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The Happiest Recap: 100-102

Welcome to The Happiest Recap [1], a solid gold slate of New York Mets games culled from every schedule the Mets have ever played en route to this, their fiftieth year in baseball. We’ve created a dream season that includes the “best” 100th game in any Mets season, the “best” 101st game in any Mets season, the “best” 102nd game in any Mets season…and we keep going from there until we have a completed schedule worthy of Bob Murphy coming back with the Happy Recap after this word from our sponsor on the WFAN Mets Radio Network.

GAME 100: July 28, 1993 [2] — METS 5 Marlins 4
(Mets All-Time Game 100 Record: 24-25; Mets 1993 Record: 35-65)

Nothing lasts forever, and there’s an individual who will drink to that…though you couldn’t have blamed Anthony Young had he started drinking long before it was confirmed eternity isn’t always what it appears to be.

Young — or AY, as he came to be known — was considered a leading pitching prospect in the Mets organization when he was called up to the majors in August 1991. He started eight games and won two of them. Pitching in a rotation alongside David Cone, Bret Saberhagen, Sid Fernandez and Dwight Gooden, AY started 1992 brilliantly, throwing a complete game six-hitter against the Cardinals the first week of the season. Used in relief later that April, he raised his record to 2-0 with three-and-a-third solid innings of work.

That would end AY’s familiarity with W’s for a mighty long time.

It’s not as if Anthony Young did not contribute to the 1992 Mets. When injury sidelined John Franco all of July and then for the last six weeks of the season, AY filled in admirably as closer, notching 15 saves to tie for the team lead. Thing is, Young was available to pick up for Franco because he had pitched his way out of the rotation. By the time Jeff Torborg had seen enough of him in that role, AY was 2-7. And come September, Anthony’s save magic began to turn sporadic. He wasn’t only blowing his saves, but he was turning them into losses…his own losses as well as the team’s. In his final outing of the season, at Veterans Stadium, AY came on in the ninth to protect a 3-2 lead and, within four batters, the Mets were trailing 5-3, the eventual final score.

That the loss came in relief didn’t keep it from being a loss. That two of the runs scored were unearned didn’t keep them being scored. That Young seemed to attract bad luck to his cause was becoming a very disturbing fact of Met life. AY finished 1992 with a record of 2 wins and 14 losses — the last 14 of them in a row.

And the worst was yet to come.

1993 dawned. The sun failed to shine on any Mets. Anthony Young lived in a state of perpetual solar eclipse. As the Mets buried themselves under an avalanche of indifference and ineptitude, Young evolved into their most sympathetic character, but far from its most successful (and it wouldn’t have taken much to have exceeded any and all 1993 Mets). His first appearance became his 15th consecutive loss. He pitched in nothing but Met losses for almost two months, during which time Torborg was fired and a couple more decisions fell on Anthony’s head. AY was on a personal 18-game losing streak when new skipper Dallas Green got him an inning and a five-run lead. AY didn’t blow it.

If that was the moral equivalent of a roll, Young didn’t remain on it for very long. Having matched Roger Craig’s 18 consecutive losses from 1963, AY took aim at another early Met’s uninterrupted flow of futility, one whose streak seeped into multiple seasons the way Young’s did.

In 1962, Craig Anderson was humming along with a 3-1 record when he made the mistake of not retiring. Anderson went 0-16 the rest of 1962, returned from Triple-A Buffalo in September 1963 to lose two more and just about capped his Met career by taking another loss in May 1964. That gave him a 19-game losing streak across three seasons that Anderson never got to end. His last appearance came in the third inning of the Mets-Giants 1964 Memorial Day doubleheader nightcap, the one that would plow forth for 23 innings (the Mets lost it, but Anderson was far removed from the decision).

Roger Craig. Craig Anderson. There were Craigs from the mustiest past the Mets could muster. Wherever the Craigs stuck their names — first, last — they had an impossible time abutting them next to a W. Their marks seemed to fit everything you’d ever heard about 1962 and 1963 to a tee, let alone an L. For Mets fans who never saw them pitch, their burden seemed unimaginable.

Then those Mets fans were introduced to Anthony Young and they got the picture. In the time it took to get reacquainted with those early ’60s sufferers, a new, unwanted chapter was added to the annals of Met unsuccess.

