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On October 12, 1988, hopes of a Met dynasty got bulldozed by the Bulldog.
The Mets have played five NLCS games on October 12 in their history, going a perfect 2-0 against the Cardinals and a perfectly imperfect 0-3 against all other opponents. The toughest of the losses came in 1988, when Orel Hershiser chucked a 6-0 shutout in Game Seven to bounce the Mets from the postseason and pick up NLCS MVP honors in the process. The Bulldog made four appearances in the series, picking up the save in Game Four, the win in the clincher, and posting a microscopic 1.09 ERA.
As for the wins, Jay Payton cracked a ninth inning RBI single off of the Cards' Mike Timlin to unknot a tied affair and give the Mets a 6-5 victory in Game Two of the 2000 NLCS. In the rematch six years later, the Mets won again. Blame Beltran for that. Carlos's two-run homer off of Jeff Weaver produced the only scores either side would get in a 2-0 New York triumph.
According to the H/9 career leader board on Baseball Reference, Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax are the only two pitchers in MLB history who it was harder to pick up a base knock against than Sid Fernandez, who turns 50 today. A fitting age indeed, since the big Hawaiian wore number 50 during his playing days as a tribute to the Aloha State's status as the last U.S. territory to make the jump to full statehood. In ten years as a Met, El Sid made 250 starts, two All-Star teams, and at least four managers angry at him about his lackadaisical approach to fitness. Still, Fernandez is one of the better pitchers to don the orange and blue, finishing his time in Flushing with 98 wins, 1584 innings pitched, and 26.0 rWAR, all of which are good enough for fifth-best in Mets history.
Game of Note
Led by the left arm of Jerry Koosman, the Mets won their first ever World Series game on this date in 1969. Kooz came within a batter of going the distance, limiting the Orioles to just two hits and a lone run before turning things over to Ron Taylor for the final out of a 2-1 nail-biter. Runs for the Mets came courtesy of the long ball (a Donn Clendenon homer) and small ball (an Al Weis single in the ninth). Earl Weaver's boys, on the other hand, plated their lone base runner in seventh, having been held hitless by Koosman prior to that point. Said Jerry: "I thought about the no-hitter early because it has always been my dream to pitch on in the World Series. I also have an ambition to get four hits in a game." For the record, he achieved neither.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, though not on this date. It was 520 years ago today that the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria made landfall on the Bahamas. The Mets have never had a player hail from the island nation, and oddly, no one in MLB history has possessed the surname Columbus. As far as the great explorers of North America go, the Mets have had a Drake (Sammy), an Erickson (Scott), and two each of Lewis (Johnny, Fred) and Clark (Brady, Mark).