Three Mets starters picked up votes for the Cy Young Award on this date in 1976. None won the thing though, because Cy Young voters love WINZ. That's the only explanation for why Jerry Koosman finished a distant second to Randy Jones of the San Diego Padres despite having a better ERA+, a better FIP, a better winning percentage, over twice as many strikeouts, and a better fWAR even though he pitched roughly 50 fewer innings than Jones. Granted, most of those statistics didn't exist in 1976, so expecting BBWAA members to vote according to them is unrealistic. Still, it's hard to shake the notion that the writers saw 22 in the W column of Jones's stat line, discerned it was more than Koosman's 21, and cast their ballots without considering much else.
The other Mets to garner consideration as the NL's best pitcher in '76 were Jon Matlack and Tom Seaver. Matlack picked up a single first place vote and finished in sixth place. Seaver, meanwhile, came in dead last, accumulating just 1% of the total balloting. Naturally, of all the starting pitchers on the ballot, Seaver had the best ERA, most strikeouts, and highest rWAR.
- Pitcher Bill Connors is 71. The right-hander appeared in 15 games for the Mets between 1967 and 1968, then spent the next two years toiling in the team's minor league system. Had Connors logged time with the big club in '69, he would have become one of the first players to win a World Series at the Major and Little League levels, as he was the third baseman and number five hitter for the 1954 champion Nationals of Schenectady, New York.
- Greg Harris turns 57 today. A veteran of 15 MLB seasons, Harris began as his career as a Met in 1981, making 14 starts over the course of the strike-shortened year. Naturally right-handed, Harris taught himself to throw lefty and, pitching for the Expos in his second-to-last MLB appearance, became the first person in modern MLB history to toe both sides of the rubber in a game. For the record, he retired two Reds as a righty sandwiched between a walk and a groundout as a southpaw.
- Tom Paciorek, who hit .284/.325.353 down the stretch for the '85 Mets, is 66. As a youngster coming up through the Dodgers system in the early '70s, Paciorek roomed with Bobby Valentine and the two patrolled the outfield alongside another figure in Mets history: Bill Buckner.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Today is Statehood Day for North and South Dakota, the former territories that joined the Union in full on this date in 1889. The Mets have never had a player who hailed from the upper of the Dakotas, though they have employed four from the Mount Rushmore State: pitchers Tom Hausman and Bob Rauch, and John Strohmayer, and infielder Kelvin Torve.