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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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This Super Sunday Pittsburgh Lost

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1999
SHEA STADIUM
FLUSHING, NEW YORK

GARY COHEN

The last of the ninth inning in the final regular-season game of the year. The Mets and Pirates locked in a one-one duel. The Mets needing a win to guarantee there will be a tomorrow.

Greg Hansell, a well-traveled twenty-eight year-old righthander, will pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and BOBBY Bonilla is going to be a pinch-hitter for the Mets, batting for Shane Halter. Halter had just come in to execute a double-switch and give the Mets defense in right field for the last inning, but now Bonilla comes up with a chance to win it, leading off in the last of the ninth inning.

Greg Hansell has pitched just about everywhere. He was once the property of the New York Mets, way back in 1990, pitching at Port St. Lucie. He was in Spring Training this year with the Giants, but now pitching for the Pirates in the bottom of the ninth.

The pitch to Bonilla — swing and a miss, he had his home run cut, trying to win it with one swing, but he swung through it, nothing and one.

Bobby Bonilla hitting at one-sixty-one, four home runs — they all came a long time ago. Batting lefthanded against the much-traveled righthander, Greg Hansell. Melvin Mora on deck.

The oh-one pitch…in the dirt, a changeup, one ball and one strike.

Kris Benson pitched seven FABULOUS innings, allowed an unearned run on seven hits. Jason Christiansen pitched the eighth, no runs and no hits. And now Greg Hansell pitching in the bottom of the ninth, Mets one, Pirates one.

The outfield a stride toward right, Young guarding the line at first. The one-one to Bonilla, a changeup, misses outside and low, two balls and a strike.

Bobby Bonilla, who spent such an important part of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, trying to help facilitate the Mets against the Pirates here today.

BOB MURPHY

He could get reacquainted with a lot of old friends if he came through.

GARY COHEN

The two-one to Bonilla…pulled on the ground down to first base, right at Kevin Young, he’ll run it to the bag himself, and Bonilla retired for the first out of the ninth.

So Bonilla, with a big cut, grounds out weakly to first base, one man down, and Melvin Mora will come up for the first time.

Mora came on as a pinch-runner for an injured Rickey Henderson in the seventh inning. Bobby Valentine might be inclined to use a pinch-hitter here, except he’s starting to run out of players. He has only one outfielder left on his bench, and that’s Shawon Dunston, and he’ll need him to go to right field if we go the tenth inning, with Halter having left for the pinch-hitter, because Bonilla is not capable of playing in the field.

The Mets also have Jorge Toca, Mike Kinkade, Todd Pratt and Luis Lopez left on the bench.

A moment taken here, as the shortstop, Abraham Nuñez, reaches down to tie his shoe.

Melvin Mora hitting at one thirty-three on four hits in thirty times at bat.

One out and nobody on, last of the ninth, Edgardo Alfonzo on deck.

Hansell delivers, low and outside, one ball and no strikes.

Melvin Mora came up in a huge spot in the opening game of this series, Friday night, in the eighth inning.

The one-oh pitch…line drive right field FALLING FAST, that’ll be in there for a base hit! Mora turns at first and holds on THERE, throwing behind him now is BROWN, and Mora SCAMPERS back to the bag.

What a big base hit for MELVIN Mora! Only his FIFTH hit of the year, he went the other way and dunked it into right field, and now the Mets have the winning run aboard with one man out.

BOB MURPHY

I think Mora was thinking two-base hit. He went FLYING around the first base bag and realized he had to get the brakes on.

GARY COHEN

He had a lot of spin on that ball off the bat, and when it hit the grass, it almost bounced beyond Adrian Brown, and I think that’s what Mora saw, that Brown was going to have trouble picking it up. But Brown was able to field it cleanly and keep Mora at first base.

Well, here’s Alfonzo, an infield single and a walk, one-for-three officially. Flied out to right on a hit-and-run play his last time up.

Mora with good speed at first.

Here’s the pitch…fastball letter-high for a strike, nothing and one.

