This Date in Mets History: December 16 - Homecomings for Tom and Rusty

Tom came back. Maybe R.A. will, too? - Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

Seaver and Staub both returned to the Mets after long hiatuses on this date, thus setting the template for R.A. Dickey's eventual return, right? RIGHT?

On this date, December 16, 2012, the Mets agreed trade R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays. Since writing those words are unbearably sad, even if consensus is the team is doing well to get the prospects they are in return, let's console ourselves by remembering the time when an erstwhile ace and the best pitcher in Mets history came home. Thirty years ago today, GM Frank Cashen traded Charlie Puleo and farmhands Lloyd McClendon and Jason Felice to the Cincinnati Reds for Tom Seaver.

At the time, it was a question whether the reunion would produce anything but nostalgia. Seaver was coming off an injury-plagued season in which he ran up a 5.50 ERA and a 5-13 record, the first losing ledger line of his career. As it turned out, the Franchise had plenty left in the tank, even if his high octane fastball was permanently out of gas. Granted the Mets' Opening Day assignment for the 14th time in April 1983 (tying Walter Johnson's MLB record for most season debut starts), Seaver chucked six scoreless frames against the Philadelphia Phillies, helping his old team pick up a two-nil win. Though Tom would again end the year with a bigger number in the L column than in the W one, the rest of his stats would rebound nicely and he'd provide the Mets with 230-plus innings of slightly better than league average mound work.

The second Seaver trade reunited the ace with another Mets icon making an encore appearance in Flushing: Rusty Staub, who the team had signed away from the Texas Rangers exactly two years prior on December 16, 1980. Though limited to bench duty and the occasional spot start, Staub excelled as a part-time player, setting several Mets pinch hitting records before retiring in 1985. Let us pray that, like Rusty and Tom, Robert Allen winds up a Met again before he too calls it a career. RAmen.

Birthdays

  • Tom Gorman is 55. The right hander pitched for the Mets from 1982 to 1985, his best season being 1984 when he went 6-0 with a 2.97 ERA in a shade under 60 bullpen innings. Gorman picked up the win in the Mets memorable 19-inning, 16-13 Independence Day victory over the Atlanta Braves. It was victory by attrition, however, as he also allowed a pair of game-tying home runs, including one off the bat of opposing pitcher Rick Camp, in his long relief stint.
  • In addition to having the same first name, former Mets outfielders Chris Jelic and Chris Jones share a birthday. Jelic, who came to the team in the same deal that made David Cone a Met, is 49. Jones, meanwhile, is 47. His claim to Mets fame is connecting for three pinch hit home runs during the 1995 season, including a walk-off shot on July 29 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Transactions
The Mets have acquired two lefties on this date, though neither of them wound up being especially popular among fans. On December 16, 2001, GM Steve Phillips sent Tsuyoshi Shinjo and Desi Relaford to the San Francisco Giants for Shawn Estes. Never known for his control, Estes sent one behind Roger Clemens's back in the Rocket's first at-bat against the Mets after the bat throwing incident. The lefty did exact a measure of revenge later in the game, though, by taking Clemens deep. His most valuable contribution to the Mets was netting them Pedro Feliciano in a trade with the Reds two months later.

On this date in 2002, the Mets inked one of Perpetual Pedro's LOOGY predecessors, signing Mike Stanton away from the Yankees. The prior year, Stanton posted a 7-1 record for the crosstown rivals. In his first season with the Mets, that mark devolved to 2-7.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
With R.A. Dickey almost certainly Toronto-bound, everything feels tenuously connected today.

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