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METS FANS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF GAMES FROM THE 1981 SEASON
April 12, 1981 Wrigley Field
Mets 2, Chicago Cubs 1
Jimmy D.
April 30, 2003
A cold, rainy day in Chicago. Tim Leary started, blew out his arm early in the game and was never the same again. Given that Leary turned out to be a decent pitcher later in his career with the Dodgers, he probably would have been one the great Met pitchers if they took better care of him in the cold weather that day.

flushing flash
May 2, 2003

Took better care of him? How? Should they have taken him out after ONE inning? Plenty of pitchers pitch in the cold (e.g. Tom Glavine this year) and don't blow their arms out. It was a freak thing that happened; don't blame the Mets or anyone on the coaching staff.

Feat Fan
March 28, 2004

Sat in a midtown bar watching as young fireballer Tim Leary threw 2 great innings before throwing his arm out in the 38* Wrigley cold.... My Brooklyn piazon Pete Falcone hurled 5 or 6 great innings in a 2-1 win... Leary made it back years later but never was the dominant flame thrower

Ed K
January 20, 2005

Leary had made the team at age 22 after a great Spring Training and the press was playing him up as the great phenom. This was his first MLB game. Supposedly, he felt something in his last Spring Training game. Whether it was his fault or Joe Torre's is hard to say but the injury was devastating at the time.

Shickhaus Franks
January 30, 2013

Remember watching this game on my cousin's color tv (my family had a b/w until '82) and Tim Leary leaves after 2 innings due to a bad elbow on a day in Wrigley more suited for Sam Huff and Mike Ditka than Pete Falcone and Bill Buckner. Yes, Bill played and went 1-4, so did Leon Durham (0- 4) and Steve Henderson who went to the North Siders in the off-season, he went 1-3. Besides the game, Palm Sunday April 12, 1981 saw the passing of boxing legend Joe Louis and the first Space Shuttle launching.

April 15, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 5, St. Louis Cardinals 3
Dan
August 16, 2000
The home opener. It was frigid in the shadows that day. What I remember was, before the game, the fella in front of my dad and me remarked to his friend, "This is going to be one of those 5-3 ball games." Translation: There isn't going to be much excitement in this one. And he was dead-on.

Cheeks
October 19, 2011

My first Mets game. Got me two days off of school because home opener was originally rained out. Remember my aunt taking a wrong turn at the Interboro (aka Jackie Robinson Parkway) GCP split. Remember how empty Shea was. Just looked it up; attendance was 15,205. Remember sitting in Mezzanine Box down the first base line. Mookie 2-5 with a triple and 2 rbi and Flynn 2-4 with 2 runs scored and 2 rbi.

April 22, 1981 Three Rivers Stadium
Mets 2, Pittsburgh Pirates 2
Ed K
July 16, 2006
The only time the Mets played a series in which there were no wins or losses. It was a rainy April in 1981.

Mets had split a doubleheader at home against the Expos on Sunday and flew to Pittsburgh to start a roadtrip but the rest of the series with the Pirates was rained out except for this game which ended up a tie after 8 and a half innings on a Wednesday night.

After Pittsburgh, Mets flew to Montreal and finally had a win or loss on Saturday. Unfortunately, it was a loss and started a seven game losing streak.

April 26, 1981 Olympic Stadium
Montreal Expos 7, Mets 6
The big h
September 6, 2008
I actually don't remember this game, but when I looked up Jerry Manuel, I saw he hit three home runs in his career. I thought that he probably got one against the Mets and yes this is the one he got against the Mets.

May 2, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 6, San Diego Padres 2
Mike M
October 7, 2008
What I remember happened the day after. On Sunday morning, the Daily News had a picture of Dave Kingman about to shake hands with John Stearns after his HR, and to my amazement, there's me in the background sitting behind the 3rd base dugout.

May 5, 1981 Shea Stadium
San Francisco Giants 9, Mets 7
Ted
July 15, 2003
I was at this game with my brother. The Mets were down 9-0 in the bottom of the ninth, but I didn't want to leave early, as usual, being a die-hard fan, even keeping score until the end. They made the game quite interesting, scoring 7 runs and getting the tying run to first base before Mike Cubbage lined out to left field to end the game.

That's why I never leave any game early!

Hank M
November 16, 2004

I look back at this game as an example of how great a game baseball is. I spent most of this night watching my beloved Islanders complete a four-game sweep of the hated Rangers in a hockey playoff series. During the third period,I switched to the Mets' game and noticed that something was going on.

