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The Mother of All Coincidences

What you witnessed on Saturday was a baseball rarity, in a number of regards.

It wasn't just that Paul Maholm, who entered with 1 career extra-base hit in 227 plate appearances, homered against the Mets in the Mets ballpark.

It was that Maholm homered in the Mets ballpark, and the Mets WON THE GAME.

I put that in all caps because it's very unusual.

I mentioned this briefly last year when Felix Hernandez hit a grand slam against the Mets and it bears another reference now.

There have been now 43 games in which the opposing pitcher has homered in the Mets ballpark.
The Mets record in those 43 games is now 3-40!

What's funny is that I've been to 2 of those 3 games. What's even funnier is that the last occurrence also took place the Saturday before Mother's Day, May 11, 2002.

It was a game in which Todd Zeile hit cleanup for the visitors and Benny Agbayani hit sixth, but the batsman who made the most noise was Mike Hampton, who homered against Al Leiter, to put the Rockies up, 3-1 in the third inning.

But the Mets prevailed, beating the greatest supporter of Colorado's school systems on a three-run sixth inning home run by Joe McEwing. This is as good a reason as any to give McEwing a plug for his nomination for induction to the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame.

The only other time the Mets won a game when the opposing pitcher homered in their ballpark was June 20, 1969. They didn't just win. They knocked off the best pitcher in baseball, and the two-time defending NL champs before a crowd of more than 54,000.

This was in the midst of a hot Mets run (maybe similar to the current one) in which the team won 16 of 20 games. It snapped a skid in which the Mets lost 15 straight games in which the opposing pitcher homered in their ballpark.

It was a day that Nolan Ryan outdueled the great Bob Gibson, with help from Tug McGraw. The Mets built a 4-0 lead, then barely hung on at the end. It was McGraw who yielded a home run to Gibson, slicing what was once a safe advantage to 4-3 in the seventh inning.

The Cardinals would not manage another baserunner. The last nine went down in order, including Gibson, who, in what The New York Times labeled "one of major league baseball's greatest rarities," struck out to end the contest.

It seems appropriate to mention that this reference couldn't have come on a better day, one on which we honor our moms for what they've meant (or Met) to us. After all, it was Dusty Baker who once said of Gibson: "He'd knock down his own grandmother if she dared to challenge him."

Those who Met their mother's know...This also marked the third time that the opposing pitcher accounted for his team's only run in a Mets HOME game. The other two- Jim Bunning (1965) and Juan Pizarro (1971) each beat the Mets, 1-0 in their games.

Also of note: Paul Maholm entered the game with 227 plate appearances and one extra-base hit. The ACTIVE PITCHER with the most plate appearances, with one extra-base hit or fewer is none other than Oliver Perez. And it's not even close!

Most Plate Appearances
Active Pitchers with 1 XBH or Fewer

369- Oliver Perez
171- Barry Zito

(do we really need to list any more...he's nearly 200 ahead!)


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