On May 28, 1993, AY entered a 2-2 game in the tenth at Cincinnati, was undermined by a Howard Johnson error and a bunt single and…suddenly it was Reds 5 Mets 2. Anthony Young lost his 19th in a row, surpassing Roger Craig and matching Craig Anderson (to say nothing of his own uniform number, though after losing that many, the 27-year-old righty had to be feeling like a very OLD 19).

The bullpen was proving not to be AY’s bailiwick, so Green returned him to the starting rotation at the beginning of June (the Mets were 17-31, so what the hell?). Young left for a pinch-hitter in the sixth at Wrigley Field, holding a 1-0 lead. Mikes Draper and Maddux promptly blew it for him. Another Mets loss, but an ND for AY. Progress? If it was, it was fleeting.

On June 8, 1993, with his ERA a quite respectable 3.21, Anthony Young tried starting again. He didn’t pitch terribly, which is not the same as pitching well, but four runs in six innings (three earned) weren’t enough to prevent AY from taking the loss in another game versus the Cubs, this one at Shea. That made it 20 in a row, putting Craig Anderson in his cracked rearview.

Green kept starting Young. Young kept pitching not necessarily awful baseball, but the Mets kept finding ways to lose when he pitched, and Young kept finding ways to be on the mound when the other team took the lead they’d never surrender.

On June 27, 1993, AY was moving on from expansion Mets to Boston Braves on his ladder of downward mobility. Cliff Curtis had lost a worst-ever 23 consecutive decisions for the Braves of 1910-1911, teams so bad they went under the names “Doves” and “Rustlers,” perhaps in the hope nobody would be able to determine their whereabouts. Young, however, bumped into Curtis. He had lost 23 for the 1992-1993 Mets. If there was ever a time to get off the not-too-merry-go-round, this start at Shea was it.

The Mets scored two runs for Young in the first. He didn’t give up a hit for three innings. And then…a walk, a single, a ground ball double play which proved illusory when three successive hits produced three Redbird runs. Young pitched seven innings that Sunday. He gave up five runs. It wasn’t a quality start, but it didn’t seem bad enough to merit immortal infamy.

But it did. The Cardinals won, 5-3. Joe Magrane improved his record to 7-6. Anthony Young took the loss to fall to 0-10 on the year, and 0-24 since his last win.

Cliff Curtis was off the hook. AY was now the biggest loser.

And it just kept going. Young trailed 3-1 after five innings in his next start. The rains came and, like Anthony’s streak, wouldn’t go away. Young was saddled with his 25th straight loss, though credited with a complete game for his considerable troubles. In his start after that, Young kept the clouds at bay for seven innings. He gave up no runs and only a leadoff single to the San Diego Padres. Problem was Andy Benes gave up no runs to the Mets, and only one hit. Something had to give, and, unsurprisingly, it was AY’s luck. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Kevin Higgins singled and Archi Cianfrocco homered to put Anthony behind 2-0…the score by which he absorbed his 26th consecutive loss.

Kevin Higgins. Archi Cianfrocco. The Mets’ lineup. It truly didn’t matter who attempted to get in the way of Anthony Young and a win. Sooner or later, somebody would.

After throwing his best start of the year, Young was removed from the rotation. Returned to relief, the Mets began to win when he pitched, but never at the moment that would have gotten AY a win. On July 22, he could sate himself with a two-inning save at Dodger Stadium, his first of 1993. But lest he grow too comfortable acquainting himself with something approximating victory, he walked Dave Hansen with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth two days later to give L.A. a 5-4 win, and to stick himself with his 27th consecutive loss.

There’s really nowhere to go but up in the Anthony Young story at this point, but that was pretty apparent back when he was on his fifth, tenth, twelfth, seventeenth loss in a row. All Anthony Young could do was detect the route down. If there was a hole, he would dig it for himself. And then he’d cover it with dirt so nobody bearing a win could discover him.

More of the same awaited him on a Wednesday night in Flushing, July 28. The Mets were playing the expansion Marlins: not a particularly good expansion team, but eight games better than the Mets coming in to the evening. The Mets were seventh in a seven-team division, the only year the N.L. East contained such an unwieldy number. Seventh place was long accepted as the fate of the 1993 Mets by late July. None of the 24,377 souls sweating it out at Shea could have been particularly concerned anymore with the indignity attached to finishing seventh. What they wanted, should the pitcher on their minds all summer get a chance to make it happen, was to see 27 not grow into 28.

