It was the first of a three-game, weeknight series at Shea Stadium. The Phillies came in carrying a seven-game losing streak, while the Mets had won six in a row. It turned out to be incredibly ugly: There were 12 walks, five wild pitches, three batters hit by a pitch, and 19 runners left on base. "The game," Mets manager Davey Johnson told Newsday at the time, "doesn't deserve much comment."
The Phillies led 9-6 in the top of the eighth inning. Twenty-five year-old David Cone, still working out of the bullpen, walked Schmidt to begin his second inning of relief. Von Hayes was up next. But Cone's first delivery was at Hayes's feet and bounced past catcher Gary Carter. Schmidt easily took second. According to a UPI write-up, the ball bounced off a pipe behind home plate and caromed toward the Phillies' dugout along the third-base line. Schmidt, 38, was a slugger nearing the end of his marvelous career. He was not a base-stealer. But he kept going.
The ball apparently had a ton of spin on it. Rather than roll into the dugout, the ball kept bouncing along outside it. Carter lumbered over to go after it. Newsday quoted Schmidt the next day: "If it happened a billion times, it would go into the dugout every time." With no one covering home, Schmidt didn't stop running once he got to third. He would score standing up.
"It's not the kind of play you work on in spring training," Cone said, per Newsday. "No one worries about who's covering home with a man on first ... I guess I must have been throwing pretty well for the ball to carry that far."
The Mets would get a run off 41-year-old Kent Tekulve in the bottom of the ninth to account for the final margin of the Phillies' 10-7 win. Cone became a starter two weeks later; he would go 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA that season, finishing behind Orel Hershiser and Danny Jackson in the balloting for the NL Cy Young Award. The Mets would win 100 games to capture the NL East, while the Phillies finished last, some 35.5 games back. A year later, just 42 games into his 18th season, Mike Schmidt retired.