Oct 22, 2016

Remembering the 1973 World Series: Game #7 (The Dream is Over)

New York Mets vs. Oakland A's

Sunday, October 21st 1973: World Series Game #7

Willie Mays Final Game
A capacity crowd of 49,333 filled the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, hoping to see their "Swingin' A's" win their second straight World Series title.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by actor; Clint Eastwood. Eastwood would always be famous in the Bay Area, as his Dirty Harry movies took place in San Francisco.

It was once again the two left handers; the Mets Jon Matlack going against Oakland's Ken Holtzman.


Starting Lineups

New York's Mayor John Lindsay & Casey Stengel

The first two innings were quiet but in the home 3rd inning, the damage was done. It would be the two batters that killed the Mets the entire Series sealing the A's victory that afternoon.

With one out pitcher Ken Holtzman hit his second double of the World Series another shot down the left field line, just like he had done in Game #1.

Next, the pesty; Bert Campaneris homered to right field, sending the A's fans into a frenzy.

Joe Rudi then singled & Reggie Jackson followed with a two run HR of his own, really exciting the Oakland crowd. Jackson jumped in the air & leaped on home plate as his A's teammates were there to greet him. It was 4-0 & the A's never looked back.

Harry Parker came in to relieve Matlack & would pitch a scoreless inning 1/3. Ray Sadecki came in the 5th inning & was greeted with a Campaneris base hit, advancing on an error in the outfield. Joe Rudi brought him in with a single making it 5-0 A's.

In the 7th inning, Berra finally brought in George Stone but it was too late. Stone would pitch two scoreless innings, giving up three hits while striking out three.

Had he started Game Six, or even Seven for that matter, with his all his rest & the A's not being too familiar with him, would things have turned out differently? It's a question us Mets fans & players have been asking for forty years.

In the Mets 6th, the Mets had back to back doubles, as Felix Millan doubled & came home on a Rusty Staub double. It put the Mets on the board with a run. A's manager Dick Williams, removed Holtzman & brought in Rollie Fingers.

Fingers shut the Mets down into the 9th inning. In the 9th, with the Mets fighting for their lives, John Milner drew a walk. Jerry Grote flied out, but then Don Hahn singled to right field. Bud Harrelson grounded out to the pitcher as both runners advanced.

Ed Kranepool was brought in as a pinch hitter & reached on a Gene Tenace error at first base. John Milner scored & the tying run was coming to the plate.

Yogi Berra had Tug McGraw warm up in the bullpen. In right field Reggie Jackson yelled over "Don't bother warming up Tug, we got you now".

As the Mets put some men on base McGraw yelled back "Reggie we're going to get you know" Reggie took a deep breath & showed a bit of respect saying "you might at that".

Dick Williams went to the mound removing Fingers & brought in Darold Knowles. Knowles set a World Series record by appearing in all seven games. He got Wayne Garrett to pop out to Campaneris at short stop & it was all over. The Mets had fallen one game short of another miracle. The Oakland A's won the second of three straight World Series & were the 1973 Champions.

The Mets had gone from last place at the end of August, to a 20-8 September, winning the NL Eastern Division on the final day of the regular season. That year a slogan that would stay with the team for years to come was born; when Tug McGraw said "You Gotta Believe"!

They then went out & beat a heavily favored Cincinnati Reds team in a dramatic playoff series, that included one baseballs all time greatest brawls. The Mets then entered  the World Series, an underdog, against the reigning Champions. The team left their home at Shea Stadium, in New York, needing just one win in two games for another Miracle finish. It was not to be, they fell one game short of that dream.

Mets Manager; Yogi Berra said that he told his team before the game, no matter what happened that afternoon he was proud of them.

After the game A's outfielder Joe Rudi came to the Mets locker room to congratulate them on their season. Even the Mighty A's had earned a respect for the Mets.

Rudi talked baseball & reviewed plays of the series with Tom Seaver, Koosman, Matlack & Cleon Jones. He then went back to celebrate with his own team.

Reggie Jackson was named the World Series MVP. He had nine hits, tied with Bert Campaneris & Joe Rudi for most hits on the A's team. Jackson hit .310 (9-29) 1 HR 3 doubles 1 Triple 6 RBIs 2 walks & a 355 on base %.

As for Campaneris, he was certainly the runner up, Campy hit .290 with 1 HR 1 Triple 3 stolen bases 1 walk 6 runs scored & a .353 on base %.

Joe Rudi hit .333 (9-27) with 2 doubles 3 walks 4 RBIs 3 runs scored & a .400 on base %.

Captain Sal Bando had hit just .231 but had 6 hits 1 double 1 triple 4 walks 1 RBI & a .333 on base %.

Last years 1972 World Series MVP; Gene Tenace hit just .158 but did drive in three runs, as did Jesus Alou.

