With no games being played, it’s a tough time for baseball sites. Baseball-Reference is asking people to share their newsletters while FanGraphs is asking people to become a member or up their membership level. The reasons for this are that readership at these major sites has dropped off significantly, creating a big loss of advertising revenue. Here at Mets360, we don’t have any revenue but we get paid in how many people read and comment on our stuff. And those numbers have dropped for us, too.

You would think that with many people stuck at home, that online sites wouldn’t be hurt too bad. You would be wrong. We’re committed to keeping the site going, helped along by the belief that we will have at least a partial season here in 2020. The challenge is to come up with storylines that make you want to come to the site and comment on a daily basis.

The offseason is typically the time to do history pieces and we’ve certainly run our share of those in the last month. But history pieces never do as well, on a readership basis, as articles on the current team. So, it’s a vicious cycle.

A Facebook friend of mine posted a question in a sports group and it got a surprising number of comments. As one who’s never been opposed to stealing a good idea, it occurred to me that question should be the theme to today’s article. The question was: What are the greatest individual performances you have witnessed in person?

My response was:

Seeing Pete Rose breaking the NL hit streak record
Watching Bobby Thigpen set the Save record
Witnessing John Valentin turning just the 10th unassisted triple play in MLB history

The most exciting play was seeing Billy Hatcher steal home in Fenway. Also saw Roger Clemens get put in the lineup and take a turn at bat, which he promptly delivered a hit. That was pretty exciting, too. Not mentioned in the original Facebook post but watching Pedro Martinez pitch on a regular basis in 1999-2000 was pretty special, too.

So, if you’re keeping score at home, you see there are five/six things listed and not one of them was by a Met. Part of that was having season tickets at Fenway and seeing some pretty good teams. And part of that was going to the majority of my Mets games in a period where they were, uh, terrible. My in-person list of Met stories are mostly on the sad side. Like watching them get one-hit by the Cardinals in 1978 or seeing the game where Dave Kingman tore ligaments in his thumb to derail his 1976 season or watching Sid Fernandez throw beachballs in Game 5 of the NLCS in 1988.

But let’s try to be positive. There was an early April game where Bruce Berenyi looked like an ace. There was a game in Atlanta where Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell hit back-to-back-to-back homers. And there was being there for the managerial debut of Joe Torre.

It’s funny how going to Shea was such a big deal yet it turns out that the things that hold the biggest memories for me were not the players nor the outcome for the most part but rather the people who went with me and the adventures we had.

There was my first game at age five with my brother Mike, being scared to death that when we were getting ready to cross the Verrazano that we would have to drive on the looping cables of that massive suspension bridge. There was the game with my brother Gary when he had a broken jaw which was wired shut and he spent the entire game trying to eat one peanut. At the end of the game he spit it out and hardly made a dent in the thing. There was the game with those two brothers and my sister Susan and we were sitting in front of a group that heckled Steve Garvey mercilessly all game. There was a night game with Dave and Allan where we just missed a ferry and had to wait an hour for the next one and spent the time talking to the homeless people sheltering there. And there was the doubleheader we went to where Dave’s car broke down on the BQE. And plenty more that you won’t be bored to tears with by me now.

Maybe it would be different if those 70s Mets teams I saw so much of won 90 games on a consistent basis. Perhaps then the memories would be about the players and the outcomes. Regardless, there are no regrets with how it’s all turned out. And there wouldn’t be this site without them.

31 comments on “What are the greatest MLB performances you witnessed in person?

  • Steve Metsfan

    Being there for Ubaldo Jimenez’s no-hitter and having him sign a ball from that game a few years later

    • Brian Joura

      Ubaldo sure seemed to fall apart quickly. Glad you got to see him when he was on top.

  • Chris F

    Sun, Sept 13, 2015 and Sat, Sept 26, 2015

    I’ve had the good fortune, like many here, to see a decent number of games live, but not that may truly awesome personal or team performances, but these two dates were fab, and within 2 weeks of each other.

