Two seasons, separated by 45 years and memorable mostly for the wrong reasons, ended with Mets losses on this date. In 1962, the team trailed the Cubs 5-1 in the top of the eighth, but seemed to be in good position to reduce that deficit, as the first two batters of the inning reached via singles. That brought to the plate catcher Joe Pignatano, who chipped a soft liner in the direction of second base. Chicago's Ken Hubbard snared it for the first out in a 4-3-6 triple play. The triplet-killing extinguished the scoring threat and, as it turned out, Pignatano's major league career. The backstop never got another at-bat at baseball's highest level. As for the Mets, they failed to mount another rally and went down in defeat for a record-setting 120th time.
Baseball Reference says the 162nd Mets game of the 2007 season took three hours and twenty minutes to complete. As the first pitch occurred at 1:11 p.m. on the afternoon of September 30, that means the team wasn't officially eliminated from playoff contention until 4:31. Realistically, this one was over when Tom Glavine's 36th pitch of the first inning-and final one as a New York Met-bounced off of Dontrelle Willis to force in the game's fourth run. That pushed the Marlins win expectancy to 91% with 26 outs still to be recorded by the bullpen. A Jorge Sosa strikeout of Hanley Ramirez one batter later briefly cut that number to 89%, but Dan Uggla's ensuing bases-clearing double made sure the winning percentage wouldn't slip that low again. A devastating way to end the year, despite a well-known claim to the contrary.
- Jose Lima would have been 40 today, had a heart attack not claimed his life two and a half years ago. A reminder that even Lima Time is fleeting.
- One of the more underrated Mets, Dave Magadan (1986-1992) is 50. In just under 2500 plate appearances for New York, Magadan posted a .391 OBP, second only to John Olerud in team history, besting even the .387 mark of his predecessor at first base Keith Hernandez.
- Though not as well known as his cousins Carlos, Melido, and Pascual, Yorkis Perez, 45, is the only member of that baseball family to pitch for the Mets. In his first appearance with the team on Opening Day 1997, Yorkis allowed a pair of the 11 runs scored by the Padres in a very crooked sixth inning. That was fewer than any of the other Met pitchers victimized in the frame, but those two tallies shifted the lead to San Diego favor and thus saddled Perez with the loss.
Game of Note
Jon Matlack chucked four shutouts en route to winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1972, but on September 30, he found himself on the wrong end of a blanking. Roberto Clemente got things going for the Pirates in the bottom of the fourth, dinging Matlack for a leadoff double. He'd come around to score the only run his team would need, but more notably, the hit was the 3,000th–and last–of Clemente's Hall of Fame career. The Pittsburgh great would perish in a plane crash during the offseason.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
One of the newer holidays on the calendar, today is Blasphemy Rights Day. If you are like your humble author, there's generally at least one play per Mets game that makes you take the name of a deity in vain. Feel free to do so without compunction until midnight tonight.