What a difference a decade makes. No, I’m not referring to the uber invention that is Google which helped me find this gem of an article from the NY Times in a matter of nano seconds.
I’m talking about the NY Mets and their organization. It was only 10 years ago we were the dregs of the baseball universe; still trying to break through the carnage that was the ‘Worst Team Money Could Buy,’ which included Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Eddie Murray and ironically, Willie Randolph. For much of the 90’s the Mets were a downright embarrassment and their future looked bleak.
In 1998, incredibly, the Mets didn’t sell out Opening Day. ‘It’s anybody’s guess when the stadium will be full again…They lacked star appeal’ as noted in the Times article. And who could argue? Butch Huskey in right, Brian McRae in center, and Tim Spehr behind the plate – filling in for an injured Todd Hundley – was not exactly murderer’s row. Fortunately, 7 weeks later, the Mets pulled off the single most important trade in their history when they acquired Mike Piazza. The first real super star had arrived since Darryl and Doc. Today, we're stacked with them.
For an entertaining read, check out the article from the Times, from March 31, 1998. One nugget of information that is especially funny; the new stadium was supposed to be ready in 2002.
Mets 1998 Opening Day Lineup
Brian McRae CF
E Alfonzo 3B
B Gilkey LF
J Olerud 1B
C Baerga 2B
B Huskey RF
T Spehr C
R Ordonez SS
B Jones P
Mets won 1-0 in 13 vs. Phillies. I was at the game.