1999 National League Championship Series

The 1999 National League Championship Series (NLCS), to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played between two East Division rivals, the division champion Atlanta Braves and the wild card New York Mets.

The Braves would go on to lose in a sweep to the New York Yankees in the World Series in four games.

1999 National League Championship Series
Teams
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Atlanta Braves (4) Bobby Cox 103–59, .636, GA: ​6 12
New York Mets (2) Bobby Valentine 97–66, .595, GB: ​6 12
DatesOctober 12–19
MVPEddie Pérez (Atlanta)
UmpiresEd Montague, Jeff Kellogg, Charlie Reliford, Ed Rapuano, Jerry Layne, Jerry Crawford
NLDS
Broadcast
TelevisionNBC (United States)
MLB International (International)
TV announcersBob Costas and Joe Morgan (NBC)
Gary Thorne and Ken Singleton (MLB International)
RadioESPN
Radio announcersCharley Steiner and Kevin Kennedy

Background

After the Mets lost eight of nine games in September—including five of six to the NL East rival Braves—the Mets seemed unlikely to make the playoffs, two games out of the wild card lead with three games to play.

Following the Mets' most recent defeat in this stretch, an eleven-inning loss to Atlanta at Shea Stadium, Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was quoted as saying, "Now all the Mets fans can go home and put on their Yankees stuff." Braves closer John Rocker was also quoted as saying he hated the Mets, and "How many times do we have to beat them before their fans will shut up?" Thinking they had buried the Mets, the Braves had closed out their season with another division title and were poised to enter the playoffs and leave the Mets behind.

However, the Mets swept their season-ending three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium, while the wild-card-leading Cincinnati Reds lost two out of three to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets and Reds had the same record at 95–66 heading into an eventful final day of the season. That Sunday saw the Mets win their game, 2–1, on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth; the Reds avoided the sweep in Milwaukee following a seven-hour rain delay. Both teams finished even with records of 96–66 after 162 games.

Per MLB rules, the one game wild card playoff was held the next day, October 4, at Cincinnati's Cinergy Field. Al Leiter shut down the Reds with a two-hit shutout in a 5–0 Mets victory, sending New York to its first playoff berth since 1988 (as the wild card team, the Mets would be scheduled to play the division winner with the best record. However, since that team came from their own division—the 103–59 Braves—New York faced the team with the second best record, the 100–62 Arizona Diamondbacks).

In the National League Division Series, both the Mets and Braves would advance in four games. The Mets would defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the series ending on a walk-off home run by seldom-used backup catcher Todd Pratt, only playing due to a thumb injury to star catcher Mike Piazza. The Braves would vanquish the Houston Astros in four games, with Brian Jordan and eventual National League MVP Chipper Jones leading the way. And that would set up a National League Championship Series that was anticipated by many, pitting two bitter rivals against each other on the national stage. This marked the Braves' record eighth-straight appearance in the NLCS, while the Mets advanced to the league championship for the first time since 1988. This would be the second time that the Braves and Mets met in the NLCS. The two teams met in the very first National League Championship Series in 1969, with the Mets sweeping the best-of-five set.

Prior to Game 1, Mets Manager Bobby Valentine chided the Braves, saying that "They better be ready to play some ghosts, because we were dead and buried two weeks ago," in reference to earlier statements by Chipper Jones. When the series shifted to Shea Stadium in New York, raucous Mets fans would continually jeer Jones, chanting "LARRY!" (his given name) in derision every time he stepped to the plate. John Rocker also riled up fans, as he would often pretend to toss baseballs into the stands, and got into several arguments.

Summary

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets

Atlanta won the series, 4–2.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 12 New York Mets – 2, Atlanta Braves – 4 Turner Field 3:09 44,172[1] 
2 October 13 New York Mets – 3, Atlanta Braves – 4 Turner Field 2:42 44,624[2] 
3 October 15 Atlanta Braves – 1, New York Mets – 0 Shea Stadium 3:04 55,911[3] 
4 October 16 Atlanta Braves – 2, New York Mets – 3 Shea Stadium 2:20 55,872[4] 
5 October 17 Atlanta Braves – 3, New York Mets – 4 (15 innings) Shea Stadium 5:46 55,723[5] 
6 October 19 New York Mets – 9, Atlanta Braves – 10 (11 innings) Turner Field 4:25 52,335[6]

