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'Expos'ing Unser

A fellow using the nom de plum of "Unser" commented on a post made earlier this week, and that got me to checking up on the background of a former Met by that name.

Del Unser happens to have a very distinct claim to Mets fame, or rather infamy. Obtained along with John Stearns in the deal that sent Tug McGraw to the Phillies, Unser was the Mets everyday centerfielder in 1975, hitting a reasonably decent .294 with 10 home runs.

Unfortunately in 1976, the 31-year-old Unser wasn't of the same quality. After Unser hit .228 in 77 games, first-year skipper Joe Frazier proclaimed he and Wayne Garrett to be "dead wood" (so sez The New York Times) and both were shipped out, traded to the Expos in mid-July for Jim Dwyer and Pepe Mangual.

It was only a couple days later, on July 23 of that year, when the Mets happened to be in Montreal for a series, and all parties got a chance to get reacquainted.

Perhaps Expos management had a sense of humor, or maybe it was just that the team was so mediocre, that it had former Mets hitting in the second through fifth spots against Tom Seaver. In fact, of the 12 who played for the Expos that day, nine either had played, later played, or later coached for the Mets.

Tom Seaver gave up a home run to one of those, future coach Barry Foote, to snap a scoreless tie in the fifth, then gave up another home run to Larry Parrish to put the Mets two runs behind. Steve Rogers held that 2-0 lead all the way into the eighth, when after a pair of singles (one by Dwyer) and a sacrifice by Seaver, Mangual tied the game with a two-run triple. However, Mangual went from hero to zero rather quickly, subsequently getting thrown out on a Felix Millan ground ball to Garrett.

The game went extra innings, with Seaver departing after the ninth and Rogers leaving after the 10th. In the 11th, Unser came up with one out against Mets reliever Skip Lockwood and hooked a home run just inside Jarry Park's right field foul pole for a walk-off winner.

The newspaper article I read lacks quotes from Mr. Unser. Perhaps our website visitor would like to give some perspective if he has any recollections of this game.

True Metsers know...Three players in the Expos starting lineup that day hit walk-off home runs during their Mets career: second baseman Wayne Garrett, first baseman Mike Jorgensen, and right fielder Gary Carter.


Anonymous said…
Fantastic post! I am truly honored.

I do recall that game, and my quote afterwards, which was as follows:

"It was a great win - a walk-off homer is what every ballplayer dreams about. I know the Mets are hurting after this one. In fact, I predict that, in . . . say . . . 22 years, someone with an affinity for walk-off Mets wins will hold this home run against me. I hope this person will recall my role in the September 16, 1975 Mets game, ironically against my current team, which was won in the bottom of the 18th inning when yours truly worked out a bases loaded walk. I believe that technology will allow this person to "log on" to what is called the "internet" and go to for more information."

P.S. - The writer wishes to note that he his not, in fact, Del Unser, but chose his handle simply because Mr. Unser was the lead-off batter at the first Mets game he ever attended.
metswalkoffs said…
Nice response!

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