Prior to scoring a pair of runs off Scott Eyre in the 8th inning of Sunday afternoon’s 6-2 loss to the Phillies, the Mets went 16 consecutive scoreless innings against Philadelphia pitching. Not only is New York’s lead in the NL East hanging in the balance prior to tonight’s 8pm tilt, but the old joke about Philly’s resident wifebeater has been revised to “when will you stop punching out the Mets?”
In the midst of what may or may not be Collapse II, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury recognizes the Phillies’ final visit to Shea Stadium (“Yankee Stadium is baseball’s big stage. Shea Stadium is shaped like a toilet seat. Yankee Stadium is the House That Ruth Built. Shea Stadium is the house that some construction company built”) with the visitors’ Flushing history firmly in mind (link taken from Baseball Think Factory).
The Phils helped christen Shea in a big way in 1964. Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game in the first game of a Fathers’ Day doubleheader, and so much for superstition – he talked about it in the dugout between innings.
“Jim Bunning is way too practical a man to be bothered by a silly superstition,” said Game 2 pitcher Rick Wise, who, amid the post-game hoopla, had trouble finding a ball and a catcher to warm him up. The next month, Johnny Callison hit a game-winning home run in the All-Star Game at Shea.
On the penultimate day of the 1965 season, Phillies lefthander Chris Short pitched 15 innings and struck out 18 Mets in a 0-0 game that was called after 18 innings. Fifteen innings! Eighteen K’s!
Shea is the place where umpire Joe West threw Phillies reliever Dennis Cook to the ground during a brawl in 1990. It is the place where, in 1968, umpire Ed Vargo threw Phils relief pitcher John Boozer out of the game while Boozer threw his warm-up pitches. Vargo warned Boozer not to go to his mouth. Boozer did. Good-bye.
Larry Bowa had 114 hits and one snub as a Phillie in Shea Stadium. The 114 hits – second-most by a Phillie to Mike Schmidt’s 116 – came as a player. The snub came when he was managing the club in August 2003. The players thought Larry had been a little to rough on them during a series in Montreal. Before heading to the airport for a flight to New York, they called a players-only meeting in which they decided not to let Bowa get to them. One player suggested ignoring the skipper. “Don’t even shake his hand,” another said. That last suggestion was rhetorical, but Pat Burrell took it as gospel. He homered in the second inning of the first game in New York, then blatantly snubbed Bowa as the skipper looked for a little fist bump. Bowa was furious. The next day, reserve Tyler Houston, perceived as a ring leader, was released.