The 1984 New York Mets have rejuvenated a franchise and their fanbase. After 6 straight losing seasons, manager Davey Johnson in his first year at the helm has the Mets 14 games over .500. Though a terrible stretch brings them from 4.5 games up in the division on July 27 to 7 games back going into play against the Expos today, the organization has clearly turned a corner and the Met fan couldn’t be more excited.
On the Shea hill for the Orange and Blue is Bruce Berenyi, the 29-year-old, 6’3″ right-hander from Truman State University in Missouri. Bruce was brought over near the June 15 trade deadline, a move that signaled to some fans the Mets were ready to “win NOW.” While he issues a 2-out walk to right fielder Roy Johnson, who steals 2nd, he strikes out 1st baseman Dan Driessen to escape the inning unscathed.
On the mound for the Expos is David Palmer, the 26-year-old, 6’1″ right-hander from Glen Falls, NY. He has the task of first facing 2nd baseman Wally Backman, who has finally gotten a chance in Davey’s regime. The pesky player takes a leadoff walk, and the Mets immediately have something going. He steals 2nd off the bat with center fielder Mookie Wilson up to the plate. Mook flies out to center, sending Backman over to 3rd. First baseman Keith Hernandez, who has made a huge impact since the year-and-a-half-old trade, grounds out to 2nd base. Bryan Little has no play at home, and the Mets score their first run without the need for a hit. Right fielder Darryl Strawberry then grounds out to 1st to end the quick but effective inning.
Other than a 2-on jam for Berenyi in the top of the 3rd, things stay quiet till the top of the 5th. Palmer and center fielder Tim Raines both reach on singles, moving over to 2nd and 3rd, respectively, on Little’s sac bunt. Johnson walks to load the bases, but the double play is now set up. Bruce gets the ground ball he wants, but it goes through Backman’s glove and into center field for the E4. Both Palmer and Raines score, giving the Expos a 2-1 lead. Berenyi limits the damage by getting the next two batters out, sending the Mets into the bottom half only down a run.
Though the Mets gets two hits in the frame, they fail to immediately respond to the deficit. In the bottom of the 6th, however, they get the job done. Mex leads off with a double, moving over to 3rd on Darryl’s right-side ground out. Manager Jim Fanning has had enough, and replaces Palmer with reliever Bob James. He does his job by striking out left fielder George Foster, but can’t get passed 3rd baseman Hubie Brooks, who singles to drive in Keith from 3rd. Shortstop Rafael Santana strikes out, but the game is now tied at 2.
Tom Gorman relieves Berenyi in the top of the 7th, adhering to the request to keep the Expos in their place. The Mets take control of the game in the bottom half, beginning with pinch-hitter Danny Heep‘s walk. Ron Hodges pinch hits for Tom Gorman and Jose Oquendo pinch runs for Heep. Hodges comes through with a single, sending Oquendo all the way to 3rd. Up next is Wally Backman, who would love nothing more than to make up for his error. With a flyball to center field, he gives the Mets a 3-2 lead. After a Mook strikeout, Gary Lucas relieves James and provides anything but. Hernandez doubles, scoring Hodges to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. Straw strikes out, but the damage has been done.
The Metsies win 5 of their final 7 for a 90-72 record. Though they finish the year 6.5 back of the Cubs, there is a lot of hope throughout the Metsian land. When General Manager Frank Cashen trades for catcher Gary Carter in December (who had been a pinch hitter in the 8th inning) both the team and their fans feel this is the move that will put them into the championship chatter come ’85.
The 1984 New York Mets.
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