Fat chance.

On July 28, 1993, Anthony Young entered a 3-3 game in the top of the ninth. He surrendered a single to Benito Santiago. Todd Hundley couldn’t handle the sacrifice bunt laid down by Darrell Whitmore (E-2). Walt Weiss reached on his own bunt. Whaddaya know? The bases are loaded and nobody is out.

Where had everybody seen this movie 27 times before?

In a season when Met sequels got worse and worse, a plot twist revealed itself. Pinch-hitter Rich Renteria grounded to third and Bobby Bonilla started a 5-2-3 double play. The lead run was cut down at home. Marlins remained on second and third, but one more out would extricate Young from another disaster flick.

But this was 1993. This was a 162-game disaster flick [3]. The next batter was ex-Met Chuck Carr, a speedy fellow whose mouth was known to motor as fast as his legs. He, like Whitmore and Weiss before him, bunted. And, like Whitmore and Weiss before him, Carr reached base…and while he did, Whitmore scored to put Florida ahead, 4-3.

The pitcher of record on the losing side? Even after he struck out Bret Barberie to end the top of the ninth? That would be the same guy it always was.

Anthony Young’s only hope of avoiding a 28th consecutive setback was a Met rally, and it would have to come against All-Star closer Bryan Harvey. The Marlins would win but 64 games in 1993, yet Harvey would earn 45 saves. He had already racked up 29 of them.

Plus, these were the 1993 Mets, a team that had not long before lost 45 of 58 games, a team that was inexorably en route to losing more games in a single season than any Mets team since 1965 — and doing all that while throwing a six-month tantrum [4] that crested the previous weekend in Los Angeles. That was when Vince Coleman was charged with tossing a firecracker “significantly more powerful than a cherry bomb” out of Eric Davis’s car in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and injuring a two-year-old girl, among others. It was only the most glaring episode in a campaign whose standings may have been reminiscent of the Stengel-era Mets, but otherwise definitively delineated the “lovable” from the “losers”.

Still, when they weren’t being snippy or surly or downright dangerous toward the outside world, these Mets professed a genuine desire to pull their one truly pitiable teammate out of his historic hole. Wouldn’t it be great, they seemed to ask after every Young loss, if we could score a couple of runs for AY?

It would be. But what were the odds they’d do that? Or do it twice here in the bottom of the ninth? If you were a Mets fan, all you could do was rub your 28th rabbit’s foot raw and hope for the best for the pitcher who wasn’t great, but surely wasn’t this bad.

Jeff McKnight pinch-hit for Tim Bogar to lead off the bottom of the ninth and singled off Harvey. Dave Gallagher proved the Mets could bunt, too, and moved McKnight to second. Ryan Thompson was the next hitter and he cleverly lofted a pop fly into No Fish Land somewhere between first base and right field. It fell among three would-be fielders and brought home McKnight with the tying run. That released Young from his usual hook.

But could the Mets do more than that for their beleaguered teammate? You wouldn’t want to trust your fate to this 1993 bunch, but they’re all Young had, so he did.

A Joe Orsulak flyout is what AY got for investing his trust in them, but that made it only two out. The Mets’ next batter was one of the all-time greats…or was before he became a Met. In any event, Eddie Murray was Eddie Murray and just maybe he could be the key that unlocked Young from his cell of his misery and his seeming life sentence of endless defeat.

It took only one pitch from Harvey. Murray lashed it on a line to right field. Thompson ran…

…and ran…

…and ran…

…and Thompson scored.

The Mets won 5-4.

The winning pitcher was Anthony Young, he who lost 27 consecutive decisions but who would never lose a 28th. AY had just won his first game since either the flood caused Noah to visit Home Depot or April 19, 1992. It was hard to tell because it felt like forever. But it wasn’t. The longest losing streak any one pitcher had ever suffered through was over.

“It’s like winning the World Series,” Anthony said in the postgame jubilation.

Of course it wasn’t. It was nothing like winning the World Series. Teams that win the World Series aren’t elated to have drawn to within seven games of sixth place, improve their record to thirty games below .500 or boost one of their pitchers to 1-27 in his last 28 decisions. But forgive Anthony Young his exuberant misjudgments. He had no relevant experience where World Series were concerned. He was a 1993 Met.

It wasn’t like winning the World Series. It was like winning the one game that you never thought Anthony Young would win.

