This Date in Mets History: May 24 — Long night in L.A. for Tom, Rusty, and the Mets

Malcolm Emmons / USA Today Sports

The Mets and Dodgers have played some marathon matches over the years, but none longer than the 19-inning affair that occurred on this date back in 1973.

Any East Coast fans who tuned in to watch/hear the Mets take on the Dodgers in Los Angeles on May 24, 1973 likely figured they'd be asleep by a reasonable hour, what with the relatively punchless away team sending Tom Seaver to the mound against Tommy John in one of the league's best pitchers parks. For the first six innings, the expected hurler's duel went more or less to script. Seaver held the Dodgers to three runs, while John did him one better, allowing just two and pitching into the seventh. In the top of the eight, outfielder George "The Stork" Theodore singled to tie the game. That would prove to be the last offense outburst of any kind until well past four a.m. EDT. A consortium of five relievers (two for the Mets, three for L.A.) limited both teams to a mere 14 singles in the ensuing eleven frames. The Mets finally broke the game open in the 19th, scoring four thanks to extra base hits off the bats of Rusty Staub and Ed Kranepool. Jim McAndrew came on tossed an efficient bottom half for the save, his final pitch coming five hours and 42 minutes after the game's first delivery. Final score: Mets 7, Dodgers 3.

Birthdays

  • Former Mets reliever and current Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto is 45. Over the course of his two seasons in New York, Dipoto made $275,000. In the two years he's helmed the Los Angeles née Anaheim front office, he's shelled out roughly half a billion dollars of owner Arte Moreno's money.
  • Justin Hampson turns 33. The left-hander pitched in 13 Mets games last year and is presently plying his trade for Triple-A Las Vegas. Hampson would be a candidate to help ease some of the burden on Scott Rice, who apparently has to work on all days ending in Y, save for two things. First, he's not on the 40-man roster. Second, he wasn't all that effective in his 2012 cameo.
  • In the summer of 2005, Jae Weong Seo, 37, reeled off four straight starts that rated as 70 or higher according to game score. Small sample size? Yes. Arbitrary start and endpoints? Yes. Impressive nonetheless? Also yes. Only eleven pitchers in franchise history have gone on similar such streaks and all but Seo and Jim McAndrew were All-Stars. Assuming Matt Harvey gets the nod in a month or so, that is...
  • The entire big league career of Bill Wakefield, 72 today, consists of 62 pitching appearances for the '64 Mets. On the evening of May 6, Bill started the first-ever night game at Shea Stadium, though he got the hook before the stars were fully out in the sky. His final line: 4 IP, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 HR. Wakefield did make one more appearance in a Mets uniform, post-64, however. It came 45 years later when the team honored his small place in franchise history by inviting him to throw out a ceremonial first pitch during Citi Field's inaugural season.

Transactions
In retrospect, it's amazing that the 2006 Mets were ten games over .500 by Memorial Day weekend considering that Brian Bannister, Geremi Gonzalez, Jose Lima, Alay Soler, and Victor Zambrano all took turns in team's rotation at some point. That parade of awfulness prompted Omar Minaya to make arguably his savviest in-season trade on this date seven years ago, sending spare bullpen arm Jorge Julio to Arizona for Orlando Hernandez. Incredibly hit-unlucky in 45-plus innings for the Diamondbacks, Hernandez reverted to his career norms upon escaping the Valley of the Sun and turned in 12 quality starts in 20 chances to stabilize the back end of the rotation.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
The Brooklyn Bridge, still standing strong after over a century of foot, horse, streetcar, and automobile traffic (not to mention countless purchases by gullible parties), celebrates its birthday today. The venerable span, which has connected Manhattan and its namesake borough for 130 years now, has served as a greater New York City icon since the day it opened. It's also been a part of New York Mets iconography since the franchise's beginning. Ray Gatto, the cartoonist who designed the Mets team crest, placed a silhouette of the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground to depict the strain of Dodgers DNA present in the new team's genetic makeup.

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