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Grand Slam Something

There are few questions that the folks at Retrosheet can't answer. So when I asked about plays in which four runs scored without the scoring being a grand slam, David Smith came through big-time.

Since the Mets inception in 1962, that play has happened 54 times, with Ryan Braun being the most recent slammer. It was the fourth involving the Mets in some manner, and the first AGAINST them in 35 years.

That doesn't include the time it happened in my little league career, a series of blunders by our team, the Cougars, against the No. 2 team, the Panthers. Fortunately, we rallied from the 4-0 first-inning hole to win, 5-4, on a walk-off hit, the most difficult win of our unbeaten season.

As for the Mets, here are the details on the other instances.

Howard Johnson- Mets at Expos, April 19, 1992
New York Times writer Joe Sexton called it a "grand scram." With the Mets trailing, 4-3 in the 7th inning, Johnson lined a bases-loaded double into the left field corner. Expos left fielder Ivan Calderon could not field the ball cleanly and Johnson was able to circle the bases completely.

"By second base, my mind was made up. Nothing was going to stop me," Johnson said afterwards.

The play sparked a rally that led to an eventual 11-6 Mets win.

Ivan Murrell- Braves at Mets, June 18, 1974
As part of a year in which it seemed that everything that could go wrong, did, the Mets lost to the Braves at Shea, 6-1, thanks to a multiple-miscue scenario.

The botched handling of a popup by catcher Ron Hodges in the third inning led to an eventual bases-clearing triple by Murrell, who subsequently scored when shortstop Ted Martinez mismanaged the relay throw.

Donn Clendenon- Mets at Pirates, September 22, 1965
It doesn't appear that The New York Times even covered the game, somewhat understandable since the Mets were 48-105 at this time, so we relied on the Valley Independent of Monessen, Pa., to assist us.

The Mets trailed the Pirates, 2-1 in the fifth inning, with the bases loaded and two outs against starter Tug McGraw. The Mets had already committed an error and a passed ball, so it wasn't exactly a promising inning for them when Clendenon, then with Pittsburgh, came up.

Clendenon singled cleanly to center and the Mets made two more errors on the play, allowing four runs to score. One was by third baseman Charley Smith. The other was by McGraw.

According to the UPI photos in the Valley Independent, the following happened:

"A comedy of errors gets underway in last night's game when Mets Charlie Smith misses ball as Clemente slides into third. Clemente then raced home but missed the plate. Smith's throw to home plate eludes catcher Gus(??) Goossen so Clemente returns to touch plate. Then Donn Clendenon streaks for home as pitcher Tug McGraw covers, but misses Goossen's throw, allowing Clendenon to score on a "grand slam" single which provided four runs in the fifth inning and eventually a 6-2 victory."

A game story on the same page, provided by UPI, has basically the same account (although it says Smith made the throw that McGraw missed), with the following fun addition, which served as the lead to the game story.

"Correspondence between friends. Dear Mets. We love you. Signed the Pittsburgh Pirates."

I should note that the Associated Press account of the play differs slightly, stating that McGraw's error came on a throw to third, trying to nail Clendenon. Can anyone provide further help?


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