Local boy made good Lee Mazzilli (Al Bello / Getty Images)
Jerry Koosman got the start for the Mets on this date in 1973. Facing the Expos in Montreal, Kooz worked into and out of trouble in the first two innings, but a pair of timely strikeouts kept the denizens of Parc Jarry off the scoreboard. The lefty's luck ran out in the third, though. Felipe Alou led off with a double and two batters later, Bob Bailey brought him home with a single. In addition to giving the Expos an early lead, the run was also the first Koosman had allowed in 31 1/3 innings. That stood as the club record for most consecutive goose eggs posted by a Mets pitcher until R.A. Dickey surpassed it by an inning and a third earlier this year. Dickey's streak would have extended for another 11 2/3 innings, had it not been for an unearned run that scored courtesy of an error by David Wright. Seriously, when are they going to TRAID that guy already?
- Darren Bragg (2001) is 43. Bragg drove in five runs as a Met, four of which came in a single game against the Dodgers. Three weeks later, the team designated him for assignment. Picked up by the Yankees just before the Subway Series, Bragg told the Daily News that he "couldn't ask for a better scenario" than landing the Bronx. Given a chance to back up those words, the outfielder flew out in his only at-bat against his old team. Two weeks later, the Yankees designated him for assignment.
- Jason Isringhausen, the elder statesman among the trio of young pitchers labeled "Generation K" in the mid-'90s, turns the big 4-0. Izzy debuted with the Mets as an apple-cheeked 22-year old in July 1995. By year's end, he was easily the team's best pitcher according to WAR despite making a mere 14 starts. Injuries wrecked his 1996 through 1998 seasons, but a move to Oakland A's and the bullpen in 1999 revitalized Izzy's career. He made a triumphant return to the Mets–not to mention the majors–last year and on August 15, 2011, he became the 23rd player in history to record 300 career saves.
- David Newhan, turning 39 today, didn't get many hits in his one season with the Mets, so it's pretty easy to pinpoint his biggest base knock. On May 17, 2007, he opened the bottom of the ninth inning with a single off Cubs closer Ryan Dempster to help spark a five-run rally that resulted in a 6-5 win.
- Brian Stokes (2008-09) is 33. If you're wondering how Socks is spending his special day, it's probably like this, but with a cake break.
- Thirty years ago, catcher Rick Sweet got three pinch hit appearances for the Mets. All but one of them ended sourly. Anyway, today, he is 60.
On this date in 1990–seventeen years before he became a goat during the 2007 collapse and thirteen years before he became a goat for the first time by beaning Mike Piazza twice–a teenaged Guillermo Mota signed with the Mets as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. The fault, dear Mets fans, is not in our stars, but in our front office.
Game of Note
A message for any Cubs fans who might have wound up here through a fluke of search engine optimization: avert your eyes. The Mets shellacked the North Side's lovable losers on this date in 1976. Three three-run innings and a two-spot in the top of the ninth added up to an 11-0 shutout victory for Jon Matlack and the boys from Flushing. Of most note in this notable game was the major league debut of Lee Mazzilli, who subbed in as a defensive replacement for left fielder John Milner after the seventh inning stretch. Maz tapped a comebacker to the pitcher one inning later in his first MLB at-bat.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
In The Kids Are Alright, a 1979 documentary about the Who, drummer Keith Moon calls himself a survivor of "all the major earthquakes, and the Titanic, and several air crashes." In truth, Moon didn't even make it through the film's production schedule, dying of an accidental overdose on September 7, 1978. The Who soldiered on without him, even performing two shows at Shea Stadium in 1982 (sharing the bill with the Clash on the second night), but they were never the same band.