30 years ago, Mets persevere after resounding loss
Beaten 26-7 by Phillies, club took loss to heart, was World Series champion 16 months later
By the time the Phillies had completed their half of the first inning, they had hit for the cycle with a home run to spare, stolen two bases, walked once and benefited from a wild pitch and a hit batsman. From such humble beginnings -- remember, all things are relative -- grew a final score that kids in the Bronx schoolyards used to identify as "an Enos" because one team had been Slaughtered. Get it?
The victims of the Enos that developed at Veterans Stadium that night were the unsuspecting Mets. They had come to Philadelphia for a routine three-game weeknight series against the stumbling Phillies. After the games of June 11, 1985, 30 years ago today, they were the second-place team in the National League East, eight games over .500 through 54 games and four games behind the defending division-champion Cubs.
The Phillies were in fifth place, and not sixth, only because the last Pirates team before the Jim Leyland years had dragged a .333 winning percentage to June's midpoint. These were the Phillies of Steve Jeltz, Von Hayes and Jeff Stone. The days of Lefty and the Bull-Schmidt tandem were over, though Michael Jack still anchored the batting order.
The unforgiving randomness of big league baseball is a powerful force that can equalize the '27 Yankees and the '62 Mets on a given day. Yet eyebrows were raised and double takes executed when the Phillies "Enosed" the Mets, 26-7. Twenty-six to seven.
The kids in the Bronx had decided that any margin of victory greater than 15 runs was a "Grand Enos," probably because the stickball games they staged were played near the Grand Concourse.
But anyway ...
With Hayes hitting two home runs in a nine-run first inning and the Phillies scoring seven more runs in the second, the slaughter qualified as a Grandy before Clint Hurdle, the Mets' No. 7 hitter, led off the third. "I could have read 'War and Peace' before I got an AB," Hurdle said.
The Phillies also produced two more modest innings of five and four runs while amassing 27 hits, 12 of them by their first hitters, Hayes, Rick Schu and Juan Samuel. Their team's slugging percentage in 50 at-bats that night was beyond Ruthian: .760. Their on-base average was .603. The Mets' one-night ERA was 27.00.
Shell-shocked Mets starter Tom Gorman allowed six runs and retired one batter. Veteran Joe Sambito surrendered 10 runs in three innings of mop-up. But the guy who was absolutely "Enosed" until he was senseless was Calvin Schiraldi. He faced 15 batters in 1 1/3 innings, retired four and surrendered 10 runs.
"Pretty gruesome," Schiraldi said.
"No pitcher wanted to sit next to him [in the dugout]," Ron Darling said the following day. "We were afraid it might be contagious."
The Phillies giggled a lot and said all the things players say after they've administered a thrashing, though third-base coach Lee Elia did announce after the game that he needed rotator cuff surgery. "I wore out my shoulder waving these guys in," he said.
The Mets were a more creative bunch. "When I came in [in the fifth], we were down nine," Sambito said. "I told our guys, 'That's it. No more. Get me even, and I'll hold 'em.'"
Rusty Staub claimed the result was unfair. "They were playing football, and we were playing soccer," he said.
"You wait and see," Wally Backman said. "They'll be gassed tomorrow. They're not used to that much running. Their tongues were hanging out by the sixth."
The Mets reacted as a team usually does to such developments. "I'd rather get blown out than lose 2-1 in 12," Howard Johnson said. "You lose like this, it's pretty easy to turn the page."
But that was where manager Davey Johnson drew a line. He was a "turn the page" advocate who routinely urged his players to purge their memories. "Don't let wins or losses linger in your minds," he'd say. But this one was different. And Johnson underscored the distinction when he addressed his players after the game. "Remember this one," he said. "'Turn the page' won't do it this time. Remember how you felt out there -- ticked off, embarrassed, sick of standing at your position. Never let it happen again."
The following summer, as the Mets were rampaging to a division championship en route to a World Series title, Ed Lynch noted that the team had wisely heeded its manager's advice. "See," Lynch said, 'it's worked. We haven't lost 26-7 since then."