Off to the best start in their history, the red-hot Mets won their sixth game in a row on this date in 1986, defeating the Reds 2–1 and improving to 19–4 to stay five games ahead of the Expos. The Amazins were on top to stay, led by the unexpected dominance of lefty Bob Ojeda, who was 5–0 at that point, having won all four starts to date after beginning the season in the bullpen. His impressive line that day: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10K.
Imported from Boston to be a spot starter and long reliever, Ojeda will finish the season as the team’s winningest pitcher (18, including one win in relief) as well as leading all Mets starters in ERA (2.57), winning percentage (.783), and WHIP (1.09), plus a K/BB of 2.84 that was second by .04 behind that of Rick Aguilera.
Happy 71st birthday to infielder Jerry Buchek. With Bud Harrelson struggling to get his average above .200 in spring training and Ken Boswell deemed not ready for prime time, Buchek was imported from the Cardinals in April of 1967 to shore up the infield—a nine-years-younger alternative to the man he was traded for, Ed Bressoud. He became the everyday second baseman and struck a career-best 14 home runs, which was second on the team to Tommy Davis. He closed out his big league career as a utility player for the 1968 Amazins.
Given his initials, first baseman Marvin Eugene Throneberry was destined to be an M-E-T, and indeed became one on May 9, 1962. Acquired from the Orioles in exchange for catcher Hobie Landrith, “Marvelous Marv” arrived at the Polo Grounds with a reputation as a pretty good glove man—a reputation he was quick to dispel. In fairness, he finished the season third at his position in range factor, and his league-leading total of 17 errors can be attributed in part to the often erratic throws of his fellow infielders. Among regulars, he finished second to Frank Thomas in slugging percentage (.426) and home runs (16). One of those homers came on July 7, 1962—a pinch-hit, walk-off blast that won the first Mets game I ever attended.
Amazin’-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date in 1962, the Beatles signed their first contract with EMI and, exactly eight years later, the Fab Four released their final album, “Let It Be.”" And on May 9, 1949, Billy Joel was born. These pop icons bookended Shea Stadium’s history as a concert venue, with the Beatles playing there in August of 1965 and 1966, and Joel playing two nights in July 2008, as documented in the film ”Last Play at Shea.”