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 12, 1999, at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 2
Atlanta 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 X 4 8 2
WP: Greg Maddux (1–0)   LP: Masato Yoshii (0–1)   Sv: John Rocker (1)
Home runs:
NYM: None
ATL: Eddie Pérez (1)

The Braves began their eighth consecutive NLCS with a 4–2 victory over the Mets, defeating a team they left for dead two weeks earlier. They struck first in the first off of Masato Yoshii when Gerald Williams hit a leadoff single, stole second and scored on Brett Boone's single. The Mets tied it in the fourth on Mike Piazza's groundout with runners on first and third. The Braves retook the lead when Walt Weiss, who went 3 for 4, doubled to lead off the fifth, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Williams's single. Future NLCS MVP Eddie Pérez's home run next inning off of Pat Mahomes made it 3–1 Braves. Andruw Jones walked to lead off the eighth off of Turk Wendell, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Weiss's single. Greg Maddux tossed seven solid innings and John Rocker recorded the final four outs for the save, his second of the postseason, despite allowing an RBI single to Todd Pratt in the ninth to seal Atlanta's fourth straight win.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 13, 1999, at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 3 5 1
Atlanta 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 X 4 9 1
WP: Kevin Millwood (1–0)   LP: Kenny Rogers (0–1)   Sv: John Smoltz (1)
Home runs:
NYM: Melvin Mora (1)
ATL: Brian Jordan (1), Eddie Pérez (2)

Kevin Millwood held the Mets in check to win his second straight postseason start, allowing three runs—two earned—over ​7 13 innings.

The Mets struck first in the second on Roger Cedeño's RBI single with two on, then made it 2–0 on Melvin Mora's home run in the fifth.

In the sixth, Chipper Jones walked before Brian Jordan's home run tied the game. After Andruw Jones singled, Eddie Pérez's home run off of Mets starter Kenny Rogers put the Braves up 4–2.

The Mets cut the lead to 4–3 in the eighth when Mora reached on third baseman Jones's error and scored on Edgardo Alfonso's double. John Rocker relieved Millwood and ended the inning without further damage, but after pitching ​1 13 innings in Game 1, manager Bobby Cox turned to Game 4 starter John Smoltz for the ninth. Smoltz retired the Mets in order to give the Braves a 2–0 series lead.

Game 3

Friday, October 15, 1999, at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 2
WP: Tom Glavine (1–0)   LP: Al Leiter (0–1)   Sv: John Rocker (2)

Tom Glavine pitched seven shutout innings and the Braves edged the Mets, 1–0, to take a commanding three-games-to-none lead in the NLCS. The only run of the game scored in the first inning without the need for a base hit. The lead-off runner was walked, and two throwing errors by Al Leiter and Mike Piazza allowed the lead-off runner to score.

In 1996, the Braves won the first two games of the World Series against the Yankees. In Game 3, the Yankees rallied to beat Glavine and took the series in six games. With a superb effort from its two-time Cy Young Award winner, Atlanta avoided that fate here, setting up the possibility of its fifth World Series in the 1990s with a win in Game 4.

After Mike Remlinger worked a perfect eighth, Shea Stadium villain John Rocker perfectly played the part with a scoreless ninth. After Benny Agbayani reached on an error, the animated left-hander struck out pinch-hitter Todd Pratt, got Melvin Mora on a deep fly to right-center field and Rey Ordóñez on a weak force play.

The Mets faced an obstacle that no team in baseball history had overcome: rally from a 3–0 deficit to win a playoff series (the Boston Red Sox would become the first team ever to do it in the 2004 ALCS).

Game 4

Saturday, October 16, 1999, at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 3 0
New York 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 X 3 5 0
WP: Turk Wendell (1–0)   LP: Mike Remlinger (0–1)   Sv: Armando Benítez (1)
Home runs:
ATL: Brian Jordan (2), Ryan Klesko (1)
NYM: John Olerud (1)

The Mets struck first in Game 3 on John Olerud's home run in the sixth off of Braves' starter John Smoltz, but back-to-back leadoff home runs by Brian Jordan and Ryan Klesko off of Mets' starter Rick Reed put the Braves up 2–1.

The Braves were four outs from a series sweep and their fifth trip to the World Series in the 1990s when they called on John Rocker, who had treated the Mets and their fans with similar disdain this season, with two on. The left-handed closer saved five games against New York during the regular season and two in this series. During the season, he said he hated the Mets and prior to this showdown wondered how many times the Braves would have to beat them before their fans would "shut up."