Alfonzo the batter, Olerud on deck, the Mets now have eight hits in the game, trying to win it in their final turn at bat, they’ve done it seventeen times this year, most recently on Friday night in the eleventh inning.

Everybody standing here at Shea, better than fifty-thousand on hand.

Hansell to the set, the oh-one to Alfonzo — line drive BASE HIT going into right field! Mora turns second! Mora will go to third! Brown picks it up. His throw will go to second base! The Mets have the winning run at third with one man down in the ninth!

Edgardo ALFONZO, an opposite-field SINGLE, back-to-back base hits by the two Venezuelans, MORA and ALFONZO, and now a fly ball can win the game for the New York Mets, and John Olerud is coming to the plate.

BOB MURPHY

Well, this is the moment right now.

GARY COHEN

They are ROCKING and they are ROLLING here in Flushing, they’re gonna WALK Olerud INTENTIONALLY and pitch to MIKE PIAZZA. Well, how about THAT?

BOB MURPHY

Boy, that’s a shocker.

GARY COHEN

Olerud will be INTENTIONALLY WALKED, they’ll fill the bases, set up the force everywhere and the double play possibility with Piazza coming up. There’s a righthander in the game in Hansell, and Gene Lamont would rather face Piazza than face Olerud.

BOB MURPHY

Well, there’s a chance, too, that Piazza might hit into a double play.

GARY COHEN

Of course there’s also that chance with Olerud, they’re one and two in the league in grounding into double plays. Right now the double play is in order, but they’re gonna walk Olerud anyway, and there’s ball four, and so it’s left in the hands of the Mets’ biggest bat.

Mike Piazza, with a chance to win it, in the final regular-season game, trying to guarantee the Mets another game in Nineteen Ninety-Nine.

Bases loaded, one out, bottom of the ninth, Mets one, Pirates one.

Here comes Gene Lamont, and he’s goin’ to the bullpen. We’ll take a break. One to one, last of the ninth, back in a moment on the WFAN Mets Radio Network.

[COMMERCIAL]

GARY COHEN

Gene Lamont brings in the veteran sidearming righthander Brad Clontz, who pitched briefly last year for the New York Mets, and Clontz will come in to face Mike Piazza with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth with the Mets and Pirates tied one to one. This is a good idea by Lamont: Clontz is very tough on righthand hitters, and he’s done well against Piazza in the past. Mike is just ONE-for-six against this sidearmer.

BOB MURPHY

The Mets have speed at third base. If they can get a fly ball to the outfield, it should be over.

GARY COHEN

Well, the hope for the Pirates is they get Piazza to hit a ground ball at an infielder who would be able to turn a double play and get through the inning.

The infield will play halfway. The outfield will play only as deep as they can throw, a fly ball will win the game, with Mora standing at third base.

Alfonzo at second, Olerud at first.

Piazza stands in, oh-for-four on the afternoon.

Clontz is ready to go, pitching off the stretch. DEALS to Piazza. Low and outside, IT GETS AWAY! ONTO THE SCREEN!

MORA SCORES! THE METS WIN IT! THE METS WIN IT!

Mora is MOBBED by his teammates as he crosses home plate! Brad Clontz BOUNCED the first pitch up onto the SCREEN! Melvin Mora scores the winning RUN! The Mets win in game number one-hundred sixty-TWO, and the Mets will play again in Nineteen Ninety-NINE!

The Mets win it their final turn at bat, they win it two to one on a WILD PITCH by BRAD CLONTZ, and they’re going crazy here at Shea!

All the Mets out on the field, exchanging HIGH-FIVES and hugs. The Mets have played a hundred and sixty-two GAMES, they now lead the Wild Card by a half-a-game, waiting on CINCINNATI, scheduled to play in Milwaukee, waiting for the raindrops to cease, and it may be a long night before we know where the Mets are going, Bob, but now we know they’re goin’ somewhere.

