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Say it ain't Sojo.
Perhaps it was karmic retribution for Al Weis's game-tying home run in the deciding match of the '69 World Series. After all, the utility infielder posted a 1.290 OPS during the Fall Classic, over double the mark he reached in 103 regular season games. Winning a championship on the backs of performances like that accrues a cosmic debt that has to be repaid eventually.
At least that's one explanation for how Luis Sojo's eighty-hop ground ball found its way through the Mets' infield in the ninth inning of another decisive Game Five played at Shea, this one during the 2000 World Series. The True Yankee dribbled the 142nd and final pitch from Al Leiter through the lefty's wicket for a two-out, tie-breaking single.
Befitting a World Series in which all the contests were won by a margin of either one or two runs, the Mets got Mike Piazza to the plate in a position where he could have tied the game with a swing of the bat. Unfortunately, as fortuitously placed as as Sojo's slow roller was placed, Piazza's season-ending fly against Mariano Rivera wasn't: a 400-foot moon shot drilled to the one part of the park that could contain it. The loss dropped the Mets to exactly .500 in World Series play. To date, the team has won two, lost two, amassing a 12-12 record in the process.
- Jaime Cerda is 34. The lefty reliever made his MLB debut as a Met during the 2002 Subway Series and struck out three of the five batters he faced. Not a bad way to kick things off.
- Elio Chacón, shortstop for the '62 Mets, would have been 76 today. However, the Venezuelan infielder lives on as an equerry to indie rock royalty, though. According to Jimmy Breslin's chronicle of New York's inaugural season, Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?, center fielder Richie Ashburn grew tired of colliding with the Spanish-speaking Chacón on shallow flies, so he began shouting "I have it" in the infielder's native tongue. Not knowing the meaning of ¡yo la tengo!, monoglot outfielder Frank Thomas barreled into Ashburn instead.
The Mets have gained and lost a franchise-great slugger via free agency on October 26. In 1993, after nine years and 192 big flies, the team severed ties with Howard Johnson. Only two seasons removed from leading the NL in homers and RBI, Hojo suffered an abrupt, injury-induced decline and the Mets opted to let the erstwhile third baseman finish his career elsewhere.
Five years later, GM Steve Phillips worked out a deal with the man who would break Johnson's club record for most RBI in a single season, inking Mike Piazza to a seven year, $91M deal. With an AAV of "only" $13 million, the contract seems kinda quaint in these heady days, but at the time, it was the biggest in MLB history.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date 149 years ago, the Pony Express was officially put out to pasture after just 18 months of service. Capable of delivering a letter from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in ten days, riders in the fast mail service moved at a pace nearly as quick as Angel "El Caballo Loco" Pagan, the Crazy Horse stole 87 bases for the Mets between 2008 to 2011.