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The Best Doubles I Know (Postseason)

When you think of the most memorable postseason moments in Mets history, doubles don't immediately come to mind. There have been no "grand-slam doubles" or walk-off doubles that would rank among the best-of-the best, and there have been a few postseasons bereft of any really important doubles.

But we're here to recognize the underappreciated, and with that, as a companion to what we previously wrote, we present our notes on those that were most Metmorable.

1969

Go figure that the first really, really significant double in Mets postseason history was hit by a pitcher, and one who finished his career with an .095 batting average. But in another of the many signs that 1969 was just meant to be, Gary Gentry, who was 6-for-74 with 52 strikeouts in the regular season, helped his own cause with a two-run double in the second inning of the eventual 5-0 win over the Orioles in Game 3. It's an oft-forgotten hit, lost in the heroics from Mets centerfielder Tommie Agee that day.

The hit that made the Mets World Series champs was also a double, this one by Ron Swoboda. It was a shot into the left field corner, which snapped a 3-3 eighth-inning tie against the Orioles in Game 5. This hit was overshadowed by Swoboda's other heroics in this series- the diving catch in the ninth inning of Game 4- though you could argue that this moment was just as significant. It's just not shown as often.

1986

A pair of doubles played an important role in the Mets Game 6 win over the Astros in the best NLCS there ever was. First up was Keith Hernandez's double, just beyond the reach of centerfielder Billy Hatcher in the ninth inning. That cut Houston's lead to 3-2 and ensured the departure of nemesis starter Bob Knepper.

Long after, in the 16th, it was a much shallower double, a roof-nearing blooper to center by Darryl Strawberry that preceded Ray Knight's go-ahead hit, that put the Mets ahead to stay.

1988

With the Dodgers outfield deeply defending, in Tim McCarver's words, against the Gary Carter of five years ago, it was inevitable that his liner to center on an 0-2 curve from Jay Howell would be just missed by Dodgers outfielder John Shelby, allowing both the tying and winning runs to score in the ninth inning of the Mets 3-2 Game 1 victory in the NLCS. That double would be recalled a lot more fondly had the Mets won the series.

In Game 3, it would be an eighth-inning double from Wally Backman that would tie things up in a wacky frame, which featured five Mets runs and an eventual 8-4 lead, and also witnessed the ejection of Dodgers reliever Jay Howell for having pine tar on his glove.

2000

Doubles were the scoring option of choice for the Mets in the final two games of the NLCS against the Cardinals. They'd hit four in a row to start the bottom of the first inning of Game 4, countering Jim Edmonds two-run home run in the top of the frame. After Benny Agbayani's double, the Mets, fifth of the inning, the hosts had a 4-2 edge and never looked back on the way to a 10-6 win.

The double I'll probably most remember was the stadium-shaker by Todd Zeile in the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 5. That ball to right center, which just missed being a grand slam, made a 3-0 lead a 6-0 laugher and set off what turned into a Shea Stadium victory party for the remainder of the evening. The floors beneath us in our seats along the left field line literally bounced from the vibrations of all the people enjoying the moment.

The Mets lone victory in the 2000 World Series came courtesy of a tiebreaking double by Benny Agbayani in the eighth inning of Game 3. It was another big hit in a season of clutchness for the man with a nice touch of Hawaiian punch.

Comments

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