1977 New York Mets season

The 1977 New York Mets season was the 16th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Initially led by manager Joe Frazier followed by Joe Torre, the team had a 64–98 record and finished in last place for the first time since 1967, and for the first time since divisional play was introduced in 1969.

1977 New York Mets
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s)Charles Shipman Payson
General manager(s)Joe McDonald
Manager(s)Joe Frazier, Joe Torre
Local televisionWOR-TV
Local radioWNEW/WNYC
(Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy)
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Offseason

Regular season

The 1977 Mets had some promising new players in outfielder Lee Mazzilli and catcher John Stearns, but there was not enough stock in the lineup. The once powerful pitching staff had also taken on a leaner look. By midseason, ace Tom Seaver had been traded, Jerry Koosman was 8–20 and Jon Matlack (who would be traded in December) was 7–15.

Managerial change

1977 got off to a bad start for Joe Frazier's Mets. On May 30, after being swept in a doubleheader by the Montreal Expos, the Mets' record fell to 15–30, and Frazier was fired as manager of the Mets. Mets first baseman Joe Torre assumed the role of player-manager, leading his team to a 49–68 record the remainder of the way. The team finished 37 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East, narrowly avoiding a 100-loss season (64–98).

Torre was the club's sixth manager and in certain respects his appointment reestablished the New York connection of Mets managers. Although he had spent most of his career with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals, Torre had grown up and played his first baseball in Brooklyn. When the thirty-six-year-old Torre retired as a player that June, he left behind a .297 lifetime batting average for his eighteen years in the major leagues, including an MVP season in 1971 when he led the league with a .363 batting average. Torre was an able manager, with a veteran's incisive insights into the game and the ability to handle and motivate players. But in this case, a last-place team was a last-place team no matter how able the manager.

"The Midnight Massacre"

Seaver was at odds with Met chairman M. Donald Grant all season due to contract disputes. The conflict came to a head two weeks after Torre took over as manager on June 15, when Grant traded Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. Dave Kingman was also traded to the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Paul Siebert and Bobby Valentine. Somewhat more quietly that day, they also acquired Joel Youngblood from the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Phillips. To make room for Youngblood on the Mets' active roster, Torre retired as a player.[2]

From a public-relations perspective, the Seaver and Kingman trades were a disaster. Seaver especially was a hard hit to the fan base. As a member of the 1969 World Champions, he was a symbol of past glory, and was still a highly-effective pitcher. Whatever else they might not have had, they still had as their very own the man generally acclaimed as baseball's premier pitcher. No matter how abrasive the relationship between Seaver and his employers had become, dealing him away was a serious miscalculation, and Shea Stadium became known as "Grant's Tomb" in the New York sports pages.

Grant did acquire some good, young talent for Seaver; Flynn was a slick fielding second baseman who won the NL Gold Glove award in 1980, Zachry was co-winner of the NL Rookie of the Year award with Butch Metzger the previous season (coincidentally, they would be teammates on the Mets in 1978), and Henderson would be narrowly eclipsed by the Montreal Expos' Andre Dawson for the award in 1977.

Dave Kingman was in the final year of his contract, and thus, would have become a free agent at the end of the season unless the club re-signed him, but coming on top of the Seaver trade, aligned with the fact that the team got very little in return for their big buster, the Kingman trade only added to the growing disenchantment at Shea Stadium, and June 15, 1977, would forever be known to Mets fans as "The Midnight Massacre."

Season highlights

  • May 31 - June 16 - In his first 17 games as manager, Joe Torre's Mets went 12–5 a great start that was compared to the Mets 1973 Championship run.
  • June 7 - Tom Seaver struck out ten Cincinnati Reds in an 8–0 Mets win. It'll be the last time Seaver struck out 10 or more batters in a Mets uniform.
  • July 13 - The Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs 2–1 with one out in the sixth inning when the lights at Shea went out as New York City was stricken with a blackout that would last two days. The game was resumed on September 16, with the Cubs winning 5–2. On July 15, when the lights finally went on in New York, the Mets split a double header with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • August 21 - Tom Seaver took the mound against the New York Mets for the first time in his career. His Cincinnati Reds defeated the Mets 5–1.

