Posted by Andy on June 30, 2007
This is a very special entry to the Stat of the the Day blog (at least for me.)
I didn't become a baseball fan until I was a teenager. From then on, I have been to many games in many different parks (I think the full list for major league home teams is Phillies, Mets, Yankees, Orioles, Royals, Rockies, Giants, A's, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Mariners, Cubs, and White Sox...whew!)
However, I went to my very first game when I was a kid. I went with my late grandfather (and possibly my brother or cousin), and nobody else remembers the details of when we went.
A couple of years ago, I tried to find the game by sifting through the Retrosheet box scores. But there were too many and I couldn't figure it out.
However, through the power of the Play Index, I've figured it out.
This is how I did it:
I used the facts I could remember about the game.
Firstly, I know the game was at Shea Stadium. I clearly remember it, plus my grandfather was a huge Mets fan, and he would never have taken me to a Yankees game. Secondly, I know that the game was against the Reds, and that Johnny Bench hit a home run in the game.
So, firstly, I started with Johnny Bench's Event Log for home runs.
There are 389 such home runs, but once you limit it to home runs he hit at Shea Stadium, then there are just 11.
Then, I also recall that he hit the homer early in the game, and that his home run produced the game's first run or runs. Of those 11 homers Bench hit at Shea, we can eliminate the 1 he hit when the Reds were already up by at least 4 runs, as well as the 4 he hit when the Reds were losing. That leaves the 6 he hit when the score was tied.
Of those 6, 4 occurred in the years 1970 to 1973, which I would not remember (based on my age.) The other two happened in this game in 1979 and this game in 1982. (Coincidentally, both were hit off of Craig Swan.)
In the 1979 game, Bench's homer came in the 7th inning with the score tied at 2. So that one is eliminated.
That leaves just the 1982 game...does it qualify?
Yes indeed, it goes. Bench hit a solo homer in the top of the 2nd for the game's first run. The Mets went on to win 3-2, but this game was on September 4, 1982 and both teams had just 52 wins at the end of the year. Attendance was a measly 11,032!
Anyway, it was very rewarding for me to figure this out. This was the very first of many games I've been to, and many more I hope to go to.