Today's one of the sadder dates in Mets history. On July 22, 1994, Dwight Gooden checked himself into a rehabilitation program at the Betty Ford Clinic. At the time, the long-time Met was serving a 60-day suspension from Major League Baseball for cocaine abuse. Gooden left the clinic three weeks later, but in November he would be banned for the entire 1995 season after failing two more drug tests.
In depressing on-field news, on July 22, 2001, John Franco gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to Bobby Abreu in the eighth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Phillies. It was the first long ball Franco had allowed to a left-handed batter since Dave Clark of the Pirates took him deep in September of 1993, nearly eight years earlier.
There's more July 22 action after the jump...
- Jesse Hudson (1969) is 64. Seaver. Koosman. McGraw. Ryan. The 1969 Mets might have been the most pitching-rich team in franchise history, yet none of the big names on the staff managed to top the 13.5 K/9 rate of lefty Jesse Hudson. Granted, Hudson put up that number in just two innings of work, but when those two innings make up the entirety of a man's major league career, one has to stretch to say something flattering about it.
- Rob Johnson (2012) is 30. Johnson made one appearance out of the bullpen earlier this year before being optioned back to Buffalo. He won't blow anyone away, but he pounds the zone and has a two-seamer he can elevate when he needs a strikeout. Johnson's ceiling is probably that of a ROOGY, though he does have surprising pop for a pitcher. He managed to put up an OPS of .715 in his cup of coffee. For comparison's sake, backup catcher Mike Nickeas's OPS is a mere .477.
On this date last year, the Mets claimed Whitestone's Own Mike Baxter off the waiver wire. Get well soon, Mike.
Game of Note
Where to begin with the epic battle the Mets and Reds fought on July 22, 1986? Tensions were running high all game long. Darryl Strawberry was tossed in the fifth for arguing a third strike call, leaving the Mets a man down. That would come into play later.
In Mets Fast Forward style, let's move ahead to the top of the ninth, where the Reds were leading 3-1 with two outs. Lenny Dykstra coaxed a walk to keep the Mets alive and Tim Teufel followed with a double to get the tying runs into scoring position. That brought up Keith Hernandez. Playing the percentages, Reds' player-manager Pete Rose turned the ball over to lefty John Franco, who made Rose look like a genius by getting Mex to loft a fly in the direction of three-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder Dave Parker...who dropped it. Dykstra and Teufel scored to tie the game at three.
Let's jump ahead again to the bottom of the tenth. With one out, Pete Rose pinch hit for John Franco with himself and he made himself look like a genius by singling off Jesse Orosco. Rose reverted to manager at this point, bringing in Eric Davis to pinch run. Davis stole second, then third with a slide that was bit too hard for Ray Knight's liking. An amateur boxer, Knight made his displeasure known by punching Davis in the face. Benches emptied and, when peace was finally restored, Knight and Kevin Mitchell were heading for the showers at the umps' discretion. Davey Johnson, already shorthanded thanks to Straw's ejection and his other substitutions, emptied his bench and bullpen, bringing Ed Hearn into catch, moving Gary Carter to third, and, most unorthodox of all, sending Jesse Orosco to right field with Roger McDowell taking his place on the mound.
For the next three innings, Johnson switched back and forth between his lefty and righty closers, depending on the matchup. In the 14th, Howard Johnson finally broke the stalemate with a three-run homer and the Mets had a hard-fought 6-3 win.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Former Blue Jays ace Dave Stieb turns 55 today. Prior to R.A. Dickey's muffling of the Rays and Orioles in consecutive starts earlier this year, Stieb was the last MLB pitcher to toss back-to-back one-hitters. In case you were wondering, when one does a Google image search for "Stiebface", the first result is a photo of Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. The next one is a picture of three rotisserie chickens.