METS FANS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF THE JULY 29, 1976 GAME:
February 27, 2002
This was a Thursday afternoon game following morning showers, probably a getaway game, attended by a sparse crowd of 12,588...In one of his best games as a Met, hefty lefty Mickey Lolich (no doubt the prototype for David Wells), tossed 8 innings, allowing 8 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4, the only run scoring on a fourth-inning groundout by a young Dave Parker.
Alas, with the Mets historically typical poor run support, Lolich left, trailing 1-0, for pinch hitter Mike Phillips, who fanned for the 2nd out of the ninth, before singles by Ed Kranepool (batting for Leon Brown) and Bruce Boisclair and a walk to John Milner loaded the bases for Joe Torre. Joe was hit by a Bob Moose pitch to drive in the tying run, but the '76 Mets couldn't stand such success, as two singles and a double play grounder by future Mets coach Bill Robinson in the top of the 10th off Skip Lockwood gave the Bucs a 2-1 win.
Two things made this game memorable for me (16 at the time)...Lolich's mound opponent was lefty Jim Rooker, with whom I became acquainted socially later in my life; and I got the late great Willie "Pops" Stargell's autograph after the game by rolling up my program and slipping it through the chain link fence behind the visitors bullpen as the Pirates boarded their bus.