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Clinching Minutiae

The Mets clinched the NL East on Monday, but if you're coming here, chances are that you knew that (and a whole lot more) already. So we do as we usually do in these circumstances- try to provide a perspective with which you may not be familiar. To do so, we offer up the following pieces of information, and yes, we try to work in some walk-off notes on occasion.

PLEASE NOTE: That we are referring only to NL East clinching information and thus minutiae related to the wild card clinchings in 1999 and 2000 is not being utilized.

* This win marked the fifth time the Mets clinched the NL East title, with the previous opponents being the Cardinals (1969), Cubs (1973 and 1986) and Phillies (1988). The Marlins are the third team against whom the Mets had both a walk-off victory AND an NL East clinching victory in the same season (1969 Cardinals, 1988 Phillies are the other two)

* September 18 marked the second-earliest division clinching in Mets history, trailing only 1986 (September 17). The other parallel with 1986: The Mets clinched at home, after missing out on a chance to clinch on the road, with one loss each season coming in walk-off fashion.

* This was the second time that a Mets division clinching came as the result of a shutout, with the other taking place in 1969. In fact, the 6-0 shutout in 1969 was the first of four consecutive shutouts recorded by that pitching staff. The 1969 clinching is still the only one in team history that came the game after a walk-off win.

* Jose Valentin is the second Met to hit two home runs in a Mets division clincher, joining Donn Clendenon (1969). However, Valentin is the only player to hit two home runs in a Mets division clincher, and have a walk-off hit in the same season.

* The 2-hour 29 minute time of game was the third-fastest division clincher in Mets history. All five were played rather quickly, with the fastest being 2-hours 2 minutes (1969) and the slowest being 2-hours, 33 minutes (1988).

* Steve Trachsel earned his 15th win of the season, matching the total that the last Mets NL East-clinching pitcher (current broadcaster Ron Darling) had at the time of his victory. This was also the first start all season in which Trachsel allowed no runs.

* Tug McGraw (1973) and Billy Wagner are the only two relief pitchers to have been on the mound for a Mets NL East clinching win. Both also were the winning pitchers in walk-off triumphs earlier that same season.

* Willie Randolph is the third manager to manage the Mets to the NL East title, who formerly played for the Mets, joining Gil Hodges and Yogi Berra. Hodges is the only person to get a walk-off hit for the Mets and later manage them to a division title.

* Josh Willingham is the 1st player to beat the Mets with a walk-off hit and be the last batter in a Mets division clincher in the same season. The other last outs, for the record: Joe Torre (1969), Glenn Beckert (1973, though technically speaking, I suppose it's catcher Ken Rudolph, who was doubled off first base on the final play), Chico Walker (1986) and Lance Parrish (1988)

* The Mets have never had a regular-season walk-off win that occured after clinching a division that season. They did, of course, have postseason walk-off wins in the division-title seasons of both 1969 and 1986


Let's talk about real walkoffs tonight: What fans were chanting as they were walking out of Shea.
1. Yankees suck. Typical. Almost cliched.
2. Tomahawk chop. Mocking the Braves. Bury the ghost. Waited a long time for this one.
3. Let's Go Mets. Traditional. Never gets old.
4. Rockies suck. Didn't understand this one, but going down the ramp at Gate C it actually was chanted briefly.
Note: I didn't hear a 'We're No. 1' walkoff chant, which was in vogue in '69 and '73. Seems like walkoff fans vary as much as walkoff hits.

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