1978 New York Mets season

1978 New York Mets season

The 1978 New York Mets season was the 17th regular season for the Mets, who played their home games at Shea Stadium. Led by manager Joe Torre, the team had a 66–96 record yielding a sixth place finish in the National League East.


Regular season

On May 1, in a game against the Mets, Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected from a game for the first time in his career.[5] Cox would go on to set the record for most ejections by a manager.

Season summary

Expectations were low for the Mets heading into the 1978 season. The Amazin's only drew 11,736 for the season opener at Shea, which had acquired the nickname "Grant's Tomb." The Mets beat the Montreal Expos 3–1. Opening Day starter Jerry Koosman struck out seven in his complete game victory.

From there, things went poorly for Koosman and the Mets. He only won two more games with the Mets in 1978, versus 15 losses despite a respectable 3.75 earned run average. His third win of the season came on July 13 in Cincinnati against Tom Seaver. Following the season, Koosman would be traded to the Minnesota Twins for Jesse Orosco and Greg Field. Koosman had gone 11–35 in his last two seasons as a Met, bringing his career mark to 140–137—not nearly indicative of the stellar career he had with the Mets.

The ace of the staff turned out to be Pat Zachry, whom they'd acquired on June 15, 1977 as part of the infamous "Midnight Massacre," when he, Doug Flynn, Dan Norman and Steve Henderson were traded to the Mets from the Cincinnati Reds for Tom Seaver.

Zachry had a 10–4 record, and was selected by Tommy Lasorda as the sole Mets representative on the National League All-Star team, but did not play. After dropping his next two decisions, On July 24, Zachry was the starting pitcher against the Cincinnati Reds for the largest crowd of the season at Shea (35,939) as Pete Rose entered the game with a 36-game hitting streak. Rose was 0–3 until a seventh inning single gave him a 37-game hitting streak to tie the N.L. record. Four batters latter, Zachry was pulled in favor of Kevin Kobel. Frustrated, Zachry went to kick a batting helmet sitting on the dugout steps, missed the helmet and kicked the step—fracturing his left foot, and ending his season.[6] In his absence, Craig Swan assumed the role of staff ace. Swan went 7–1 following the injury to Zachry, leading the National League with a 2.43 ERA for the season.

With his defensive back-like hard physical play, catcher John Stearns emerged as a Mets fan favorite for a team with desperately few stars. On April 8, he triggered a bench-clearing brawl by running into Montreal Expos catcher Gary Carter at the plate. On June 30, Stearns defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates by tagging out Dave Parker to end the game.[7][8] Parker, who had run over two other catchers in the previous two weeks, suffered a broken cheekbone in the collision with Stearns.[9] When the Pirates in-state rivals (also the Mets' own division rivals), the Philadelphia Phillies, next came to New York, they thanked Stearns for standing up to Parker.[9] Stearns also led the Mets in stolen bases with 25, and in the process broke the National League record for catchers, which had been held by Johnny Kling since 1902.[10]

Season standings

NL East W L Pct. GB
Philadelphia Phillies 90 72 .556 --
Pittsburgh Pirates 88 73 .547 1.5
Chicago Cubs 79 83 .488 11
Montreal Expos 76 86 .469 14
St. Louis Cardinals 69 93 .426 21
New York Mets 66 96 .407 24

Opening Day lineup

  1. Lenny Randle 3B
  2. Tim Foli SS
  3. Steve Henderson LF
  4. Willie Montañez 1B
  5. Ken Henderson RF
  6. Lee Mazzilli CF
  7. John Stearns C
  8. Doug Flynn 2B
  9. Jerry Koosman P

Notable transactions


1978 New York Mets
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager


Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
1B Montañez, WillieWillie Montañez 159 609 156 .256 17 96
3B Randle, LennyLenny Randle 132 437 102 .233 2 35
SS Foli, TimTim Foli 113 413 106 .257 1 27
RF Maddox, ElliottElliott Maddox 119 389 100 .257 2 39

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Grieve, TomTom Grieve 54 101 21 .208 2 8
Ferrer, SergioSergio Ferrer 37 33 7 .212 0 1
Henderson, KenKen Henderson 7 22 5 .227 1 4
Treviño, AlexAlex Treviño 6 12 3 .250 0 0


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Koosman, JerryJerry Koosman 38 235.1 3 15 3.75 160
Bruhert, MikeMike Bruhert 27 133.2 4 11 4.78 56
Hausman, TomTom Hausman 10 51.2 3 3 4.70 16

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Kobel, KevinKevin Kobel 32 108.1 5 6 2.91 51
Berenguer, JuanJuan Berenguer 5 13 0 2 8.31 8

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Bernard, DwightDwight Bernard 30 1 4 0 4.31 26
Siebert, PaulPaul Siebert 27 0 2 1 5.14 12
Myrick, BobBob Myrick 17 0 3 0 3.28 13

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Tidewater Tides International League Frank Verdi
AA Jackson Mets Texas League Bob Wellman
A Lynchburg Mets Carolina League Jack Aker
A Wausau Mets Midwest League Dan Monzon
Short-Season A Little Falls Mets New York-Penn League Chris Krug




External links

  • 1978 New York Mets
  • 1978 New York Mets team page at www.baseball-almanac.com