Sep 03

Today in Mets’ History: Remembering Bob Ojeda.

Much of the greatness of the Mets’ 1986 rotation was in its depth, personified by Bob Ojeda. One first thinks of Doc Gooden and Ron Darling, then Sid Fernandez, but some would stumble on Ojeda.

OJEDA: Underrated straight shooter.

Ojeda, originally signed by Boston, was more than just the stereotypical “crafty lefthander.’’ He knew how to set up hitters, spot his pitches and climb the latter with them.

On this date in 1986, Ojeda gave up two runs on three hits in a complete-game 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium to increase his record to 16-4 at the time. He finished the season at 18-5 with a 2.57 ERA.

The Mets acquired Ojeda from the Red Sox after the 1985 season for reliever Calvin Schiraldi, and both would end up playing key roles the following season and in the 1986 World Series when New York beat Boston in seven games.

Ojeda had a critical, yet often forgotten part in the Mets’ 1986 postseason run when he won Game 2 of the NLCS against Houston after the Astros won the first game, and Game 3 of the World Series at Boston after the Mets lost the first two games.

Ojeda started Game 6 in both the NLCS and World Series, each won by the Mets in dramatic fashion, although he didn’t earn a decision.

Ojeda later pitched for Los Angeles, Cleveland and the Yankees before retiring early in the 1994 season.

Tragically, Ojeda was remembered for being the sole survivor in a 1993 spring training boating accident that killed fellow Cleveland teammates Steve Olin and Tim Crews.

Ojeda is currently a studio analyst on SNY and has proven to be a remarkable straight shooter, perceptive and not afraid to call somebody out.

Ojeda saw things clearly as a player, too, with this quote about raucous fans: “The fans throw different things. Rock stars have stuff like flowers and underwear. We get batteries and knives.’’

BOX SCORE

OJEDA CAREER

 

Aug 30

Today in Mets’ History: Casey, then Sandy bid farewell to Shea

Casey Stengel, who broke his hip five weeks earlier, announced his retirement as manager of the Mets on this date in 1965.

The following year on this date, Bob Friend beat Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 10-4, at Shea Stadium. It would be his final decision against the Mets as he retired after the 1966 World Series. Davey Johnson, then the second baseman of the Baltimore Orioles and the future manager of the Mets, would get the last hit off Koufax.

Stengel eventually had his number retired while Koufax is a frequent visitor to the Mets spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

 

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.

BOX SCORE

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

 

Aug 13

Today in Mets’ History: Leiter throws gem at Giants.

The Mets acquired Al Leiter prior to the 1998 season from the Marlins in Florida’s fire sale after winning the World Series.

He was a big

LEITER: Big-game starter for Mets.

-game starter in seven years with the Mets, going 95-67 with a 3.42 ERA. In a one-game playoff at Cincinnati in 1999, throwing a two-hit shutout, 5-0, to send the Mets to the NLCS against Atlanta.

On this date in 2000, Leiter pitched one of his best games as he struck out 12 to beat the Giants, 2-0. Leiter was an All-Star that season and started Games 1 and 5 in the World Series against the Yankees.

Leiter broke in with the Yankees, and had two stints with them (1987-89 and 2005). He also pitched for Toronto (1989-95), the Marlins (1996-97), the Mets (1998-2004) and briefly returned to the Marlins in 2005 before going back to the Yankees.

Currently a member of the Yankees’ broadcasting team on YES, Leiter has also expressed interest in a political career.

LEITER CAREER

 

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.

MAYS CAREER