Sunday, November 1, 2009

MAC SCARCE (April 11, 1975)

Guerrant McCurdy "Mac" Scarce holds the distinction of having the shortest game history of all the "One Game Mets". He came to New York the previous winter when he was traded from Philadelphia. Mac had pitched pretty well from the Phillies bullpen during his three years there. Registering a fine 2.42 ERA and a career high of 12 saves during the 1973 season. So the Mets understandably had high expectations for him when they swapped Dave Schneck, Don Hahn, and the very popular Tug McGraw in exchange for Scarce, John Stearns, and Del Unser on December 3rd, 1974.

April 11, 1975. The New York Mets were playing their third game of the season at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Starting pitcher, Jerry Koosman cruised through the first eight innings of the contest scattering seven Pirates hits, but allowing no runs. "Kooz" had even been given a 3-0 lead behind home runs by Dave Kingman and Del Unser. So even though the Mets had been retired in order in the top of the ninth inning it still appeared things were in hand for New York's second win of the still young season. All that stood between the Mets and victory were three Pittsburgh outs.

Richie Zisk led off the bottom of the inning with a single to right field off Koosman. Not too much concern as Jerry had been working effectively all afternoon with men on base. The next Pirates batter, Dave Parker continued the offense with a single to left field. Zisk advanced to second base and now the tying run would come to the plate in the form of free-swinging Manny Sanguillen. It was obvious to all that Koosman had lost his stuff when Manny drove a base-hit to left scoring Zisk and cutting the deficit to 3-1. New York Manager, Yogi Berra had seen enough and called to the bullpen to bring the right-hander, Rick Baldwin into the game. For his first time with the Mets, the left-handed reliever, Mac Scarce was up and warming to enter the game.

In response to Baldwin's entering the game, Pittsburgh inserted pinch-hitter Paul Popovich for the prolifically light-hitting Mario Mendoza. Popovich drew a walk to reload the bases with still no one out. The Pirates began to sense a come from behind victory and went with their second pinch-hitter of the inning, Ed Kirkpatrick in place of the pitcher, Larry Demery. The Mets were able to get the first out of the ninth without a run scoring when Kirkpatrick lifted a short fly ball to right fielder, Dave Kingman. Pirates lead-off hitter, Rennie Stennett removed the short-lived reprieve by lacing a hard single to center field that scored both Parker and Sanguillen. The game that had seemed so much in hand earlier was now tied 3-3, and Yogi was ready to make his second call to the bullpen.

Berra tapped his left arm as he approached the mound to take the ball from Rick Baldwin. The next Pirates hitter was the left-handed hitting Richie Hebner and he wanted Mac Scarce to face him. After Scarce's warm-up tosses the hometown Pittsburgh faithful began to make some noise as Hebner stepped into the batters box. They then erupted when Richie delivered the game-winning base hit to left field scoring Popovich from second base and completing the Pirates 4-3 walk-off victory. Mac Scarce had made his New York Mets debut and it had consisted of one batter.

Surprisingly Mac would not enter another game for the Mets before he was traded four days later to the Cincinnati Reds for Tom Hall on April 15th. Scarce had been slated to be a key man in the bullpen for the 1975 season and now was quickly out of New York. The Reds assigned Mac to their Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis, Indiana. He would remain there until he came back to the major leagues with the Minnesota Twins in 1978.

After baseball Scarce worked for an electrical company for a few years and then went into the mortgage business. Today he is a successful broker in Alpharetta, Georgia with his own company —McCurdy Mortgage Corporation, formed in 1990.

Mac Scarce signed this baseball and card for me from an autograph request sent to his home address on November 3, 2005.