Ralph Kiner did the honors, raising the National League championship banner over Shea Stadium, as more than 53,000 Mets fans welcomed home the franchise’s first pennant winners in 14 years. The Amazins, who did an end run around Atlanta to reach the World Series in 2000, beat the Braves handily in the 2001 home opener, 9–4.
Mike Piazza led the charge that afternoon with a pair of home runs and five RBI and Tsuyoshi Shinjo, making his Shea debut, contributed a solo blast. Even Rey Orondez got in on the action with a single, double, run scored, and game-tying RBI. Kevin Appier pitched seven solid innings to earn his first Mets victory.
Happy 46th birthday to Lefty Graeme Lloyd, who did a decent enough job coming out of the bullpen during the first four months of the 2003 season, posting a 3.31 ERA and 0.5 WAR. It all fell apart for him after he was traded to the Royals and his career soon came to an end. At six feet, eight inches, Graeme is one of the tallest Mets ever, and he and Craig Shipley are the only Aussies to play for the Amazins.
Right hander Jerry Hinsley, turning 68 today, had a cup of coffee with the Mets in 1964 and another sip in 1967. Nothing he did in those 20 innings is worth mentioning. Before, in between and after, he toiled in the minors, finally hanging up his spikes in 1971.
Amazin’-ly Tenuous Connection
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, no relation to Mets right-hander Jeremy Hefner, is 87 years young today. When Hef chose Alicia Rickter to be Miss October in 1995, he had no idea he was devoting that issue’s centerfold to the future wife, 10 years down the road, of Mets All-Star catcher Mike Piazza. Before meeting Alicia, Mike had dated Playboy Playmate of the Millennium Darlene Bernaola.