Carrying the hopes and hatred of an entire city, Olerud got back at John Rocker. After a double steal, Olerud's two-run single put the Mets up 3–2 and Armando Benitez retired the Braves in order in the ninth to keep New York in the NLCS.

Game 5

Sunday, October 17, 1999, at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 R H E
Atlanta 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 13 2
New York 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 11 1
WP: Octavio Dotel (1–0)   LP: Kevin McGlinchy (0–1)
Home runs:
ATL: None
NYM: John Olerud (2)

Robin Ventura's bases-loaded blast off Kevin McGlinchy with one out in the bottom of the fifteenth inning kept the Mets' season alive with a 4–3 victory over the Braves in Game 5 of the NLCS. Ventura never made it home because he was mobbed by his teammates between first and second. Official scorer Red Foley ruled the hit (which was recently ranked the third Greatest Moment in Mets history, behind only the team's two World Series Championships) a single.[7]

The game began shortly after 4 p.m. with Greg Maddux pitching for Atlanta and Masato Yoshii starting for the Mets. The Mets took an early 2–0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as John Olerud hit his second home run in as many days with Rickey Henderson on first. The lead lasted into the fourth inning, when Atlanta struck back with consecutive doubles by Bret Boone and Chipper Jones, eventually knotting the score at 2–2 when Brian Jordan singled home Jones. Mets Manager Bobby Valentine was immediately prompted to remove Yoshii from the game in favor of Orel Hershiser, which began a run on pitching changes that resulted in the Mets emptying their bullpen by game's end, relying on starter Kenny Rogers and rookie Octavio Dotel for key innings, and might have gone to Game 4's starter Rick Reed had the game progressed past the fifteenth inning. In all, the Mets used a postseason record nine pitchers in this game.

The game continued on well into the night, accompanied by a steady rainfall which did not delay the game. Although both teams mounted some threats as the game continued, neither team was able to break through for the tie-breaking run. Atlanta eventually set a mark for futility, stranding a record nineteen men on base over the course of the game. A most notable failure occurred in the thirteenth inning, with two out and Keith Lockhart on first base and Jones at the plate. With Lockhart running, Jones laced an offering from Dotel into the right field corner. But the ball was cut off by Melvin Mora before it reached the wall, and Mora's strong relay throw, via Edgardo Alfonzo, cut down Lockhart at the plate and ended the inning.

Pitching on his 25th birthday, local villain John Rocker entered the game in the bottom of the thirteenth inning to a loud chorus of boos and several projectiles hurled in his direction. He retired four batters over ​1 13 innings, including a strikeout of the ailing Mike Piazza. Upon being removed from the game, Rocker mocked the Shea Stadium fans by pretending to boo, and yelled at fans sitting around the Atlanta dugout as he left the field.

The Mets' season appeared over after Lockhart tripled home a run in the top of the fifteenth off Dotel to put the Braves ahead 3–2. However, McGlinchy could not hold the lead. Shawon Dunston, who misplayed Lockhart's triple, atoned with a leadoff single after fouling off several pitches with a full count. With pinch-hitter Matt Franco batting, Dunston stole second base. Franco eventually worked out a walk, which was followed by Edgardo Alfonzo laying down a sacrifice bunt to move Dunston to third. Olerud—whose homer in the first was now a distant memory—was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Todd Pratt, again thrust into the spotlight with Piazza nursing several injuries, hit next. McGlinchy walked Todd Pratt on five pitches and fell behind the slumping Ventura. At 9:47 p.m., McGlinchy grooved a fastball on a 2–1 count, and Ventura launched it through the steady rain and over the right-field fence. Although Ventura had seen the ball clear the wall, and was waving Pratt around the bases, Pratt tackled Ventura between first and second base, and most of the Mets team ran out on the field and mobbed Ventura in a wild scene.

Mets manager Bobby Valentine said following the game

Robin Ventura played it out on one leg all day. There were times I thought about taking him out, but he told me 'No, I'm okay, no, I can go,' and now he comes up with the winning hit, it's gotta be poetic justice. Justice indeed.

Valentine was speaking in reference to a calf injury that had been bothering Ventura during the postseason, and had led to his entering this game without a hit in the series.

NBC's Bob Costas gushed on the air following Ventura's blast,

I'll tell you, these Mets are Rasputin-like. You cannot put them away. They will not die.

