For baseball fans, there are few times of the year better than the MLB’s Opening Day. Hopes are high for fans of every team that their squad can hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy, and that’s especially true for the New York Mets.
The Mets have had some very, very rough seasons in recent memory, making just three playoff appearances since 2001. Despite this, every year Mets fans view an Opening Day win as a sign that the team could finally be headed in the winning direction.
Despite their regular season struggles, the Amazin’s have the best Opening Day record in the MLB at 39-20.
From Jacob DeGrom’s shut out of the Atlanta Braves last season to 2006’s 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals powered by a game-deciding homer by David Wright, the Mets have plenty of great day one wins in their history.
With all of their Opening Day wins, a few amazing opening day performances have fallen through the cracks.
Forgotten Mets Opening Day star: Collin Cowgill
In Terry Collins’ third season as the Mets’ manager, the roster was well armed with talent. R.A. Dickey was coming off of his Cy Young Award-winning season in 2012, and a strong infield of Wright, first baseman Ike Davis, and second basemen Daniel Murphy gave the Mets a formidable offense.
The hopes of a successful season were further fueled by a hot start in their opening game route of the San Diego Padres. The dominant final score of 11-2 was lead by new faces to the Queens, most notably 26-year old Collin Cowgill.
In December 2012, the Mets acquired Cowgill from the Arizona Diamondbacks for first baseman Jefry Marte. Cowgill earned himself a starting spot in Center Field following a strong Spring Training, batting leadoff on Opening Day.
Up 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Cowgill emptied the loaded bases to give New York an 11-2 lead and all but finish off the Padres.
Cowgill’s grand slam was the first of his career, as well as the first grand slam to be hit by a Met in their first game with the team. Immediately New York media latched onto Cowgill’s grand slam of a sign for things to come for the Mets.
Cowgill rapidly declined after his impressive opening performance, appearing in just 23 games, batting .180 with just two home runs. Cowgill’s first game with the team would quickly be recognized as his best, as he’d spend most of his remaining time with the organization playing AAA baseball before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels midseason.
The Mets on a whole disappointed in 2013 as well. After starting their season with a pair of blowout wins against the Padres, the team quickly fell off. The Amazin’s would finish third in the NL East at 74-88.
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What was once the headline of every New York sports paper is now just a flash in the pan of the growing history of the New York Mets. Nonetheless, long-term fans will forever remember Cowgill’s grand slam as one of the brightest moments in a dark era for baseball in Queens.