Whatever else happened in Mlicki’s career, he always had the memory of shutting out the Yankees on July 27, 1997, the first-ever regular season game between the Mets and their cross-town rivals. Using well-placed fastballs and curves, he kept the champs off-balance and showed flashes of the prime-time talent that the Mets had waited for nearly three seasons.
Pitching well after the July break was common for Mlicki. He was a batter’s delight in the first half, allowing them to hit over .350 against him through the 2000 season. But by the time the last fan filed out of the All-Star game, Mlicki had his game face on, slashing half a run from his ERA and holding batters to a .232 average during the late summer and fall.
The journeyman finally posted a strong year in 1999, going 14-11. Unfortunately, 2000 was marked by a sinus infection that ultimately required season-ending surgery. In 2001 he was able to return to form, struggling with the Tigers, but putting together a five-game winning streak for the Houston Astros whom he joined mid-season.
Mlicki liked playing in Detroit, despite having to live in University of Michigan territory. Even though he attended Oklahoma State, the Columbus native was a huge supporter of the Ohio State Buckeyes, and he wasn’t truly happy in Michigan until his replica Ohio State helmet was hanging in his locker.