On 8/8/08 -- crazy 8s -- Oliver Perez combined with Aaron Heilman to pitch a two-hit shutout against the Florida Marlins at Shea Stadium. Perez, the Mariner lefthander, was at the time a 26 year old with stuff life a buckin' bronco and head like a man kicked by a buckin' bronco. In 194 innings he struck out 180, led the league with 105 walks, and earned himself a -- sigh -- contract. Heilman, the face of a dreadful Met bullpen, was booed with even more force than he was hit. But on this date four years ago, Ollie (7 innings) was touched only by a Wes Helms double and a Cody Ross single, while walking a mere three. Heilman (2 innings) threw 15 of 21 pitches for strikes, struck out three, and, in a word, was perfect. 35 years before on August 8th, Jon Matlack flung his own two-hitter with no help from Heliman.
John Hudek (turns 46) is the inpiration for and the operator of the John Hudek All-Star Baseball Academy in Sugar Land, TX. Hudek pitched in the midseason classic his rookie year as an Astro. In '98, he made 28 appearances out of the Mets bullpen, earning an even 4.00 ERA.
On August 8, 1997, the Mets traded Lance Johnson and PTBNL (Mark Clark and Manny Alexander) to the Cubs for Brian McRae, Mel Rojas, and Turk Wendell. This Date Trivia: Johnson apparently remains the only player to have lead the league in hits both in the American League (White Sox, 1995) and National League (Mets, 1996).
Game of Note
On this date in 1996, in the eighth inning of a scoreless game in Miami, Bernard Gilkey thumped a 2-run shot to open a 2-0 lead, and Todd Hundley, the next batter, played monkey-see-monkey-do. The starter Peter Harnish was unearned-upon through eight, and John Franco came in to seal the deal. Miguel Batista pitched the ninth inning for Florida.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first American president to resign his office. On the day Nixon's backup Spiro Agnew resigned, the 1973 Mets clinched the N.L. penant before 50,323 at Shea Stadium. No such luck from Dick.