Thursday, March 28, 2013

This Week in Mets History 1-11: Dr K, Conehead, Sidd Finch and Bobby V

Former Mets manager in his infamous photo after being ejected in a game, he returns to the dugout "in disguise". Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Frank Gray
MM Editor

The season is literally days away. Now is an exciting time of the year for Mets fans and baseball fans alike. This is also the time of year when major moves and decisions are usually made or announced. This week we take a look back on a few of those.

We make one more visit to the Doctor, remember a college baseball game that had major significance and we reminisce with the coneheads. All this and more, this week in Mets history.

March 26, 1979 - Two years before (in June of 1977) the New York Mets trade slugger Dave Kingman to the San Diego Padres. In that deal, they acquire Paul Siebert and a player named Bobby Valentine. On this day, the Mets released Valentine after appearing in 11 games and sporting a .222 AVG.

 He would finish his playing career the following year and get into coaching. Mets fan all remember him for guiding the team to their fourth World Series in 2000. As a Mets manager, he was fairly successful with a .534 winning percentage in 1,003 games managed in nearly seven seasons in Queens.

His outlandish comments and even crazier on the field antics won him a place in the hearts of many a fan. Today, he is rumored to be joining the staff of SNY for Mets pregames.

March 27, 1987 - After winning the World Series the year before, the Mets were looking to add to their stellar rotation. They did so by trading solid back-up catcher Ed Hearn, reliever Rick A. Anderson and prospect Mauro Gozzo for David Cone.

The former Kansas City Royals ace would pitch for six seasons in his initial stint with the Mets and go 80-48 in that span. He would rejoin the team years later for his final season in 2003. Today, he can be heard in the booth at Yankees games. (insert boos here)

March 28, 1985 - In what may be construed as the greatest April Fools joke of all time, Sport Illustrated writer George Plimpton writes an article about a Mets prospect named Sidd Finch. According to Plimpton, Finch is a phenom capable of throwing a 168 mph fastball.

He uses quotes by Mets staffing and doctored images to provide "evidence" to back up his statement. The story became so big that Plimpton ended up turning it into a novel.

March 29, 2009 - The New York Mets have a new home. After more than forty years of being associated with Shea Stadium, the team moves into Citi Field and prepares to host the San Diego Padres. On this date, the organization holds the first baseball game at their new ballpark.

The only problem is that it's not the Mets. St John's hosts Georgetown in a collegiate showdown. To further merge the event with Mets history, the team has former St John's graduate and 15 year Mets veteran John Franco throw out the first pitch.

March 30, 2001 - It is a bittersweet day today as former Mets hero and goat Dwight "Dr K" (the original Doc) Gooden announced his retirement. He does so after hurling a no-hitter and winning a World Series with the cross town rival Yankees (insert boos here).

In retrospect, Mets fans will forever remember him as the anchor of the 1986 championship team, a Cy Young winner in 1985 and Rookie of the Year in 1984. He finished his Mets career behind only Tom Seaver in wins (157) and strikeouts (1,875). Today, he can still be seen at various Mets events.

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