Which, unto itself, was plenty good.

ALSO QUITE HAPPY: On July 28, 1962 [5], two of the veterans with which George Weiss was so intent on stocking the baby Mets showed they could still play a little bit. Thirty-nine year-old Gene Woodling stroked a two-run pinch-homer in the fifth inning at Sportsman’s Park to complete a four-run rally that brought the Mets from a 5-3 deficit to a 7-5 lead over the Cardinals. That Saturday’s eventual 9-8 win would be secured via the contributions of another graybeard, 35-year-old Richie Ashburn, who went 4-for-5 on the day and, doing his best Maury Wills impression, swiped two bases.

Though Ashburn, like Woodling, was on his figurative last legs, playing his final big league season, he was going out with as much of a bang as any 1962 Met could detonate. Two days after playing a big role in a rare Mets win, Whitey would return to one of his old stomping grounds, Wrigley Field, to participate in that summer’s second All-Star Game [6] as the Mets’ lone representative. The former Cub and Phillie (mostly Phillie) singled and scored…and, as was the case so often in 1962, Ashburn’s team lost.

When league action resumed, Richie didn’t slow down, finishing the Mets’ inaugural season as their leading hitter, sporting a nifty .306 average. Before Ashburn exited New York, he was honored by Met beat writers as the team’s first MVP. That is to say he was considered the most valuable member of the worst team ever. His prize was a boat that the Nebraskan docked in New Jersey.

It sank.

GAME 101: July 29, 1988 [7] — METS 1 Pirates 0
(Mets All-Time Game 101 Record: 19-30; Mets 1988 Record: 61-40)

It was the showdown the Mets weren’t necessarily expecting when the season began, but when it came, they were ready for it.

Their archrival of the moment wasn’t the Cardinals, who got on their nerves twice in the three previous years by edging them out in hotly contested pennant races. Instead, it was a resurgent pack of Pirates, absent from the upper echelon of the standings for a half-decade and not directly in the Mets’ path to first place in a decade-and-a-half.

Pittsburgh was once the longstanding class of the National League East, winning division titles five of the first seven seasons there were division titles (while the Mets took the other two). They remained a force through the late ’70s and didn’t entirely drop off the contending map until the Mets re-established their own credentials. But come 1984, they fell with a thud that echoed around the basement of the N.L. East. The Pirates were perennial cellar-dwellers in the mid-1980s, almost as bad as they’d been when Branch Rickey was telling an underpaid Ralph Kiner, circa 1952, that the Bucs finished last with him, they could finish last without him.

The Pirates ceased finishing last in 1987 despite spending most of a fourth consecutive season there. The Mets received a sneak preview of the trouble Pittsburgh might cause them when they Bucs beat ’em three of six in September, a year after the Mets took 17 of 18 from them between April and October. Yes, the Pirates were turning a corner. They had a second-year manager named Jim Leyland spurring a core of talented kids to new heights, most notably 24-year-old third baseman Bobby Bonilla and 22-year-old left fielder Barry Bonds. Their sizzling September not only threw the Mets off course [8] in their quest to catch the Cardinals, it pulled the Pirates out of last and into fourth.

When 1988 rolled around, the Pirates saw no reason they couldn’t aim higher…directly at the front-running Mets. The teams ran 1 and 2 in the East almost the entire summer leading up to a four-game series at Shea that could potentially change not just the standings, but the tone for the rest of the year. The Mets led Pittsburgh by 7½ games on July 4; seventeen days later, the margin was cut to a half-game. The Mets weren’t scoring much in July and the Pirates simply weren’t going away. When their showdown approached, the combatants were separated by only two games.

Once the teams got down to the business of their Friday night opener, there was no daylight between them, thanks to a pair of lefties at the absolute top of their respective games. Grizzled Bobby Ojeda and the oxymoronically named John Smiley kept each other’s teammates stymied for seven innings. It was 0-0, with precious few baserunners on either side. Ojeda gave up only three hits heading into the eighth. Smiley, a baby-faced assassin of 23, allowed only a second-inning single to Kevin McReynolds. The Pirates would not let the Mets out of their sights.

