METS FANS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF THE APRIL 29, 1978 GAME:
May 11, 2001
Very, very memorable game in my childhood. We arrived very early for the game and watched the Reds take batting practice. Although our seats were on the first base side, I wandered all the way down the leftfield line to see if I could get some autographs. After elbowing my way to the field, I watch as Dan Driessen hit a foul ball down the left field line. A Reds rookie 3B at the time, Ray Knight, reached down to retrieve the ball and flipped to right to me. I ran back to my seats holding the ball with both hands. The only sour note of an otherwise perfect day was that the Redlegs beat the Mets and the Reds' starting 3B, Pete Rose, hit three HRs. Great day to be at the Big Shea nevertheless, and Ray Knight would eventually return and make more than one Mets fan happy.
May 27, 2002
Mets were winning 6-1 early, Reds came back to kill us, 14-7. Pete Rose hit 3 home runs in the game, only time in his career.
August 7, 2002
Very memorable game from my childhood. I didn't see it in person, but instead watched the whole thing on NBC's Saturday Game of the Week. For whatever reason, I was a big Pete Rose fan. Yes, indeed he hit 3 home runs, but in addition he had 2 singles, going 5 for 6 on the game. I believe Cesar Geronimo also had a pair of dingers for the Reds.
September 24, 2002
To follow up on Tom N's note above, I went back and looked at my scoresheet from this game and Geronimo only had one homer, leading off the 4th inning, and that cut the Mets lead to 6-2. But his next time up, in the 5th, he doubled to drive in 2 and tie the score at 6-6 and the Reds were on their way to a one-sided win. Driessen and Griffey also homered for the Reds.
I remember that Rose's outstanding game this day brought the first cheers for Pete at Shea since the '73 brawl. New Yorkers always appreciate an outstanding performance. And that set the stage for Pete's return to Shea in July when he had tied Tommy Holmes' NL hitting streak mark and was in hot pursuit of DiMaggio. Rose got big cheers at those Shea games, which drew the biggest crowds of another dismal year in Flushing.
October 14, 2006
I was 11 years old when I went to this game. I was also a Cincinnati Reds fan living in New Jersey - pretty rare at that time - so I was thrilled that we got seats right next to the third base bag, about 20 rows up from the field. I brought with me a banner I had made that read "No One Knows Who's Better Than Rose." After Pete struck out in the first inning, my brother was taunting me because he liked the Mets. But after Pete hit his third home run of the game, as he rounded third base he tipped his batting helmet to me because I was jumping up and down holding my banner. When we got home that night, my mother (who stayed at home) said she saw me on TV twice that day (after Rose's second and third home runs). I was in heaven! Years later, I became a sportswriter and had the opportunity to interview Pete when he came to NJ to see his son play with an independent league team. When I said to him "The first time I ever saw you play in person, you hit three home runs," Pete smiled and said "April 29, 1978." He put his arm around me and then asked "But do you remember what I did in my first at bat?" - to which I answered "Struck out" - he retorted - "Against who?" I shrugged my shoulders. "Nino Espinosa" Man... the guy is a walking baseball museum of memories. I hope that someday he gets into the Hall of Fame!
July 20, 2008
I was 13 years old at Shea with my Dad who was a big Pete Rose fan because of his hustle. We were sitting on the first base side Lodge or Mezz - I remember the third homer was a line drive that went over the right field fence like a rope! Dad always rooted for my Mets, but we both appreciated Pete's performance that day. I remember the crowd gave him a great ovation. We both wound up at Shea the night he tied Tommy Holmes hitting streak - what an amazing ovation he got that night! Memories of Dad and the Mets - it doesn't get any better for me now as a 45 year old father of four little ones!
September 6, 2008
The only game out of hundredsI have been to that I remember going to with my Mom. Rose was a machine that day!
Larry 35 Years Later
May 6, 2013
What I remember before Rose's performance was Nino Espinosa. It summed up the frustration Mets fans had with him: so good and so bad. He was amassing so many strikeouts as to make Joe Garagiola exclaim "some piece of pitching by Espinosa" -only to watch him get knocked out in the 4th. The Mets gave him a 5-run lead, exemplifying why losing pitchers are not always the victims of poor teams, but variably a reflection of poor pitching.