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This Date in Mets History: July 15 — Lefty Mets dominate Midsummer Classic, Ron Darling traded

American League All-Stars couldn't touch the southpaw stuff of Jon Matlack and Sid Fernandez during two All-Star Games played eleven years apart.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Jon Matlack, Tug McGraw, and Tom Seaver made a mid-season trip to Milwaukee to represent the Mets at the 46th All-Star Game, which was played on this date in 1975. Seaver entered the game in the bottom of the sixth, staked to a 3-0 lead. He promptly served up a single, a walk, and a three-run bomb to Carl Yastrzemski. Matlack relieved his teammate and held the AL scoreless for the seventh and eighth, striking out four in the process. In the top of the ninth, a bases loaded single from the Cubs' Bill Madlock gave the National League a lead they would not relinquish. The alliterative duo of Madlock and Matlack shared game MVP honors, making the lefty the first (and, to date, only) Met to win the award.

Eleven years later, New York again sent several pitchers to the All-Star Game. The heart of the team's lineup, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Darryl Strawberry, also made the trip to the Houston Astrodome in 1986, but for the sake of a smoother narrative, we're going to focus on the hurlers. Dwight Gooden made the start for the National League, though rotation mate Sid Fernandez shined brighter than the good Doctor K. The first Hawaiian to play in a Midsummer Classic did the Aloha State proud by striking out the side in the eighth.


  • James Baldwin is 42. In two starts with the 2004 Mets, Baldwin went 0-2 with a 15.00 ERA. This James Baldwin probably would have been more effective on the mound.
  • Don Bosch turns 71. The Mets' Opening Day center fielder in 1967, Don Bosch put up a OPS+ of 1. To put that in perspective, in 2006, Darren Oliver also managed an OPS+ of 1.
  • Donn Clendenon, the man who added some much-needed thump to the Miracle Mets lineup, would have been 78 today. Acquired at the trade deadline, Clendenon homered twelve times for the Mets during the remainder of the regular season, a number that includes a pair of long balls in the division-clinching victory over the Cardinals. Clendenon hit another three in the World Series to win MVP honors. His .515 slugging percentage in 1970 remained the single-season club record until Darryl Strawberry broke it in 1985.
  • Wilson Delgado, 41, had the game of his career as a Met in 2004. He went three-for-four with a homer and drove in all the team's runs in a 5-4 loss to the Marlins. The four ribbies accounted for roughly 10% of Delgado's career total.
  • Bob G. Miller is 78. Bob G. Miller is one of four Bob Millers to pitch in the big leagues and one of two to suit up for the Mets. He and right-hander Bob L. Miller were teammates on the 1962 Mets, forming a mostly ineffective lefty-righty bullpen combo.
  • The much-maligned Fernando Nieve is 31. While it felt like Jerry Manuel used Nieve just about every day in 2010, he actually pitched just over 40 innings for the Mets that season. That said, the sheer futility of those frames (ten homers allowed) are surely seared into the memory banks of fans. Nieve hasn't appeared in the majors since getting axed from New York's roster three years ago, though he's throwing very well (averaging over ten Ks and under one homer per nine) this year for Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate.

Ron Darling's career as a Mets player ended on this date in 1991. In search of bullpen help, the Mets traded him and and minor leaguer Mike Thomas to the Montreal Expos for reliever Tim Burke. Darling's 99 wins and 1,620 innings pitched as a Met both rank fourth in franchise history. "A great run" is how Ron described his time in Queens when asked to comment on the consummation of the trade.

Game of Note
Carl Willey, a veteran hurler on Casey Stengel's New Breed Mets, showed the young guns how it's done on this date in 1963. In the second inning of an afternoon tilt against the Colt .45s, Willey cracked a grand slam off of Houston starter Ken Johnson, becoming the first Mets hurler to find the hit a home run. The round tripper accounted for four of the fourteen runs New York scored in support of Willey, though no other Mets batter could manage to reach the Polo Grounds bleachers on the fly. Mets 14, Houston 5.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Twenty-two years of war between France and the United Kingdom ended on this date in 1815 when Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to Rear-Admiral Sir Henry Hotham aboard the HMS Bellerophone. The Mets' own Napoleon, a short-statured outfielder by the name of Danny, battled against National League pitching for two season in the mid ‘60s. More often than not, Danny Napoleon's plate appearances ended with him surrendering an out to the opposition, as he hit just .162/.225/.200 in 130 career at-bats.