    My wife had taken me to Atlanta for my birthday to see the Mets play Atl in the pennant stretch both Sat and Sun. The Mets had already won Thur and Friday, then had another win Saturday racking up 18 runs in 3 games, and set for a sweep in Atlanta. Sunday was less awesome, and I resigned myself to the loss in the 8th and even thought about getting a head start on the 3 hr drive home being behind 3 for the top of the 9th, with Tejada, Plawecki, and a pinch hitter due up — but my wife had gotten tickets right at the Mets on deck circle, so I wanted to enjoy every minute of these seats. Well Tejada and KP struck out and we were packing up to head out as Lagares came up to PH, and I was thinking 3/4 in ATL I take all day every day, no shame there. So Lagares comes up, with every expectation to K as he was so prone to, and absolutely smokes a mean line drive to the RF gap. Cam Maybin was playing CF and we had an incredible view of him diving to his left for what looked like a spectacular catch, but instead landed and put Lags on second. Amazing! Granny came up as lead off and proceeded to walk, putting runners on 1st and 2nd still with 2 outs. The next batter was Murph. At the time I hadn’t really connected Murph with the power run he was about to embark on in October, but perhaps I should have, because he absolutely crushed a 3 run HR to tie the game in the top 9th. the Mets would score 3 in the 10th and win the game and take the sweep. It was phenomenal.

    The other game on Sept 26th, was the game the Mets clinched the division title in Cincinnati. The night before I was on game chatter and the Mets won, so I was soliciting input whether I should drive up and take the chance on the Sat clinch. The decision was yes, so I scrambled for tickets but had to buy 2. It was awesome being there on a gray day. Harvey was on the hill for the Mets. Top of the first saw the Mets load the bases for Lucas Duda batting cleanup. He proceeded to launch an absolute laser beam HR in to the RF bullpen for a grand slam. Later in the game DWright hit a three run bomb, and of course we won the East. Super great team win.

    • Brian Joura

      Nothing better than beating the Braves in ATL!

      • Pal88

        At beautiful new Shea Stadium on Fathers Day in June 24, 1964.

        Jim Bunnings perfect game against the Mets. It was the first game of a doubleheader and the Phils won 6-0.

        Aside from the game itself, I recall asking my father if he minded if I missed Fathers Day dinner to go.. a friends Dad had an extra ticket..My Dad gave me the OK.

        • Brian Joura

          I’ve never seen a no-hitter at any level so a perfect game is a fantastic memory.

          I almost pitched a no-hitter in softball, though. But I walked about 100 hitters that day…

  • Eraff

    A less serious, but Joyful memory…late 90’s and my Bother Gave me some Great Yankee Tix at the Old Park. We arrived early enough to see BP.

    I watched Darryl Strawberry Put on a Personal HR Derby in The Old Yankee Stadium— Moon Shot after Moonshot. It wasn’t a Game, and it wasn’t “Prime Darryl”, but it was an absolutely Sensational and lasting Gift.

    • Brian Joura

      One of my favorite non-baseball memories came in garbage time in a game between UNC-NCSU. Michael Jordan and Spud Webb had a mini dunk competition in the closing moments. It was in a game but at that point the outcome was not in any doubt. So I know how you feel about Strawberry’s BP feat.

  • Bob P

    The first one that comes to mind for me was July 24, 1984. It was the first year in a long time that the Mets were contenders. It was a crazy back and forth game and Keith Hernandez had an RBI in 4 separate plate appearances. To add to it I caught a foul ball off the bat of Terry Pendleton of the Cardinals and the Mets pulled off a walk off win in 10.

    The strangest experience for me was July 13, 1977 when the NYC blackout hit. Imagine being 9 years old at a game with your parents and suddenly the lights went out. It took quite a while to drive home to Staten Island that night!

    • Brian Joura

      Nice to have a big memory of Keith!

  • David Klein

    Haven’t been to too many historical games I was at Matt Harvey’s bloody nose game where he flirted with a no hitter. I’ve been at more bad games than good – my dad got tickets to see Cone pitch in 92 and Cone was traded before that start so I think Wally Whitehurst made the start instead. I went to see deGrom pitch in 2017 but because the Mets thought the game was gonna be rained out they pushed him back a day and started Montero, yikes. I was at Piazza’s first game back in Shea as a Padre and that was incredibly memorable as the crowd was raucous and it was an incredible night.

  • John Fox

    I did see the opener of a 3 game series with the Cubs in July of 1969. Packed house for a weekday day game, Jerry Koosman vs. Ferguson Jenkins. Went with my brother, my father and my grandfather. A come from behind win. It was the game before the near perfect game pitched by Tom Seaver. It was the first time the Mets had ever been anywhere near contention, and it was considered a key win in that amazing season.

    • Mike W

      I have a few good memories, but nothing historical. Saw Tom Seaver lose a 1-0 game to the Giants. Saw Doc Gooden pitch a shutout in 84. Saw Dave Kingman hit an upper deck home run. Saw Rusty Staubs last home run. And with 2 people in Shea hours before game time, in the picnic section in left field, Junior Ortiz hit a batting practice home run two feet to the left of me directly to my friend.

