A variety of memorable pitching performances thrilled the Mets' home crowd on this date in...
2012: After surrendering 10 earned runs in 13 innings in his first two post-no-hitter starts, Johan Santana hurled six shutout innings against the Orioles, who had been one-hit by R.A. Dickey the night before. The Mets bullpen finished the job as the Mets won 5-0.
1989: Dwight Gooden was good enough in a seven-inning stint against the Expos, yielding three earned runs on five hits and striking out nine to notch his 100th career victory.
1988: David Cone lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth inning when light-hitting Phillies shortstop Steve Jeltz lined a single into short center field. Cone settled for a two-hit shutout.
1968: Rookie phenom Jerry Koosman improved to 11-2, pitching a complete game five-hitter against the Astros. He gave up two runs, which actually raised his ERA to 1.51.
1962: It wasn't pretty, but Roger Craig gutted it out for a complete game victory over the Milwaukee Braves at the Polo Grounds that snapped the Amazins' seven-game losing streak. In the top of the ninth, with the tying run on second base, Craig induced his former Mets teammate Gus Bell to ground out to first baseman Gil Hodges to nail down the win.
Right-hander Collin McHugh, who last night was traded to the Colorado Rockies for outfield Eric Young Jr., is celebrating his 26th birthday today. He had a spectacular major league debut with the Mets last August, pitching seven innings of two-hit ball, striking out seven and walking only one. McHugh was awful in 10 subsequent appearances, the lone exception being a three-inning stint in a blowout.
In 2008, Claudio Vargas, turning 35 today, was arguably the best of the starters who filled in when Pedro Martinez and John Maine were sidelined, going 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
Happy 36th birthday to Kansas City Royals lefty Bruce Chen. The Mets won nine his 11 starts in 2001 despite his lackluster 4.68 ERA and -0.1 WAR.
When Omar Minaya couldn't persuade Carlos Delgado to sign with the Mets in 2005, his fall-back first-baseman was Doug Mientkiewicz, who turns 39 today. Always known more for his slick fielding than his off-and-on hitting, he had a hot first few weeks with the bat but finished the season with a below-career-average OPS of .728.
When right-hander Bob Gibson was born on this date in 1957, his Hall of Fame namesake was in his first season of professional baseball. The younger Gibson (no relation) pitched all of one inning as a Met in 1987, thus concluding his five-year major league career.
Righty-swinging Bob Aspromonte, celebrating his 75th birthday today, was imported in 1971 to platoon with Wayne Garrett, but was pressed in everyday service when Garrett, then a member of the Army Reserves, was called to active duty and was unavailable until late July. From a season-high .798 OPS on May 18, he tapered off and finished the year, his last in pro ball, at .586.
As a Met in 1965, lefty Larry Miller, 76 today, posted the worst ERA (5.02) on the worst pitching staff in the National League, although as a reliever his 4.15 was only slightly higher than the team average.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date in 1954, the Tasmanian Devil made his debut in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Devil May Hare." In the 1980s and 1990s, Taz and other Warner Bros. animated icons could be found everywhere posing in Mets uniforms on T-shirts and such that are still available on eBay.