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A Place In History

Newest Met Ricardo Rincon has a claim to fame that is very significant to this blog.

On July 12, 1997, Rincon was the winning pitcher in a walk-off no-hitter.

The Pirates haven't had many things go right since losing the 1992 NLCS on Francisco Cabrera's walk-off hit. They haven't had a winning season since. This would rank as one of their better days of recent vintage.

Granted, Pirates starter Francisco Cordova, a good friend of Rincon's, did most of the dirty work for nine hitless innings against the Astros that day (part of a 23-inning, 3-hit stretch against them) and Billy Wagner's outing for Houston (1 1/3 innings, four strikeouts) was of a higher level of success, but we cannot ignore Rincon's contribution to history.

Rincon's four-batter stint came in the top of the 10th inning. He faced two players with a Mets connection (Bill Spiers and Derek Bell) and two who are still active (Luis Gonzalez and Brad Ausmus) and his only blemish was Bell's walk.

The Pirates won the game in the home 10th against future Met John Hudek, who yielded walks to Jason Kendall and Turner Ward, before surrendering a game-ending three-run home run to pinch-hitter Mark Smith, who was batting for Rincon.

"I didn't want to come in and ruin it for him. I did my best," Rincon told the media afterwards.

Let's hope he takes the same attitude in his current situation.

True Metcons know...Ricardo Rincon gave up a game-ending hit to Jason Hardtke in a Mets walk-off win three weeks prior to that no-hitter, on June 19, 1997.

Players with a Mets connection to have played in the Pirates no-hitter besides Rincon, Spiers, Bell, Wagner and Hudek are: Astros centerfielder Chuck Carr and shortstop Tim Bogar, and Pirates centerfielder Jermaine Allensworth. Lou Collier, the Pirates shortstop in this game, also qualifies as a NeverMet (Mets in name, but never in game). He was obtained in a trade by the Mets in January, 2002, but subsequently dealt away in March.

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