Mets debut Darryl Strawberry in our 1980 season simulation
By Tim Boyle
The virtual New York Mets open the 1980s with Darryl Strawberry making his debut.
The last time the virtual New York Mets began a new decade, there was a good feeling around the team. The club had winning momentum carrying into the 1970s and came away with a championship in 1971 after falling in the playoffs one year prior.
Things are a little different with the 1980 season. The team is still well behind in their rebuild. Although we non-digital people know brighter days are ahead, I think it’ll be another rough year for the virtual world.
It’s always good to respect a team’s history, so before we push it to the 1980s, let’s recap what happened so far:
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
As expected, the Mets are predicted to go 68-94 this year. It’s four games better than they actually finished in 1979 yet far from what we would like to see. It has been almost a decade since they made the playoffs.
The Mets suffered through a painful spring training which saw them go 10-20. This was bad enough to tie with the St. Louis Cardinals for last place in the National League.
Even if these games don’t count and were played merely to get everyone’s virtual body in shape, it’s a good indicator of how the team may actually perform in the regular season. I can’t remember any other simulated year thus far where there was an extreme difference between spring standing and the regular season.
Regular Season Results
There weren’t many surprises in the first half for the Mets. At its conclusion, the Mets were 29-49. This put them last place in the National League and 19 games out of a playoff spot.
One of the early-season surprises is Elliott Maddox. He carried a .313 batting average with him into the break. Unfortunately, this is about the height of the excellence we’ve seen.
Darryl Strawberry is with the club, though. We can blame OOTP’s lack of historical minor league development as to why he’s already with the big league club. But hey, if it means he’s at his peak earlier, why complain?
The season would go on to finish with the Mets sitting at 65-97. Only the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs had a worse year in the National League.
The lone representative at the 1980 All-Star Game for the Mets was Ray Burris. At 6-9 with a 2.65 ERA at the break, his numbers hardly jumped out as All-Star worthy. It was the first time Burris received this honor so let’s be happy for him.
Burris did manage to work himself into the second inning of the game, helping Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Boggs get out of a jam. He did only manage to throw a pair of pitches, allowing a hit on the first and recording an inning-ending out on the other.
This concludes the honors for present Mets. I did happen to notice Jon Matlack threw a no-hitter for the Texas Rangers. Fortunately, he did pitch one for the Mets in 1972.
Notable Individual Statistics
Midseason acquisition Claudell Washington had an awesome partial campaign for the Mets. In 332 plate appearances, he slashed .360/.399/.575 while knocking a team-leading 14 home runs and driving in 52. It’s a shame the Mets couldn’t have him for the full year. He’s also set to depart as transactions in this simulation mimic real-life.
Pete Falcone ended up having a good season on the mound. He finished 13-7 with a 2.73 ERA. As for our lone All-Star Ray Burris, he went 10-16 with a 3.68 ERA.
Darryl Strawberry’s rookie campaign ultimately included a .252/.365/.465 slash line with 7 home runs and 21 RBI.
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In 1981, we’re going to get a shorter season due to labor issues between the players and owners. If it’s any consolation, the Mets probably won’t be very good and will save us a little bit of suffering.