Keith Hernandez wasn’t much of a home run hitter, but on this date in 1987, he went deep twice as the Mets pummeled the Chicago Cubs, 13-2, at Wrigley Field.
HERNANDEZ: So smooooth.
The game also featured four hits each from Gary Carter and Kevin McReynolds. Hernandez, Tim Teufel and Rafael Santana drove in three runs apiece, and Dwight Gooden pitched eight innings to earn the victory.
I always liked watching Hernandez play. Whenever I watched the Met from that era, Hernandez was always the guys I’d want at the plate when a clutch hit was needed. Darryl Strawberry was always feared for his power, but Hernandez was the one with the game on the line.
One question I’ll ask Hernandez when I see him next is whether he could have been a home run hitter if he tried to hit for more power. Wade Boggs always said he would hit more homers if that was his mindset, and I believe the same the same would have applied with Hernandez.
Defensively, he was superb, and along with Don Mattingly, New York was blessed to have two premier first basemen during the 1980s.
Hernandez was so smooth at the 3-6-3 double play, and, of course, making the throw to third off a bunt. Nobody made that play better than Hernandez.
SWOBODA: One of the Amazins.
There were signs prior to their showdown series against the Cubs that 1969 had the potential to be a breakout, if not special season.
The Mets always had their troubles against the Giants, and finding little ways to win was never their forte. However, on this day in 1969 the Mets completed a three-game sweep of San Francisco at Shea Stadium, winning 5-4 on Ron Swoboda’s bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning.
Swoboda signed with the Mets after playing one year at the University of Maryland, and debuted with the team in 1965. Swoboda hit 15 homers by the All-Star break, but finished the season with 19, then a Mets’ rookie record (broken by Darryl Strawberry in 1983).
For all his strength, Swoboda never became a big time home run hitter and finished his career with 73. He will always be remembered for hitting a pair of two-run homers off Steve Carlton, Sept. 15, 1969, and robbing Brooks Robinson of extra bases with a diving catch in right field in Game 4 of the World Series.
SWOBODA CAREER STATS
Good morning folks. Anything that makes one laugh out loud is something to share. Such is the case with this note. There are a lot of funny nuggets in Mets lore, but this one is a gem.
On this date in 1964, the Mets scored a then club record 19 runs in a 19-1 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
As the story goes, a fan called a New York newspaper and asked, “How did the Mets do today?’’
He was told they scored 19 runs.
After a pause, the fan asked, “Did they win?’’
Actually, in reading about those days, its plausible to think it happened.
It would have been interesting to follow them as an expansion team. If anybody has any early-year stories, please share.
Dillon Gee will be the latest to attempt to halt the Mets’ slide, which is at three games.
After getting waxed 11-1 last night by the Cubs in response to owner Fred Wilpon’s comments about payroll and calling out three of his key players, the Mets are in need of an emotional overhaul.
“We’re going to move on,’’ Mets manager Terry Collins said, reading the cliché handbook. “Just chalk it up as a game we didn’t play very good. We didn’t pitch as well as we can.’’
The Mets are again on the offensive skids with 14 runs scored in their last seven games.
NOTEBOOK: David Wright had a second opinion on the stress fracture in his lower back, and the original diagnosis was confirmed. … Angel Pagan is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday. … The news isn’t good on Ike Davis, whose foot is still sore, so he’ll remain on the disabled list.
After kicking away Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium, the Mets are in Chicago tonight to face the Cubs.
When you look at Mets’ history they’ve have periodic rivals. In 1969 and again in 1973, the Cubs were a big deal on their schedule. There’s also been the Pirates, the Braves and the Phillies.
One of my favorite sports books is “The Year the Mets Lost Last Place,’’ which documented a three-series stretch in 1969. Every now and then I’ll pick up the book and start to read. It always is fresh.
Mets at Cubs used to be in the afternoon, but that’s another lost tradition. Night games at Wrigley Field? I still don’t like it.
Here’s tonight’s line-up:
Jose Reyes, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
Willie Harris, CF
Ronny Paulino, C
Ruben Tejada, 2B
Jonathan Niese, LP
COMMENTS: The first game after Fred Wilpon threw Reyes and Beltran under the bus. Not inaccurate comments, but it does make you wonder what the agenda is here.