Golden Baseball Magazine
Even the Greats Have Bad Days

This feature discusses a game or series in which an outstanding player did not perform well.

Tom Glavine


Tom Glavine


Jorge Sosa


Randolph takes out Glavine in 1st inning of final game


Jamie Moyer


Charlie Manuel

The 2007 New York Mets held a seven-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East with 17 games to play.
  • As one commentator put it, Mets Manager Willie Randolph "drove the Mets down the stretch at Mauch 1 speed." (This was a clever reference to the 1964 Phils' collapse under Gene Mauch.)
  • While the second-place Phillies went 13-4 down the stretch, the Mets won just 5 of 17.
  • If the New Yorkers had won just one more game, they would have at least tied for the East and qualified for a one-game playoff against Philly. As it was, they didn't even gain the wild card spot because the Colorado Rockies, runners-up to the Diamondbacks in the West, won 90 games to their 88.

One of the reasons for the Mets' collapse was the poor performance down the stretch of their 41-year-old starting lefthander, Tom Glavine.

  • His 13th and final victory came September 8 against the Astros, 3-1.
  • Here's what happened in his subsequent starts.

    Friday, September 14 vs Phillies at Shea Stadium
    Tom pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing only two runs. He left the mound with the score tied, and the Mets lost in the 10th, 3-1. Philadelphia swept the three-game series to reduce their deficit to 3.5 games.

    Thursday, September 20 vs. Marlins at Dolphin Stadium
    After ending a five game losing streak the night before to finally gain a game on the Phils, the Mets took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the 5th. But Glavine was touched for six hits and four runs. He finished the inning but went no further. The Mets rallied for 4 in the 9th to take a 7-4 lead, but Florida scored three in their half against relievers Pedro Feliciano and Jorge Sosa to send the game int o extra innings, then won in the 10th to cut New York's margin to 1.5 games.

    Tuesday, September 25 vs. Nationals at Shea Stadium
    Washington jumped on Glavine for four runs in the 1st. He pitched through the 5th, allowing single runs in the 3rd and 4th. The deficit was 6-2 when the bullpen took over. The Nats built a 10-3 lead before the Mets' rally in their last at-bat fell a run short. Their lead stayed at two games when the Phillies also lost.

    Sunday, September 30 vs Marlins at Shea Stadium
    The Phils had tied the Mets Thursday, then went ahead by a game the next day when New York lost their fifth in a row. But NY's 13-0 rout of Florida Saturday combined with Philly's loss to Washington threw the race back into a flat-footed tie with one game left.
    And it was Glavine's turn in the rotation against the last-placeMarlins. Meanwhile, in the City of Brotherly Love, Jamie Moyer, two years older than Glavine, strode to the hill for the home team.
    Here's the tale of the tape for the two veterans that day.
    Moyer: 5 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 0 BB, 1 run (unearned), 6 K.
    Glavine: 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 2 BB, 7 runs (all earned).
    Philadelphia 6 Washington 1
    Florida 8 New York 1
    Congratulations to manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies, NL East champions.

Here's Glavine's stats for his last three starts of the '07 season.

10 1/3 IP, 25 H, 4 BB, 7 K, 17 R, 17 ER, ERA 14.85

Research revealed that the '07 Mets were the first major league team to fail to finish in 1st place after owning a lead of seven games or more with 17 remaining.

Some saw the NL East finish as the baseball gods finally giving Phillies fans a break after 43 years. As Phil Sheridan wrote in the October 1 Philadelphia Inquirer: "If you're from Philadelphia, the ominous thunderhead of 1964 hangs over you, casting a permanent shadow of nagging doubt in your sports psyche. But if you were too young to see or to remember that infamous collapse, watching these Mets has given you a feel for what it must have been like."

The collapse did not immediately cost Willie Randolph his job.

  • He returned for the '08 season but a 34-35 start caused his departure midway through the campaign with coach Jerry Manuel finishing the year.
  • In the meantime, Glavine wrapped up his career with a token final season with the Braves, the team that drafted him in the 2nd round in 1984 and for whom he pitched 16 years before heading to the Big Apple.
  • Tom was asked about his final start with the Mets when he was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 after compiling 305 wins. "I still get people hating me on Twitter and everywhere else over that game. Like I've said to people, for what was otherwise a lot of fun for five years, that was not the way I wanted to end things there. I wish people could get past that a little bit and look at the other good things that I did. But I understand that there's still some anger from some people out there."

 

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Greats Bad Days Archive - I
Bob Feller 1948
Stan Musial 1942
Tony Lazzeri 1926
Jack Chesbro 1904
Gil Hodges 1952
Hack Wilson 1929
Ty Cobb 1912
Eddie Mathews 1958
Willie Mays 1964

Greats Bad Days Archive - II
Stan Musial and Ted Williams 1946
Duke Snider 1949
Walter Johnson 1924
Carl Hubbell 1937
Jim Bottomley 1930
Andy Petitte 2001
Early Wynn 1959

Greats Bad Days Archive - III
Joe DiMaggio - 1936 All Star Game

 

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