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No, I don't have a story of a walk-off that made Chipper Jones cry...Perhaps tomorrow. Instead, I digress slightly...

Some Mets fans may get confused if you tell them that you saw Bob Gibson, John Sullivan, Frank Thomas, or Billy Baldwin play for the Mets. But they all did. Ok, so Gibson was a former Brewer and not the Cardinals Hall of Famer (who did serve as the team's pitching coach), Sullivan was a catcher, John P. and not John L. the heavyweight champ, Thomas was 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, big for his time, but not sized like the 6-foot-5, 260-pound White Sox slugger and Baldwin had an Oscar Gamble-style afro, and at least to my knowledge, doesn't have any brothers as colleagues.

Baldwin, an outfielder who came to the team in the Rusty Staub for Mickey Lolich swap, is our subject of choice for flashback today, as he fits what we were looking for- a September call-up who earned his way into our database.

Baldwin's Mets career lasted a grand total of nine games and he must have done something right because he served as a nice good luck charm. In his nine appearances during what was a red-hot September of 1976 for the Mets, the team went 7-2.
Tom Seaver got the start for the Mets on September 24, 1976, looking for his fifth consecutive victory. Seaver pitched pretty well in 1976, but his 14 wins was a low total for someone with an ERA entering that day of 2.39. In the third inning, future Met Jerry Morales, whom Seaver dominated for much of his career, brought home two runs with a single, giving the Cubs a short-lived 2-1 lead, erased when Ed Kranepool homered for the Flushing 9 in the bottom of the frame against future Met Ray Burris.

The Cubs took the lead in the fifth inning when, with two outs, Pete LaCock singled and Larry Biittner tripled him home. Seaver left on the short end of a 3-2 score as Burris shut the Mets down until the eighth inning. Felix Millan started the rally by doubling to left, advanced to third on Kranepool's single to right, and scored on an infield hit by Dave Kingman off reliever Joe Coleman. Leon Brown, pinch-running for Kranepool got picked off second base, thwarting a chance for the Mets to take the lead.

The Cubs threatened in the ninth against Bob Apodaca, but Skip Lockwood entered in relief, retiring Biittner with runners on the corners and two outs to squash that scoring threat. In the Mets half, Bud Harrelson led off by grounding out. With a host of players to choose from, manager Joe Frazier selected Baldwin to hit for Lockwood, perhaps in a moment of clairvoyance.
The 25-year-old lefthanded swinger responded by launching a home run that exited, stage right, into the Mets bullpen . The newspapers describe Baldwin's trip around the bases as a scurry, though I imagine he would have taken more time to savor his moment on the grand stage had he known that his major-league career had only three games remaining.

True Metwins know... Billy Baldwin, the actor, has appeared in 24 movies and has three others in pre/post-production. He has also worked as a narrator for programs on VH-1 and Lifetime, and has made the rounds on the "Celebrity Blackjack" television tour. Baldwin's athletic claim to fame comes from his time as a wrestler at SUNY-Binghamton, the school he attended before pursuing an acting career. Baldwin is a member of the Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame


Anonymous said…
Don't forget the other Pedro Martinez.

Actually, go right ahead. I'm sure everybody else has.
metswalkoffs said…
5 games, 7 IP, 5 runs in 1996 and he's one of the most visited on the Mets Ultimate Database site, LOL

None of those 5 games was a walk-off win (only one was at Shea)

pitchers of that era seem so easily forgettable. why is it that I can't, for the life of me, recall "Perfect Met" Don Florence???
The Baldwins -- Billy, along with Alec and Steven -- are actually e natives of Massapequa Park, attending the old Berner High. I know this only because I attended with the younger ones. Don't remember if they were Mets fans -- but they should be!

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