Mets Card of the Week: 1976 Topps Randy Tate

1976 TOPPS RANDY TATE

It can be hard to distinguish Randy Tate from the Bobbs and Todds and Webbs and Crams and all the other single-syllabled 1970s Mets’ pitchers of no particular report.

He has just one major league season to his name, during which he went 5-13 with a 4.45 ERA. He was back in Tidewater in ’76 when this card appeared, and never returned to the majors.

What sets Randy Tate apart is the night of August 4, 1975.

I was curled up on an upholstered chair next to a Zenith Stereophonic Hi-Fidelity Floor Console listening to the game leak out of crackly speakers that night. And Tate was dominant.

He was plowing through the Expos order out at Shea, and by the top of the 5th he had struck out 10 and allowed no hits. The Mets had not made any noise against Dan Warthen either, but that changed in the bottom of the 5th when they scored three runs.

Tate made it through the 6th and 7th in less dominant fashion, adding just one more strikeout to his total. But still he had not allowed a hit.

Would the first Mets’ no-hitter be thrown not by The Franchise but rather by a 22-year old kid who came into the night 4-9?

Jose Morales became Tate’s 12th strikeout victim leading off the 8th. But then Jim Lyttle broke the spell with a single. I hissed through my teeth in disgust.

But Tate still had the opportunity to add to the pantheon of Mets’ one-hitters, and when he followed up a walk to Pepe Mangual with a strikeout of Jim Dwyer, it appeared that he was back on track.

Then two men with past/future Mets’ ties derailed him quickly: Gary Carter (single, RBI) and Mike Jorgensen (three-run HR).

By the time the top of the 8th was complete, the no-hitter was gone, the one-hitter was gone, the shutout was gone, and the lead was gone. Expos 4, Mets 3. And that was the final score.

Tate walked out of Shea that night 4-10, but I looked past the record and saw the promise.

The promise turned out to be no more than this one unforgettable game, but sometimes that is more than enough…

2 comments for “Mets Card of the Week: 1976 Topps Randy Tate

  1. Brian Joura
    March 9, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Even their best pitcher from the late 70s was single-syllabled – Craig Swan.

  2. Phil Boyd
    March 10, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Randy was once distantly related to my family by marriage, so I appreciate the brief glimpse into his career.

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