Seems pedestrian enough, no? Well, here's what really happened ...
Like we said: That's the rarely glimpsed "walk-off brawl."
It was easy to see why the '89 Mets were cranky the instant after losing their final home game of the season. After all, they'd tumbled from 100 wins in 1988 to a fairly distant second-place finish in '89. Mostly, though, this was about Gregg Jefferies and his former teammate Roger McDowell.
The next day, here's what Clifton Brown of the New York Times wrote:
The game ended on a bizarre note, when Gregg Jefferies and Roger McDowell of the Phillies fought in the infield after the final out. Jefferies and McDowell, a former Met, exchanged words as Jefferies ran down the first-base line. After the final out, Jefferies and McDowell screamed at each other, then Jefferies charged McDowell. Both benches emptied to separate the two players.
''Roger screamed something at Gregg,'' Johnson said. ''It went back to Monday night, when Roger screamed something at Gregg after he broke Gregg's bat. Obviously there's bad blood between them.''
Jefferies refused to comment on the incident. McDowell claimed Jefferies started the incident by cursing at him.
''I pitched him inside a little on Monday, so I guess that's what it was all about,'' McDowell said.
Nick Leyva, Philadelphia's manager, defended McDowell by saying that Jefferies is not popular among his own teammates, then Leyva said, ''There were 30 guys on our side rooting for Roger and 20 guys on their side rooting for Roger.''
Indeed, Jefferies was still a brash and highly touted 22-year-old at the time, and McDowell the former Met, who always seemed the type to jealously guard whatever attention he received, may not have been his biggest rooter.
Steve Keane of the Kranepool Society recalls a 2010 broadcast when Mets announcers Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, who were on that '89 team, revisited McDowell's -- let's be frank here -- childish envy of Jefferies ...
From there the SNY camera got a glimpse of Roger McDowell on the Braves bench and Hernandez had us all gather around the 50’’ Sony HD TV to hear the how Roger McDowell hated Gregg Jefferies guts. Keith brought up, as he has a many occasion (you get the feeling that Richie Hebner would be given a warmer welcome into the Mets Alumni than Gregg Jefferies ) how Jefferies was the only player on the team to have his own private bag for his bats, and Keith blamed Charlie Samuels for that as Darling added “you blame Charlie for everything” and the trio of announcers had a good laugh. Hernandez continued on how this burned the other players ass’s and McDowell had had enough of this little prima donna getting preferential treatment and proceeded to take Jeffries bats and tossed them from the bag out into the parking lot at Shea. That yarn brought back memories of when Soldier of Fortune aficionado Randy Myers and McDowell took Jefferies bats and sawed them in half.
So, yeah, this most unusual fracas was probably more Jefferies-v-McDowell than Mets-v-Phillies.
Points to young Jefferies for the single-leg takedown and, well, not much of anything to McDowell for those in-flight noogies.