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Queens Chronicle

Our hometown heroes for 50 years — Part X: 1991-1996

A New York Mets anniversary special

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Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 1:22 pm, Thu Jul 19, 2012.

The early to mid-nineties were not good years for the Mets, as they suffered six losing seasons in a row, including, in 1993, the loss of more than 100 games for the first time since the sixties. The decade would end much better than it began for the team, but it would take a lot of work to get there.

1991

Record: 77-85, fifth in National League East.

After a superb first half (47-34) the club suffers a disastrous second half (30-51) to endure its first losing season in eight years. The Amazin’s have both double-figure winning and losing streaks in the same season for the first time ever.

Howard Johnson is the only offensive bright light, leading the National League in home runs with 38 and RBIs with 117, becoming the first Met to lead the league in the latter category.

Dwight Gooden is 13-7 in an abbreviated season; David Cone is 14-14, and strikes out 19 in the final game of the season to tie the club record set by Tom Seaver in 1970. Mike Cubbage replaces Bud Harrelson as manager with just seven games left, going 3-4; Jeff Torborg replaces him after the end of the season.

 

1992

Record: 72-90, fifth in National League East.

Despite the acquisition of Bret Saberhagen on the mound, and of Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and Willie Randolph in the lineup, the Mets are a huge disappointment. Murray leads in RBIs with 93, while Bonilla can only hit 19 home runs and drive in 70 runs.

Cone is 13-7 before being traded to Toronto, while Sid Fernandez, at 14-11, 2.73 ERA, leads the staff. Gooden (10-13) has his first losing season. Anthony Young (2-14) begins a losing streak that will reach 19 in 1993.

1993

Record: 59-103, sixth in National League East.

The Mets lose more than 100 for the first time since 1967. Murray hits 27 home runs and drives in 100 runs, while Bonilla hits 34 homers and drives in 87. Gooden, at 12-15, leads the staff in wins.

The highlight of season comes on July 28, when the Mets score 2 in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Florida 5-4, and finally end Young’s 19-game losing streak. Torborg is replaced early on by Dallas Green.

1994

Record: 55-58, third in National League East.

In the strike-abbreviated season, the Mets improve to third. Bonilla hits 20 home runs and drives in 67 runs in 108 games; Ryan Thompson hits 18 and drives in 59 in 98 games.

John Franco saves 30 in just 47 appearances; Saberhagen is 14-4, 2.74 ERA and Bobby Jones is 12-7 with a 3.15 ERA.

Gooden is 3-4 in his last season with the team. He finishes his Mets career with a 157-85 record; his 1,876 strikeouts are second in club history, while his .649 winning percentage is the team’s best.

1995

Record: 69-75, second in National League East.

After “cleaning house” late in the season by trading many veterans and replacing them with younger players, the Mets win 29 of their last 44 to finish second.

Rookie pitchers Jason Isringhausen (9-2, 2.81 ERA) and Bill Pulsipher (5-7) show future promise, while veteran Franco enjoys another fine year with 29 saves. Rico Brogna leads the club with 22 homers and 76 RBIs.

1996

Record: 71-91, fourth in National League East.

Despite outstanding years for several players, the Mets finish fourth; Bobby Valentine takes over as manager for the last 31 games.

Lance Johnson sets club records with 227 hits and 117 runs scored, while stealing 50 bases and batting .333. Bernard Gilkey ties a another Mets record with 117 RBIs while hitting 30 home runs; Todd Hundley sets one with his 41 home runs, while driving in 112.

Mark Clark (14-11) and Bobby Jones (12-8) are the big winners on the staff.   

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