Overall the Mets team hit much better,.253 (66 hits) as opposed to the A's .212 (51 hits). The A's outscored New York 20-16.

Rusty Staub led all hitters with eleven hits & a .423 batting average in the Series, ailing shoulder & all. His six RBIs were the best for the Mets & tied with Jackson for most overall. Staub went (11-26) with 1 HR 2 doubles 2 walks & the Series best .464 on base %. Rusty Staub was certainly the Mets offensive MVP.

John Milner had a good series batting .296 (8-27) with 5 walks to post a .406 on base %. He also drove in two runs.

Cleon Jones had eight hits as well (8-28) batting .286 with 1 HR 2 Doubles 1 RBI 4 walks a team leading 5 runs scored & a .394 on base %.

Jerry Grote also had eight hits (8-30) batting .267 with 2 runs scored. Even Don Hahn quietly got seven hits (7-29) batting .241 with 1 double 1 triple 2 RBIs & 2 runs scored.

Wayne Garrett led all hitters with two HRs. That's almost incredible with all the sluggers the A's had. Garrett went 5-30 (.167) but drew 5 walks & scored 4 runs for a .306 on base %.

Willie Mays hit .286 (2-7) with an RBI & run scored. Bud Harrelson had six hits (6-24) with 5 walks to post a .379 on base %.

Kenny Boswell set a World Series record with three pinch hits in the Series going 3-3.

Felix Millan struggled batting .188 (6-32) with1 double 1 triple 1 RBI & 1 walk.

The Mets pitching held down the mighty A's but still not enough to win the best of seven games.

Tom Sever pitched two games (0-1) striking out 18 batters in 15 innings, allowing 4 earned runs on 13 hits & 3 walks posting a 2.40 ERA. Jerry Koosman pitched two games (1-0) three runs on nine hits seven walks in 8.2 innings with a 3.12 ERA.

Jon Matlack got three starts (1-2) he allowed 4 earned runs on ten hits, posting a 2.16 ERA in 16.2 innings of work, striking out 11 walking five.

Tug McGraw saw action in five games, earning one save (1-0) he allowed four runs on eight hits in 13.2 innings of work. He struck out 14 walked 9 & put up a 2.63 ERA.

Ray Sadecki appeared in four games, putting up a 1.93 ERA, with one save to his credit. He allowed one run on five hits with six strike outs & one walk. Harry Parker appeared in three games (0-1) no runs in 3.1 innings & George Stone appeared in two games, earning a save, allowing no runs four hits, three strikeouts & one walk.

On the winning side, the A's pitchers did well. Hall of Famer; Rollie Fingers appeared in six games, earning two saves. He allowed just one earned run in 13.2 innings for a 0.66 ERA. He struck out 8 & gave up 13 hits & four walks.

Reliever; Darold Knowles set a Series record by appearing in all seven games, he allowed no runs on four hits in six innings of work.

Catfish Hunter pitched two games (1-0) allowed 3 runs on 11 hits in 13.1 innings for a 2.03 ERA. Kenny Holtzman won two games (2-1) giving up 5 runs on 13 hits 6 strike outs & 5 walks in 10.2 innings for a 4.22 ERA.

Vida Blue pitched two games (0-1) Giving up 6 runs on 10 hits with 8 strike outs & 3 walks posting a 4.91 ERA. Paul Lindblad, Blue Moon Odom & Horatio Pina all made appearances as well.

As mentioned the A's went on to win another World Series in 1974, their third straight. The colorful A's Dynasty were one of the most dominant teams of the era.

As for the Mets, they stumbled to a fifth place finish (71-91) in 1974. Tom Seaver suffered with back issues going 11-11 with a 3.20 ERA & the whole team went down with him. After a couple of more decent seasons & the team loss of it's owner Joan Payson; things went bad. They traded off or lost most of it's core players & by the late seventies it was a nightmare.

Remembering the 1973 World Series: Game #6 (A's Even Up Series)

           Remembering the 1973 NL Champion Mets
              New York Mets vs. Oakland A's

Mets Tom Seaver , Bud Harrelson & Wives
Arrive At San Francisco Airport Prior to
Game Six of the 1973 World Series
Sunday October 21st, 1973: World Series Game #6

Managers Yogi Berra & Dick Williams
George Stone had earned a save in the 12th inning of Game #2 at Oakland, but he had not appeared in the World Series since. He had been on six days of rest if he had gotten the call. Stone had not made a start since Game #4 of the NLCS which was eleven days prior. He certainly was well rested & certainly had the credentials after having a fine season.

Stone had gone 12-3 with an .800 winning %. He posted a 2.80 ERA on the year & since July 14th had won his last eight decisions. In two post season appearances he had posted a 0.93 ERA in 7.2 innings pitched.