Season standings

NL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Philadelphia Phillies 101 61 0.623 60–21 41–40
Pittsburgh Pirates 96 66 0.593 5 58–23 38–43
St. Louis Cardinals 83 79 0.512 18 52–31 31–48
Chicago Cubs 81 81 0.500 20 46–35 35–46
Montreal Expos 75 87 0.463 26 38–43 37–44
New York Mets 64 98 0.395 37 35–44 29–54

Record vs. opponents

1977 National League Records

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
Team ATL CHC CIN HOU LAD MON NYM PHI PIT SD SF STL
Atlanta 5–7 4–14 9–9 5–13 6–6 7–5 2–10 3–9 11–7 8–10 1–11
Chicago 7–5 7–5 6–6 6–6 10–8 9–9 6–12 7–11 7–5 9–3 7–11
Cincinnati 14–4 5–7 5–13 10–8 7–5 10–2 8–4 3–9 11–7 10–8 5–7
Houston 9–9 6–6 13–5 9–9 8–4 6–6 4–8 4–8 8–10 9–9 5–7
Los Angeles 13–5 6–6 8–10 9–9 7–5 8–4 6–6 9–3 12–6 14–4 6–6
Montreal 6–6 8–10 5–7 4–8 5–7 10–8 7–11 7–11 5–7 6–6 12–6
New York 5–7 9–9 2–10 6–6 4–8 8–10 5–13 4–14 6–6 7–5 8–10
Philadelphia 10-2 12–6 4–8 8–4 6–6 11–7 13–5 8–10 9–3 9–3 11–7
Pittsburgh 9–3 11–7 9–3 8–4 3–9 11–7 14–4 10–8 10–2 2–10 9–9
San Diego 7–11 5–7 7–11 10–8 6–12 7–5 6–6 3–9 2–10 8–10 8–4
San Francisco 10–8 3–9 8–10 9–9 4–14 6–6 5–7 3–9 10–2 10–8 7–5
St. Louis 11–1 11–7 7–5 7–5 6–6 6–12 10–8 7–11 9–9 4–8 5–7

Notable transactions

Roster

1977 New York Mets
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
LF Steve Henderson 99 350 104 .297 12 65

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Doug Flynn 90 282 54 .191 0 14
Bobby Valentine 42 83 11 .133 1 3
Leo Foster 36 75 17 .227 0 6
Joe Torre 26 51 9 .176 1 9
Dan Norman 7 16 4 .250 0 0

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Jerry Koosman 32 226.2 8 20 3.49 192
Nino Espinosa 32 200 10 13 3.42 105
Pat Zachry 19 119.2 7 6 3.76 63
Tom Seaver 13 96 7 3 3.00 72
Roy Lee Jackson 4 24 0 2 6.00 13
Doc Medich 1 7 0 1 3.86 3

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Jackson Todd 19 71.2 3 6 4.77 39

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Bob Apodaca 59 4 8 5 3.43 53
Bob Myrick 44 2 2 2 3.61 49
Rick Baldwin 40 1 2 1 4.45 23
Paul Siebert 25 2 1 0 3.86 20

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Tidewater Tides International League Frank Verdi
AA Jackson Mets Texas League Bob Wellman
A Lynchburg Mets Carolina League Jack Aker
A Wausau Mets Midwest League Tom Egan
Short-Season A Little Falls Mets New York–Penn League Chris Krug

Notes

  1. ^ Benny Ayala at Baseball-Reference
  2. ^ "The Top 50 Mets of All Time: #43 Joel Youngblood". Archived from the original on October 4, 2009. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  3. ^ Bud Black at Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Jeff Reardon at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ Tom Seaver at Baseball Reference
  6. ^ Joel Youngblood at Baseball Reference
  7. ^ Paul Siebert at Baseball Reference

References

  • Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. ISBN 978-0-9637189-8-3.

External links

Midnight Massacre

Midnight Massacre may refer to:

Utah prisoner of war massacre, July 1945

The trade of Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds during the 1977 New York Mets season

Killings of the Midnight Sons, a fictional team of supernatural superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe

Midnight Massacre, a 2016 film starring Susie Feldman

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