On December 10, 1982, the New York Mets made a trade with the Houston Astros. Danny Heep, a lifetime .246/.314/.344 hitter with only 4 home runs and 165 games played under his belt in parts of four seasons came to the Mets. Headed the other way was a pitcher named Mike Scott.
Scott had been with the Mets for parts of four seasons, too. In that time, he managed to go 14-27 with a 4.64 ERA. Believing they need Heep’s role-player bat more than Scott’s presence in the rotation, the Mets made what would be one of the worst deals in team history.
Scott would go on to have a successful career in Houston with 110 wins and a 3.30 ERA in parts of nine seasons. Heep was used for mostly pinch-hitting or spot starts. In 1986, he would have the chance to become the first DH in Mets history when New York had the last laugh in the postseason.
The one-sided Mets trade with the Astros still ended well for Danny Heep
The Mets and Astros had no idea at the time of the trade that they would face each other in the 1986 NLCS. These two brother-franchises, both beginning in 1962, would put together one of the most memorable playoff series in either’s history. It’s probably a little more memorable for New Yorkers because of how it all ended.
Scott was the star of the show and the series MVP despite his team losing. He dominated the Mets in his two starts, completing both games and surrendering only a single earned run.
It wasn’t enough. Houston lost the other four games the two teams played. The Mets were World Series-bound and for the first time in club history, in need of a DH.
The DH began after the 1969 World Series when the Mets last faced an American League club. They didn’t have to think about who would get hacks and get to keep his glove at home. In Game 3 at Fenway Park in Boston, the lineup card had Heep batting seventh and having no other responsibilities other than to hit.
The Mets went nuts in the first inning of the game. They would score four runs against Oil Can Boyd. Heep picked up his only hit of the World Series when he drove in two with a single. The Mets could now cross off “having a DH” from their bucket list.
It was understandable why Davey Johnson went with Heep as the DH. He had a good regular season and was especially good as a pinch-hitter. Heep slashed .300/.382/.367 in 34 plate appearances coming off the bench.
The Heep for Scott trade isn’t a very good one no matter how much you spin it. For at least one year, it worked out in the Mets’ favor even if they had to go head-to-head against the year’s Cy Young winner with their baseball life on the line.