Johnson said that he had a curfew for this players, who are required to be back at their hotel two and a half hours after the team bus returns them from the game. But he conceded that it was a loosely held rule.
As evidenced by the AP quote above, Davey Johnson's managerial philosophy was to spare the rod. That's the exact opposite approach the Houston police toward four of his charges on this date in 1986. Having lost to the Astros in dispiriting fashion (a four-run, ninth-inning rally against nemesis Mike Scott went for naught when the light-hitting Craig Reynolds hit a two-out, walk-off homer in the bottom half of the frame), teammates Rick Aguilera, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, and Tim Teufel sought out some liquid comfort at an area watering hole called Cooter's.
According to this Houston-based message board, Cooter's "let all athletes/celebrities drink for free," so by the time the bar's two a.m. closing time rolled around, the Mets quartet (which counted two of the team's more straight-laced characters in Darling and Teufel among its number), had likely lapped up a more-than fair share of complimentary hooch. In any event, New York notables, mixed with potent potables, and the added twist that off-duty cops happened to be working security that night meant all the ingredients for an altercation were present.
Opinions still vary as to who started it. Per a statement later read by the lawyer retained by the team, the four Mets in question that Tim Teufel was "unduly assaulted" by an officer and the other three sprang to his assistant. The cops claimed Teufel, a man described as "quiet" and "humble" in The Bad Guys Won, was being belligerent and that Aguilera, Darling, and Ojeda subsequently jumped them. The end of Cooter-gate, as Pack Bringley dubbed in this space last year, is clear, however. All the Mets were arrested and the "kind of cooler disco type" of bar gained a bit of notoriety by selling Houston Police 4, Mets 0 t-shirts during the '86 NLCS. After that series, the team wisely saved their drinking for the plane back to New York.
- Rick Ankiel turns 34. The two-way player hasn't latched on with a new team since being cut in June, so it appears that Ankiel's pitching and hitting career will come to an end thanks to the New York Mets.
- Apparently, it takes a bit of a mental imbalance to be a powerful pinch hitter for the New York Mets. Mark Carreon, 50 today, shares the club record for most pinch hit homers with Jordany Valdespin. While Carreon never referred to his manager by any fellatio-inspired terms (openly anyway), he was arrested in 1999 for kidnapping his estranged wife.
- Former Mets hitting instructor Phil Cavarretta would have been 97 today. The National League's MVP in 1945, Cavarretta joined the Mets prior to the '73 season and stayed with the organization until 1978.
- Gordie Richardson is 75. The left-handed made his MLB debut for the Cardinals during the team's championship 1964 season. Richardson didn't get much time to celebrate, though. Two months after helping St. Louis unseat the Yankees in the Wold Series, Richardson was en route to New York again on account of being traded to the Mets. He appeared in 50 games for Casey Stengel's crew over the next two years and the experience did not agree with him, as he retired in 1966 at age 27.
- David Segui celebrates his 47th birthday. The first baseman was one of the players identified by Jason Grimsley as having taken human growth hormone during a 2006 federal investigation into a performing enhancing drugs. In Segui's defense, he'd been diagnosed with an HGH deficiency and was using the substance under the supervision of a doctor. That excuse didn't fly a year later, though, when his name came up as one of Kirk Radomski's clients in the Mitchell Report.
- Finally, Preston Wilson is 39. Mookie's stepson never got a chance to make good for his father figure's team, though he did help New York greatly. Wilson the Younger was the main prospect included in the trade that pried Mike Piazza away from the Marlins in 1998.
Game of Note
Jay Hook became the first Mets hurler to rack up a double-digit strikeout total during a start on this date in 1962. Facing the Pirates in the second half of a doubleheader, Hook avoided his namesake for ten frames, as manager Casey Stengel let the righty soak up innings and preserve his depleted bullpen. Jay was ineffectively wild at the game's start, allowing four runs in the second. He settled in from there and wound up fanning Buccos in total. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh scored once in top of the ninth and again in the tenth to win 7-6.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke favorably of the "V for Victory" campaign in a speech delivered on this date in 1941. A remnant of that movement remains with us to this day in the form of the peace hand sign, demonstrated here by noted Mets fan Metta World Peace née Ron Artest. Interestingly, that particular gesture can be used as an insult, too. In Scotland, it's called giving the tongs and it's roughly equivalent to flipping the bird. Embracing the dichotomy, the Mets have, as of today, flashed V for victory 3,926 times in franchise history while opponents have given them the tongs on 4.287 occasions.