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From Start To Finish

Tom Glavine's first Mets start (Opening Day 2003 against the Cubs) was a disaster. His tenure commenced in the following fashion: Walk-double-single-double. Before Glavine knew what hit him, he was down 4-0. The Mets lost, 15-2.

Glavine's last start (Closing Day, 2007 against the Marlins) was a disaster. It concluded with his hitting the pitcher, the first time he'd ever done so in his MLB career. Glavine fully realized what had hit him by this point. He left down 5-0 and would eventually be charged with seven hideous runs. The Mets lost, and I don't even wanna mention the final score.

What came in between those two stints was acceptable to some, average to others, distasteful to a few, including this blogger, who never wanted him to begin with. His lasting legacy, in my mind, will be those two appearances, because they were most symbolic of what he'll probably refer to back in Fulton County, of his five-year mistake. Glavine ranked 11th in Mets history with his 61 wins, which thankfully should keep him off that top-10 list (albeit in favor of Steve Trachsel) in the team media guide.

With the news of Glavine's signing (the end of an error), it got me to thinking about how a few other Mets pitchers started and ended their careers with the team.

Tom Terrific (as opposed to Tom Horrific) began his on April 13, 1967 against the Pirates. After allowing a leadoff double to Matty Alou, he got a pair of groundouts from Maury Wills and Roberto Clemente, walked Willie Stargell, then struck out Donn Clendenon to escape the jam. Seaver got a no-decision, allowing 2 runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 3-2 Mets win.

Seaver's last Mets outing was a one-inning scoreless effort on October 1, 1983, against the Expos. He retired the side in order in the first (the last out of his first Mets stint was Art Howe, the last of his last Mets stint was Andre Dawson), then was replaced by the aptly named Brent Gaff (A far worse Flushing gaffe is well-recalled at Faith and Fear). The Mets beat the Expos, 5-4.

In between is his legacy as The Franchise.

Tug McGraw's Mets debut occurred on April 18, 1965, against the Giants. He struck out Orlando Cepeda and got opposing pitcher Bob Shaw on a groundout to end the eighth inning of a 4-1 loss.

McGraw's Mets sayonara was, oddly, a start against the Pirates at Shea on September 28, 1974. He allowed 6 runs in 4 1/3 innings and his work was done after allowing a double to Al Oliver, getting a groundout by Willie Stargell, and a home run to Richie Zisk. The Mets lost, 7-3.

In between was the legacy of Ya Gotta Believe.

Dwight Gooden's first Mets start was on April 7, 1984, against the Astros. Dr. K began with a strikeout of Dickie Thon, though it came after groundouts by Bill Doran and Terry Puhl. Gooden allowed one run in five innings and he and the Mets won, 3-2.

Gooden's last Mets start, on rainy June 24, 1994, against the Pirates, has been documented in this space previously. It ended with ugliness, a six-run sixth, and Gooden yielded a two-run triple to the last batter he faced, Gary Varsho. He left, allowing nine runs, the most he allowed in any appearance, in a 9-4 loss. He would be suspended for violating MLB drug policy not long thereafter.

In between was his legacy of greatness and sadness.

The Truly Scarce Mets fan knows...
That I don't want to close this post on such a low note. I was trying to come up with a pitcher whose beginning and endings were as memorably miserable as Glavine's were. The best I could come up with was Mac Scarce.

Mac Scarce's Mets debut came on April 11, 1975 against the Pirates. He faced one batter, allowing a walk-off single to future miserable Met Richie Hebner. It was part of a game in which the Mets blew a 3-0 ninth inning lead and lost 4-3.

Mac Scarce's Mets finale came on April 11, 1975 against the Pirates. He faced one batter, allowing a walk-off single to future miserable Met Richie Hebner. It was part of a game in which the Mets blew a 3-0 ninth inning lead and lost 4-3.

Yes, that's correct. Scarce pitched in one Mets game, faced one batter, and allowed a hit. Had that been the sum of Tom Glavine's Mets career, I wouldn't have been too disappointed.

Bloggers note...I find out an hour later that this idea had already been done, sort of anyway, and done well...

Check it out here:


Anonymous said…
Tom Glavine's combined ERA for his first and last Met starts: 27.00.

But he did win that all-important 300th game in a Met uniform.
Anonymous said…
Whoop de doo about No. 300. The Mets blew the game that SHOULD have been his 300th, in Milwaukee. Win that game too and his final-day meltdown might not have mattered. Somebody might have saved his bacon in Game 163.

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