They were down by a lot in the ninth inning, but had scored a few runs. As more guys were reaching base and more runs were scored, I kept watching. When the Giants' lead was cut to two, I forgot about hockey. I had to see if the Mets could pull off a miracle! I stayed with them until the final out.

When the inning ended, I switched back to the hockey game. As happy as I was to see the Islanders win (which was never in doubt), the Mets, in defeat, actually generated more interest. On a night that my team reached the Stanley Cup Finals, it was a baseball game that turned out to be the highlight of the night!

I like to think of this game as a reason why baseball is the greatest game of all.

Rick L
January 4, 2010

One year after the greatest Mets game I ever saw (the Steve Henderson Game) I thought we were going to do it again against the Giants. The previous year my friend Chuck called me up and we couldn't believe the ending. After this game, Chuck called me up again with excitement as this game was clearly the second most exciting game, even in defeat.

May 8, 1981 Shea Stadium
Los Angeles Dodgers 1, Mets 0
jj kennedy
February 22, 2001
Fernando Valenzuela's debut at shea. Mike Scott gives up a first inning run. My first met game since 1975. Double Play in 7th does in the Mets. first of many games to come. Sat in mezz section 8. Decent crowd to see fernando. Excellent pitching duel.

Andy from Rego Park
October 23, 2001

Fernando-mania hits Shea. Valenzuela matches up against Mike Scott. First inning: Mets load the bases with one out for clean-up hitter Dave Kingman. Would Kong homer? Would he strike out? Neither! He grounds into an inning ending, rally killing double play. The Mets never threaten again and Valenzuela beats Scott in a 1-0 pitchers duel.

Bob P
May 27, 2003

Scott held his own with Valenzuela this night, but Fernando improved to 7-0. The Dodgers' run came in the top of the first and was unearned, thanks to an error, a balk, and an RBI single by Dusty Baker. Fernando pitched a complete game and struck out eleven but he gave up seven hits and five walks. The Mets left eight men on base in the first three innings. Scott went seven innings allowing the one unearned run along with four hits and a walk, and struck out six.

Joe P.
October 25, 2004

I went to this game as a young teenager with a bunch of friends. I remember the game well because of Fernandomania, and finally a real big crowd at Shea. The crowd was obviously there for Valenzuela, but it didn't matter to us. If I remember correctly, this was the waning days of the free Dairylea Milk 'grandstand' Mets tickets (and Fernandale Milk Yankee seats - not that I would collect anything for the hated Yanks). We used to get the 'nose-bleed' seats on the arm, and by the 3rd inning be seated in the lower level. There was no one ever there, but that night the place was packed. Even though our team lost, they fought hard against the eventual World Series champs.

Witz
October 20, 2008

I was out that night; when I got home I put the game on, but it was over and I saw Mike Scott on Kiners Korner, so I thought, "wow, the Mets beat the great Fernando!" Then I realized that they lost. Scott pitched great and was likely on the show because Fernando didn't speak English. Oh well.

May 22, 1981 Busch Stadium
Mets 9, St. Louis Cardinals 3
Prindy
October 28, 2006
Take another look at this Mets line-up as it is a classic one. It had one foot planted in futility, while the other was pointed towards fame. All these fellows remain vital in my collective Mets Heart!

As a 20-year-old, I was able to persuade my boss to take the office for an outing to Shea to see a struggling team. Despite his worries on the venture, he was not disappointed.

16 of us piled into 2 cars and a rented van and made the 50 mile trek to that hallowed ground at Flushing Meadows.

Stuck in traffic on the Van Wyck, many vehicles were flashing Met paraphernalia to each other while also passing brewskies back and forth to (mostly) non-driving fans.

They were dangerous days but festive.

The Stadium was electric as Pat Zach threw an excellent game and the offense exploded in run scoring spurts. A rarity for that team.

A splendid time was had by all that night and it stays as a reminder that even during lean times, hope is always just over the horizon.

May 24, 1981 Busch Stadium
Mets 3, St. Louis Cardinals 1
Nate Metzger - STL area boy
March 27, 2008
This was my first game that I ever attended. Mazzilli broke my heart.