At the time, the game was the longest in terms of elapsed time in postseason history, clocking in at 5 hours, 46 minutes. It was surpassed in 2004 by Game 5 of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, and again in 2005 in Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves, and once more in 2014 in Game 2 the NLDS between the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

This Mets victory marked just the second time in baseball history that a team had come back from a three games to none deficit in a best-of-seven series to make it to a Game 6. Coincidentally, the Braves from the previous year's NLCS were the first.

Game 6

Tuesday, October 19, 1999, at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
New York 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 1 0 1 0 9 15 2
Atlanta 5 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 1 10 10 1
WP: Russ Springer (1–0)   LP: Kenny Rogers (0–2)
Home runs:
NYM: Mike Piazza (1)
ATL: None

Although few thought this game likely after Atlanta took a 3–0 lead in the series, the Mets' grit and determination made it possible. Kevin Millwood started for Atlanta, while Al Leiter took the start on only three days' rest for the Mets.

Leiter, unaccustomed to throwing on short rest, was tattooed in the first inning. He hit Gerald Williams with a pitch and walked Bret Boone to lead off, then catcher Mike Piazza's errant throw to third on Williams's base-stealing attempt allowed him to score and move Boone to third. After Chipper Jones was hit by a pitch, Brian Jordan's RBI single scored Boone. After Andruw Jones's fielder's choice loaded the bases, Eddie Perez's two-run single knocked Leiter out of the game. Pat Mahomes relieved Leiter and Brian Hunter's sacrifice fly made it 5–0 Braves. With Millwood looking sharp and the Mets bats quiet, it appeared through the early innings to be an Atlanta cakewalk.

Once again, the Mets had other thoughts in mind. Millwood began to tire in the sixth. An Edgardo Alfonzo leadoff double was followed by John Olerud's single before Piazza's sacrifice fly put the Mets on the board. After Robin Ventura doubled, Darryl Hamilton's single made it 5–3 Braves.

Atlanta scraped back for two runs in their half of the sixth, courtesy of a José Hernández two-run single off Dennis Cook, with both runs charged to Turk Wendell.

John Smoltz entered the game in relief for Atlanta in the seventh and after Matt Franco and Rickey Henderson hit back-to-back lead-off doubles, John Olerud singled home another run to make the score 7–5. This brought up Mike Piazza, who had played out the entire series with several injuries which had forced him to miss two games in the Division Series, the last innings of Game 5 and would eventually force him out of this game following the ninth inning. However, this would not be before he blasted a long home run to right off Smoltz to tie the score at 7–7.

Bob Costas said as Piazza capped the Mets incredible comeback, "Tied at seven, hoping for Game 7!"

With the game now tied and in the hands of two completely exhausted bullpens, the game became a test of wills. The Mets took an 8–7 lead in the eighth, as rookie Melvin Mora, a virtual unknown but a standout in this series, singled home Benny Agbayani off of Mike Remlinger. But then, with all the momentum going the Mets' way, the Braves rallied back against John Franco in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Eddie Perez singled. Otis Nixon pinch-ran for Perez, and took the momentum back by stealing second base and going to third when Piazza's throw went into center field. Brian Hunter singled home the tying run.

In the tenth inning, the Mets once again regained the lead, and again Mora was in the center of things. His one-out single off John Rocker put Agbayani in position to score on Todd Pratt's sacrifice fly, but, again, Atlanta rallied to tie in the last of the tenth, with Ozzie Guillén singling home Andruw Jones off Armando Benítez to re-knot the game at 9–9.

Finally, in the eleventh, the Mets' magic ran out. Kenny Rogers entered the game (although most had speculated that it would be rookie Octavio Dotel) and gave up a leadoff double to Gerald Williams. A Bret Boone sacrifice bunt moved Williams to third with one out. Following intentional walks to Chipper Jones and Brian Jordan, Rogers walked Andruw Jones on a 3–2 pitch to score Williams and win the pennant for Atlanta.

