Whether or not the announcement of the acquisition of Mike Piazza on this date in 1998 inspired the Mets to victory is a moot point. The fact is, the team did everything right and then some in their 3-2 win over the Brewers at Shea. In front of an enthusiastic, larger-than-average Friday night crowd (a bump from the Piazza news?), Butch Huskey and John Olerud combined for three two-out RBIs in support of a sterling effort by starter Rick Reed (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) and a perfect four-out save by John Franco.
Between Reed and Franco, Dennis Cook did not pitch well, but provided the game's most memorable highlight. With the Mets leading by one run, the first two Brewers reached base off Cook in the top of the eighth. After firing two strikes to Jeff Cirillo, Cook picked off lead runner Marquis Grissom at second base and, before throwing another pitch, also picked off Fernando Vina at first base. After yielding another walk and single, Cook had to be rescued by Franco. The Mets closer jogged in wearing his new number, 45, having already ceded his long-held 31 to Piazza, who would not arrive until the following afternoon.
When the Mets acquired Collin Cowgill from the Oakland A's this past December, it wasn't long before fans and media alike took up the cry, "We need more Cowgill!" inspired by the classic Christopher Walken "More Cowbell" sketch on Saturday Night Live. The catch phrase gained traction as Cowgill put on a show during spring training, slugging five home runs and driving in 10 in 66 at-bats and posting a .969 OPS. He hit a grand slam on Opening Day, but did little else in April, and so he will celebrate his 27th birthday today in Des Moines, where he and his fellow AAA Las Vegas 51s are playing the Iowa Cubs.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
May 22, 1926, was "Rogers Hornsby Day" in St. Louis. Before the game the Cardinals' player-manager and future Hall of Famer was presented with a medal as the National League's MVP for 1925. As a coach with the newly minted Mets in 1962, Hornsby saw little in the way of MVP material, although the Amazins' two best players, Frank Thomas and Richie Ashburn, had finished fourth and seventh in the MVP balloting just four years earlier. Even if he had not passed away in January 1963, Hornsby would not have lived to see a Mets player win that coveted award. Despite winning four pennants and reaching the postseason on three other occasions, the Mets have never had an officially acknowledged MVP.