But the Mets didn’t particularly care for being tailed. Ojeda kept firing from his arsenal of dead-fish bullets, overcoming a Dave Magadan error that opened the eighth and retiring the next three Pirates he faced, the last of them Bonds, who flied to Tim Teufel. Then it was Smiley’s turn to extend the suspense for the 49,584 on hand. He got Howard Johnson to foul out to his catcher, Mike LaValliere, and perhaps saw light at the end of the inning’s tunnel. His next batter was eighth-place hitter Kevin Elster. Get Elster — he of the struggling sub-.220 average — then you have the pitcher’s spot.

Smiley, however, didn’t get Elster. Quite the opposite, actually. The rookie shortstop was all over Smiley’s changeup and belted the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a 1-0 Met lead. Given an edge, Ojeda was sent to the plate and he singled. Smiley immediately returned to his grimly efficient self, flying out Mookie Wilson and grounding out Teufel, but Elster’s home run had done maximum damage to the Bucs. It not only put them behind, but it kept Ojeda in the game.

The ninth inning brought the Pirates’ two-, three- and four-hitters to the plate. Among them, Jose Lind, Andy Van Slyke and Bonilla saw all of seven pitches, which became three quick outs to end a 2:07 game that couldn’t have lasted much longer lest everyone in attendance be choked by the prevailing tension. Ojeda’s and Smiley’s particular type of scintillating duel — in which each man threw a complete game while allowing no more than three hits — became only the second 1-0 win in Mets history to meet such stringent standards. The first time it occurred was in 1965, when Al Jackson, on a two-hitter, defeated Claude Osteen, who lost on a three-hitter after Billy Cowan (batting in the .170s) homered in the top of the ninth at Los Angeles.

As for the 1988 race, this was just one game and the lead was no more than three games for now, but the Mets defended the castle as effectively as could be imagined considering how overwhelmingly Smiley smothered their offense most of the night. The youngster was so brilliant for so long…and then one mistake got him.

“It seemed,” Smiley admitted, “like you knew it was coming.”

ALSO QUITE HAPPY: On July 29, 2004 [9], Eric Valent made an eclectic list that much more unusual when he tripled in the seventh inning of the Mets’ 10-1 win at Montreal. When the utilityman touched third base after earlier singling, doubling and homering, he became the eighth Met ever to cycle, joining Jim Hickman, Tommie Agee, Mike Phillips, Keith Hernandez, Alex Ochoa and John Olerud in the exclusive club. Whether Valent goes down as the most obscure Met to cycle is open to debate. He did play fewer games as a Met than any of his cyclemates and one would be hard-pressed to remember anything about him besides that one impressive feat.

But what a thing to be remembered for.

Valent made certain he was going to get remembered, too, or figuratively die trying. Eric sent a ball deep into the right field corner of Olympic Stadium off righty Roy Corcoran, and anything third base coach Matt Galante may or may not have signaled was going to be for naught. “I just kept going when I hit it,” Valent said. He was rewarded for his determination. “When I hit the ball in the corner like that, I knew I was going to third. There aren’t a lot of guys who can say they hit for the cycle, no matter how long they play.”

Eric’s major league career would be over within ten months of that Thursday afternoon in Montreal, but he can still say he hit for the cycle. Not a lot of guys can.

GAME 102: July 24, 2008 [10] — METS 3 Phillies 1
(Mets All-Time Game 102 Record: 24-25; Mets 2008 Record: 55-47)

First place hadn’t been so blatantly on the line for the Mets and an on-site opponent in quite so literal a fashion in 23 years before this series with the Phillies commenced. The two teams — rivals in earnest for the first time despite brushing up against one another geographically since 1962 — were tied for the top spot in the N.L. East when Philadelphia traveled to New York for a three-game set. Two nights in, after each team won one and lost one, they were tied again.

This, then, would be the rubber game that would decide who could claim sole possession of first for…well, for as long as whoever grabbed it could keep hold of it. But aside from a one-game lead with sixty to play, winning the finale would serve as a statement of sorts — a preamble for the rest of what figured to be a tight two-team race the rest of the way.

As much baseball was left to play in 2008, the Mets and Phillies competed as if there would be no tomorrow.

Both teams cleared their throats cautiously this Thursday afternoon at Shea. Certainly their bats were whisper-quiet. Ageless Jamie Moyer (technically 45) was just about untouchable, going seven innings and giving up only a run and two hits. His opposite number, however, was not to be outpitched. Oliver Perez was stupendous: 7⅔ innings, just six hits, one walk and one run (a Jayson Werth homer) and twelve strikeouts. Ollie marked up Utley and Howard thrice apiece on Shea’s Azek K board.

