Tom Glavine (Trading Card DB)

April 1, 2007: Glavine, Mets turn the page in Opening Day win over World Series champion Cardinals

This article was written by Larry DeFillipo

Tom Glavine (Trading Card DB)The slice of eternity between when the heavily favored 97-win New York Mets lost the 2006 National League Championship Series to the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals, and the start of the 2007 season provided ample time for Mets faithful to work through the seven stages of grief; shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and acceptance.1 While depression may have been triggered by the (mildly) cruel irony of New York opening the new season in St. Louis on April Fools’ Day, by the time Opening Day arrived, Mets fans and players alike accepted that 2006 was history.

Carlos Beltrán, whose bases-loaded strikeout against Adam Wainwright ended the decisive NLCS Game Seven, spoke for the Mets on the eve of their 2007 launch. “They won last year,” said Beltrán, “but this year is a new year. This year, we want to accomplish what they accomplished last year.”2 Mets skipper Willie Randolph, having suffered through the club’s worst-ever Grapefruit League performance (12-21), was ready to turn the page on both 2006 and the 2007 preseason. “Let’s ring the bell, boys,” he urged before the team headed north. “Let’s get it on!”3

Equally ready to greet the 2007 season was Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, but for a very different reason. Early on the morning of March 22, La Russa was found by police asleep behind the wheel of an SUV with the engine running near the Cardinals’ training facility in Jupiter, Florida. Arrested on a charge of driving under the influence, then released after posting bail, La Russa was contrite. “It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans.”4 Breaking camp provided La Russa the opportunity to distance himself from his humiliating indiscretion.

St. Louis, which defeated the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 World Series for the 10th World Series championship in franchise history, entered Opening Day ’07 with a lineup anchored by NL MVP runner-up Albert Pujols, coming off his fourth straight season of more than 40 home runs and 115 RBIs, a batting average over .330, and an OPS over 1.000. He was joined by World Series MVP David Eckstein at second base, seven-time Gold Glove winner Scott Rolen at third, and fearless Jim Edmonds in center field. Adam Kennedy, a former Cardinal traded away in the deal that brought Edmonds to St. Louis in 2000, was at second, a free-agent addition.

With right fielder Juan Encarnación recovering from wrist surgery,5 La Russa started journeyman Preston Wilson in his place.6 Yadier Molina, whose ninth-inning homer in NLCS Game Seven proved to be the game-winner, was catching Cris Carpenter, the ace of the Cardinals staff, looking for his third consecutive Opening Day win.

The team that Randolph led into Busch Stadium looked an awful lot like the one that had compiled the NL’s best record the year before. Five-tool center fielder Beltrán anchored a potent lineup that included slugging first baseman Carlos Delgado, dynamic young stars José Reyes and David Wright on the left side of the infield, All-Star catcher Paul LoDuca, and sweet-swinging Shawn Green in right field.7 Free-agent acquisition Moisés Alou was in left. On the mound was 41-year-old Tom Glavine, a 10-time All-Star with 290 career wins. The southpaw was making his fourth Opening Day start in five years as a Met and the eighth in his then-21-year career.

From 1970, when the Mets first won an Opening Day contest, through 2006, no major-league team had enjoyed more success on Day One than they did. They won 28 of 37 (.757) during that period, including four over St. Louis: in 1985, 1989, and 1996 at New York’s Shea Stadium, and in 1992 at Busch Stadium. Not since the last Opening Day appearance of Stan Musial, on April 9, 1963, at the Polo Grounds, had the Cardinals defeated the Mets to start a season.8

The major leagues lifted the curtain on their 2007 season with a national telecast of the one game scheduled for April 1: the Cardinals-Mets opener, an event ESPN promoted as “Opening Night.”9 Before the game a Budweiser wagon, pulled by a team of Clydesdales, brought out the Cardinals’ World Series trophy, and the world champions banner was raised in front of a packed Busch Stadium. The hurlers who threw the final pitches in the Cardinals’ last three World Series championships – Bob Gibson (1967), Bruce Sutter (1982), and Wainwright – threw out first pitches to the managers of those teams: Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, and La Russa respectively.10

Carpenter opened the game by inducing three groundball outs to the right side of the infield, two of them fielded by Kennedy. A bit unsteady, the 31-year-old Kennedy nearly threw the first away and briefly booted the second one. Eckstein drew an appreciative roar with a leadoff bloop single to left in the bottom of the first but was erased when Wilson grounded into a double play.

The Mets broke the ice in the third inning, starting with a bloop single from Glavine, who’d collected his first career hit in St. Louis nearly 20 years earlier. After LoDuca traded places with Glavine on a force out, Beltrán was drilled on the shin with an 0-and-2 fastball. Two pitches later, the left-handed-hitting Delgado sliced a curveball to the wall in left field. So Taguchi, the Cardinals left fielder, made an awkward leap for the ball that sent him sprawling, empty-handed. As Taguchi tracked down the ricochet, LoDuca and Beltrán scored, with Delgado coasting into second. Carpenter retired Wright next, leaving Delgado stranded.

St. Louis threatened in the third but came up empty. With one out, Kennedy, batting eighth, tripled to the base of the wall in deep center field. As Glavine released a 1-and-1 pitch to the next batter, Carpenter, Kennedy broke for home. Carpenter squared and bunted the ball, but it died inches in front of home plate. Lo Duca scooped it up and chased Kennedy back to third, where Wright tagged him out to kill the Cardinals threat.

