That's right! Mike Cameron!!!
Here are some reminders of other emotional/notable comebacks to Shea Stadium (thanks to Retrosheet):
- Dave Kingman's return to Shea came on July 29th, 1977 as a member of the San Diego Padres. Kingman, in an amazing sense of the moment, only struck out one time in four at bats in a 4-1 Mets win. Kingman was traded the same day as some pitcher named...
- Tom Seaver quickly followed Kingman back to Shea, returning to pitch for the Reds on August 21st, 1977. This was a mere two months after Seaver was traded for Steve Henderson, Doug Flynn, Pat Zachry, and Dan Norman. Seaver, proving that you get what's coming to you, spun a complete game gem at the Reds, striking out eleven and only giving up one run to get the win.
- The opposing pitcher in both of the above games was Jerry Koosman. His foray into the American League delayed his Shea Stadium return until April 29th, 1984. Koosman's return wasn't as successful for the scorned, taking the loss after giving up 4 runs in 5 and 2/3's innings.
- One of Koosman's teammates that day was Juan Samuel...and he came to the Mets in another typical Mets trade that sent away Len Dykstra. Dykstra returned to Shea just days after the trade, tripling in his first Shea Stadium at bat precluding a Dickie Thon homerun. Amazingly (is there any other way?) the Mets won 9-3. (Roger McDowell also made his Phillies debut at Shea, allowing two inherited runners to score via Met singles)
- Samuel's return to Shea as a visitor carried no such fanfare, but he did go 2 for 5 in a 9-4 Met win on May 11th, 1990.
- But keeping with the Juan Samuel theme, after finally getting his wish to play with Los Angeles, Darryl Strawberry returned to Shea on May 7th, 1991 and hit a mammoth two run home run to center field...after which a good 5,000 of the paying customers rose from their seats to hit the food lines at once. The runner who scored ahead of Strawberry? You guessed it, Juan Samuel.
- Bobby Bonilla's return to Shea afforded Mets fans an opportunity to flock to Queens to show Bobby the Bronx. Bonilla, no doubt wearing earplugs, singled and scored the go ahead run in a 5-2 Marlins win on June 4th, 1997, which included a pinch hitting appearance by future Met Cliff Floyd (but no sign of Juan Samuel, thankfully).
- We should all remember Doc Gooden's return to Shea...it was the first game of the famous dual venue doubleheader between the Mets and the Yankees on July 8th, 2000. While that day went down in history as the day Roger Clemens committed attempted homicide (and unlike most convicted felons, was not convicted, yet hailed as a hero), it was Gooden who pitched 5 innings and kept the Mets pretty much in check giving up 2 runs while earning the victory. Of course, the Yankee win should be retroactively overturned since admitted steroid user Jason Grimsley pitched five outs of scoreless baseball.
- On August 21st, 2001, Mike Hampton returned to Shea and got more than a taste of instant karma. The Mets dropped 5 runs on Hampton in the first two innings en route to a 5-2 Mets victory. Key to the victory was an RBI single and a home run by none other than Mike Piazza.
And thus, we come full circle. Although Jerry Koosman and Juan Samuel aren't going to be involved in tonight's game, an important part of Mets history will be...and if history shows us anything, Mike Piazza will make it eventful...one way or the other.