May 25, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 13, Philadelphia Phillies 3
Brian
March 6, 2002
God, I remember this game well. It was memorial day, 1981. I was 8. I remember Kong hitting a grand slam and the Mets jumping out early. I remember the 13-3 final. It was the first time I was really aware of what was going on at a baseball game. The sights, sounds, the scoreboard, and yes, the Grand Slam, all made for a great afternoon at Shea.

Dino De Angelis
April 16, 2002

Not only was it a great Memorial day win for the Mets with a Dave Kingman grand slam, but while sitting on the first base side in the mezzanine, I caught my first (and only) foul ball. It was off the bat of future hall-of-famer Mike Schmidt.

Mel
August 7, 2007

My son, Neil, was born near the end of the game on May 25, 1981. I was watching the game with the delivering doctor in the doctor waiting room in the maternity ward. The doctor tried to delay the delivery until the end of the game, but finally had to do it during the 7th inning sretch. I guess Neil, an avid Mets fan, wanted to watch the Mets win in person.

Shickhaus Franks
August 18, 2011

Watched the game in my family's apartment on a black and white tv (we didn't have the money for a color set) on a sunny Memorial Day off from school as we ordered pizza and watched Kingman hit a grand salami off the defending world champions.

June 11, 1981 Shea Stadium
Cincinnati Reds 5, Mets 2
Doug Brogowski
August 7, 2007
This was the last game played before the 2 month long players' strike. I remember that on "Kiner's Korner" after this game, Tom Seaver was Ralph Kiner's guest, having just gotten a complete game win vs. the Mets. At one point, Ralph waved for Tom's wife, Nancy Seaver, who was off-camera, to come onto the set and have a seat next to Tom, which she did. Ralph told Nancy that she looked pretty, to which Nancy replied, awkwardly trying to make a return compliment, "so do you Ralph". Ralph didn't know what to say and Tom Seaver laughed his head off with that high-pitched laugh of his. Very funny Kiner's Korner moment.

August 11, 1981 Wrigley Field
Mets 4, Chicago Cubs 2
Ed K
December 20, 2010
Rookie Ray Searage not only gets his first major league win, he also gets a hit to go 1 for 1 in the entire 1981 season and bat 1.000!

Searage maintained this perfect lifetime batting average for years because he was mostly in the American League with the DH until finally making a couple outs while pitching for the Dodgers in 1990, his final year.

August 14, 1981 Shea Stadium
Philadelphia Phillies 8, Mets 4
Bob P
July 5, 2004
Mike Schmidt's third inning home run off Mike Scott was the 300th of Schmidt's career. Schmidt wound up hitting 31 homers and driving in 91 runs in just 102 games in the strike shortened 1981 season. At that pace he would have finished with close to 50 homers and 150 RBIs had the season been 162 games long.

Schmidt also led the league in runs scored, walks, on base percentage, and slugging percentage as he won his second straight MVP award.

August 25, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 2, Houston Astros 1
Bob
May 21, 2005
Mookie's homer won it for the Mets in the bottom of the 8th, and as he rounded the bases, a large and obviously drunk guy behind us stood up and started gyrating and singing "Mookie Mookie Mookie Mookie..."

This game has long since been forgotten by most, but for us, it was the night the Mookie Dance was born.

August 27, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 3, Houston Astros 2
Shickhaus Franks
August 11, 2009
Going to this game (my only Mets game in '81 due to the strike) was the only highlight of a dreadful summer for me because I had to go to summer school and the fact that my relatives NO longer had their house due to a bad fire that happened before Christmas 1980 which meant NO backyard bbq or swimming pool. (They decided NOT to rebuild and they moved into smaller places.) Although I have ticket stubs from every Mets game I have attended from the late 70's on, I don't have the stub from this game. A cloudy afternoon affair which only 17,488 attended and where future Mets skipper Art Howe played 3B for the Astros. The Mets won 3-2.

September 6, 1981 Shea Stadium
Atlanta Braves 5, Mets 2
Vinnie Bella
April 19, 2006
This was the first baseball game I ever went to. I remember going down to the field and trying to get autographs, Gaylord Perry passed us by, and I wound up getting Luis Gomez to sign a piece of paper for me. During the game the fans were riding Lee Mazzilli and Randy Jones gave up a home run to Dale Murphy that I think is still in the air. I remember the Mets got the bases loaded and Kingman came up to pinch hit. Everyone was so load and excited, this was my first great live baseball moment, unfortunately Kingman struck out, and it was on a pitch that bounced in front of the plate. I don't know if he was trying to fool the other team or what. This is my first live game baseball memory.

metswin2006
October 28, 2006

Mustve been a promotion or something because this was my first Mets game too. My dad turned me into a Mets fan that day. (I was a Yankee fan for 1980 and most of 81.) He knew the place real well and we got autos of a lot of the players. It really meant a lot to a 10-year-old kid at his first game. I still have the ball, the topper was meeting Mookie Wilson. As a kid, anybody with the name Mookie, you remember that name forever. He was extra nice and wrote on my program, "Wish we would've won your first game, but we'll get them next time for you." It was an awesome day.

