Considering our personal fandom loyalties, we are somewhat hesitant to bring this up, but every time the Cardinals come to Flushing, like they do tonight, the historic import of the 2006 National League Championship Series must be brought up. It’s a series everyone still vividly remembers: It’s the reason Yadier Molina will be booed this evening, the reason the Cardinals brought back Jeff Suppan this season even though he has absolutely nothing left, the reason the Mets have always felt just one … strike … away the last few seasons, even though they haven’t been. It dramatically changed the course of both franchises; though some of the same players are still around, each team has done business differently since. Thus, on the 1,377th-day anniversary of that game, we thought we’d take a look at Twenty Moderately Interesting Facts About the 2006 National League Championship Series.
1. The Mets’ current 25-man roster has four men who were on the 2006 NLCS roster: Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Jose Reyes and David Wright.
2. The Cardinals’ current 25-man roster has six men who were on the 2006 NLCS roster: Chris Carpenter, Aaron Miles, Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Jeff Suppan, and Adam Wainwright. Suppan and Miles were released by the Brewers and Reds, respectively, this season, and picked up by the Cardinals.
3. The Beatles’ concert at Shea Stadium, the biggest crowd The Beatles ever performed in front of, had fewer fans than Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
4. The 2006 NLCS had two games postponed by rain, Game One and Game Five.
5. On the day Game One was supposed to be played, Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle crashed his private airplane into a building on the Upper East Side.
6. The three Mets pitchers to earn wins in the series: Tom Glavine (over Jeff Weaver), Oliver Perez (over Anthony Reyes) and John Maine (over Chris Carpenter).
7. After Glavine’s dominant performance in Game One – seven shutout innings, giving up just four hits – Albert Pujols groused that Glavine did not have his best stuff and that the Cardinals should have scored more runs. Pujols’ exact quote: “He wasn’t good. He wasn’t good at all.”
8. The biggest boos from the Shea Stadium crowd in Game One were reserved for former Mets closer Braden Looper, who came in for the Cardinals to get an out in the eighth inning.
9. The umpire for Game Two – the game in which So Taguchi hit a tiebreaking home run off Billy Wagner in the top of the ninth inning – was Jim Joyce, the umpire who cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game early this season.
10. Jeff Suppan – the 2006 NLCS MVP who, alas, will not be pitching for the Cardinals this series – has two career home runs, both off Steve Trachsel. His Game Three homer gave the Cardinals a two-run lead they would never relinquish. The star of that game for the Mets was Darren Oliver, who came in and threw six shutout innings after Trachsel left in the second inning with an injury.
11. The most home runs ever hit in an NLCS game: Seven, during Game Four in St. Louis. (This is what happens when your pitchers are Oliver Perez and Anthony Reyes.) For the Mets, Carlos Beltran hit two, while David Wright and Carlos Delgado had one; the Cardinals got one each from Jim Edmonds, Yadier Molina and David Eckstein. In that game, Beltran tied Babe Ruth for most all-time postseason home runs against St. Louis. To this day, Beltran has the highest postseason slugging percentage and OPS of anyone with 40 plate appearances.
12. Albert Pujols only had one RBI in the series. He batted .318 in the series with seven walks. His homer came in Gave Five, off Glavine, and helped the Cardinals take a 3-2 series lead heading back to Shea.
13. Facing elimination, John Maine, Chad Bradford, Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman pitched eight shutout innings in Game Six. The Mets won 4-2, though the Cardinals hit Wagner yet again, perhaps leading to manager Willie Randolph’s hesitance to pitch him in Game Seven. For the series, Wagner had a 16.88 ERA.
14. In Game Seven, Oliver Perez gave up one run in six innings, on short rest. He would throw that many innings, with one or less runs, only four more times again the rest of his Mets career.
15. The Mets had only four hits in Game Seven, with Reyes, Delgado and Paul LoDuca all going hitless. Suppan had only two strikeouts in the game.
16. Endy Chavez’s catch on Scott Rolen’s supposed home run in sixth inning was called the best defensive play of the decade by MLB.com. He was later honored by Shea fans with a bobblehead. Chavez now plays for Oklahoma City, the Rangers’ AAA affiliate, and is expected to be called to the big league club as a potential defensive replacement if Texas makes the playoffs.
17. Adam Wainwright’s strikeout of Carlos Beltran, with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, clinched the sixth save of his major league career. It was only his 17th Major League game. He’s pitching for the Cardinals tonight, and it’ll be his first game in New York City since that pitch to Beltran.
18. In the series, the Cardinals scored one more run than the Mets, 28-27. The Cardinals had two more hits and the same number of errors.
19. Since that game, no man has played for both the Cardinals and the Mets.
20. Since Opening Day 2007, the Cardinals and the Mets have won the same number of postseason games: Zero.