      • Brian Joura

        I remember one game I was at where Kingman belted a homer and I was so excited because I had just punched a bunch of All-Star ballots for him. No idea what year that was or what team they played or even if they won or not.

        And it doesn’t get much better than a Gooden shutout!

    • Brian Joura

      Fergie Jenkins is like the one Cub I don’t despise. And Kooz, too!

  • Rob

    1983 Steve carton vs Tom seaver opening day. Watching Pete rose in his 40s dive head first into first to beat out a throw. Dont recall the year. But a game I wasn’t at that a great memory was piazza hitting that home run after 9/11
    On another note was at Mariano riveras debut start. My dad and I thought he was awful and wont make it.

  • JImO

    The best game I ever saw was in 1985 with Gooden pitching a home game mid-week. I was in the bleachers . Gooden was supremely dominant and you could hear the mitt pop on every pitch, even from where I was sitting. It was the quietest game I was ever at.

  • Metsense

    My first Met game, 8 years old, first game of a double header, June 17, 1962 at the Polo Grounds, Lou Brock of the Chicago Cubs hit a homerun into the bleachers over 450 feet away.
    My most memorably performance was Mookie Wilson’s grounder between Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6. A stadium literally shook!
    My recent memorable performance last April 3rd in Miami when deGrom threw 7 innings of shutout ball with 14 strikeouts and hit a homerun.

    • Brian Joura

      Shea definitely shook at times and I’m surprised it didn’t come down completely in Game 6. It was incredible watching on TV – can’t imagine what it would have been like to be watching with 50,000+ friends!

  • TexasGusCC

    The closest to historic may be Ron Darling’s division clinching win in 1988. Had tickets in the upper deck, like two rows from the top of the stadium, right behind the left field foul pole.

    Seeing Ben Agbayani hit a game winning HR in the 13th inning of a playoff game against the Giants. We were way down the right field line so the view of the ball sailing into the left field bleachers was easy to follow. It didn’t clinch anything, but it was the playoffs and gave the Mets the series lead.

    Most memorable: The Mets coming from 7 runs down against the Braves to take the lead with ten runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Piazza caps it off with a three run homer. It was actually a Boy Scout fundraiser so our entire Church community was there, like 40-50 people.

    Game with my dad: Tim Lollar hits two homeruns in the game, the second one right in front of us off the right field foul pole at the Loge level. My dad couldn’t believe he was the pitcher.

    The game that Shawn Estes pitched against Roger Clemens and in the fifth inning with no one on Estes wouldn’t throw at Clemens. In the stands we wanted Benitez in the game! LOL, savages! Never forgave Estes.

    Going to Game 4 of 2000 World Series and seeing that P.O.S. SS for the Yankees hit the first pitch against Bobby Jones over the bleachers just as I was settling in to watch the game next to a cop standing next to me.

    Maybe second to the Piazza HR in pure excitement of the moment was the game that John Starks dunked over Grant and Jordan in Game 5 against the Bulls, like in 1993, I think. It was “the dunk” but sitting in the blue seats behind that basket it looked real cool. We went nuts!

    • TexasGusCC

      P.S.: At the time I was coaching basketball so I was watching what was going on away from the ball. I never in my life personally saw a dirtier team than the Bulls. Every time they changed ends, the Bulls centers and forwards would elbow and hit Ewing as they were going down court.

    • Brian Joura

      I’d like to go to a Knicks playoff game. But it doesn’t seem to be possible here lately. Maybe I’ll have time to win the lottery in the interim and be able to afford playoff tickets…

      • TexasGusCC

        Back in 1993, that ticket cost me $150, as I remember, and it wasn’t even the finals. I was sitting in the nose bleeds, but the atmosphere was indescribable. To put it into context, the 2000 World Series ticket cost $110 and that was mezzanine right behind home plate.

  • TJ

    A little late to the post, nothing that big time, but great memories anyway…
    – was also lucky enough to be at the Pete Rose hit stream record game in the late 70s
    -saw a very young Doc dominate the Expos on a weeknight, sneaked into Loge blue seats for up close view of his stuff
    -saw Marlon Anderson’s in the ball park HR and Cliff Floyd’s extra inning walk off right after hitting a foul HR into the early 2000s

    • Brian Joura

      Wild to think we were at the same game!

  • Rob

    Games against Gooden and Fernando with Dodgers. Talk about pitchers duel. Both threw lighting and never ga e up.

    • Brian Joura

      Nice! Wish I could have seen Fernando at the top of his game.

  • Rob

    Lasorda through his arm out but Venezuela was a Latin clone of gooden

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