Miracle Met and Two Boots Pizza namesake Cleon Jones (Jared Wickerham / Getty Images)
Last week in this space, we talked about the Continental League, Bill Shea's attempt to a third professional baseball association that would compete alongside the National and American Leagues. At the time of its founding in 1959, some dismissed the Continental League as nothing more than a way to coerce the existing leagues into expanding. The doubters were vindicated on this date in 1960 when, having secured promises from the NL and AL that they would place teams in four Continental League markets—including New York—Bill Shea pulled the plug on the venture.
Thirteen years later, on August 2, 1973, Cleon Jones would become the first player in the history of the franchise Bill Shea helped establish to reach the 1,000 hit plateau. Jones's third inning double brought home Willie Mays with what would ultimately prove to be the go-ahead run in a 5-1 win over the Pirates. Since then, nine other Mets have racked up 1,000+ hits with the team. Most recently, both Jose Reyes and David Wright crossed that threshold during the 2010 season.
Dae-Sung Koo (2005) is 43. Mr. Koo, as he preferred to be called, pitched 23 replacement level innings in his lone season with the Mets. As a hitter, though, he amassed 0.1 WAR in just two at-bats. His biggest blow came during the Subway Series, a long double off of Randy Johnson that caused the Shea Stadium crowd to chant his name as he waltzed into second base. I don't know what Tim McCarver said in the aftermath of that play because I was listening to the radio broadcast (mainly because Tim McCarver was calling the game), but I'm so certain it was something like, "They're not booing. They're saying 'Koo.'" that I will name my first born child "Derek Jeter? That Guy's Got an Edge" Mahan in the event I'm wrong. Which I'm not.
On August 2, 1967, the Mets purchased pitcher Cal Koonce from the Cubs. Koonce picked up 18 saves over the course of four seasons with the team, but his biggest claim to fame is that he couldn't close the door against the Montreal Expos on Opening Day 1969, thereby helping brand new franchise win its first ever game.
Game of Note
Frank Thomas and Marv Throneberry each went deep twice against the Phillies' Art Mahaffey on this date in 1962. Unfortunately, the rest of the Met lineup could only eke two other base runners out of the Philadelphia right hander, so all four of the homers were of the solo variety. Meanwhile, Mahaffey earned back all the runs he allowed with one swing of the bat, lining a Craig Anderson pitch over the wall for a grand slam. Final score: Phillies 9, Mets 4.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
According to the Christian liturgical calendar, today is the feast day of Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, the patron saint of arthritis. Many Mets over the years have suffered from this joint inflammation. For instance, in 2003, David Cone cut his comeback short due to trouble with an arthritic hip.