No player dominated American sport as Babe Ruth. He is, without question, the greatest player and athlete who ever lived. Nobody captured our imagination, and still does, the way Ruth did.
Ruth became the first player to hit 30, 40, 50 and 60 homers in a single season.
RUTH: Nobody was like the Babe.
On this day in 1927, in the eighth inning of a game against the Washington Senators, Ruth slugged his 60th homer of the season off Tom Zachary.
Ruth is greeted by fans waving their hankerchiefs as he took his position in the ninth inning. That game featured an interesting footnote in that it marked Walter Johnson’s final appearance as a player. Johnson pinch-hit for Zachary and flied out to Ruth.
In 1991, Oakland’s Rickey Henderson
hit safely in each of the first five innings, with singles in the first four innings and a homer in the fifth. Henderson also scored four runs and drove in four as the Athletics beat Texas, 19-5.
On this day in 1991, the Mets’ Howard Johnson hit his 37th homer to set a National League record for switch-hitters. Johnson will finish the season with 38 homers and 117 RBI.
It has been a rough season for Johnson, who, as with most Mets’ coaches, is getting heat for the team’s collapse.
In particular, Johnson is under scrutiny for the team’s poor power showing, especially that of David Wright, who reached double-digits in homers this month with a pair at Philadelphia.
Wright and Jeff Francoeur are planning to work with Johnson in the off-season.
When things are as bad as they have been with the Mets, one might as well look back at a good time. Last night’s loss was typical of how this season has gone, from poor managing to inept playing.
However, on this date in 1986, the Mets clinched the NL East with a 4-2 win over Chicago at Shea Stadium on a Dwight Gooden 6-hitter. The Mets went on to win 108 games that season, the most in the league since the 1975 Reds.
The Mets survived the NLCS with a dramatic Game Six victory over Houston, and used Game Six in the World Series to stay alive – “and the ball gets by Buckner” – to beat Boston.
Two years earlier on this date, Gooden struck out 16 batters for the second straight start, but balked home the winning run in the 8th inning in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies. It marked the fifth straight start in which Gooden struck out at least 10.
I saw Gooden pitch several times and there was such an electricity at Shea whenever he took the ball. Every start you wondered if this would be the one where he’d throw a no-hitter. He never did for the Mets, but did for the Yankees.
If you have a favorite Gooden moment, or memory of the 1986 team, let’s hear them.