Few ex-Mets have helped their old team more after moving on than reliever Calvin Schiraldi, who turns 51 today. Selected by New York in the first round of the 1983 draft, the tall Texan forced the team to promote him to within a year of being taken out of UT-Austin by posting excellent minor league numbers at 1984. In 26 starts split between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tidewater, Schiraldi struck out 155 batters in 180-plus innings with a 1.14 WHIP. Granted a September call up, he made three starts for the Mets, but lost two and found himself buried beneath Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, and Rick Aguilera on the team's depth chart going into the '85 season. Moved to the bullpen, Schiraldi slipped behind Jesse Orosco, Roger McDowell, and others, which made him expendable. At year's end, the Mets made the 23-year old right-hander the centerpiece of the eight-player trade that pried Bob Ojeda away from Boston.
Ojeda, of course, thrived with the change of scenery, posting a team-best 18-5 record for the '86 National League champs. Schiraldi did, too. Given closing duties midway through the season, Schiraldi struck out more than a batter an inning and saved nine games for the division-winning Red Sox. His solid pitching carried over into the ALCS against the Angels, though being back on the Shea Stadium mound for the World Series made Schiraldi revert back into the mostly ineffective pitcher he was while wearing orange and blue. It was Schiraldi who, after retiring the first two batters in the tenth inning of Game Six, allowed three consecutive singles to Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell, and Ray Knight to spark just about the greatest comeback in World Series history. Two days later, Knight again victimized Schiraldi, taking him deep for a title-deciding solo homer in the seventh inning of Game Seven.
Much like that other Game Six goat, Bill Buckner, Schiraldi wasn't long for Boston after the Series. After an up-and-down 1987 season, the Red Sox traded him to the Cubs. He bounced around the league for five more years, never quite harnessing his control enough to become a bonafide bullpen arm.
Six-foot-four reliever "Big" Bob Rauch (pronounced "rock"), not to be confused with the bigger, six-foot-eleven Jon Rauch (pronounced "raush"), turns 64. A member of the 1972 LOLpen, Bob Rauch pitched in 19 games for the Mets, all but two of them losses. In his second major league appearance, Rauch was brought in to preserve a 3-3, ninth-inning tie against the Expos in Montreal. He proceeded to walk four batters and force home the game's deciding run.
Game of Note
Speaking of LOLpens, D.J. Carrasco turned in perhaps his most intentionally funny performance on this date in 2011 at Turner Field. Because where else, right? Through the game's first four innings, it looked as if it would be a run of the mill Braves blowout, as they jumped out to an 6-2 lead against still praiseworthy, though slightly less than normal R.A. Dickey. The Mets battled back in the middle frames, though, scoring six unanswered runs to take a 8-6 edge into the ninth. That's when Francisco Rodriguez, warming up the crowd for Carrasco's hilarious headlining set, allowed a game-tying, two-run homer to Brooks Conrad. The Mets couldn't score against Scott Linebrink in the top of the tenth, and so Terry Collins turned to Carrasco in the bottom half.
The surly right-handed showed fine LOLpen form from the get-go, walking Eric Hinske on four pitches. Of course, a good joke will heighten in an unexpected manner, so Carrasco induced a ground ball double play from the next batter. Needing only to retire pinch hitter Diory Hernandez, possessor of a career .157/.195/.260 line, to escape the inning unscathed, Carrasco decided he'd built enough dramatic tension and quickly began to execute the punch line. He started Hernandez with a get-me-over pitch that the futile infielder laced into deep right for a double. Speedy Braves center fielder Jordan Schaefer followed with a swinging bunt single down the first base line that moved Hernandez to third. He'd trot home two pitches later on a balk. Final score: Braves 9, the Aristocrats 8.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
It was 201 years ago today that the City Bank of New York, later Citibank, and now simply Citi, opened its vault doors for business. In November 2006, the bank announced it would pay the Mets $20 million a year for the next 20 years to secure the naming rights to the team's new stadium. As of this writing, that's still the largest sum ever paid for such honors (though MetLife did tie the record with its $400 million bid to name the new Meadowlands complex), and likely represents one of the only streams of revenue the Wilpons can realistically count on these days.