When Tony Armas steps to the mound as scheduled tonight at Busch Stadium, — if the roster posted on mets.com is to be believed — he will become the first Mets pitcher to start a game wearing No. 44 since Jason Isringhausen did so at the last Busch Stadium on June 19, 1999.
Isringhausen was pounded by the Cardinals nine years ago, beginning with the first St. Louis batter, Joe McEwing, who tripled.
McEwing would be a Met a year later after he was traded for Jesse Orosco who had been reacquired by the Mets for Chuck McElroy who was acquired by the Mets in a trade involving Brian McRae who was acquired by the Mets in a trade involving Mark Clark who was acquired in a trade involving Ryan Thompson who was acquired in a trade involving David Cone who was acquired in a trade involving Ed Hearn who caught Jesse Orosco's final regular-season save of 1986 on October 4, a little more than three weeks before Jesse Orosco became the first Met to throw the final pitch of a World Series since Jerry Koosman seventeen years earlier and nearly eight years after being acquired by the Mets from the Minnesota Twins for Jerry Koosman.
The second batter Jason Isringhausen faced in his final start for the Mets was Darren Bragg, another future Met. Izzy walked him and then gave up a three-run homer to Mark McGwire.
Isringhausen's first batter retired in his final Met start was Fernando Tatis, a current Met.
When Armas starts for the Mets tonight, Isringhausen will be in the Cardinal bullpen almost nine years since he was traded by his original team.
Isringhausen was traded by the Mets to Oakland the same day McRae was traded to Colorado for McElroy. Going to the Rockies with McRae in that deal was Rigo Beltran who had been acquired by the Mets in a trade involving Juan Acevedo who was acquired by the Mets in a trade involving Bret Saberhagen who was acquired by the Mets in a trade involving Kevin McReynolds who was acquired by the Mets in a trade involving Kevin Mitchell who pinch-hit for Doug Sisk on October 4, 1986, necessitating the insertion of a new pitcher, who was Jesse Orosco who would collect his final regular-season save of that year in short order.
It was Mitchell's final regular-season pinch-hitting appearance for the Mets. His final postseason pinch-hitting appearance for the Mets would come exactly three weeks later, October 25, 1986, in the tenth inning of the sixth game of the World Series. Mitchell pinch-hit for Rick Aguilera who was pitching in relief of Jesse Orosco, who retired Bill Buckner for the final out in the top of the eighth. The Mets trailed 3-2 in the game and 3-2 in games at that point.
Isringhausen was the losing pitcher in his last Mets start. The winning pitcher was Manny Aybar, who six years later wore 36 for the Mets, the same number worn by Jerry Koosman who was traded for Jesse Orosco who, twenty-one years and several stops later, was traded for Joe McEwing who tripled off Jason Isringhausen in the start that bumped him once and for all from the Mets rotation.
Izzy would make eight relief appearances wearing 44 for the Mets after his last start. The last one he made at Shea — the last time any Met pitcher wore 44 at home — was July 27, 1999. He wore 44 that night not for the New York Mets but for the Mercury Mets who lost 5-1 to Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Kris Benson. Benson would eventually be traded to the Mets and then traded from the Mets for John Maine who started for the Mets in St. Louis last night, one night before Tony Armas is scheduled to wear 44 and start for the Mets, three nights after Pedro Martinez started and lost for the Mets.
Pedro Martinez was traded by the Expos to the Red Sox for Tony Armas on November 18, 1997, the same day the Rockies acquired Chuck McElroy, who would eventually be traded by Colorado to the Mets for Brian McRae and Rigo Beltran before the Mets would trade McElroy to the Orioles for Jesse Orosco who the Mets would trade to St. Louis for Joe McEwing less than four months after McEwing tripled to lead off Jason Isringhausen's final start as a New York Met, the final start by any Met pitcher wearing 44 until tonight when Tony Armas is scheduled to wear 44 and start in St. Louis.
While Isringhausen (or perhaps Isringsofsaturn) pitched in the game in which the Mets dressed up as space aliens from Mercury, it was Orel Hershiser who took the loss after starting against Benson. The two opposed one another in the final scheduled game of the 1999 season, at Shea, this time the Mets winning 2-1, their winning pitcher Armando Benitez, acquired by the Mets in a three-team trade that involved minor leaguer Arnold Gooch who, like Juan Acevedo, was acquired by the Mets in a trade that involved Bret Saberhagen who was acquired by the Mets in a trade that, as noted, involved Kevin McReynolds, who made the final out of the fourth game of the 1988 National League Championship Series against Orel Hershiser who earned the save in the twelfth inning in relief of the Dodgers' Jesse Orosco, who stood to be the winning pitcher in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series had the Mets pushed across more than one run with the bases loaded and one out in bottom of the eighth.
The winning pitcher for the Dodgers in the fourth game of the 1988 NLCS was Alejandro Peña, later acquired by the Mets in a trade that involved Juan Samuel who had been acquired by the Mets in a trade that involved Roger McDowell, losing pitcher in the fourth game of the 1988 NLCS and winning pitcher of the final game of the 1986 World Series, the one which Jesse Orosco threw the last pitch of thirteen years before being reacquired by the New York Mets for Chuck McElroy who had been acquired by the Mets on July 31, 1999, the day Jason Isringhausen made his final appearance as a New York Met at Wrigley Field, a 17-10 slugfest in which Isringhausen took the loss in relief. Pitching for the Cubs while Isringhausen pitched for the Mets that day was Rick Aguilera who was the winning pitcher in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, the game in which Jesse Orosco retired Bill Buckner and the game in which Kevin Mitchell pinch-hit in the tenth inning.