September 19, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 6, St. Louis Cardinals 2
Jake the Snake
November 6, 2005
I remember this game occurred on the day that Simon and Garfunkel had their reunion concert in Central Park! Kingman and Brooks both homered. Kingman's just made the fence. Brooks nailed a shot that went to the back of the bullpen's fence. BTW, I was at the game and chickened out going to the concert...wish I did!

September 20, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 7, St. Louis Cardinals 6
David Phillippi
February 6, 2002
My dad brought me to this game on my birthday. Mets were just starting to put together a decent team with guys like Mookie and Hubie. Mets were winning 5-4 in the top of the 9th when Mookie ran down a long fly ball, seemed to catch it, then dropped it as he crashed into the wall. Cards took the lead 6-5. In the bottom of the 9th, Frank Taveras got on with a walk or single, then stole second base (maybe moved over by the pitcher). Then Mookie came up with 2 outs and hit a home run almost over my head in the right field boxes and just over the right field wall by the pole. My dad wanted to leave early and convinced me to at least stand near the exit. That's why I NEVER leave a game before it's over. All the way back on the train, the fans were buzzing about the Mets actually contending for the division that late in the season.

tom g
May 27, 2002

This was one of the best games I ever went to. Mets trailed 5-0, finally tied it up, and then Tito Landrum hit a triple and scored on an error by Mookie Wilson on the same play in the top of the 9th inning. Then in the bottom of the ninth, Mookie hit a 2-run home run off of Bruce Sutter to win the game 7-6.

tom g again
May 27, 2002

The guy david who wrote on 2/6/02 was wrong about several aspects of this game. Mets did not lead 5-4 and blow lead in 9th. Look at linescore of game. They trailed 5-0 in 3rd, then tied up game, then Landrum hit the triple that Mookie made the error on in 9th to give Cards the go-ahead run. Tavares hit a double in the 9th with 2 out and no one on, barely making it safe to give Mookie his at-bat, which he then hit the 2-run home run off Sutter for the win.

Bob P
May 27, 2003

The Mets had TWENTY-TWO hits in this game! They went down 1-2-3 in the first inning, then they had at least two hits in each remaining inning, including 6 hits in the 7th inning, when they tied it 5-5.

Mookie and Hubie each had 4 hits and John Stearns had 3.

Pete
November 3, 2006

I attended this game and still remember Ron Hodges catching Mookie's homer in the Mets' bullpen. The stands were pretty well empty by that point. Actually, they were probably pretty well empty when the game started too. This was also one of the first few games that Garry Templeton played for the Cards after flipping off the St. Louis fans (remember Whitey yanking Templeton down into the dugout?) Shea booed him mercilessly every at-bat. That was probably the best thing he ever did for St. Louis as they traded him for Ozzie Smith shortly after that.

The thing I remember most about this game is Mookie pumping his fist as he rounded 1st base and everyone that was left in the stands was absolutely delirious. People were hugging people they didn't even know, the team mobbed Mookie at home and the celebration lasted a good 5 or 10 minutes on the field. It was one of those few times in the early 80's that you felt like they were beginning to turn it around. There was hope and Shea was beginning to come back to life.

Mike M
October 7, 2008

I found it. I always remember a game with Mookie hitting a game winning HR off Sutter. Wasn't at Shea though. I was 10, sitting at home watching on WOR-TV. Vividly remember the closeups of Sutter then Mookie back to Sutter then Mook crushing it

Lawrence
February 13, 2013

My dad was a Cardinal fan, and as a youngster I rooted for them too. In 1981 I was working at NY Life in the pension plan department, and my boss assigned me a plan for a travel agency called Cardinal Travel. Dal Maxvill was one of the owners, and when I first spoke with him, I began the conversation by telling him that I remembered his triple in Game 7 of the 1967 World Series in Fenway against the Red Sox. So he left me 4 tickets for this game. Drinking beer, falling behind 5-0, and sitting with Cardinal fans, I stood up and hollered "The Mets are going to win this game!" People laughed at me. Now it's bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, and people are leaving, so I stand up and holler "Hey, where are you going? The Mets are going to win this game!" Same reaction from the people around me. After Taveras gets on and Mookie atones for his error by hitting his 2-run homer, I felt vindicated. But I never heard from Maxvill again.