Buoyed by its good fortune, New York jumped on Carpenter in the fourth. With one out, Green singled off the glove of a diving Eckstein and moved to third on a sharp single to right by José Valentín. Glavine sacrificed Valentín to second, after which Reyes walked, loading the bases. LoDuca, batting .351 lifetime with the bases loaded heading into his at-bat,11 worked the count full, then singled up the middle, scoring Green and Valentín. Beltrán followed with a single through the box to bring Reyes home and give New York a 5-0 lead.

Glavine, “the pride of Billerica, Massachusetts,”12 cruised through the next two innings, getting six outs on 25 pitches. Molina singled to lead off the fifth but was erased when Edmonds, the next batter, grounded into 6-4-3 double play.

St. Louis finally plated a run in the sixth but could have had more. After a diving catch by Alou for the first out, Skip Schumaker, batting for Carpenter, plunked a single in front of the Mets left fielder. Eckstein’s double down the left-field line brought Schumaker in, making the score 5-1. Wilson laced Glavine’s next pitch for a hit to center field, with third-base coach José Oquendo sending Eckstein home. Beltrán unleashed a clothesline from center that reached LoDuca on the fly to nail Eckstein several feet up the third-base line. “I didn’t have to do nothing,” was how LoDuca summarized his part in the play.13 Undaunted, the Cardinals loaded the bases, but Glavine held firm, sawing off Molina for an inning-ending popup to short.

Spent after his high-wire act, Glavine gave way to left-hander Pedro Feliciano in the seventh. Once again St. Louis proved unable to rally, as Kennedy grounded into an inning-ending twin killing after an Edmonds infield single.

A similar story unfolded in the eighth. The Cardinals loaded the bases on a leadoff walk, Eckstein single, and a one-out walk to Pujols, the last two baserunners reaching off side-armer Joe Smith, making his major-league debut. Randolph responded by bringing in set-up man Aaron Heilman. The victim of Molina’s NLCS-winning homer had better luck this time. Valentín made a diving stop of a scorcher off Rolen’s bat, turning it into the Mets’ fourth double play of the game. “He hit that ball so hard that I felt it in my fingers when I caught it.” said Valentín.14

The Mets tacked on another run in the ninth on three singles off reliever Brad Thompson, with LoDuca collecting his third RBI.15

Two singles and three lazy fly-ball outs later, closer Billy Wagner secured yet another Mets Opening Day victory. “That’s how we envision ourselves winning,” a pleased Glavine said.16 “I wasn’t totally thrilled with [my outing], but the good part was that I made good pitches when I had to and got some ground balls.”17

Four months later, Glavine won his 300th at Wrigley Field in Chicago.18 Sadly for Mets fans, the seven first-inning runs he allowed in the final game of the season to the Florida Marlins denied New York a playoff berth and snuffed out the chance for redemption that had fueled their Opening Night triumph. The Cardinals also missed the playoffs, after posting their first losing record in eight years.



This article was fact-checked by Kurt Blumenau and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted the,,, and websites, including box scores listed at the links below:



1 Debra Bronstad, “The 7 Stages of Grief Model,” Stages-of-Grief-Recover website,, accessed January 4, 2024.

2 David Lennon, “Mets: Let’s Ring in New Year,” Newsday (New York, New York), April 1, 2007: B6.

3 David Lennon, “Pelfrey Shelled to Cap Worst Spring,” Newsday (New York, New York), April 1, 2007: B6.

4 “Police: LaRussa Was Slumped Behind the Wheel,” Vero Beach (Florida) Press Journal, March 23, 2007: C1.

5 David Wilhelm, “Injured Encarnacion to Be Back in May,” Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat, April 2, 2007: D3.

6 Wilson’s father, Mookie Wilson, had arguably the most renowned plate appearance in Mets history. With two out in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series and the Mets on the brink of losing both that game and the World Series, Wilson battled Boston Red Sox reliever Bob Stanley in an epic 10-pitch at-bat that ended with a weak grounder rolling through the legs of Boston first baseman Bill Buckner to give the Mets the win.

7 Blessed early in his professional career with a stroke similar to 1993 American League batting champion John Olerud, Green also held the major leagues’ single-game total-bases record. While with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Green connected for four home runs, a double and a single during a May 23, 2002 game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. His 19 total bases that day remained a record for a nine-inning game through the 2023 season. Douglas Jordan, Shawn Green SABR bio,

8 The Cardinals also defeated the Mets one year earlier, in their very first Opening Day game, on April 11, 1962, at the original Busch Stadium.

9 ESPN2 broadcast of April 1, 2007, Opening Day game between the Cardinals and Mets,, accessed January 7, 2024.

10 Joe Strauss, “Cards Lose Unceremoniously,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 2, 2007: X002.

11 ESPN2 broadcast graphic.

12 Miller, ESPN2 broadcast.

13 Ben Shpigel, “Karma and Scoreboard Favor Mets in Their Opener,” New York Times, April 2, 2007: D1.

14 “Karma and Scoreboard Favor Mets in Their Opener.” The four double plays hit into were one shy of a Cardinals club record. Cardinals teams have grounded into five double plays in a game seven times in club history.

15 As LoDuca was batting, Reyes, who had the second single of the inning, was picked off first by Thompson. Thompson did so by first bluffing a throw to third, a play made illegal by Major League Baseball in 2013. Mike Axisa, “The Fake-to-Third, Throw-to-First Pickoff Move Is Now a Balk,” CBS Sports, January 28, 2013,

16 “Karma and Scoreboard Favor Mets in Their Opener.”

17 “Karma and Scoreboard Favor Mets in Their Opener.”

18 Glavine was the 23rd pitcher to reach 300 wins, and the first to do so as a New York Met.

Additional Stats

New York Mets 6
St. Louis Cardinals 1

Busch Stadium
St. Louis, MO


Box Score + PBP:

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