From The Beatles to the Super Bowl champion New York Jets to the “Miracle Mets,” Shea Stadium had many proud moments in its more than four decades of usage. For fans of the New York Mets, however, the final game played there didn’t yield many fond memories.
On this day 15 years ago, the Florida Marlins became the proud owners of the last Shea Stadium victory. The Marlins closed the ballpark and eliminated the Mets from playoff contention with a 4-2 victory.
With a record of 89-72, the Mets were tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the National League Wild Card spot as they were set to take on the Marlins on Sept. 28, 2008. Unfortunately for the Flushing faithful, the Mets never led.
An RBI single from John Baker and a bases-loaded walk to Josh Willingham gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead, but Carlos Beltran evened things up with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the eighth, Florida went back in front – and this time, for good.
New York reliever Scott Schoeneweis faced just one batter and threw three pitches, but the result was a pinch-hit home run for Wes Helms to put the Marlins ahead 3-2. Luis Ayala relieved Schoeneweis and promptly gave up a solo shot to Dan Uggla as the Marlins doubled the lead to 4-2 with back-to-back blasts.
The Mets brought the tying run to the plate in each of the final two innings but couldn’t come up with the big hit. After Florida’s Arthur Rhodes stranded two in the eighth, Matt Lindstrom worked around a two-out walk in the ninth to get Ryan Church to fly out to end the game.
With Milwaukee’s win over the Chicago Cubs, the Mets were eliminated from playoff contention. The Marlins went 4-5 at Shea Stadium in 2008 but will forever be the final winner at the world-famous ballpark. The last victory crushed the home team’s postseason hopes on this day 15 years ago.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Mike Ferguson is a contributor for Fish on First, who covers Miami Marlins history. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.