I thought I would spice up this blog by listing my five favorite moments in baseball history. I ranked them, which was for the most part arbitrary.
5. Dave Winfield kills a bird with a baseball
According to Wikipedia:
On August 4, 1983, Winfield accidentally killed a seagull by throwing a ball at it while warming up before the fifth inning of a game at
In fairness to Dave, I have been to Toronto Exhibition Stadium (“The Mistake by the
Here is a picture of Dave Winfield and me as a child:
4. Nomar Garciaparra is named Nomar Garciaparra
Ok, so naming a child isn’t exactly a baseball moment, and apparently Nomar is just a nickname for Anthony Garciaparra, and even the validity of this claim has come under scrutiny, but I will make it nonetheless: Nomar’s father Ramon named his son Nomar because it is Ramon backwards.
Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra
and musician Josh Kolenik
Nomar’s stats have fallen off a bit as off late, probably because he is busy doing other things:
On October 8, 2005, Garciaparra and his uncle Victor were alerted to the screams of two women who had fallen into
3. Vince Coleman Throws a Firecracker at Children
In 1993, with Dodger Eric Davis behind the wheel, professional base stealer and Met Vince Coleman threw a lit M-80 at a group of fans while driving through Dodgers parking lot. Three fans were injured, including an eleven-year-old boy and two-year-old girl. Coleman claimed that he didn’t know throwing a firecracker at someone could result in injury. He was sentenced to 200 hours community service.
Three months earlier, Coleman was recklessly swinging a golf club in the Met’s clubhouse when he injured the arm of pitcher Dwight Gooden (see #1). This according to Wikipedia.
Vince also had an unfortunate mishap while playing for the Cardinals. During pregame warm-ups at Busch Stadium, the automated tarpaulin began to roll onto the field and rolled right ontoVince’s leg. He was trapped for 30 seconds, then freed and taken away on a stretcher. He would miss the NLCS and the World Series (Baseball Library).
2. Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich Swap Wives
In the spring of 1973, Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich decided to trade wives. They also traded houses, families, and dogs.
From left: Marilyn Peterson, Mike Kekich,
Susan Kekich, Fritz Peterson
The two had been best of friends for some time, and both families lived in
1. The 1986
I realize that a year with a team after it doesn’t necessarily make a moment, but the 1986 Mets season was so amazing that someone could write a book about it. Actually there are a number of books on the subject, the free parts of which I skimmed on Google Book Search and will quote from heavily. I can hardly summarize the whole season, so I’ll just provide some highlights:
After defeating the Astros in the NLCS, the Mets and wives/friends boarded an Ozark Airlines chartered flight back to
In his autobiography, Heat, Dwight Gooden recalls his most vivid image of the flight. “At one point the partying was so out of control, the lavatory door accidentally flew open and there was one of my teammates, his face in front of lines of cocaine,” he writes. “I wasn’t shocked that he was using, I was shocked that he was so high, he didn’t even realize the door was open.” (Pearlman)
(On another trip from
Later, the Ozark crew mistakenly served cake to the team and a food fight ensued. From Pearlman:
Meanwhile, the airplane was a disaster area. Upon landing, two or three wives had to be carried off the jet. Others weren’t quite sure of their whereabouts. Half the team exited wearing T-shirts and ties. Sisk wore one shoe. Fans who had waited hours at
The flight resulted in $7,500 in damages and a lifetime ban from Ozark Airlines. General manager Frank Cashen was furious, but the manager, Davey Johnson, laughed as he tore up the bill in front of the team.
Dwight Gooden (T) and Darryl Strawberry
Cocaine and alcohol were staples for Mets players in 1986, and their habits continued throughout their careers and beyond. MVP, future captain, and Seinfeld star Keith Hernandez described cocaine as “a demon in me,” and also claimed a “love affair” between baseball players and cocaine in the 1980s. The careers of Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry accounted for seven positive tests for cocaine. (The most memorable moment to me is when retired Darryl Strawberry went missing from a rehab center for four days, and his former coke buddy Dwight Gooden went on the search to find him.) In addition, Mets centerfielder Lenny Dykstra crashed his Mercedes into a tree after a bachelor party. He had BAC of .179, over twice the legal limit. (Lenny has since gone on to better things.) During a nationally televised game, pitcher Roger McDowell was filmed with his uniform on upside down – his pants over his head with his shoes on his hands.
Then there was pitcher Kevin Mitchell, who, in 1986, according to Gooden’s Heat, got into an argument with his live-in girlfriend and decapitated her cat.
I think it is safe to say that nearly all of the 1986 Mets engaged in heavy drug use, alcohol consumption, and sexual debauchery (except for Gary Carter because he was a herb). They could be considered the most dissolute team on record. Oh, and they won the World Series.