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Showing posts from October 12, 2008

A Home Run of Great Significance- Part IV

You know what else was cool about Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series? He didn't just hit it against Joe The Plumber. He hit it against Hall of Fame relief ace Dennis Eckersley, among the best pitchers in the game. That got me to thinking. The Mets have had walk-off wins against everyone from Juan Acevedo to Pat Zachry. But who's the best pitcher against whom they've ever had a walk-off win? You can vote in the poll on the right. The candidates... Steve Carlton Opening Day 1975 (Joe Torre). Carlton was in a 2-year stretch in which he wasn't quite the pitcher who twice won 20 games previously, but he was in the prime of his career, and won 20 four more times afterwards. Dennis Eckersley April 4, 1996 (Brent Mayne). The Mets got to the 42-year-old version of Eck, who was still pretty good, posting 30 saves, and getting the Cardinals to within one win of the World Series. Bob Gibson September 23, 1969 (Bud Harrelson). Gibson was

A Home Run of Great Significance- Part III

You know what else is neat about Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run (the anniversary of which is today)? He turned loss into win with one swing. I LOVE the come-from-behind walk-off home run. The two best kinds of walk-offs are: a) the come-from-behind walk-off home run (when you think of that, you think of Kirk Gibson and Bobby Thomson) b) the come-from-behind walk-off hit with a close play at the plate (when you think of that, you think of Francisco Cabrera) The first walk-off win in Mets history came via come-from-behind walk-off home run. It was hit by Hobie Landrith. The first Mets walk-off win to come after this blog's existence came via come-from-behind walk-off home run. It was hit by Cliff Floyd. I speak from the experience of having been there for Floyd's home run. You can't get a more exciting moment in a game than that. As it turns out, Kirk Gibson was the master of the come-from-behind walk-off home run. In his 17 seasons in the major leagues, he hit 5

A Home Run of Great Significance- Part II

The most amazing thing about Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series is that he hit it while injured. "Everyone is banged up at this time of year," the announcers tell us, but few were quite as banged up as Gibson, who had a bad left hamstring and a swollen right knee, aggravated by a phenomenal catch in Game 3 of the NLCS at Shea. Gibson played all-out throughout his 17-year career and was frequently hurt. Gibson only played half a season in each of the two years that followed his walk-off home run, and was a shell of the player that won the NL MVP. He only played the equivalent of nearly a full season three times. Gibson hit a LOT of really big home runs in his major league career, and you could argue that total would have been increased significantly if he had stayed healthy. The Mets had their Kirk Gibson moment in the first season of Shea Stadium, and in the last season as well. We told the tale two years ago of one of the most improba

A Home Run of Great Significance- Part I

This week, Wednesday specifically, marks the 20th anniversary of the home run that made the term "walk-off" a part of popular baseball culture- Kirk Gibson's dramatic game-ending home run in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Dennis Eckersley introduced the phrase when commenting about allowing the home run, after the game. Because that walk-off is of great significance to the baseball world, because I thought it was a cool moment, and because there are many ways in which I can connect that home run to the Mets, I thought I would pay it proper tribute here. So that will be the topic of discussion in a few essays this week. It is worth noting that Kirk Gibson hit two home runs in the ninth inning of games during the 1988 season. If a lesson had been learned from that first one, the second might not have occurred. I'm referring to the game between the Mets and Dodgers of May 31, 1988, one of the better victories of the season, but one that came at