BOB MURPHY

They’re goin’ somewhere, no doubt about it. The Mets will stay here until they see what happens in Milwaukee. They claim they’re going to have a window to play that game out there, and if only Milwaukee can beat Cincinnati, the Mets can go to their homes tonight and get a good night’s sleep, and leave tomorrow for Phoenix, Arizona.

GARY COHEN

Another EXCRUCIATING game here at Shea Stadium. The Mets were turned ASIDE and turned ASIDE and turned ASIDE, and they finally win it in the ninth, on base hits by Mora and Alfonzo, and a wild pitch to plate the WINNING run, and the Mets win it in their final turn at bat, their ninety-SIXTH win of the year.

In the ninth inning, one run, two hits and two men left. The final score, here at Shea, on Fan Appreciation Day, the Mets two and the Pirates one. Back to talk about it in a moment on the WFAN Mets Radio Network.

15 comments to This Super Sunday Pittsburgh Lost

  • Thank you for this wonderful birthday present.

  • this was great. It’s always great to hear Bob Murphy’s voice again (even if it’s in my head while reading). And sometimes we forget just how good Gary Cohen was on the radio.

    I was at Shea that early October afternoon. It truly was bedlam at the end of the game.

  • Inside Pitcher

    Fan appreciation indeed!

    A great memory Greg :)

  • Dave

    I was at that game too, one of those times where the old place was rocking so hard you wondered if it was going to collapse.

  • I remember sitting in Row A of the mezzanine for that game. The temperature was well above normal for October 3 (near 80 degrees). I remember thinking that the Pirates hadn’t done their homework on the slow-footed Olerud when they intentionally walked him to get to Piazza. They could have gotten Olerud to ground into an inning-ending double play, but chose to take their chances on Piazza hitting into one.

    The interesting thing about Hansell is that he was traded away from the Mets with ’86 Met Bobby Ojeda to get Hubie Brooks. Brooks (another former Met) was acquired to replace Darryl Strawberry in right. When Brooks failed to do the job in right, the Mets acquired Bobby Bonilla for the 1992 season. When that failed, the Mets tried everyone and their mothers in right field (which is why Jeromy Burnitz’s 290 games in right field are the most by any rightfielder since Strawberry’s departure after the 1990 season). Therefore, the only good thing that came out of Strawberry’s departure was Hansell being on the mound that day on October 3.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Cory Humes, D.J. Short, On The Black, Emily Smith and others. Emily Smith said: This Super Sunday Pittsburgh Lost « Faith and Fear in Flushing: Craig Hansell, a well-traveled twenty-eight year… http://bit.ly/gDZDvF [...]

  • dak442

    Thank you for that! Wow, do I miss those guys – Piazza, Fonz, Olerud, Murph…

  • Will in Central NJ

    Greg, thanks for taking us back to times when it was nothing but fun to be a Mets fan. My family and I, plus three friends, were in Loge Box seats behind first base for that most memorable of games. Everyone was standing for the duration of the Amazins’ rally, and not being particularly tall, I lost sight of Piazza and the actual scoring of the run by Mora as the whole stadium exploded as soon as Bucs catcher Joe Oliver leaped up and tore off his mask. The eruption of delirium in packed old Shea washed over us all, and our chances at a playoff berth remained alive (pending the rain delay at the Brewers-Reds game). We had to sweep and we did, setting up, of course, the classic one-game play-in game at Cincinnati.

    The chuckle-inducing memory of that autumn afternoon included that of the Shea Stadium gate attendants running for their lives from the frenzied mob, abandoning their posts at the exits where they were supposed to hand out 18-inch mini-bats to all attendees of the game, which was Fan Appreciation Day. Some people got a mini-bat; some people got an unopened box of mini-bats under each arm; my wife, then-toddler son and I got nothing but a redemption coupon and generally warm memories of an Amazin’ October of 1999.

  • *swoon* as usual. It will forever be my number one game at Shea (though Johan on 9/27/08 gives it a run for its money). Thanks for this.