David Cone was always one of my favorites. He’s one of the few players who chatted with you on the days he pitched. A lot of guys are basket cases, but not Cone. He was always great to deal with, win, lose or draw.
And, if you saw him later in the hotel lobby, he’ll visit with you over a beer. And, funny, too. Glib and smart is a great combination.
Just like his fastball and nasty curve, when mixed with guile made him hard to beat. You wanted him in the clutch. Cone just would not give into hitters with the game on the line, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to get himself in and out of jams. It is why he became a hired gun with Toronto and later the Yankees.
On this date in 1992, Cone was at his unbeatable best, throwing his second straight complete-game shutout, defeating the Giants, 6-0. Five days before, he beat the Padres, 8-0. Cone went 81-51 with a 3.13 ERA and 15 shutouts in his seven years with the Mets, and finished his career at 194-126 with a 3.46 ERA.
Cone was traded to the Mets prior to the 1987 season along with Chris Jelic for Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo. He went 5-6 in 21 appearances (13 starts) that year. He began the next season in the bullpen, but was in the rotation by the first week of May and went 9-2 in the first half to earn his first All-Star appearance.
Cone went on to win 20 games, but what is remembered most about that season about him was the controversy he stirred as a guest columnist for The New York Daily News when, among other things, he called the Dodgers’ Jay Howell, “a high school pitcher.’’
The Mets lost that NLCS to Los Angeles and the dynasty fizzled, although Cone stayed on until 1992 when he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game, but was traded as a mercenary to Toronto.
Cone currently does Yankees games for the YES Network.
ON DECK: Looking at Wilpon’s criticism of Beltran.