The Mets have hit four homers since May 22, a span of 17 games. On this date in 1967, the Mets and Cubs combined for 11 homers in the second game of a doubleheader, won 18-10 by Chicago. The Mets hit four that afternoon.
Bob Johnson, Jerry Buchek, Ron Swoboda and Jerry Grote all went deep for the Mets.
The Cubs broke the game open with seven runs in the third and scored in all but two innings.
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.
Of course you remember Jay Hook, the winning pitcher in the Mets’ first victory in 1962.
HOOK: Stopped the slide.
Once a bonus baby for the Cincinnati Reds, Hook pitched eight seasons in the major leagues and compiled a 29-62 record.
Hook didn’t crack the Reds’ rotation until 1960 and after two ineffective seasons was acquired by the Mets in the expansion draft, joining a group that included Roger Craig, Gil Hodges and Don Zimmer.
Hook went 8-19 in 1962, and led the team in starts with 34 and complete games with 13. One of those victories occurred on this date when he beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader to snap a 17-game losing streak.
Hook retired at 28 in 1964 to take a job with Chrysler and currently lives in Michigan.
HOOK’S CAREER NUMBERS
It’s always interesting to look back at some of the old Mets. Some great players made a cameo in New York at the end of their careers.
SNIDER; One last moment in the Polo Grounds.
For example, Duke Snider, who hit a three-run homer on this date in 1962 off Diomedes Olivio in the ninth inning to give the Mets a 3-2 victory over St. Louis in the Polo Grounds. It wasn’t quite the Dodgers and Giants in the 1950’s, but for one day there was a Golden Age flashback in New York.
Interesting story about when Snider first joined the Mets. Charlie Neal had No. 4, but wouldn’t give it up to Snider. Snider eventually got the number when Neal was traded.
Snider was popular with Mets’ fans who still held an emotional connection to the Dodgers – no doubt, Fred Wilpon fell into this category. Of course, what makes the Mets unique is their roots are found in two other teams, which has caused the franchise to constantly seek its own identity.
That hasn’t always been easy, and the team took considerable heat in the opening of Citi Field, which featured the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and had little acknowledgement of the Mets’ own history.
The following season, in what really was an ironic and sad turn, Snider was traded to the Giants and retired after that year.
SNIDER’S CAREER NUMBERS
The Mets finally recognized the 1986 team this weekend. I’m bad, too. I should have had more on that dynamic team, also. I’ll rectify that beginning today.
DANNY HEEP: Remember him?
The 1986 Mets mauled opponents. They dominated. The steamrolled them. Such as on this date in Pittsburgh with a 10-4 rout that featured 15 hits.
The first four hitters in the order, Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman, Darryl Strawberry and Danny Heep went a combined 9-for-18 with seven runs scored.
The Mets hit only three homers that day – Rick Aguilera, Strawberry and Wilson – to move 20 gaves (35-15) over .500.
Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez were off that day.
Aguilera started and lasted 4.1 innings, and Roger McDowell worked 3.2 innings of relief to earn the victory.
On a side note, Barry Bonds went 0-for-5 for the Pirates.