Over the course of Tom Seaver's 20-year career, there was no team he performed better against than the Padres. Tom truly earned his Terrific moniker versus the Friars, winning 33 of his 47 starts and posting a 2.02 ERA in 374-plus innings. On April 22, 1970, Seaver received his 1969 Cy Young Award plaque in a pre-game ceremony and then took the mound to face his favorite opponent.
The Pads were particularly hapless against baseball's best pitcher that afternoon. Seaver racked up nine strikeouts through the first five and reached double digits with an inning-ending whiff of Al Ferrara in the sixth. Nate Colbert went down hacking to start the seventh. Dave Campbell and Jerry Morales followed in suit, though they were rung up for excessive staring by home plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt. The results were similar for Seaver in the eighth (albeit with two swinging Ks to one looking) and the ninth another photocopy still. All told, Seaver fanned a then-NL best 19 Padres and the last ten consecutively, a feat which remains unequalled in major league history. If you want to see some footage shot 43 years ago today, you can here (start at 2:22). It doesn't do the performance justice, although it is fun to watch how the reaction of the crowd differs from that of Seaver and catcher Jerry Grote when the record-setting K is recorded.
No Mets have been born on April 22, but '80s Tidewater farmhand Jack Savage was and he turns 49 today. Savage came to the organization (along with Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst) in 1987 via the three-way trade that sent yesterday's birthday boy, Jesse Orosco, to the the Dodgers. A right-handed reliever, Savage saved 13 games for the Tides in '88, but found himself on the move again at the trade deadline one year later. This time, Savage and Tapani headed north to Minnesota while Friday's birthday boy, Frank Viola, came to Shea.
Game of Note
The Mets swept a doubleheader from the Cubs at Shea on this date in 2000. Glendon Rusch pitched a gem in the first game, limiting Chicago to two runs on four hits across seven innings. Second star of the game went to Derek Bell, who went four-for-five with two doubles, the last of which plated the Mets' seventh and eighth runs of the afternoon. Final score: Mets 8, Cubs 3.
The team would add another seven tallies to the day's total in the nightcap, though they'd need every one to secure the victory in this one. Dennis Springer, whose only claim to New York Mets fame is that he was the last knuckleballer to start a game for the team until R.A. Dickey's arrival, got the start the start and his performance was not praiseworthy. The Mets staked him to a two-run lead in the first, but Springer couldn't hold it in his five-plus innings of work. Dennis Cook took over with one out and runners on the corners in the sixth, but escaped the jam by picking off a runner and inducing a groundout to end the frame. His work was rewarded in the bottom half of the inning, as the offense hung a five-spot on Kyle Farnsworth to put Cook in line for the win. Armando Benitez made things interesting at game's end, though, as was his occasional wont. After Mark Grace nearly went opposite field for a home run, Cubs left fielder Henry Rodriguez cleared the fence with a shot to make it a one-run contest, but Mando overpowered rookie Tarrik Brock a batter later to secure a 7-6 victory.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Seventy-one years before the first Earth Day, U.S. pioneers celebrated a lower-case earth day on April 22, 1889, as the federal government opened up Oklahoma (previously marked on maps as Unassigned Lands) to white settlers for the first time. The land rush was so intense that by nightfall, two brand new municipalities, Oklahoma City and Guthrie, already had populations of over 10,000. Fourteen Sooners have played for the Mets, though none took up as much land as the aptly named Butch Huskey. With a playing weight of 244 pounds according to Baseball Reference, Huskey is the 18th heaviest Met of all-time and he easily trumps Jeremy Hefner (215 lbs.) as the heftiest Okie.