For a man nicknamed Steady Eddie, Kranepool's OPS+ fluctuated wildly. (Al Bello / Getty Images)
If you like home runs and the Mets, then August 3 is the day for you. In 1962, the OG version of Frank Thomas clubbed a pair of long balls for the third consecutive game, setting a club record for most home runs over a three game span with six. At the time, it also tied an MLB record, though Shawn Green would break it in 2002 by crushing seven in three games. To put that binge in perspective, Green's seven bombs in 72 hours equals fifty percent of his total tater output in a season and change for the Mets.
In other landmark four-bagger news, on this date in 1976, Ed Kranepool became the first Met to hit 100 career home runs. Steady Eddie's eighth inning round tripper put the team up 9-8 over Expos in a game they would win by that same score.
- Kevin Elster (1986-1992) turns 48. Elster is one of three Mets shortstops to hit more than ten home runs in a single season. Ruben Tejada currently has two homers in just over 900 career plate appearances. Assuming he continues to knock the ball out of the park at that rate and averages 450 PA a season, Tejada will hit his tenth home run sometime around the year 2020.
- Mackey Sasser (1988-1992) is 50. Offensively, Sasser was average or better in four of the five seasons he played for the Mets. Defensively, in 1990, Sasser developed a tic where he couldn't toss the ball back to the pitcher without double-clutching. This psychological quirk would later serve as the basis for the character of Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter) in the film Major League II. SPOILER ALERT: Rube overcomes his throwing woes after his teammates introduce him to soft-core pornography. Attempts to determine if the Mets tried a similar tactic with Sasser were inconclusive.
Bob Murphy was a fixture of the Mets broadcast booth for over forty years, from the team's inception until his retirement after the 2003 season. Less than a year after stepping away from the microphone, Murphy passed away at the age of 79 on this date in 2004. If you have a few minutes to spare, you can listen to Murph call the final inning of the 1973 National League Championship Series here.
Lee Mazzilli returned to the team that drafted him on this date in 1986. The Mets' representative at the 1979 All-Star Game, Mazzilli's career was waylaid by back problems in the early '80s, limiting him to part-time duty during his second Flushing stint. Even in his reduced capacity, Maz proved to be a valuable bench piece, putting up OPS plusses of over 130 in both 1986 and 1987, despite looking less like a ballplayer and more like someone who could get you a good deal on stone lion statues to put at the end of your driveway.
Game of Note
Returning to the home run theme, Jerry Grote wasn't much of a power threat, but he did bop a career-high six dingers in 1969. None was as opportune as the one he hit on this date against the Atlanta Braves. Leading off the bottom of the 11th inning, the catcher broke a 5-5 tie by taking Claude Raymond deep for a game-winning blast.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On August 3, 1977, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence began hearings into MK-Ultra, the covert CIA research program that, according to documents uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request, dosed unwitting test subjects with LSD and other mind altering drugs. Two years later, Dock Ellis, the baseball folk hero who threw a no-hitter on the same day he wittingly dropped acid, went 3-7 with a 6.04 ERA in 14 starts for the Mets.