Mitchell singled, as did Ray Knight who succeeded him. Mookie Wilson, who succeeded Knight, successfully avoided being hit by a wild pitch that allowed Mitchell to score the tying run and then grounded to Buckner who misplayed it, which allowed Knight to score the winning run, allowing the Mets, in turn, to play the seventh game which Jesse Orosco would throw the final pitch of.
On deck while Wilson batted was Howard Johnson, who made the final out of the 1988 NLCS against Orel Hershiser. Howard Johnson is the hitting coach of the 2008 New York Mets. One of the players he coaches is Fernando Tatis who made the first out in the last start, prior to what is scheduled tonight, made by a pitcher wearing 44 for the New York Mets, Jason Isringhausen.
When Isringhausen departed the Wrigley Field mound on July 31, 1999 after pitching for the Mets for the last time, he was succeeded by Greg McMichael. McMichael was in his second tour of duty with the Mets, having been traded to the Dodgers in 1998 in a deal that involved Brad Clontz. Clontz would wind up a year later with Pittsburgh and would throw the wild pitch that would end the final scheduled game of 1999, the one started by Hershiser for the Mets and Benson for the Bucs. Clontz's wild pitch allowed Melvin Mora to score the winning run and sent the Mets to a one-game playoff in Cincinnati that would set the stage for their first postseason appearance since the 1988 NLCS, which ended when future Met Orel Hershiser struck out future Met batting coach Howard Johnson.
The Mets would win their first postseason game at Shea Stadium in exactly eleven years on October 8, 1999. Throwing the final pitch for the Mets that night, in mop-up duty, was Orel Hershiser. The Mets' previous postseason win at Shea Stadium occurred on October 8, 1988. The starter for the losing team that afternoon was Orel Hershiser.
The Mets pitcher who preceded Hershiser to the Shea Stadium mound in the third game of the 1999 National League Division Series was John Franco. John Franco saved the first Major League win of Jason Isringhausen's at Shea Stadium on July 30, 1995, one day before the Mets traded Bret Saberhagen to the Colorado Rockies for Juan Acevedo and Arnold Gooch and three weeks before Franco saved Isringhausen's second Shea Stadium win, a game in which Isringhausen's catcher was Kelly Stinnett, who would make the final out of the third game of the 1999 NLDS for the Arizona Diamondbacks against Orel Hershiser and a game in which Isringhausen beat Hideo Nomo who would be traded with Brad Clontz to the Mets in 1998 for Greg McMichael and Dave Mlicki.
Mlicki had been traded to the Mets prior to the 1995 season from Cleveland along with Paul Byrd and Jerry DiPoto for Jeromy Burnitz. DiPoto was traded to Colorado prior to the 1997 season for Armando Reynoso. Reynoso started the first game the Mets ever lost at Yankee Stadium, one day after Mlicki started the first game the Mets ever played and won at Yankee Stadium, eleven years before the final game the Mets would ever play and win at Yankee Stadium, the afternoon of June 27, the first half of a day-night doubleheader, the night half of which was started and lost at Shea Stadium by Pedro Martinez who was traded for Tony Armas who is scheduled to start for the Mets tonight, four nights later wearing 44, the first Mets pitcher to wear 44 since Jason Isringhausen did so on July 31, 1999, the day he and McMichael were traded.
Byrd was traded to the Braves prior to the 1997 season in the deal that originally brought McMichael to the Mets. McMichael was the losing pitcher in the final game of the first series played by the Mets at Yankee Stadium. He was succeeded on the mound that day by John Franco who saved Isringhausen's first two Shea Stadium wins, and he himself succeeded Juan Acevedo who would eventually be traded for Rigo Beltran who would eventually be traded for Chuck McElroy who would eventually be traded for Jesse Orosco who would eventually be traded for Joe McEwing. Acevedo, as noted, was acquired for Bret Saberhagen who was acquired for Kevin McReynolds who was acquired for David Cone who started that final game of the first series played by the Mets at Yankee Stadium on June 18, 1997. Cone was acquired by the Mets in 1987 for Ed Hearn who had, in 1986, caught Jesse Orosco
Orosco, traded back to the Mets in December 1999 from the Orioles, the team Koosman beat to win the Mets' first World Series, was traded to the Cardinals, the team the Mets would beat to make their most recent World Series, in March 2000 for McEwing, the hitter who led off, in St. Louis, the last start by a Mets pitcher wearing 44 'til tonight, in St. Louis, was saddled with a loss in his final decision as a Met on September 30, 1987 as a result of surrendering a tenth-inning home run to Luis Aguayo, now the Mets' third base coach, where he works on a staff that includes Howard Johnson, instructing a team that includes Fernando Tatis, Pedro Martinez and Tony Armas. Orosco was traded away in December 1987 in a three-team deal in which the Mets acquired Kevin Tapani. Tapani would be traded by the Mets to the Twins, along with Rick Aguilera and three others, for Frank Viola. Aguilera, who was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame less than two weeks ago, made his final appearance as a Met at Wrigley Field on July 30, 1989, almost precisely ten years before he pitched for the Cubs against the Mets in Jason Isringhausen's final appearance as a Met, after which Isringhausen and McMichael were sent to the A's for Billy Taylor.
Who, like Bragg and Burnitz and Viola, didn't help very much in the long run.