Jun 16

Today in Mets History: Dave Mlicki’s greatest game.

Dave Mlicki didn’t have a great major league career, going 66-80, but will forever be the answer to a trivia question as on this date in 1997, he threw a nine-hitter to beat the Yankees, 6-0, in the first interleague game.

MLICKI: Forever a trivia question answer.

The Mets and Yankees each had 37-30 records at the time Mlicki outdueled Andy Pettitte.

It definitely was one of those “can’t top this moments,’’ a major leaguer will have in his career.

“My World Series for me,’’ Mlicki once said. “One of my great memories. … I knew it was a big game when I did it and it’s amazing that it’s meant so much to so many people.’’

Mlicki was a non-descript Met then, hardly recognizable, and frequently tells the story of eating breakfast the next morning at a diner and hearing people talk of the game on not know he was sitting at the next table.

Born in Cleveland, Mlicki pitched for his hometown Indians (1992-93), the Mets (1995-98), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-99), Detroit (1999-2001) and Houston 2001-02).

Mlicki failed to catch on with the Milwaukee Brewers in spring training of 2003 and retired.

MLICKI’s CAREER NUMBERS

BOX SCORE

 

Jun 15

Today in Mets History: The Franchise is traded.

Perhaps no other day in Mets history shook the franchise to its core like this date in 1977 when the organization traded The Franchise.

SEAVER: Traded on this date.

Unthinkable to many, but anticipated by him, the Mets traded the best player – still to this day – Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Pat Zachry, infielder Doug Flynn and outfielders Steve Henderson and Dan Norman.

Three days earlier, Seaver beat the Astros in Houston, 3-1, and after the game said: “This may very well be my last game as a Met.’’

Seaver went the distance that day, giving up five hits while walking two and striking out six to raise his record to 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA.

BOX SCORE OF SEAVER’S METS LAST GAME

Seaver anticipated the trade when contract negotiations stalled with CEO M. Donald Grant. As Seaver became more frustrated, things finally boiled over when cantankerous New York Daily News columnist Dick Young, who publicly and loudly sided with Grant.

Unable to deal with Grant, Seaver went to then owner Lorinda de Roulet and GM Joe McDonald and reached agreement on a three-year extension. However, when Young wrote a column suggesting Seaver’s wife, Nancy, was pushing him to ask for more money, the pitcher called off the deal.

Wrote Young: “In a way, Tom Seaver is like Walter O’Malley. Both are very good at what they do. Both are very deceptive in what they say. Both are very greedy. … Nolan Ryan is getting more now than Seaver, and that galls Tom because Nancy Seaver and Ruth Ryan are very friendly and Tom Seaver long has treated Nolan Ryan like a little brother.’’

When the column hit the streets, Seaver knew it was time to leave.

In 2007, Seaver said: “That Young column was the straw that broke the back. Bringing your family into it with no truth whatsoever to what he wrote. I could not abide by that. I had to go.’’

Young also wrote, “A man lives up to his contract,’’ but four years later he broke his own contract with the Daily News and moved to the Post.

 

Jun 14

Today in Mets History: Mets outlast Maloney.

It was one of those games I had forgotten, but fit in with the wildness and uniqueness of the early Mets. This time they came out on the winning end.

LEWIS: Beats Maloney.

 

On this date in 1965, Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney threw a gem against the Mets with ten innings of no-hit ball and 18 strikeouts. The Mets’ only baserunner came on a leadoff walk to Ed Kranepool in the second. Maloney came out for the 11th inning and gave up a homer to Johnny Lewis, the first batter he faced. He also gave up a single to Roy McMillan later in the inning.

BOX SCORE

Frank Lary pitched eight scoreless innings for the Mets that day, giving up five hits and walking one.

Among the notables who played in that game were Pete Rose, Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson for the Reds, and Kranepool and Ron Swoboda for the Mets.

 

ON DECK: Let’s forget about Santana for this year.

Jun 13

Today in Mets History: Strawberry delivers vs. Pirates.

Championship teams find a way to win and that’s the way it was for the 1986 Mets, a team loaded with stars and role players.

STRAWBERRY: Clutch in 86.

The Mets won with power and pitching, speed and defense. They were fundamentally sound, and played with grit and guile, but always with a confidence that they knew they were going to win.

On this date in 1986, they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5, at Shea Stadium. Dwight Gooden gave up three runs on three hits, but didn’t coast because he walked five. Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez homered of Rick Reuschel, but the Mets needed Darryl Strawberry’s RBI single off Pat Clements in the ninth inning for the game-winner.

After Pittsburgh tied the game with two runs off Jesse Orosco in the ninth, the Mets turned to small ball. Wilson singled with one out, advanced to second on a grounder, then after an intentional walk to Hernandez – the Pirates, like most teams then, feared Mex in the clutch – Strawberry delivered.

And, Strawberry did it frequently. Of his 93 RBI, 19 came in the seventh inning or later when the score was tied or the Mets were ahead or behind by a run. He drove in 28 total when the game was tied at any time.

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Jun 12

Today in Mets History: Mets sign Tug McGraw.

One of the most popular players in team history is signed on this day in 1964 when scout Roy Parlee gets the signature of 19-year-old lefthanded pitcher Tug McGraw on a contract.

MCGRAW: An original.

Once a starter, McGraw carved out his niche as a reliever with the Mets. McGraw filled in when Jerry Koosman was injured in May of 1969, but returned to the pen with the latter returned. With a rotation that also included Tom Seaver, Don Cardwell, Jim McAndrew and at times Nolan Ryan, there was no place for McGraw.

McGraw, the last player to play for Casey Stengel, pitched in the NLCS against Atlanta, but did not pitch in the World Series against Baltimore. However, his role now set, McGraw emerged as a premier closer in the early 1970s, and was an emotional leader who coined the “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ slogan for the 1973 pennant-winning Mets.

In December of 1974, the Mets dealt McGraw to Philadelphia in a package deal that saw pitcher Mac Scarce, outfielder Del Unser and catcher John Stearns come to New York.

McGraw continued on as a top reliever and was a central figure during the Phillies’ 1980 World Series season.

When asked what he spent his money on during the World Series, McGraw answered: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.’’

McGraw was always a popular visitor to Shea Stadium after his retirement, although he worked for the Phillies as a guest instructor during spring training, when he was hospitalized with a brain tumor in 2003. Less than a year later, he died.

The Mets wore a “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ arm patch in honor of McGraw during the 2004 season, and McGraw’s son Tim, a country music star, recorded the song, “Live Like You Were Dying,’’ later that year.

Tim McGraw spread his father’s ashes on the pitcher’s mound at Citizen’s Bank Park prior to Game 3 of the 2008 World Series.

McGRAW’S CAREER NUMBERS