Composite line score

1999 NLCS (4–2): Atlanta Braves over New York Mets

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 R H E
Atlanta Braves 7 0 0 2 1 7 0 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 24 46 7
New York Mets 2 1 0 1 1 4 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 21 49 8
Total attendance: 308,637   Average attendance: 51,440

Aftermath

Although Atlanta would move on to the World Series, their joy would be short lived. Physically and emotionally spent following this series, the Braves didn't put up much of a fight as they lost in four games to the other New York City team, the Yankees, making it the second time in 1999 that a New York City team had swept an Atlanta team out of a playoffs; the Knicks had swept the Hawks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs during their Cinderella run to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs. (By a twist of fate, the Mets won a game in Atlanta on the same night the Spurs won the NBA championship against the Knicks.[8])

The Mets had created as much of a stir from losing as one possibly could imagine. Much of the post-series spotlight ended up focusing on the Mets. Manager Bobby Valentine, who was seen smashing the dugout railing, screaming "NO! NO! NO!" as Rogers walked Jones, said in a postgame press conference,

I told my guys it could be a long winter or a short winter, but heck with it. Those guys played like champions and they should feel like champions.

Mets General Manager Steve Phillips summed up the harrowing four weeks the Mets had been through saying that "we had destiny in our own hands, we lost destiny, we got it back in our own hands...We didn't choke. We didn't fold. We won."[9]

Bob Costas would close out his NBC telecast by saying,

It was closing night for the greatest Mets show since (their championship season of) 1986.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that The New York Times printed a Delta Air Lines advertisement lauding the Mets for their postseason run.[10] The ad said, "Thanks for giving the fans something to cheer about this season. It was great to hear the crowd at Shea roar louder than our planes." It ran beneath a softball-sized reproduction of the Mets logo.[10] A spokesperson at Delta Air Lines said that "at Delta, we are good sports, and we admire good competition. We have a major presence in New York, and we are the official airline of the New York Mets as well as the Atlanta Braves."[10]

This series would prove to be a harbinger of many events that would shape the 2000 baseball season. Rocker would go on to make several controversial remarks in a Sports Illustrated article. Jones, and many other members of this Braves team, most notably Andruw Jones and Brian Jordan, would continue to be heckled mercilessly at Shea Stadium, which continued until their retirement. The Mets would post a remarkable ten-run rally to defeat Atlanta 11–8 in a game they once trailed 8–1, on June 30, 2000. Regardless, the Braves would again win the NL East and relegate the Mets to the Wild Card. The Mets, however, were the ones who ended up in the World Series, in which they fell to the Yankees. With the Braves being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, it made the Mets' path to the World Series much easier.[11]

The Braves also avenged their loss from the first ever NLCS 30 years before, losing to the Miracle Mets, who were underdogs despite the fact that the Braves had a weaker record (93–69 compared to the Mets' 100–62). In addition, Atlanta teams had avenged their losses to New York City teams in a playoffs in 1999; following the Knicks sweep of the Hawks (see above).

To date, this is the Braves' most recent pennant.

References

  1. ^ "1999 NLCS Game 1 - New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1999 NLCS Game 2 - New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1999 NLCS Game 3 - Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1999 NLCS Game 4 - Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "1999 NLCS Game 5 - Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "1999 NLCS Game 6 - New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. ^ Sandomir, Richard (October 18, 1999). "TV Sports, Only Extra Thrills". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  8. ^ Newberry, Paul (June 26, 1999). "Mets 10, Braves 2". Associated Press. Rick Reed shut down the Braves over ​6 13 innings and also had an RBI single as the streaking New York Mets closed within two games of Atlanta in the NL East with a 10-2 rout...The Mets' clubhouse...was largely devoid of noise. A few players gathered around a television set to watch the San Antonio Spurs finish off the Knicks in the NBA Finals.
  9. ^ Rhoden, William C. (October 20, 1999). "Now the Mets Have Whole New Attitude". New York Times. p. D3.
  10. ^ a b c Guthrie, Patricia (October 24, 1999). "1999 WORLD SERIES BASE BUZZ: Delta lauds the Mets (?) YANKEES 4, BRAVES 1". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. E10.
  11. ^ The subway series: the Yankees, the Mets and a season to remember. St. Louis, Mo.: The Sporting News. 2000. ISBN 0-89204-659-7.

External links

Al Leiter

Alois Terry Leiter (; born October 23, 1965) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) left-handed starting pitcher. Leiter pitched 19 seasons in the Major Leagues for New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Florida Marlins, and New York Mets. He is now a studio analyst for MLB Network, and formerly a color commentator for the YES Network and 2016 Marlins Fox Sports Florida game analyst.

