The Mets enjoyed one of their most memorable walk-off wins on this date in 1999, beating the visiting Yankees at Shea Stadium 9-8. In a game in which the lead had already changed hands five times, the Mets trailed 8-7 going to the bottom of the ninth. The Bombers' elite closer Mariano Rivera induced Brian McRae to ground out weakly, but then walked Ricky Henderson and surrendered a double to Edgardo Alfonso. With the infield in, John Olerud grounded to first, keeping the tying run at third.
After an intentional walk to Mike Piazza, whose three-run homer against Ramiro Mendoza in the seventh had put the Mets ahead 7-6, Rivera got two quick strikes against pinch-hitter Matt Franco. The next pitch might have been a strike, but umpire Jeff Kellogg called "ball one," much to the very vocal consternation of the Yankees bench. Kellogg had a reputation as a hitter's umpire, with one of the lowest K/BB ratios among his fellow men in blue, and Franco, en route to setting a major league record with 20 pinch walks that season, was increasingly being recognized around the league for his plate discipline. Whatever the determining factors might have been, the call went the Mets way and Franco took advantage by pulling next pitch into right field, driving home the tying and winning runs.
The win broke a string of 124 games in which the Yankees won when leading after eight innings and, more importantly, kept the Mets within four games of the first-place Atlanta Braves.
Happy 62nd birthday to Bob Bailor, whose steady if unspectacular play as a part-timer during the 1981-1983 seasons was good enough to accrue a WAR of 3.9 over that span. He showed a pretty good glove at second base and shortstop, and also logged time at third base and the outfield. His greatest asset, however, was as trade fodder, going to Los Angeles in the deal that netted the Mets lefty Sid Fernandez.
In the ninth inning of the deciding game of the playoff series between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1962, second-baseman Larry Burright, turning 76 today, committed an error that gave the Giants an insurance run in their 6-4 pennant-clinching victory. For his transgression Burright, who ironically entered the game as a defensive replacement, was traded to the Mets after the season (along with innocent bystander Tim Harkness) for right-hander Bob Miller. After a slow start with the sophomore Mets in 1963, he was supplanted at second by rookie Ron Hunt, demoted, give a second chance—as a shortstop—and sent down again. He was the starting second base in the Mets inaugural game at Shea Stadium in 1964, but two days later his big league career was over.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Actor-musician Thomas Ian Nicholas celebrates his 33rd birthday today. As 12-year-old Chicago Cubs phenom Henry Rowengartner in the 1993 movie "Rookie of the Year," he struck out the Mets' Bobby Bonilla, among other NL All-Stars. You can catch that moment about halfway through the film's official trailer. The film's premise was borrowed from the 1954 movie "Roogie's Bump," which featured cameos by several Brooklyn Dodgers, including original-Met-on-paper Billy Loes, whose chronic arm woes forced him to retire before ever donning the orange and blue.