No Mets player has come to bat more often in the MLB All-Star Game than David Wright and no Met has done more damage to American League pitching than our captain. In 16 plate appearances, Wright has gotten on-base seven times and posted a .400/.438/.600 line. David bolstered said slash stats on this date three years ago at the 2010 Midsummer Classic in Anaheim by going two-for-two (with both hits coming off Cy Young winners, no less). In the second, he touched David Price for a single, but was erased on a double play ball off the bat of Ryan Braun. Three innings later, David stroked a Justin Verlander fastball through the middle of the diamond for another one-bagger.
Seven other All-Star Games happen to have fallen on the 13th of July and there have been a host of Mets participants in those contests, too. Tom Glavine tossed a scoreless inning in relief of a shaky Carl Pavano at the 2004 exhibition in Houston. The oft-injured Marlins pitcher wasn't nearly as bad as National League starter Roger Clemens, who disappointed the hometown fans by permitting six runs to score in the first inning. One person who likely wasn't torn up about that at all was the Rocket's battery mate, Mike Piazza. Forced to catch the headcase who concussed him four years earlier, Piazza could certainly be forgiven if he chose to, say, tip a few pitches for Junior Circuit batters.
Even if hitters knew what was coming out of Pedro Martinez's hand on this date in 1999, there's next to no chance they'd have been able to do anything about it. Prime Pedro didn't just fan the five of the six men he faced at the ‘99 All-Star Game in Boston. He made the best batters the National League had to offer look utterly helpless. Piazza, the Mets' lone rep, avoided embarrassment only because Pedro got the hook before his turn at bat. Instead, he went one-for-two against former Met David Cone.
As for the rest of the Mets to see All-Star action on this date, the ranks include: Bobby Bonilla (1993), John Stearns (1982), Dave Kingman and Tom Seaver in ‘76 (Jon Matlack was also there, though he didn't pitch), plus Bud Harrelson and Seaver (again) in 1971. Also of note, Ed Kranepool was the sympathy Mets selection to the 1965 All-Star Game in Minnesota. The twenty-year old New Yorker sat on the bench and watched as a dozen future Hall of Famers led the National League to a 6-5 victory.
- Jack Aker is 72. A member of the Mets bullpen in 1974, Aker did a servicable job over forty-some-odd innngs, but retired at year's end to take a manager job in the team's minor league system. Baseball Reference's (incomplete) salary chart says Aker made $91,500 in his playing career, which pales in comparison to the $250,000 that Wikipedia claims his wife won on an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
- Mike Fitzgerald turns 53. Late in the 1983 season, Fitzgerald became the the 57th player in MLB history and the second Met to homer in his first big league at-bat. Just over a year later, he was traded for another catcher who would go deep in his first game as a Met: Gary Carter.
Game of Note
Two years after they went head-to-head in the All-Star Game at Fenway, Mike Piazza and David Cone again squared off against each other on July 13, 2001. Coney, a member of the Bosox by this point in his career, got the best of Piazza and struck him out twice en route to a 3-1 win. Mike did account for the only run the Mets scored in defeat when he sent a ninth inning offering from Derek Lowe pitch over the fence for the 300th homer of his career.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
A lightning bolt struck a ConEd substation in northern Westchester thirty-six years ago today, starting the chain reaction of power failures that caused the blackout of 1977. At 8:37 p.m., a wave of darkness began rolling down the Hudson Valley toward New York City, reaching Shea Stadium about an hour later, just as the Mets' Len Randle stepped into the batter's box for his third at-bat of the night. Here's how Randle later described the experience to the New York Times:
"I thought, ‘God, I'm gone.' I thought for sure He was calling me. I thought it was my last at-bat."
According to that same Times article, Mets players helped illuminate the stands for an orderly evacuation of Shea by driving their cars onto the field and turning on the headlights. Two vehicles earned special mention from the paper of record: Craig Swan's Buick and Joel Youngblood's "customized van," which I sincerely hope had teardrop windows (tinted red, of course) and the phrase "The Youngblood Mobile" airbrushed in bubble letters on the side.