The Zionist Conspiracy
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Memories of Shea - Jacket Day
The short Sunday school day was almost over when my father knocked on Rabbi Wald's door. After a conference lasting just a few seconds, I was let out of my second grade class.
Down the block was a car taking me, my father and my brother to my first baseball game.
It was June 15, 1980. Jacket Day at Shea Stadium.
The Mets had been terrible for three years, but they had been playing very good baseball over the past couple of weeks, and, if I recall correctly, would be .500 with a win.
And the night before was the greatest Mets game I had ever seen.
After shabbos, we'd turned on Channel 9. The Mets were losing 6-2 in the 9th inning.
With two outs in the 9th, the Mets loaded the bases for Claudell Washington, who lined a two-run single to make it 6-4. That brought up Steve Henderson. With the count 0 and 2, Henderson hit a monstrous homer over the right field wall. It was pandemonium at Shea. The crowd wouldn't leave until Henderson came back from the clubhouse to give a curtain call.
But that was on TV, and alas, Jacket Day at Shea couldn't match that. We had great field box seats right by 3rd base, and I did get my Mets jacket, which I wore every night that summer in the bungalow colony. But the Mets were shut out 3-0 by Bob Knepper, and I was buying a soda when Darrell Evans hit a two-run homer in the 4th.
There were no 9th inning heroics, and this game started a typical Mets tailspin that landed them right back in last place - though ultimately their 67-95 record was good enough for 4th place, ahead of the even more dreadful Cubs.
The Mets would be terrible for exactly three more years, until the franchise altering heist of June 15, 1983.