This Date In Mets History: July 12 — Dwight Gooden Struggles In 1988 All-Star Game And Dick Rusteck's Birthday

Doctor K. (Mike Powell / Getty Images)

On this date in 1988, Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog tapped Dwight Gooden to start the All-Star Game for the second time in three years. This was obviously the wrong move, as Gooden gave up two runs in three innings and the National League lost 2-1. To this day, Whitey Herzog is remembered in baseball circles as a foolish and unserious man who is not in the least bit deserving of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.

Somewhat related: On this date in 2012, Tony LaRussa woke up, devoured an unsuspecting goat, then spent the day demanding tributes in gold from all those who dared to cross the bridge he lives under.

Birthdays

  • Dick Rusteck (1966) is 71. Of all the fine young pitchers to graduate from the Mets farm system, none has had a more impressive major league debut than Dick Rusteck: a complete game, four-hit shutout of the Cincinnati Reds. Rusteck struck out four, walked one, and didn’t allow a single runner past first base. His game score of 82 is the highest in team history for a pitcher making his first start and is tied for 11th highest in MLB history. Rusteck would start two more games for the Mets. He lost both, got demoted, and spent the next 11 years in the minors without receiving another call up.

Transactions

One year ago today, the Mets sent closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitchers Danny Herrera and Adrian Rosario. While some called the move a salary dump, it’s more accurate to say that the Mets identified a toxic asset and “divested” themselves of it. Wordplay!

Game Of Note

This could be a baseless assertion, but it seems like the Mets have played more games with crazy endings against the Braves than any other team. On July 12, 1984, Atlanta jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. The Mets battled back with single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, only to fall behind again as the bullpen coughed up three runs in the bottom half of the frame.

Braves relief ace Steve Bedrosian came on to close things out, but a Rusty Staub double and Wally Backman walk chased him from the game. Closer Donnie Moore took over and induced a fly ball that Gerald Perry misplayed to load the bases with no outs. Two singles and a Mike Fitzgerald double later, the Mets had turned a three-run deficit into a two-run lead. Final score: Mets 8, Braves 6.

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