But with the talents of Cy Young Winner Tom Seaver, lefty Jerry Koosman & the Mets latest young stud; Jon Matlack, he was not managers Yogi Berra's go to guy. In fact looking back, Stone had not pitched in any games in the final week & a half of the regular season which spanned six games.

In the World Series, with New York back in Oakland needing just one game to finish off the mighty Oakland A's, Manager Yogi Berra chose to skip over Stone once again. Stone would not appear again until the 7th inning of Game Seven.

Berra chose to go with the ace of his staff for Game #6, the man known as "the franchise"; Tom Seaver. What makes the decision strange is that Seaver was working on three days' rest, with 290 regular season innings & 26 post season innings on his arm (316 total).

Quotes: George Stone-"A lot of people have asked me that over the years. I thought I had a chance to start and I was disappointed that I didn't. He decided to go with the three main starters, but I was a control-type pitcher, the kind of pitcher that gave Oakland trouble.

I thought I deserved a chance to start. And even if we lose, we still have Game 7 and everyone on an extra day of rest. Some of the players begged Yogi to start me. I even talked with the opposing players and manager, and they had a scouting report ready for me because they thought I was going to start. But it's best to get over it. Yogi might have had orders from above."

Some of the Mets players felt Stone was best choice for that game. If he had gone out & pitched poorly, Seaver could always come in relief. If he went deep into the game & lost, all three Mets top pitchers would have been ready for Game #7.

Game #6 Starters: Hunter & Seaver
It was a luxury Berra had with such a talented staff, the Mets best weapon & the main reason they were this close to a championship.

Cleon Jones -"We can all second-guess Yogi. We talked to Yogi about it, and a bunch of us wanted him to start Stone. He was our best pitcher in September.

And when we asked Yogi to start him, he said if he did that the writers would eat him alive. But if you win it's different. Good managers take chances and don't worry about what the writers say. If we needed to go to the seventh game, we had four great pitchers. If we couldn't beat Oakland with those four, we didn't deserve to win. I felt that way then, and I feel that way now."

Mets Catcher Jerry Grote
Not everybody on that Mets team agreed, at least not publicly. Jerry Grote never debated Berra’s decision: "It was his decision, and we were not in a position to question the manager's decision, we didn't have a choice. If Seaver had won, no one would have said a word. I'm not about to second-guess him."

Tug McGraw said: "Some of the guys wondered why we pitched Seaver in the sixth game & Matlack in the seventh game.

They felt Seaver was tired & could have been held back a day & maybe Stone should have started instead. He'd pitched super all season & deserved a shot. But Yogi went with Seaver, the club stopped hitting anyway".

Jack Benny Tosses Out First Pitch
49,151 fans came out to the Oakland Coliseum on sunny Saturday afternoon for Game #6. It was once again a top marquee billing, as Tom Seaver went up against Catfish Hunter. Jack Benny threw out the first pitch from Charlie Finley's box seat.

Starting Lineups


The Mets quickly got two men on, as leadoff batter Wayne Garrett walked & Rusty Staub singled with one out.

But Hunter got Cleon Jones & John Milner to both fly out ending the inning.

In the A's 1st, Joe Rudi singled to right field. Then with two outs, Reggie Jackson doubled to the left field gap, scoring Rudi with the A's first run.

In the home 3rd, Sal Bando singled to center field with two outs. Reggie Jackson who began to earn his nick name "Mr. October" during this World Series, doubled to right center field bringing in his second run in a 2-0 A's lead.

After the game Jackson would give Tom Seaver a major tribute, telling the press, that Seaver did not have his overpowering fastball he had in New York. He continued, saying he has all the respect in the world for Tom Seave. He was not himself & he gave them seven great innings.

Sluggers Reggie Jackson & John Milner Before Game

Quotes: Jackson said "he's the greatest athlete in the world. Tom Seaver wasn't Tom Seaver in ability, he was only Tom Seaver from his heart".

Seaver may not have been his Cy Young Award self, but still put in a fine day; seven innings, two runs on six hits, two walks & six strike outs. Catfish Hunter was better, he went into the 8th inning allowing just one run on four hits, one walk & one strike out.

Mets Ken Boswell Sets World Series
Record With Three Pinch Hits
In the Mets 8th inning, Ken Boswell got his second pinch hit of the Series with a one out base hit. He would set a World Series record the next day, with three Series pinch hits. 

Darold Knowles was brought in to his sixth Series game & gave up back to back base hits to Wayne Garrett & Felix Millan. Boswell came home making it a 2-1 game.

A's manager Dick Williams went to his best reliever; Rollie Fingers to face the heart of the Mets order. Fingers got Rusty Staub to strike out & Cleon Jones to fly out to Jackson in centerfield, ending the Mets threat.
Ed Kranepool Makes Final Out 

In the home 8th, the A's added insurance as Jackson singled to center field & advanced to third on Don Hahn's error. Jackson had his third hit of the game.

