So crazy. Riding on the Long Island RR through Queens and Shea Stadium is GONE, as in not there. Yes I know there is a beautiful new ballpark next door. But I'm not ready to say goodbye to ol' Shea yet. After the end of the 2009 season left me shell shocked and speechless through the winter, I'm finally ready to bid farewell to the site of most of my greatest baseball memories with my All-Time Shea Team and my Top 7 Personal Shea Moments!!
Unlike other All Shea teams you might have read, mine is purely based on entertainment value of the player to me personally. Also skewed to my years of ballpark attendance (1979-2008).
All Time Shea “Entertainment Value” Team
1b – Keith Hernandez
2b – Edgardo Alfonzo
ss – Jose Reyes
3b – Howard Johnson
of – Darryl Strawberry
of – Carlos Beltran
of – Lenny Dykstra
c – Mike Piazza
sp – Dwight Gooden
rp – Turk Wendell
Honorable Mention: Robin Ventura, Mookie Wilson, Cliff Floyd, Rey Ordonez, Roger McDowell, Sid Fernandez
There it is – Bring your comments Met fans and haters alike, who did I leave out and who did I love too much??
And now without further adoo I bring you my….
Top 7 Personal Shea Moments
1) Hojo's Lucky 13. Mets 2, Cubs 1 (13). June 2, 1988. My brother and I were on our own at the game at ages 13 and 17 respectively, no big deal except in these days before cell phones, the double shutouts pitched by David Cone and Calvin Schiraldi forced me to place a pay phone call to our parents. We weren't coming home. The game wasn't over yet, and the Mets were still going to win it. A Lee Mazzilli pinch hit RBI single in the 10th off Goose Gossage gave the Mets a 1-1 tie, prevented a Cub victory that was an out away, and sent me back to the pay phones for another check in call to the parents. Finally Howard Johnson sent everyone home after midnight in the 13th with an epic no doubt-about-it, walkoff moonshot.
2) It's Not Raining. Mets 5, Astros 1. September 1, 1982. The Mets were suffering through a hellacious 15-game losing streak that is still the worst the franchise has suffered to this day. The season was mercifully ending soon, it was raining, and we hadn't spent anything on tickets. Would be a no show evening for most Met fans. But not us! My brother (8) and I (12) convinced my mother that it was “not raining” (which was a complete lie) and by the time my willing accomplice of a father made the 45 minute drive to Shea, it had somehow STOPPED raining. We were in! Met starter Pete Falcone pitched a whale of a game, going the distance. The losing streak was over. And we were three of about 25 fans there to celebrate, a very sweet moment.
3) Mets Edge Dodgers to Open '06 Playoffs. Mets 6, Dodgers 5. October 4, 2006. A classic October game that keyed on an electrifying 3-run homer from Carlos Delgado and a 2-RBI double from David Wirght that each turned the tide back to the Mets. A green John Maine did great in emergency service after scheduled starter El Duque went down with a freak pre-game injury during warmups.
4) Meeting Mazzilli. Reds 8, Mets 0. August 26, 1979. My first Mets game and my grandfather, who was a CPA for the Mazzilli family got us into the clubhouse for a meet and greet with Mazz. I didn't understand at the time why he was scowling and upset, then years later I looked up the score and said “Oh, that's why!” This game is primarily remembered as the Tom Seaver's victorious return to Shea for the first time in a Reds uniform.
5) Doc Goes Deep. Mets 12, Pirates 1. September 21, 1985. Doc Gooden has a team record five home runs as a pitcher, this one capped a seven-run first inning as the Mets thrashed what was at the time a feared divisional foe. Gooden lasted 8 and scattered just four hits as part of his unbelievable 22-4 Triple Crown (wins, ERA, K's) 1985 that will probably never be duplicated in my lifetime.
6) Straw and Dibble Square Off. Mets 8, Reds 3. July 8, 1989. Mets were pasting the Reds 7-zip on a brutally hot Saturday when nasty boy Reds reliever Rob Dibble beaned Mets shrimpy second baseman Tim Teufel who charged the mound and sparked a bench clearing fracas. Strawberry found Dibble in the center of the mayhem and what a sight to see the giant Straw bobbing and weaving and trading blows with Dibble. The best part of it was when Dibble shook free of the the umpires leading him off the field and charged back at Straw. I guess someone said something nasty! Benches both cleared again. More fracas, more mayhem. Get me another beer!
7) Tatis in 12. Mets 7, Marlins 6 (12). May 28, 2008. The Marlins had this thing won, not once but twice. Endy Chavez had his only homer of the season in the bottom of the 9, lengthening the game with a 5-5 tie. Then a homer from the obnoxious and taunting Alfredo Amezaga in the top of the 12th sent 90% of the crowd home (it was a coldish Thursday night). With two outs and men on the corners Fernando Tatis found the perfect part of the leftfield corner into which to curve a double that chased home both runners.
About the Author
Written by Mark Reichman