Big Three (Atlanta Braves)

The Big Three was a trio of Major League Baseball starting pitchers for the Atlanta Braves from 1993-2002 which consisted of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. The Big Three combined to win six National League Cy Young Awards in the 1990s and helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a 1995 World Series win. Each member of the Big Three has had their jersey retired by the Atlanta Braves and has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Eddie Pérez (baseball)

Eduardo Rafael Pérez (born May 4, 1968) is a Venezuelan-American former professional baseball player and coach. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a catcher for the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers. He batted and threw right-handed. During his tenure with the Braves, Pérez was notable for being the personal catcher for Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux and, for being named the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 National League Championship Series.

Grand Slam Single

The Grand Slam Single is the hit that ended Game 5 of the 1999 National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and one of their rivals, the Atlanta Braves. The game was played on October 17, 1999 at Shea Stadium.

History of the New York Mets

The history of the New York Mets began in 1962 when the team was introduced as part of the National League's first expansion of the 20th century. The team's history includes two World Series championships and five National League pennants.

Kevin McGlinchy

Kevin Michael McGlinchy (June 28, 1977) is a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major League Baseball from 1999-2000 with the Atlanta Braves. In the 1999 National League Championship Series, he gave up the famous Grand Slam Single to Robin Ventura in game 5, but the Braves won the next game to take the series.

Mets–Phillies rivalry

The Mets–Phillies rivalry or Battle of the Broads is a Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. Both clubs are members of MLB's National League (NL) East division. The rivalry between the two clubs is said to be among the most fiercely contested in the NL. The two NL East divisional rivals have met each other recently in playoff, division, and Wild Card races. The Battle of the Broads name is a nod to both cities having the word Broad in their street names: Broadway in New York, and Broad Street in Philadelphia.

Aside from several brawls in the 1980s, the rivalry remained relatively low-key before the 2006 season, as the teams had seldom been equally good at the same time. A notable moment in their early meetings was Jim Bunning's perfect game on Father's Day of 1964, the first perfect game in Phillies history, which happened when the Mets were on a losing streak. The Phillies were near the bottom of the NL East when the Mets won the 1969 World Series and the National League pennant in 1973, while the Mets did not enjoy success in the late 1970s when the Phillies won three straight division championships. Although both teams each won a World Series in the 1980s, the Mets were not serious contenders in the Phillies' playoff years (1980, 1981, and 1983), nor did the Phillies seriously contend in the Mets' playoff years (1986 and 1988). The Mets were the Majors' worst team when the Phillies won the NL pennant in 1993, and the Phillies could not post a winning record in either of the Mets' wild-card-winning seasons of 1999 or 2000, when the Mets faced the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series.

The rivalry intensified in the mid 2000s, as the teams battled more often for playoff position. The Mets won the division in 2006, while the Phillies won five consecutive division titles from 2007 to 2011. The Phillies' 2007 championship was won on the last day of the season as the Mets lost a seven-game lead with 17 games remaining. The Phillies broke the Curse of Billy Penn to win the 2008 World Series, while the Mets' last title came in the 1986 World Series.

In 2015, the Mets won the National League Championship Series for their fifth pennant while the Phillies entered a rebuild phase. The Mets beat the Phillies 14 times and lost 5 for a lopsided season series. The season still provided contentious moments such as, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey drilling Phillies 2nd baseman Chase Utley in retaliation for Mets players getting hit by Phillies pitchers, a benches clearing argument between Phillies coach Larry Bowa in regards to a quick pitch by Hansel Robles and a bat flip by Daniel Murphy. Phillies star Chase Utley while, traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers mid-season, injured Mets shortstop Rubén Tejada on a legal slide during Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

New York Mets

The New York Mets are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of Queens. The Mets compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. The Mets are one of two Major League clubs based in New York City; the other is the New York Yankees of the American League East.

One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed NL teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. The Mets' colors are composed of the Dodgers' blue and the Giants' orange, which also form the outer two bands of the New York City flag. During the 1962 and 1963 seasons, the Mets played their home games at the Polo Grounds. From 1964 to 2008, the Mets' home ballpark was Shea Stadium. In 2009, they moved into their current ballpark, Citi Field.In their 1962 inaugural season, the Mets posted a record of 40–120, the worst regular season record since MLB went to a 162-game schedule (two games were canceled). The team never finished better than second to last until the 1969 "Miracle Mets" beat the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in World Series history. Since then, they have played in four additional World Series, including a dramatic run in 1973 that ended in a seven-game loss to the Oakland Athletics, a second championship in 1986 over the Boston Red Sox, a Subway Series loss against their cross-town rivals the New York Yankees in 2000, and a five-game loss to the Kansas City Royals in 2015.

