Thursday, April 11, 2013

This Week in Mets History 1-13: Kid Carter, Tommy Agee, Jerry Grote and Mets Historic Openers

Mets catcher Gary Carter celebrates a home run. Photo courtesy  AP

Frank Gray
MM Editor

After the first week or so in the books, Mets catchers are a hot topic. John Buck led the National League in RBI at one point and is forcing the Mets to make the decision to call up Travis d'Arnaud that much harder.

With Mets catchers currently being a popular issue, it comes as no surprise that this week we celebrate several key moments from Mets catchers. Among them, we reminisce about Gary Carter celebrating his birthday with a major bang and Jerry Grote making fireworks of his own.

Not to be outdone, Tommy Agee shows us that catchers aren't the only ones that can hit historic home runs as his moonshot earns a special honor. All this and the tales of the Mets opening season, this week in Mets history.

April 8, 1988 - The New York Mets faced off with the Phillies at Veteran's Stadium. It was Mets catcher Gary Carter's birthday. On this date, Carter went 3-3 and had the only run scored for the Mets that day as he went deep. It was a bittersweet memory, though, as he was doubled off second base after Howard Johnson lined out in the 5-1 loss.

April 9, 1985 - After the Mets acquire Gary Carter in the off season, his addition pays off immediately. Opening Day, the Mets battled the St Louis Cardinals into extra innings. In the home half of the tenth inning, the All Star Catcher hits a walk-off homer to lift the Mets to a 6-5 win as a proper introduction to New York.

April 10, 1969 - Looking to bounce back from a disastrous '68 season, Tommy Agee launches an upper deck home run at Shea Stadium against the Montreal Expos. It would be the longest home run in Shea Stadium history. The spot where the ball landed would be commemorated by a plaque in the upper decks of the stadium.

April 11, 1962 - After several years of anticipation, the New York Mets franchise opens up their first season of existence. In their first attempt at National League baseball, the Mets first scheduled game was postponed due to rain and players being stuck in an elevator. Yes, you read that right. The Mets made their debut against the St Louis Cardinals on this date. They were rocked 11-4.

April 11, 1971 - The Mets were looking for offense against the Cincinnati Reds. In a scoreless duel lasting 11 innings, they found it in the person of Jerry Grote. The two-time All Star catcher ended the tight contest with a game ending shot off of Reds reliever Wayne Granger. The Mets win 1-0.

April 13, 1962 - It is a bitter cold winter-like day at the Polo Grounds when the National League baseball returns to New York in the form of the New York Mets. With just 12,000 fans in attendance for the big premiere of Mets baseball, the team fought the Pittsburgh Pirates hard on a Friday the 13th.

Perhaps the results were a premonition to the season that would come. In a 3-3 game, Mets reliever Ray Diavault uncorks two wild pitches and gives up the decisive run that helps the Mets fall to the Pirates 4-3.

April 13, 2012 - Thole was not known for his base running skills. Perhaps the events of this date are a good reason why. While playing the Philadelphia Phillies in Philly, he caught everyone by surprise when he advances on a sacrifice bunt attempt by R.A. Dickey and then attempted to return to first base. He would be tagged out and the double play would officially go down as a 3-1-6-4 double play. The Mets did win the game, though, 5-2.

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