It was 1-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth when one of the truly bit players in this drama moved upstage. Third-string catcher Robinson Cancel — appearing in his first major league season since 1999 — pinch-hit and singled off J.C. Romero. Jose Reyes, who could probably lap Cancel around the bases twice, was called on to bunt his lead-footed teammate to second. Questionable strategy from the mind of Jerry Manuel? Maybe, but it worked as intended and Cancel advanced ninety feet. Romero drew a soft liner out of Endy Chavez for the second out, then walked David Wright intentionally. It would all come down to lefty pitcher Romero versus lefty swinger Carlos Delgado.

Very hot lefty swinger Delgado, it bears noting. Starting with a lights-out performance at Yankee Stadium [11] a few weeks earlier, Delgado was en fuego, driving in 24 runs in 24 games, posting a staggering 1.203 OPS in the process. If anyone was likely to get Delgado out in a big, late-inning situation, however, it was Romero. In eighteen at-bats dating to 2000, when Romero was a Twin and Delgado a Blue Jay, Carlos had collected only two hits.

In this battle of battle-tested lefties, it was Romero who got left out. Delgado’s second-half RBI storm rained down on this hot, sunny Queens day, with a thunderbolt of a double into the left field corner. Cancel scored. Wright scored, exulting in such a fashion that he resembled the Captain Morgan mascot [12] as he made his way to the dugout. Carlos, on the other hand, did his best Robinson Cancel impression and was cut down at third trying to take the extra base on the throw home.

Billy Wagner was called on to attempt to close out the Phillies and retake first place for the Mets. After a quick pair of outs, Chris Coste reached him for a single. Charlie Manuel sent up Jimmy Rollins as a pinch-hitter. The All-Star shortstop and Shea bête noire was held out of the starting lineup after reporting late to the ballpark. Jimmy claimed he had gotten caught in traffic, but anyone notorious [13] for proclaiming he played for the “team to beat” should know how to beat New York City traffic. With two out in the ninth, Rollins must have been worried about rush hour on the Grand Central, because he swung at Wagner’s first offering. He grounded it to Wright at third, who forced Coste at second and, with a 3-1 victory sealed on Wagner’s final Shea Stadium save, the Mets were in first.

ALSO QUITE HAPPY: On July 25, 1978 [14], Shea Stadium’s diehards forgot who they hated more than any single visiting player and gave him a standing ovation nobody could have possibly envisioned five Octobers earlier. Pete Rose was Public Enemy No. 1 in Flushing dating back to the day he slid a little too hard into Buddy Harrelson in the 1973 NLCS. A steady stream of flying debris greeted him when he took his position in left field after that brawl for the ages concluded. The venom might have faded over time, but the thought that Rose would someday be vociferously cheered at Shea was absurd.

Then came the 1978 hitting streak that captured much of America’s attention. Charlie Hustle topped thirty games and kept going. Joe DiMaggio’s standard of 56 was off in the distance, but the modern National League record was clearly in sight, and it lay straight ahead at Shea Stadium. Rose came to New York having hit in 36 games in a row; the mark at which he was aiming (for the time being) was 37, set by Boston Brave Tommy Holmes in 1945.

And wouldn’t you know that Tommy Holmes, generations later, was an employee of the Mets, working in their community relations department? Thus, Holmes was on hand the Monday night Rose tied him at 37 (as Mets fans stood and applauded their archvillain for three minutes). The old Brave outfielder and native of Brooklyn was there on Tuesday night, too, as Pete attempted to oust Tommy from the record book.

Which he did, in the third inning of a scoreless game against Craig Swan. Rose, improbably, was feted lavishly by a crowd comprised of many of the same folks who no doubt called for his head in the not altogether distant past. But 1973’s evildoer knew how to win over a hostile throng. Sweetly, Rose shared his big moment with Holmes. Both men stood at first base and basked in the appreciation of 38,000-plus history-minded New Yorkers who normally would have no use for any Red not named Tom Seaver.

When the impromptu ceremony ended, Rose went back to collecting base hits. He got two more off of Swan, but that was OK, because his teammates registered only four hits among them, while the Mets did their best to overshadow their unusually celebrated visitor by pounding out a dozen safeties. That provided plenty of support for Swannie, who got over his incidental place in history and went nine to beat Cincinnati, 9-2.