September 21, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 4, Pittsburgh Pirates 3
Ed K
June 10, 2006
This win was the end of the Mets little mini-pennant drive to win the NL East in the second half of 1981 when the season was split because of the players' strike. Mets were 20-20 in 3rd place and only 2.5 games out of 1st place after this game with 13 games yet to play. They then lost five in a row to fall out of the race and Joe Torre was fired as manager at the end of the season.

September 24, 1981 Wrigley Field
Chicago Cubs 10, Mets 9
Bob P
September 3, 2003
Young LHP Jesse Orosco gave up the game winning home run to veteran Bobby Bonds in the bottom of the 8th at Wrigley. It was the last HR of Bonds' career.

September 30, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 2, Chicago Cubs 1
Michael
April 27, 2008
Recently watched this game.....probably only about 3,000 in the stands. Mazzilli wins it in the 9th and I figured out this was his last hit with the Mets before being reaquired in 1986.

October 1, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 2, Chicago Cubs 2
Vinny
March 21, 2002
This was one of the strangest Mets games I have ever been to. The Mets were out of the race, in fact I believe they were officially eliminated on this night. I remember getting general admission tickets and ended up sitting in the loge boxes behind home plate on top of the screen. There were only a couple of thousand diehards in the stands.

The highlights of the game were provided by Rusty Staub, who hit a pair of solo homers. With the game tied at 2, it started pouring and the game was eventually called off. At least Rusty's stats counted.

October 3, 1981 Shea Stadium
Montreal Expos 5, Mets 4
Mets Win
July 9, 2001
Expos won division this day at Shea

MaybrookMets
March 22, 2002

This was also fan apreciation day and old timers day. Because of the strike, old timers day was postponed until this day. I was there and got to see some great old timers like Willie Mays. I may have witnessed the only clinching in Montreal history!

Ed K
September 4, 2002

I went to this game. It was a blustery, cold day but I recall the sun coming out. As a nice gesture for fan appreciation day after the baseball strike, the Mets said that anyone who went to the game could exchange the raincheck for a free ticket the following year. Mike Cubbage hit what I think was his last MLB home run for the Mets. But the Expos clinched the second half season to get in the playoffs their only time and I recall their players celebrating on the field after they had won.

October 4, 1981 Shea Stadium
Mets 2, Montreal Expos 1
jj kennedy
January 26, 2001
nice day! glenn, troy, ralph and i. boxes third base side. torre's last game. hostetler homered in ninth to blow shut out. expos went on to playoffs we went home. season's over. strike killed our summer.

Ed K
September 4, 2002

I twas a weird season because the strike killed the middle two months. So MLB took the winning teams from the first half of the season and had them play off in each division against the winners of the second half. With only about a 50 game second half, the Mets stayed in contention for a while under Torre before playing down to their potential and getting eliminated with maybe a week or ten days to go. I remember after this final game of the year, GM Frank Cashen came on Kiner's Korner to announce that Torre would not be coming back in 1982 because the Mets wanted to go in a different direction. George Bamberger wasn't the answer either, but Davy Johnson proved to be.

John K
April 13, 2004

Last game of the year. Torre is let go. Ballpark is empty. Another grey day at Shea. I was 15 and all excited to see Carter play. No such luck. Montreal had clinched the day before. Falcone pitches extremely well. Hostetler hits bomb in the ninth for the Expos which clears the left field bullpen.

Jack - Floral Park
August 6, 2013

This was Joe Torre's last game with the Mets. I had tickets behind third base in the Field Level. During this game I observed Joe Torre sitting in the dugout like a bump on a log while an animated John Stearns relayed signals, yakked it up and appeared to be managing the game. Fast forward 32 years... My buddy Greg went to Mr. Torre's golf outing this week in Westchester and asked him if my John Stearns suspicions were true. After commenting how nobody was in the ballpark so how would anyone know, Joe Torre confirmed the suspicions. John Stearns DID INDEED manage this game. Joe Torre's last in a Mets uniform.






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