Two of the most iconic members of the '80s-era Mets reached personal milestones on this date. In 1985, Dwight Gooden fanned 16 Giants, becoming first National League pitcher to strike out at least 200 batters in his first two seasons. Doc would reach exactly 200 Ks in 1986, making him the only hurler in major league history to hit that plateau in his first three seasons. Given the how teams limit the number of innings young pitchers throw and manipulate the service time of young players in general, it's likely that Gooden's record will stand for a while.
On this date in 1989, Howard Johnson took Ramon Martinez of the Dodgers deep for his 30th home run of the season. The blast, coupled with his 32 stolen bases, made HoJo a 30/30 man for the second time in his career. To date, he's the only Met to achieve the feat twice.
Quick aside: If anyone is looking to start a Mets-themed morning zoo-style radio program, HoJo and Dr. K would be a pretty good name for it.
- Lance Broadway is 29. In 2009, the Mets acquired Broadway from the White Sox in exchange for Ramon Castro. Since then, here's a list of the catchers who've put up an OPS+ of 100 or higher for the team: [empty set]. By comparison, Castro posted marks of 121 and 102 in his two seasons with Chicago. Broadway, meanwhile, appeared in eight games for the Mets after the trade and hasn't been on an active MLB roster since.
- Cliff Cook (1962-63) is 76. A quad-A slugger, Cook hit 30+ home runs three times in the minors before getting an extended look in the bigs for the expansion Mets. His power didn't translate at the highest level, though, and Cook wound up back on the farm for good halfway through the 1963 season.
- Cory Sullivan, teammate of Lance Broadway in 2009, is 33. He is the only player named "Cory" to get a hit for the Mets, though Mark Corey remains the only player with that name on record as taking hits while with the Mets.
The Mets and Reds matched up for two trades involving eight players total on this date during the naughts. In 2007, Omar Minaya, who never met an AARP eligible player he didn't want on the Mets bench, sent minor leaguers Jose Castro and Sean Henry (combined age: 41) to Cincinnati for Jeff Conine (actual age: 41).
Five years prior, Steve Phillips turned Shawn Estes into four players, shipping him to the Queen City for Elvin Andujar, Brady Clark, Raul Gonzalez, and, most notably, Pedro Feliciano. Assuming Perpetual Pedro's current arm woes prove terminal to his career, he'll retire having made 459 MLB appearances, all of which came while wearing the orange and blue. That's second only to John Franco in franchise history, and easily first among players who spent their entire careers with the Mets.
Game of Note
Rookie pitcher Grover Powell made his first big league start for the Mets on this date in 1963. Blessed with strong, but erratic left arm, Powell showed enough promise in a handful of relief outings that Casey Stengel let the him start game one of a doubleheader against the Phillies. The young southpaw made the Ole Perfessor look like a genius–and ensured his bullpen mates were preemptively rested for the nightcap–by hurling a complete game shutout. The blanking was Powell's first MLB win, and as it turned out, his only one.
Facing the Pirates a week later in his second start, Powell tossed five shutout innings, but was hit in the jaw by a Donn Clendenon line drive. The ball connected with the rookie's mandible hard enough that it ricocheted to shortstop Al Moran, who fielded it and threw on to first for the force out. Remarkably, Powell stayed in to finish the frame before heading to the hospital for precautionary x-rays. Aside from some blurred vision, the lefty was fine, though he was hurt to learn that the Pirates scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to deprive him of a second victory.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Lou Gehrig hit the 23rd and final grand slam of his career on this date in 1938, which remains the all-time mark. In 2006, the Mets hit a team record ten grand slams, including two in one inning against the Cubs, making them the most recent team to do that.