This Date in Mets History: August 1 — A Comedy of Errors, Mookie Migrates North of the Border

Carlos wasn't a snazzy fielder, but he sure was always a snazzy dresser. Sweet Oakleys, B. (David Seelig / Getty Images)

August 1 was a record-setting day for the 1996 New York Mets. In an amazing display of futility that is unmatched in franchise history—not even by the consistently terrible teams of the early '60s and '80s—the '96 Mets committed a franchise worst seven miscues in a 13-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Act I of this comedy of errors happened in the third, when left fielder Bernard Gilkey misplayed an Al Martin line drive to gift the Pirates an unearned run. One inning later, Carlos Baerga, making just his third start at the hot corner since 1991, earned two demerits on the same play, first by booting a ground ball, then by throwing it well over the head of first baseman Butch Huskey. Of course, chucking the ball directly at Huskey wouldn't necessarily have guaranteed an out. In the seventh, the man with the name, body, and fielding prowess of a designated hitter dropped a routine flip from second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo for an error of his own. Doug Henry, Alex Ochoa, and Rey Ordonez would also play hot potato with the horsehide in the final three innings, allowing the Pirates score an additional six ERA-agnostic runs. Speaking to reporters after the curtain had fallen on this debacle, the sure-handed Todd Hundley put it best, saying, "Errors are going to happen, but you don't want seven in one game. Maybe in one month. But not in one game."

Birthdays

  • Brian Bohanon (1997-1998) is 44. An excellent hitter for a pitcher, Bohanon went 1-for-2 as pinch hitter in 1997. Four years later, as a member of the Colorado Rockies, he hit for a higher batting average and got on base at a better clip than teammate Mike Hampton.
  • Gregg Jefferies (1987-1991) is 45. In lieu of gifts, Jefferies asks that all birthday wishes delivered in the form of an open letter read aloud on WFAN.

Transactions
William Hayward Wilson officially became an ex-Met on this date in 1989. Per his request, the man better known as Mookie was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jeff Musselman and Mike Brady. One imagines that, upon learning of the transaction, some fans reacted like as such. At the time of the trade, Wilson was the Mets' longest tenured player, as well as the team's all-time leader in runs scored, triples, and stolen bases. While all those records have since been broken, Wilson remains the only player in major league history with the name Mookie.

Game of Note
Banner Day 1972 proved to be a lower-case banner day for Cleon Jones. Batting fifth for the day half of a scheduled doubleheader, the left fielder plated all the runs the Mets would score in a 3-2 victory over the Phillies. Jones notched his first RBI with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, then gave the home team a 2-1 lead in the eighth with a solo home run. At this point, several thousand fans who planned to bear Mets-themed standards on the field before the nightcap made their way to the Shea Stadium parking lot and patiently awaited the conclusion of game one. That patience would be tested, as Don Money tied things up with a homer of his own in the top of the ninth. The Mets failed to retaliate in their half of the frame, sending the contest into bonus baseball. How much bonus baseball? Try an additional game's worth. Nine innings of scoreless relief from Tug McGraw and Ray Sadecki kept things knotted until the 18th, when Cleon Jones finally struck again. Making his seventh plate appearance of the game, Jones poked an opposite field single to bring home Tommie Agee with the winning run.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date in 1981, Paddy Chayefsky, a three-time Academy Award winner for Best Screenplay, passed away. Chayefsky is probably best known for writing Network, which introduced the world to Howard Beale, the newscaster turned truth-teller who wants all of you to get up now, get up out of your chairs, and shout "Let's go Mets!"

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