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Mets Made Of Iron, But Sink Anyway

Posted by Steve Lombardi on September 29, 2008

The 2008 Mets have become just the 7th team in baseball history to have four players on their team appear in 159+games in the same season.  Here's the list via PI:

 Year Lg Team                              Number Players Matching
 2008 NL New York Mets                          4 Carlos Beltran / David Wright / Carlos Delgado / Jose Reyes
 1968 NL Chicago Cubs                           4 Billy Williams / Ron Santo / Don Kessinger / Randy Hundley
 1965 NL Cincinnati Reds                        4 Pete Rose / Deron Johnson / Vada Pinson / Tommy Harper
 1964 NL St. Louis Cardinals                    4 Ken Boyer / Curt Flood / Dick Groat / Bill White
 1962 AL Los Angeles Angels                     4 Leon Wagner / Albie Pearson / Lee Thomas / Billy Moran
 1962 NL San Francisco Giants                   4 Jose Pagan / Willie Mays / Orlando Cepeda / Chuck Hiller
 1961 AL Detroit Tigers                         4 Rocky Colavito / Jake Wood / Bill Bruton / Norm Cash

This entry was posted on Monday, September 29th, 2008 at 3:08 pm and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

19 Responses to “Mets Made Of Iron, But Sink Anyway”

  1. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Any theories on why this happened in the '60s and not since then? A guess is that with guaranteed, big-money contracts, teams are more likely to rest or DL a player with something that they used to play through. But there's probably something else to it. Teams generally had bigger offensive benches back then, so one might think that would lead to more players getting days off, but apparently not.

  2. Looks like it's no guarantee for success. Only the Cardinals in '64 were World Champs, although if Willie McCovey got a little more lift on a liner in '62, the Giants would have been champs, too.

  3. The 1961 Tigers went into September only a game and a half behind the legendary 1961 Yankees. Then the Yankees swept a series from the Tigers and never looked back. Trivia buffs will note that the Tigers actually scored more runs that year than the Mantle-Maris Yankees.

  4. And Norm Cash may have had a better season than the M&M boys.

  5. Speaking of iron men, here's a list of players with more than 162 games in a season -- it's happened a total of 32 times. Maury Wills leads the way with 165, thanks to the 3-game Dodger/Giant playoff (back when they did such things). Jose Pagan (164) and Tommy Davis (163) also made the list thanks to those playoff games.

    Other interesting tidbits from this list:

    Frank Taveras played in 164 games in 1979 because he was traded to a team (the Mets) who had played 2 fewer games than the team he left (the Pirates). In 1976, Willie Montanez had a chance to be in 166 games due to a similar trade situation -- the Braves had played 4 fewer games than the Giants when he was traded to Atlanta, but he missed a game with the Giants and two games with the Braves and ended up with only 163.

    Some extra games were due to ties. Billy Williams and Ron Santo were in 164 games in 1965 thanks to two ties. Ernie Banks also was in 163 that year, so the Cubs are the only team with 3 players in 163 games in a year. Cesar Tovar made it into 164 games in 1967 due to two ties; his teammate Harmon Killebrew also appeared in 163
    games (including 3 HR in the two tie games!).

    Of course it's not surprising that Cal Ripken is on the list with 163 games in 1996. The only wonder is that he didn't do it more often -- I guess the Orioles only had the one tie during his streak. Todd Zeile also played in 163 games that year -- he wasn't with the team for the tie game, but got to play the make-up game after being traded from the Phillies.

  6. OK, I screwed up the link above.

    Try this.

  7. I also forgot to mention that Billy Williams made the 163 list 3 times, Brooks Robinson and Pete Rose twice each, the only repeaters.

  8. David in Toledo Says:

    The 2008 Mets were men of iron in other ways, too.

    The bullpen distinguished itself (as we know). Counting Ayala, 4 of the top 7 NL pitchers in game appearances were Mets. (As a staff, the Mets made 719 appearances, 4.4+/game. Does anyone know how to locate the team record for most pitching appearances in a season?)

    The Play Index report below provides a Reyes/Ripken comparison (for four years, not just 2008).

  9. David in Toledo Says:

    Innings in field, 2008: Delgado 1376, Wright 1433, Reyes 1420, Beltran 1407.

    Each of the other teams has at least one player sub-1400: Beckert 1378, Harper 1369, Groat 1373, all three A's of, all the Giants but Pagan, Bruton 1291. To me the iron man on these lists is the catcher, Randy Hundley (1385 innings).

    In general, I think you're right, JohnnyT. If a longer bench allows you to rest a player for the last few innings of many games, you may ask him to play every day.

    I'd have to check, but in the 1960's there may still have been more-or-less weekly doubleheaders. In those, a manager always pulled his regulars before the end of the first game and started them in the second, or played them in game two in the late innings only. But there was usually a day completely off every week or ten days. So, in a sense, players had to go on the field less often than they do today.

  10. BunnyWrangler Says:

    How many other teams have been eliminated from playoff contention in the regular season's final game in back-to-back years? The only one of which I can think is the '48-'49 Red Sox.

  11. Didn't the Dodgers miss out on the last day in both 1950 and 1951?

    Trivia question: who was the first major leaguer to play 162 games in a season? Hint: Play Index won't help.

  12. BunnyWrangler Says:

    Jimmy Barrett - Bill James mentioned this about him in one of his books. Play Index can verify this with a pretty simple season search; only the game search doesn't go back before 1957.

  13. Going back to whiz's list of guys who played 163+ games, I have a great statistical anamoly for you. How can a man play for more games in a year that his team played without being traded?

    In 1979, Pete Rose played in 163 games for the Philadelphia Phillies, yet the Phils only played 162 games that year (they didn't play a one-game playoff or anything).
    How can this be?

    The answer is because on April 8, 1979, the Phils tied the Cardinals 2-2. His stats counted for that game, and he played every other game that year, including the make up double header later that year.

    I think this is a really cool stat.

  14. #11 "Hint: Play Index won’t help."

    I disagree.

  15. Of course, you're both right about Play Index - I forgot that it's only the game search that goes back to 1957.

    In 1901, American Leaguer Irv Waldron played 141 games. No American League team played more than 139 that year. My sources show the 1979 Phils playing 163 games, not 162.

  16. #15, the 79 Phils went 84-78. To the untrained eye, that 162 games.

    Major League Baseball Rules state that a tie game is treated like it never happened.

  17. If a tie game is treated like it never happened, then Rose didn't play in 163 games. I reckon that playing 163 games when your team plays 163 games is not as cool as playing 141 games when no team in the league even plays 140, even counting ties.

  18. Look at his stats though, he played 163 games in 1979. It's a downright anamoly

  19. Official tie games count toward player and team statistics, but not toward the standings.

    Since 1956 there have been 209,010 team batting games. Since there are 2 teams in every game, this means that there have been 104,505 games. 104,401 of them have had a winner and a loser. That leaves 104 tie games since 1956. This is an average of 2 per year.
    This is a lot more common than playing an extra game to settle a tie in the standings.