Aug 25

Today in Mets’ History: Gooden youngest to 20.

Special reached a milestone on this date in 1985 when Dwight Gooden became the youngest pitcher in major league history to win 20 games in a season.

GOODEN: Super nova.

At 20 years, nine months and nine days, he was a month younger than Bob Feller when he won his 20th game in 1939.

Gooden won 17 games in 1984, then had his best season in 1985 when he went 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts.

It was a wet, dreary day that Sunday afternoon at Shea against San Diego, but backed by Darryl Strawberry’s homer and four RBI and three hits from Gary Carter, as the Mets prevailed, 9-3, to give Gooden his 14th straight victory and improve his record to 20-3.

Roger McDowell worked three innings for the save.


Gooden helped pitch the Mets to the World Series the following season, but his career derailed because of substance abuse.


Aug 12

Today in Mets’ History: Mays’ finale at Candlestick.

When the consider the event, it was shocking that only 13,000 were in attendance on this day in 1973 at San Francisco.

MAYS: Always popular at Shea.

The Giants beat the Mets, 4-1, in what was Willie Mays’ last appearance as a player in Candlestick Park. Mays went 0-for-4.

Five days later, against Cincinnati’s Don Gullet at Shea Stadium, Mays hit his 660th and final home run of his career.

This was Mays’ last season, and it was a disappointing way to go out, even if he played in the World Series. In 66 games, Mays hit .211 with six homers and 25 RBI.

The Mets traded for Mays in May of 1972 in a public relations coup for the franchise. At the time, the Giants were in financial distress and owner Horace Stoneham couldn’t guarantee a position after retirement.



Aug 08

Today in Mets’ History: Remember George Foster.

On this day in 1985, George Foster had a big day for the Mets with three RBI in a 14-7 victory at Montreal. It was one of his few, if not his last.

FOSTER: Bust in Shea.

Even with his performance, Foster was overshadowed as Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Wally Backman also drove in three runs apiece.

After several monster years with Cincinnati, including hitting 52 and 40 homers in consecutive seasons, the Mets landed the slugger for Greg Harris, Jim Kern and Alex Trevino.

Finally, a true power machine was on his way to Shea

Foster, who already seemed on the downside of his career, was given a five-year, $10-million contract (worth over $22 million by today’s standards).

Foster hit 13 homers in 1982, his first year with the Mets, but bounced back the following year to hit 28, but it was merely a glimpse of his former self as he never hit that many again.

In parts of five seasons with the Mets, Foster hit 99 homers with 361 RBI and will always be regarded as one of the most disappointing acquisitions in club history.

Maybe Foster felt more at home in laid back Cincinnati with its roster of stars in Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez. Perhaps the expectations were too high in New York in the early years, but in the end Foster was also surrounded by stars so the spotlight wasn’t only on him.

Old accounts of him said he was moody, surly and didn’t hustle. In the end, Foster played the race card when talking about his diminished playing time.

“I don’t want to say it’s a racial thing, but … ’’

He was waived shortly after that and signed with the Chicago White Sox. Funny thing, it was Kevin Mitchell who replaced Foster in left field.

At the time the Mets dumped Foster in 1986, he had one homer and 13 RBI.

At one time the guy could play, but he’ll always be remembered as one of the most disliked Mets joining a group that includes Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Bret Saberthagen, Kaz Matsui and Scott Schoeneweis.

If you can think of others on the list, let us know.




Jul 14

Today in Mets’ History: Bobby V. wins 1,000th game as manager.

I never covered him full time, but always recognized Bobby Valentine held a special place with Mets’ fans.

VALENTINE: A fixture in Mets lore.

Maybe it had nothing to do with the fake moustache, but perhaps that act is what endeared him to the Shea partisans. It was spontaneous, funny and above all, human. We all know ejected managers hide in the runway or somehow send messages to the dugout. Valentine was just brash in his approach.

Valentine guided the Mets to the playoffs and World Series in 2000, but his teams ran out of steam and his feud with then general manager Steve Phillips became draining.

On this date in 1971, Valentine registered his 1,000th career victory when Glendon Rusch and Armando Benitez combined to throw a one-hit shutout of the Red Sox, 2-0.


Valentine managed Texas and the Mets, as well as two stints in Japan. He currently works for ESPN, but is constantly being mentioned when managerial openings occur.


Jul 30

Favorite Doc and Straw moment

Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame this weekend. Both players brought a certain electricity to Shea Stadium.

Each player had the ability to grab the crowd by the scruff of the neck.

For Strawberry, it was the sense of anticipation with every at-bat. He was one of the few players who kept you riveted every time he came to the plate because there was the prospect of hitting a mammoth home run like the one he hit off the scoreboard clock in St. Louis.

For Gooden, during the summers of 1985 and 1986 there was a buzz at Shea whenever he took the mound. I remember how the crowd would rise and scream whenever he got two strikes on a hitter. Gooden had electric stuff, the kind that made you wonder if this would be the night he’d throw a no-hitter.

Eventually, he did. But, fittingly in the tormented history of this franchise, he did so for the Yankees.

Is there a special Doc or Straw moment for you?