Mookie to the Rescue! By Tom Brennan
I've posted memories of several of my favorite old time games over the past several days. Here's another!!
The Mets have been through a tough stretch the past several years, but they were extraordinarily inept from 1977 to 1983 – a combined 207 games below .500. It was shades of 1962-1967 déjà vu.
In the face of ongoing impotence, a game I went to on September 20, 1981 was more of the same – until the very end, that is.
The Cardinals got to Pat Zachary for 5 runs in 2 plus innings and the Mets trailed early 5-0. The Mets on the other hand kept hitting – and hitting – to no avail. In fact, the ineptitude led to no runs on NINE hits through 5 innings.
But the Mets kept hitting…and hitting…and scoring a few. Actually 5 runs. They scored 2 in the 6th, 3 in the 7th to tie.
But to get them to that 5 run total, they used 20 hits through 8 innings. FIVE RUNS AND TWENTY HITS THROUGH 8 INNINGS. ONLY THE METS!
Naturally, the Cards went ahead in the 9th. Being a Met fan in those days, resignation to the inevitable set in.
The Cards brought in the mighty Bruce Sutter. The guy with the 300 career saves. Another agonizing defeat seemed on our doorstep.
With 2 outs, another runner got on via their 21st hit. Painful. (No walks up until until then – I guess “working the pitcher” was not yet fashionable.
Then the Mighty Mookie stepped to the plate - 5 years before “Gets by Buckner.” Fans were on their feet cheering – but I couldn’t help feel this was just one more tease in the making.
Then it happened – long drive to right, into the bullpen and the Mets pulled out an amazing, come-from-behind 7 run, 22 hit victory!! Fans went nuts!! It was only a blip in a dreary stretch, a small oasis in a desert of losses – but was “AMAZIN’”! One of my favorite Met memories, even if no one else remembers it – and a lesson that wonderful things may be right around the corner and keep up the faith.
How about you readers – do you remember this dandy?