No one would have faulted Tug McGraw for not believing after the Mets dropped both ends of a doubleheader to the Cardinals on August 5, 1973. Had a playoff odds calculator existed 39 years ago, it would have computed the Mets' chances of making the postseason at somewhere between nil and a stone cold impossibility. In the first game, Tom Seaver took a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, despite giving up just two earned runs over seven innings. Jm McAndrew couldn't stop the Redbirds in the nightcap, either, falling 4-1. The two losses left the Mets 12 games under .500 and 11.5 games behind the leader of the NL East with just 54 left to play. Less than two months later, the team was in first place for the first time since the beginning of April, thanks to an incredible stretch run that saw them win just under 65% of their remaining games.
- Reliever Mardie Cornejo is 61. Between Cornejo, Sergio Ferrer, and Pepe Mangual, the 1977-78 Mets had three fringy roster parts whose names sound way more like they belong to the creators of designer fragrances or custom denim than to ball players. I'm almost certain Bianca Jagger would splash a palm full of Mardie Cornejo on the back of her neck before squeezing into her Sergio Ferrer jeans before dancing all night at Studio 54.
- John Olerud (1997-99) is 44. It's borderline criminal how underappreciated Olerud is. He'll never be a Hall of Famer, due to the way Cito Gaston buried him on the bench in the mid '90s for talking too many walks, but freed of managerial demands that he be less productive, Olerud put up Cooperstown worthy numbers two of his three years with the Mets. In 1998, he set new single-season club records for batting average with .354 and on-base percentage with .447. The following campaign he anchored what Sports Illustrated touted as the greatest infield ever, became the first Met to draw over 100 walks in a season, and put up the second highest OBP in team history. Even today, at age 44, Olerud could probably suit up and get on base in 35% of his plate appearances.
Games of Note
On this date in 1980, Mets second baseman Doug Flynn tied a modern MLB record by slapping three triples in a game against the Montreal Expos. Despite accumulating nine total bases and scoring three times on three RBI singles from Frank Taveras, it's not enough to stave off a 11-5 loss at Olympic Stadium. Five years to the day later, Darryl Strawberry became the fourth Met in franchise history to hit three home runs in a game, knocking a trifecta of balls out of Wrigley Field. Unlike Flynn's accomplishment, Darry's heroics are enough to help the boys in orange and blue notch a victory, taming the Cubbies 7-2.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
NO POLITICS, but on August 5, 2010, the U.S. Senate confirmed Elena Kagan's appointment to the Supreme Court. No matter your ideological leanings, we can all agree that getting Justice Kagan, an avowed Mets fan, onto the highest bench in the country was a necessary step to counterbalance the pernicious influence of Bronx native and Yankees die-hard Sonia Sotomayor.