When you think of some of the best pitching rotations of all time I feel that a case could be made that the ’86 Mets should be mentioned in the top five.When you look back at the names on those Jerseys, Gooden, Darling, Fernandez, Aguilera – and today’s number 32 Met of all time , Bobby Ojeda, It is hard to think of many starting rotations that could match up against them.
Robert ”Bobby” Ojeda was born in Los Angeles on born December 17, 1957. Bobby would sign with the Boston Red Sox after graduating The College of the Sequoiasas a undrafted free agent in 1978.
Ojeda was assigned to the Red Sox Single A team , the Elmira Pioneers, where he didn’t pitch that well. That next season he was promoted to Boston’s minor league team, the Winter Haven Red Sox in the Florida State League. Bobby showed marked improvement, going 15-7 in 29 starts. In 1980, Ojeda was once again promoted. This time to the Red Sox triple A affiliate in Pawtucket Massachusetts. Bobby pitched extremely well there and by that July he earned a call up to the big team.
Bobby made three starts that season for the Red Sox before being sent back down for more seasoning. He would be promoted again to the Sox after the MLB strike of ’81 ended. Bobby pitched well, upon his call up, he even had a complete game seven-hit win Bobby made the team out of Spring Training in ’82 but he pitched poorly. In the middle of that season he would become a long reliever/ spot starter.In 1983, once again won a spot in the Red Sox rotation. As a fourth starter, Bobby put of good numbers.He ended the season with a record of 12-7 and a ERA of 4.04.In 1985 Bobby was relegated to the Red Sox bullpen, but he pitched so well that he was moved back into the rotation at the end of May.
That off season the Mets stole Bobby from the Sox in a eight player deal that sent Ojeda along with pitcher, John Mitchell , and minor league pitchers Tom McCarthy and Chris Bayer to the Mets for pitchers Calvin Schiraldi and Wes Gardner along with minor league outfielders, John Christensen and LaShelle Tarver going to the to the Red Sox.
Upon his arrival to the Mets in ’86, Bobby proved to be the missing piece to a already strong pitching staff. Bobby would go 18-5 record with a ERA of 2.57 (second-best in the league) and 148 strikeouts that season.
Bobby was also one of the four players that were arrested in the infamous Cooter’s barroom brawl that July. To read a funny account of this melee read ” The Bad Guys Won” , by Sports Illustrated reporter, Jeff Pearlman.
During the ’86 NLCS against the Houston Astros, Bobby pitched a complete game to win the game two of the series. . He also started that epic Game 6 In which he gave up three runs in the first inning. As you may recall ( if you are old enough) Mets didn’t tie the game until the ninth, sending the game into extra innings where the Mets finally won the game in sixteen innings.
Bobby would face his old team , the Boston Red Sox in the world Series. After the Mets dropped their first two games to the Sox at home, Bobby came in to save the day , propelling the Mets to a 7-1 victory ! Ojeda would pitch again in game six. Ojeda gave up two runs early to the Soxs. The Mets would tie the game, letting Ojeda off the hook with a no decision. The Sox would once again take the lead, but the Mets would make one of the most amazing comebacks ever , when the game would win the game on Mookie Wilson’s ground ball that rolled through Bill Buckner’s legs allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run.
Ojeda had surgery missed most of the ’87 season after having shoulder surgery. He would come back in ’88 , and pitched well, but he would miss the Mets post season when he sliced off the top of his middle finger after he severed it while using a hedge trimmer at his home. Bobby didn’t pitch well for the Mets the next two seasons, and was relegated to the bullpen.
That off season the Mets traded Bobby to the Los Angeles Dodgers – the team that he rooted for as a kid for one time Mets star third baseman, Hubie Brooks. Bobby pitched well for the Dodgers in ’91 But his numbers started to decline in ’92.
After the ’92 season ended Bobby signed with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent. That Spring Training tragedy would strike Bobby when a boat that he was on with fellow Indians players, Steve Olin and Tim Crews crashed into a pier, killing both Crews and Olin. All the men were legally drunk. Bobby was lucky enough to have suffered lacerations to his scalp, but he suffered emotional damage from the accident. He would return to the Indians late that season and pitched fairly decently, posting a ERA of 4.40 in 43 innings.
Ojeda would sign with the Yankees as a free agent after 1993 season.George Steinbrenner liked to tweak the Mets by signing and rehabilitating ex Mets stars. Bobby pitched poorly for the Yanks and after two games he was released. He retired as a player soon after.
After retiring from baseball Ojeda became a pitching coach for the Mets short season rookie ball team, The Brooklyn Cyclones in ’01. Bobby would spend two season coaching in Brooklyn before being promoted to coach the Mets Double A team in Binghamton as a pitching coach. He spent a year there before quitting. He went public to the New York sports media, criticizing the Mets front office for their ineptitude after his resignation.
In 2009, Ojeda joined the Mets owned cable channel, SNY to be a Pre-Game and Post-Game studio analyst for New York Mets games with ex Wfan host, Chris Carlin .
Tomorrw we will reveal the number 31 Met in this list of 50 – You may be surpised by who it is !!
And with that said… HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!!
Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today include :
Today would have been original Mets owner,Joan Payson’s 108th birthday (1903) . Mets fans everywhere owe her a debt of gratitude for believing in Bill Shea’s vision of bringing National League baseball back to New York. I still feel her name should be on the wall of honor in the outfield.
Recent Hall Of Fame inductee, second baseman, Roberto Alomar is 43 (1968) . It’s a shame his career was on the wane by the time he came to the Mets.
The New York Mets sold back up catcher, Greg Goossen to the Seattle Pilots on February 5, 1969.
The New York Mets released often injured outfielder, Elliott Maddox on February 5, 1981. Maddox was a minor fan favorite during those dark days of the late ’70′s and early ’80′s. He had sued the City of New York when he was playing for the Yankees in ’75 because he got caught in the outfield drainage area of the Shea Stadium outfield (The Yankees played at Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated in the mid ’70′s)and injured his leg. The suit was tossed out as ” frivolous. His other claim to fame is that during his college years , he converted to Judaism.
The New York Mets traded reserve first baseman/outfielder, Roberto Petagine to the Cincinnati Reds for minor league infielder, Yuri Sanchez on February 5, 1998.
The New York Mets signed free agent pitcher,Scott Erickson on February 5, 2004. Erickson would only get two starts with the Mets before being traded to the Texas Rangers for a minor leaguer.
The New York Mets signed free agent middle reliever, Elmer Dessens of the Atlanta Braves on February 5, 2009.Elmer was quite effective coming out of the Mets bullpen the past two seasons. His final stats for the Mets were a 4-2 record with a E.R.A of2.71 in 81 games. Not too shabby for a pitcher who we all thought was washed up. He recently inked a deal with the St Louis Cardinals.
And while you spend your day stocking up on chips, salsa, dip, beer and other provisions for tomorrow nights Super Bowl, just remember that there are just 55 Frank Howard days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami and only 62 days until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn will be featured in tomorrow nights commercial for Budweiser. He will be wrestling one of the iconic clydesdales !!!