rates the best and worst trades in Mets history. Tom Seaver's trade to the Reds lands on both lists, probably because months like July of 1980 provided D'Agostino with false hope that a pitcher like Pat Zachry would become a superstar.

Zachry went 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA and three shutouts that July, including back-to-back blankings of the Reds and Braves. Too bad the season didn't end there. The Mets lost Zachry's next eight starts, though it's hard to fault him since they didn't score a run in a three-start run in which the Mets lost 1-0, 2-0, and 3-0. In fact, Zachry was officially jinxed by the award, not winning a game the rest of the season.

Most NL Player of the Week Awards
Mets History

5- Dwight Gooden
4- Darryl Strawberry
4- Tom Seaver
3- Mike Piazza
3- John Olerud
3- Keith Hernandez
3- Jesse Orosco
3- Carlos Beltran
3- Dave Kingman
2- Neil Allen
2- David Wright
2- Jose Reyes
2- David Cone
2- Tug McGraw
2- Steve Henderson
2- Hubie Brooks
2- George Foster
>> Award appears to have begun in 1973

The truly week Mets fan knows...That maybe it was just me, but did the play at the plate to end the ninth walk-off win in All-Star Game history remind anyone of Sid Bream vs Mike LaValliere in a 2-foot slide to determine whether Francisco Cabrera's hit was a walk-off pennant winner in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS?


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