Top 10 Mets Pitching Performances: #8, David Cone strikes out 19 vs. Phillies

Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

A forgetful 1991 Mets season was capped off by a memorable outing by David Cone at Veterans Stadium.

There have been several notable former Mets pitchers that hurled no-hitters when not wearing the orange and blue: Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Dwight Gooden come immediately to mind.

Another is David Cone, who came to Queens as a 23-year-old in a 1987 trade with the Kansas City Royals. An injury derailed his first season, but he made up for it in 1988. That season, Cone was 20-3 with a 2.22 earned run average in helping to lead the Mets to a division crown.

During his time with the Mets, which included a brief return stint in 2003, Cone had an impressive record of 81-51. Out of contention in late August of 1992, he was dealt to the eventual World Champion Toronto Blue Jays. Cone spent a short time again in Kansas City before winning four more rings with the Yankees. His most notable performance in pinstripes was a perfect game thrown on July 18, 1999 against the Montreal Expos.

Cone's signature performance as a Met came on the last day of the 1991 season. Known early in his career for his strikeout ability, the right-hander lived up to that billing on October 6 versus the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium. New York contended for the division title in the initial portion of the year before going into a late-summer tailspin that resulted in the dismissal of manager Bud Harrelson with a week left in the season. But Cone was able to end the '91 campaign on a positive note despite a dreary day in Philly.

The Mets provided some offense right from the start, as a Daryl Boston lead-off triple was followed by an RBI double courtesy of Keith Miller. Gregg Jefferies and Chris Donnels each drove in a run as New York plated three in the top half of the first.

Cone struck out the side in the bottom of the inning, whiffing Kim Batiste (who would fan four times that afternoon), Wes Chamberlin, and Dale Murphy. He struck out the side again in the second and again in the fourth.

After six innings, Cone's strikeout total had reached 15. To that point had given up just one walk and two hits.

With 17 strikeouts through eight, Cone had a chance at the record books when he came out for the ninth inning with his club comfortably up 7-0. He got off to a good start when he humbled Batiste on three pitches. Next up was Mickey Morandini, who likewise struck out, giving Cone 19 on the day and a share of the Mets' club record with Tom Seaver, who struck out 19 Padres on April 22, 1970.

A chance to sit alongside Roger Clemens's 20 and the major league mark was not to be, however. After Cone gave up a ground-rule double to Chamberlin, Murphy was able to make contact and grounded out to Jeff Gardner to end the game.

A New York victory was certainly made secondary by the performance of the fifth-year hurler from Kansas City. Cone not only got his 19 strikeouts on the afternoon but also, by virtue of his complete-game shutout, was able to finish the 1991 season with a .500 record (14-14).

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