Gene Tenace followed with a walk & pinch hitter Jesus Alou hit an RBI sac fly to Cleon Jones in left field. Jackson came home & scored with an insurance run, to make it 3-1. It would be all the A's needed, as Rollie Fingers retired the Mets in order in the 9th.

John Milner flew out to right field for the first out. Jerry Grote grounded out to second for out number two.

Then pinch hitter; Ed Kranepool, batting for Don Hahn popped up & made the final out. 

The A's won it 3-1 & the World Series was now tied at three games each.

Remembering Mets History : (2015) National League Champion Mets Celebrate

Oct 21, 2016

Remembering Mets History: 1986 World Series Games Three & Four Mets Take Two At Fenway Park

Tuesday October 21st, 1986 World Series Game #3: After losing the first two games of the World Series at Shea Stadium, the favored Mets were shocked being down two games to none.

The World Series moved to Boston for the next three games, starting Tuesday night a sell out of 33,595 filled Fenway Park. 

Davey Johnson's winningest pitcher of 1986; Bobby Ojeda (18-5 / 2.57 ERA / .783 Win % best in the NL) got the ball against his old team, facing Red Sox pitcher; Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd (16-10 / 129 Ks / 3.78 ERA). 

Starting Lineups

The Met bats finally woke up, in the 1st inning Lenny Dykstra lead off the game with a HR. Ironically it was the third time a Mets  player led off a World Series Game #3 with a HR. Tommie Agee did it in the 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Shea & Wayne Garrett did it off Catfish Hunter & the Oakland A's in the 1973 World Series. 

Next, Wally Backman & Keith Hernandez both singled, then "the Kid"; Gary Carter blasted a double off the left field Green Monster, driving in Backman, making it 2-0 Mets.

Ray Knight grounded to third and Hernandez broke for the plate, he was caught in a run down play. Wade Boggs blew the tag, then missed Carter at second and everyone was safe. Danny Heep was getting a rare start as he became the first official Mets Designated hitter. He then singled brining in two more runs, making it 4-0 New York.

Gary Carter had gone 2-4 in the first two Series games at Shea Stadium. He drove in a run in the 9-3 Game #2 loss as well. He had been the hero of Game # 3 in the NLCS with a walk off RBI base hit.

In the 6th inning of World Series Game #3, the bases were loaded as Rafael Santana & Lenny Dykstra singled. Wally Backman then drew a two out walk.

Next, Gary Carter continued his big night, as he drove in two more runs with his second double of the night. Straw singled in the 8th to be driven in by Ray Knights double for the seventh run.

Bobby Ojeda rolled along going seven innings, allowing just one
run on five hits, while striking out six Red Sox. Roger McDowell came in relief & pitched two perfect innings, as the Mets won it 7-1. They were now back in the Series two games to one.

Wednesday October 22nd, 1986 -World Series Game #4:

 Starting Lineups

The next night, in Game #4, Local boy; Ron Darling (15-6 / 2.81 ERA / 184 Ks) got a chance to pitch in the region he grew up in, against the team he rooted for.

Another Fenway sellout of 33,920 came out on a cool New England night, as Manager John McNamarra sent Al Nipper (10-12 / 5.38 ERA) to the mound for the Red Sox.

After taking a rough 1-0 loss in Game #1, Darling would get offensive support in Game #4.

It was another big night for " the Kid"- Gary Carter. Carter would collect three hits & blast a pair of HRs, driving in three runs. These nights were the icing on the cake for his spectacular Hall of Fame career.

His first HR was a two run shot (bringing in Wally Backman who singled) coming off Al Nipper in the 4th inning. Daryl Strawberry followed with a double & Ray Knight drove him in with a base hit, making it 3-0. Knight himself was just hot on his way to the Series MVP Award.

In the 7th inning, Lenny Dykstra hit his second HR of the Series, a two run shot off Steve Crawford.

In the 8th inning, Carter hit his second HR of the evening, a solo shot off also off Sox pitcher; Steve Crawford. Up to this point Carter had seven hits in the Series, (7-17 with 2 HRs & 7 RBIs).

Ron Darling went seven shut out innings, allowed just four hits, he struck out four but walked six. He was relieved by Roger McDowell who gave up two runs in the Red Sox 8th inning.

Jesse Orosco closed the game out, as the Mets won it 6-2 & evened up the World Series two games each. 

Trivia: The 1986 World Series games at Fenway Park, was where & when the famous  "Daaaaaaryl" chants actually started. 

The Fenway Park, right field Red Sox fans, began taunting Daryl Strawberry with those haunting “Daaaaaryl” chants. He responded by tipping his cap in sarcasm. 

The Met fans responded by taunting reliever (former Met) Calvin Shiraldi in Games Six & Seven.