The Mets qualified to play in the Major League Baseball postseason in 1988 and 2006, coming within one game of the World Series both years. After near-misses in 2007 and 2008, the Mets made the playoffs in 2015 for the first time in nine years, and won their first NL pennant in 15 years. The team again returned to the playoffs in 2016, this time with a wild card berth. This was the team's second back-to-back playoff appearance, the first occurring during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

As of the end of the 2018 MLB season, the Mets overall win-loss record is 4362–4732, good for a .480 win percentage.

Octavio Dotel

Octavio Eduardo Dotel Diaz (born November 25, 1973) is a Dominican former professional baseball pitcher. Dotel played for thirteen major league teams, the second most teams played for by any player in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), setting the mark when he pitched for the Detroit Tigers on April 7, 2012, breaking a record previously held by Mike Morgan, Matt Stairs, and Ron Villone. Edwin Jackson broke this record in 2019. He was a member of the Houston Astros for 5 seasons.

Dotel made his MLB debut on June 26, 1999, for the New York Mets and lost. His first MLB win came July 1, 1999, against the Florida Marlins. He ended the season as the winning pitcher in the 1999 National League Championship Series game five against the Atlanta Braves.

He was voted Player of the Week for the week of July 25, 1999. Dotel won the 2011 World Series as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2013, as part of the World Baseball Classic champions along with fellow Dominicans Robinson Canó and Santiago Casilla, Dotel became one of the few players in history to win both a World Series and a World Baseball Classic.

Orel Hershiser

Orel Leonard Hershiser IV (born September 16, 1958) is an American former baseball pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1983 to 2000. He later became a broadcast color analyst for the Dodgers. He is also a professional poker player.

After playing baseball in high school at Cherry Hill High School East and at Bowling Green State University, Hershiser was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1979. After several years in the minor leagues, he made his major league debut with the Dodgers in 1983. During his tenure with the team, Hershiser was a three-time All-Star. Hershiser's most successful season came in 1988, when he set a major league record by pitching 59 consecutive innings without allowing a run. He helped lead the Dodgers to a championship in the 1988 World Series, and was named the National League (NL) Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the World Series MVP. That season, he won the NL Cy Young Award and an NL Gold Glove Award. He later pitched in two more World Series and earned the American League Championship Series MVP Award. After 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Hershisher spent time with the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, and New York Mets before returning to Los Angeles for his final season. After retirement as a player, he briefly worked as a coach and team executive for the Texas Rangers before serving as a color analyst for ESPN and then the Dodgers.

Known for his slight frame and fierce competitive spirit, Hershiser was nicknamed "Bulldog" by former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who managed Hershiser during his time with the Dodgers.

Otis Nixon

Otis Junior Nixon (born January 9, 1959) is an American former professional baseball center fielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins between 1983 and 1999. He has stolen the most bases for a player who has never appeared in an MLB All-Star game since the All-Star Game was inaugurated in 1933.

Ozzie Guillén

Oswaldo José Guillén Barrios (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡiˈʎen]; born January 20, 1964) is a Venezuelan former professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for 16 seasons, primarily with the Chicago White Sox, from 1985 to 2000. He then managed the White Sox from 2004 to 2011 and the Miami Marlins in 2012.

As a player, Guillén was respected for his passion, speed, hustle, intensity and defensive abilities and his ebullient love for the game. In 2005, Guillen became the first Latino manager in major league history to win a World Series.

Robin Ventura

Robin Mark Ventura (born July 14, 1967) is an American former professional baseball third baseman and manager. Ventura played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was also the manager for the White Sox for five seasons. The White Sox selected Ventura with the tenth overall pick in the 1988 amateur draft from Oklahoma State University (OSU). He is a six-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner, two-time MLB All-Star selection and a National College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.

While playing college baseball for the Cowboys at OSU, Ventura was a three-time All-American who authored a Division I-record 58-game hitting streak. In 1988, he won the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award and played for the gold medal-winning Olympic baseball team. In his MLB career, he hit 18 grand slams, ranking fifth all-time. In Game 5 of the 1999 National League Championship Series, Ventura hit the "Grand Slam Single" that won the game but did not actually become a home run because he was unable to complete the circuit around the base paths. Later in his playing career, cartilage and arthritis issues in his ankle hampered his abilities in the field. After the 2011 season, the White Sox hired him to be their manager, making him the 17th former White Sox player to manage the club.

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