[NOTE: WE HAVE OUR WINNERS. THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.]
The story in Central Texas is Mike Napoli coming through loud and clear. The story in St. Louis is Tony La Russa hearing static on the line while his players left everything else on base. But here in Metsopotamia, where we take every opportunity we can to be parochial, Game Five of the 2011 World Series offered juicy statistical tidbit.
The winning pitcher was a former Met. The losing pitcher was a former Met. That’s never happened in the same World Series game before.
So let’s hear it (assuming we’re not using the bullpen phone at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington) for Darren Oliver, whose scoreless eighth in relief of Alexi Ogando kept Monday night’s game tied long enough for his teammates to tally the two decisive runs in the bottom of the eighth…both of them charged to the Redbird reliever who started the inning, Octavio Dotel. Though Octavio was saddled with the loss after giving up a leadoff double to Michael Young and a one-out intentional walk to Nelson Cruz, at least he was supposed to be in the game. Not every Cardinal pitcher called on immediately thereafter could say the same thing.
And if he could, there’s no guarantee anyone in management could hear him.
The way most of this postseason has been piloted, “winning pitchers” and “losing pitchers” are almost beside the point. Derek Holland getting the win in Game Four was significant in terms of his contribution (though not so significant I had to hear him doing impressions in the middle of Game Five…oh, Fox, will you ever stop stepping on your own telecasts?). Relievers nabbing W’s and/or getting stuck with L’s — Dotel put on only one runner of his own volition and somebody surrendered Napoli’s winning/losing two-run double — are mostly box score niceties. Because baseball has refused to adapt my innovative advanced pitching statistic (a.k.a. Nice Job, Atta Boy, Way To Go), individual winners and losers in a team game still require designation at game’s end.
Darren Oliver, who’s been around so long he was a teammate of the man who presently owns the club for which he pitches, served one honorable term as a Met in 2006, sucking up six valuable innings in the midst of that season’s ill-fated NLCS. Octavio Dotel, who’s been around six years fewer than Oliver but pitched for four more franchises, also did his best to push his Mets team — the ’99ers — into a World Series. He and they didn’t quite get there, though boy was it fun watching them try.
Oliver became the eighth former Met to win a World Series game. Dotel became the thirteenth former Met to lose a World Series game. I could tell you who the others were, but then it struck me, parochially, that you should tell me. If you can, I will bestow on you a valuable prize.
Because we do look at things through a blue & orange prism around here, of course today’s date jumps out at us from the calendar. It is October 25, and you don’t need to be Mets maven Mark Simon to know what that means. Twenty-five years ago tonight…well, I’ll just let Mark remind you in detail what was going on in Flushing (and, for that matter, what yours truly was thinking). Of course this is Buckner Day in Metsopotamia. We could say it’s Mookie Day, too, but who’re we kidding? One pair of legs stands out in the most visceral retelling, and though Mookie’s were the fastest, they tend to come in second in terms of the legend (even if Mookie is a certifiable legend in his own right).
Given that this is the silver anniversary of the Game Six of all Game Sixes (and we’ve had a few Game Sixes), we have a most suitable remembrance gift to offer to FIVE of our diligent readers. A&E Home Entertainment, in association with MLB Productions, has given us copies of its newest, most valuable DVD release, Baseball’s Greatest Games: 1986 World Series Game 6. It’s the NBC broadcast with a twist: you can watch it as it aired, complete with Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola’s play-by-play, or, better yet (remember, we’re parochial), you can sync it to the audio from WHN that sensational Saturday Night/Sunday morning. Thus, you can watch the video while listening to Bob Murphy and Gary Thorne announce their hearts out.
I’ve watched/listened to the DVD that way, and with no disrespect toward Vin and Joe, that is totally the way to go. And this is totally the DVD to have, whether you buy it from A&E or, preferably, win it right here.
How to win? By answering a quiz about former Mets (that is, pitchers who already pitched for the New York Mets in their major league career) who have won and/or lost World Series games. For those who know their way around the indispensable Baseball-Reference site, the correct answers are in your grasp (and it’s not hard to find your way around B-R).
Submit your answers via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first FIVE entrants with ALL the correct answers will be awarded the DVD. If we don’t get five totally correct sets of answers, then we’ll use the highest scores and break ties based on who gets the most correct answers in earliest. Usually these contests are decided relatively quickly (we’ll announce when he have our winners), but in case this one isn’t, the deadline is Friday night, October 28, 11:59 PM EDT.
Read everything carefully, think before answering and good luck!
[NOTE: WE HAVE OUR WINNERS. THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.]
1) I’m the Original Met who became the first former Met to win a World Series game. Who am I?
2) I’m the Original Met who became the
second third former Met to lose a World Series game. Who am I?
3) I wasn’t an Original Met, but I was traded for one and wound up losing a World Series game the very same year that trade was made. Who am I?
4) I was a Met during three seasons when the Mets lost a combined 290 games, but don’t blame me: I lost only
one two FOUR* of them. I eventually hooked up with a world champion, but I lost a World Series game for them. Who am I?
5) I pitched for the 1969 Mets, but my first World Series decision — a loss — occurred in the 1970s. Who am I?
6) I lost two games in the same World Series when I was a former Met, yet I’m pretty sure even those Mets fans who rooted for me when I had been a Met didn’t mind. Who am I?
7) I’m a former Met who lost two games in the same World Series in New York, but I couldn’t say for sure how most Mets fans felt about it since most Mets fans probably weren’t too happy about anything during that World Series. Who am I?
8) I’m the only former Met to win a game and lose a game in the same World Series as a starter. Who am I?
9) I’m the only former Met to win a game in two different World Series. Who am I?
10) I’m the only former Met to lose a game in two different World Series. Who am I?
11) I was traded to the Mets for the pitcher who would become the only former Met to lose a game in two different World Series. But my luck was better: I won a World Series game as a former Met. Who am I?
12) I’m the former Met who nailed down a playoff spot for my team by throwing the final pitch of our clincher at Shea Stadium. More than a decade later, however, I lost a World Series game. Who am I?
13) I won the longest postseason game ever played at Shea Stadium, but more than a decade later, I lost a regulation World Series game. Who am I?
14) I’m the only former Met to lose a World Series game in the same postseason in which I had earlier pitched against the Mets. Who am I?
15) I’m the only former Met to win a World Series game who also threw the final pitch for the Mets in a different postseason. Who am I?
16) I’m the only lefty former Met pitcher to win a game and lose a game in the same World Series. Who am I?
17) I was once a teammate of a former Mets pitcher who had won his only World Series ring when he was a Met. During my tenure as a former Mets pitcher myself, I won a game that gave that same former Mets pitcher with whom I was once a teammate a pretty good chance to win another World Series ring. Who am I?
18) I’m the only former righty Met pitcher to win a game and lose a game in relief in the same World Series. Who am I?
*Apologies for twice muffing Question 4, for which I seem to have had a momentary lapse of reading comprehension. The pitcher in question lost four games across three consecutive seasons for the Mets: two in one year, one each in the next two years.