In Philadelphia on this date in 1996, Alex Ochoa hit for the cycle as the Mets beat the Phillies 10-6. He went 5-for-5, scored three runs, and drove in three. His eighth-inning home run broke a 6-6 tie and put the Mets ahead to stay. It was only his second big league round-tripper (the first came just two days earlier) and his triple was the first of his career.
Ochoa, who had driven in eight runs in 10 previous games since his recall from Triple-A Norfolk, appeared to be fulfilling the potential the Mets saw in him when they acquired him from Baltimore for Bobby Bonilla. He soon cooled off, but still finished with a respectable 104 OPS+. After a mediocre 1997 he was traded to Minnesota for Rich Becker and went on to have a decent big league career that culminated with a World Series ring as a member of the 2002 Angels.
Overshadowed by Ochoa's cycle was the performance of Butch Huskey, who also drove in three runs and only needed a double to log a cycle of his own.
If slugger Moises Alou, turning 47 today, had stayed healthy for the entire 2007 season, the Mets would likely have made the postseason. But that was the gamble Omar Minaya took when he signed the oft-injured left fielder who twice in his career spent an entire season on the shelf. In 87 games he put up a slash line of .341/.392/.524, with 13 home runs and 49 RBI. In his absence from mid-May through late July, the Mets, who were eliminated on the last day of the season, went 35-31.
Happy 56th birthday to outfielder-first baseman Danny Heep. He set a Mets club record with four pinch home runs in 1983, a mark later tied by Mark Carreon in 1989 and broken last year by Jordany Valdespin. On the 1986 World Champion Mets, his .799 OPS was fifth best on the club, albeit in a part-time role.
It's the big 6-0 for lefty Frank Tanana, who was one of the good guys on the notorious 1993 Mets. In his first three starts with New York, the former fireballer finessed his way through 21 innings, yielding only four earned runs, winning two, and leaving the third with a two-run lead that the bullpen couldn't hold. He was largely ineffective through the All-Star break, but finished strong with a respectable 3.81 ERA from that point until mid-September, when he moved crosstown in a rare Mets-Yankees swap in which the Amazins acquired pitcher Kenny Greer.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
"Back to the Future" hit theaters on this date in 1985, but for the Mets the future, at long last, was the present. After a surprise run for the NL East title in 1984, preceded by seven straight losing seasons, the Mets were bona fide contenders and more entertaining than any movie. After all, who needs Doc Brown when you've got Doc Gooden? By the time "Back to the Future Part III" was released on home video in 1991, however, Mets fans were scouting used car dealers for a DeLorean DMC-12 they could take for a test drive...at 88 mph.