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'Hicks Dig The Long Ball

A few thoughts, as I ponder J.J. Putz's fastball issues, David Wright's baserunning struggles, and the Mets inevitable foibles in the opener of a San Francisco road trip before I share the nuggets from the walk-off win behind the punny headline.

* Is it just me or did Wednesday's game remind you of April 7, 2002? That one was a little more low-scoring, a 5-2 14-inning final, but it ended in a similar manner, with a light-hitting Brave hitting a home run off a new Japanese Mets pitcher (Marcus Giles vs Satoru Komiayama). Gary Sheffield had an impact in each game (RBI single for the Braves, hit by pitch in 14th inning in 2002).

* Mr. Wilpon, Tear Down That Wall! Jose Reyes' double off the left field wall is the third homer that the Mets have lost due to the height of the outfield fences recently (Msrs. Beltran and Delgado as well). The fence height also kills the chance of any Endy Chavez-style home run-robbing catches, which I think are about as cool as any walk-off home run. Figures they built a ballpark best suited for Tom Glavine.

* These Mets have a very familiar feel to them. If you're a hockey fan, you'll hopefully appreciate the comparisons.

- Johan Santana is Henrik Lundqvist (winning with no offense)
- David Wright is Chris Drury (struggling captain)
- Jose Reyes is Nikolai Zherdev (flashy, disappears at end of season)
- Carlos Delgado is Markus Naslund (old guy who gets good wood on it every once in a while)
- Mike Pelfrey is Steve Valiquette (the tall backup to the ace)
- Luis Castillo is Wade Redden (too high-priced for what he can do)
- Dan Murphy is Ryan Callahan/Brandon Dubinsky (young, up-and-comer, still learning)

Based on his comments of not long ago, sounds like Omar Minaya is looking for a Sean Avery-type to stir the pot a bit.

* Stumbled into an interesting note the other day. Your all-time leaders in game-winning RBI against the Mets: Though not 100% confirmed, Tony Perez 24, Chipper Jones 23.

What's interesting about that is that Tony Perez, who turns 67 Thursday, only hit .259 for his career against the Mets. But that's deceptive, and damaged by lousy numbers at the end of his career.

From 1970 to 1974, Perez hit .302 against the Mets with 9 home runs and 44 RBI in 59 games (a 121-RBI season pace). He had 3 walk-off hits against the Mets, which, from what I can tell, is tied for the most against them in team history.

3 Walk-off Hits vs Mets

Andre Dawson
Dusty Baker
Jerome Walton
Jim Edmonds
Mike Schmidt
Ron Cey
Tony Gwynn
Tony Perez

* OK, now for the details on the punny headline. I was looking for a game in which the Mets beat the Giants via walk-off, and this contest of July 17, 1963, happened to be a perfect fit.

I say perfect because it ended with one-year Met Joe Hicks hitting a walk-off home run off none other than Don Larsen in the 11th inning of a 9-7 win. Among the other highlights: Willie McCovey homering, and extending his hit streak to 22 games, and Frank Thomas tying the game for the Mets with a ninth-inning double.

Observed Leonard Koppett of the New York Times "... the Mets have more fun when they hit."

True Metrezs know...Tom Seaver is one of two pitchers, along with Fernando Valenzuela, to strike out Tony Perez four times in one game (1973). Perez had four games in his career in which he struck out four times- two came against the Mets.

PS: Check out a new stats-based Mets blog at http://metstats.wordpress.com/. Good stuff there.

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