This Date in Mets History: August 3 — Milestone home runs for Thomas and Kranepool, RIP Bob Murphy

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Steady Eddie touched 'em all for the 100th time in his career on this date in 1976.

If you like home runs and the Mets—and how on earth did you wind up reading this if you don't?—then August 3rd is the day for you. In 1962, OG Frank Thomas went deep twice against the Reds, his third consecutive multi-homer contest. Thomas's six long balls in three games is a Mets record and, at the time, it was a MLB one, too. However, future Met Shawn Green established a new mark by crushing seven bombs over a three-game span in 2002. To put that homer binge in perspective, those seven homers in 72 hours equal exactly fifty percent of his total tater output during his season and a half in New York.

Also connecting for a long ball of note on this date was Ed Kranepool, who cranked his 100th career round tripper on August 3, 1976. Steady Eddie's jack broke an eighth inning, 8-8 tie and granted the Mets the narrow margin they'd need to eke out a one-run victory over the visiting Montreal Expos.

Birthdays

  • Kevin Elster is 49. The shortstop spent the bulk of his 13-year career with the Mets (1986 to 1992), but also played for the Yankees, Phillies, Rangers, Pirates, Dodgers, and, in the 1994 film Little Big League, the Minnesota Twins. According to IMDB, that's the only movie in Hollywood history to feature both Elster and Dennis Farina.
  • Speaking of the silver screen, catcher Mackey Sasser turns 51 today. in 1990, Sasser developed a tic where he couldn't throw the ball back to the pitcher without double-clutching. This psychological block later served as a character trait for backstop Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter) in Major League II, a movie that Roger Ebert wrote "used baseball only as an excuse for sitcom situations and recycled characters" in his (surprisingly positive review of Little Big League.

Passings
It's been a decade since Bob Murphy last delivered the happy recap of a Mets game and, as of today, exactly nine years since he passed away at age 79. Murph was a constant presence in the Mets broadcast booth from the team's inception until stepping away at the end of the 2003 season. Never histrionic behind the microphone, Murphy preferred to paint word pictures in a genial, optimistic manner, both being virtues that come through in his more memorable calls. Like, for instance, the "ball off the wall" play during the 1973 stretch drive, which you can listen to here.

Game of Note
Returning to the home run leitmotif, the Mets have received an usual amount of power from their catchers over the years. In fact, they're the only National League team that's had three different backstops hit 30-plus homers in a season. Jerry Grote isn't one of them, though he did connect for a career-high six during the 1969 campaign. None of the half dozen was as opportune as the one he hit on August 3 against Atlanta. Grote made the Mets 6-5 walk off winners by taking Braves reliever Claude Raymond deep to lead off of the eleventh inning.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date in 1852, Harvard proved triumphant in the very first regatta held between the Cambridge institution and rival Yale University. In addition to kickstarting a tradition over 150 years old at present, the boat race also happened to be the very first inter-collegiate sporting event to take place in the United States. While Harvard owns a commanding 94-54 lead over Yale in the regatta results, it's the Bulldogs who can claim victory over the Crimson when it comes to placing alums in the New York Mets organization. Reliever Jeff Musselman is the lone Harvard grad to pitch in Flushing, while Elis Ron Darling and Ken Mackensie have both donned the orange and blue.

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