Losing a second straight game to the Yankees is bad enough, but when that loss is your eighth in as many games, dropping you under .500 (27–28), six games out of first place, there are bound to be consequences. And there were for three Mets coaches on June 5, 1999.
Within hours after the Mets blew a three-run lead and lost to the Bronx Bombers 6–3, general manager Steve Phillips announced that he was replacing pitching coach Bob Apodaca, hitting coach Tom Robson, and bullpen coach Randy Niemann, with, respectively, Dave Wallace, Mickey Brantley, and Al Jackson, all of whom had been working in the Mets’ minor league system. Phillips emphasized that the decision to make these changes was made before the series with the Yankees and were a direct consequence of the poor performance by the starting rotation, all five of whom had ERAs well over 5.00, and inconsistent run production, with the team only eighth in runs scored despite leading the NL in on-base percentage. However, some perceived the moves as an attack on, or at least a wake-up call for, manager Bobby Valentine, who had a very close relationship with Apodaca and Robson, and little rapport with their replacement or holdover coaches Cookie Rojas and Mookie Wilson.
And so the stage was set for what would prove to be one of the most memorable (mostly for positive reasons) Mets seasons ever.
The Mets made some pretty good first-round draft picks on this date, including Lee Mazzilli (1973), the face of the franchise during the Joe Torre era, and David Wright (2001), the best home-grown position player in Mets history. The jury is still out on Ike Davis (2008).
Infielder Bill Spiers, turning 47 today, spent most of his one season with the Mets (1995) as a late-inning defensive replacement for the likes of Bobby Bonilla, Butch Huskey, and Jeff Kent. Overall he was not a big offensive threat, but he did OK as a left-handed bat off the bench. In 48 pinch plate appearances, he stroked nine hits and drew five walks, good for a .298 OBP,and drove in six runs.
Happy 60th birthday to right-hander Paul Siebert, the all-but-forgotten man in 1977’s Midnight Massacre transactions. When the Mets exiled Dave Kingman to San Diego, they received Siebert and Bobby Valentine in return. In his first appearance at Shea Stadium, he got the win and scored the deciding run to snap the Mets’ nine-game losing streak. He pitched the last two innings of a 17-inning triumph over the Expos, and, in the bottom of the 17th, he bunted into a force play and was on base when Lenny Randle hit a walk-off home run.
Amazin’-ly Tenuous Connection
At the 31st Tony Award ceremony on this date in 1977, “Annie” won for Best Musical. The show’s most famous number, “Tomorrow,” could be an anthem for Mets fans, given its hopeful outlook that better things must surely lie ahead, tempered with the realization that tomorrow is “always a day away.” We felt that the lyrics could use a little updating, so here goes:
Matt Harvey will pitch tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar with Matt Harvey
We will win
Just thinkin’ about Matt Harvey
Is like waiting for an awesome party
When we’re stuck with a game that’s lame and dreary
We’re OK ’cause the sked ahead does say:
Matt Harvey’ll pitch tomorrow
So we’ve got to hang on till Matt Harvey
Takes the mound
Matt Harvey, Matt Harvey, We love you, Matt Harvey
We hope you will stick around