To borrow a little humor from the Shakespearian work, Seinfeld, I find the asterisk (aka "*") to be the pinky toe of symbols. It's one of those things that doesn't really have a significant use, but should be appreciated for its existence.
The role of the asterisk has been of value to some, so say the folks at Wikipedia. I have put it to use as a substitute for inappropriate language within my writing ("f**k" reads better than "bleep.") but it also has other uses in linguistics, mathematics, as well as the sport of cricket.
Baseball's usage of the "*" is an old-wives tale, one greatly exaggerated over time. When Roger Maris pursued Babe Ruth's home run record in 1961, than commissioner Ford Frick ruled that unless the record were broken within 154 games (as baseball formerly played a 154-game schedule), it should be listed separately within record books. Historians have noted that it is a myth that Frick requested that Maris's record be marked with an * and newspaper stories have served the purpose of embellishing Frick's request.
I'm here to bring back the *, at least as it relates to Mets walk-off wins, as there is one game in the history of the franchise that requires scrutiny. I'm referring to September 26, 1995.
It was a murky, rainy night at Shea Stadium. Newspaper writers would later state the game between the Mets and Reds probably should not have been played, but the two teams sloshed through. Mets rookie Jason Isringhausen, in search of his seventh straight win, and Red pitcher Mark Portugal each yielded only one run to their opponents through the first five-and-a-half innings.
Reds manager Davey Johnson, frustrated with the playing conditions, removed a couple of his regulars midway through the game and brought Tim Pugh in to relieve Portugal in the last of the sixth.
Pugh had a lot of trouble gripping the baseball. Jose Vizcaino led off the inning with a single and went to second when Pugh walked Carl Everett. That brought up Jeff Kent and Pugh made matters worse by balking the runners to second and third. With the count 2-2, Pugh chucked a wild pitch, behind Kent's head, past catcher Benito Santiago and all the way to the backstop. Vizcaino scored to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
Johnson and his coaching staff were quite irked at the way things had gone. One of his coaches, ex-Met Ray Knight, got ejected from the game after voicing his displeasure too loudy. After an argument with the umpiring crew, Johnson got his wish. The tarp was placed on the field. After a rain delay of nearly 90 minutes, the game was called. The Mets had a rather odd 2-1 win. Johnson filed a protest regarding the outcome but the ruling was that the result would stand.
Some of those scoring at home would say that this game is a walk-off win, since the final play of the contest was a wild pitch that produced the deciding run. Naysayers would argue that the contest concluded due to an umpiring decision and thus should be ruled a "rain-off" rather than a walk-off.
I consulted with a sports statistics expert on the matter and he remained neutral. He was of the opinion that it was not a walk-off, but since there are no rules governing such decisions (walk-offs are not an official statistic), I was free to decide however I chose. I take the responsibility of setting an example for future generations to follow very seriously.
It is an interesting philosophical discussion as to what makes a walk-off win. I have pondered the issue for days, much like Peppermint Patty did in the Peanuts comic strip when trying to answer the question "How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?"
I have decided to include this contest within my database, but have marked it with an * to note that there is controversy surrounding the decision. It is also a tribute to Johnson who undoubtedly got a nice stream of profanities within his conversation with the umpiring crew.
True Metkerisks know...Roger Maris hit .245 with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs (none of the walk-off variety) in 30 career games against the Mets.