Remembering Mets History: (1973) The Mays / Matlack Saturday Matinee

June 4, 1973: A huge Saturday afternoon crowd near 50,000 came to Shea Stadium to watch a Mets line up that was missing most of its key players due to injury.

Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson, Wayne Garrett, Jerry Grote, & Don Hahn were all out of the line up, with some kind of ailment. The Mets were struggling four games under .500 as they took on a second place Los Angeles Dodger team that were eleven games over .500, chasing the Cincinnati Reds.

Manager Yogi Berra, sent lefty Jon Matlack to the hill. Matlack had lost his last five games and hadn't won since he was hit in the head by a line drive the previous month. 

Matlack allowed a run in the top of the 1st inning, 1-0 L.A. In the bottom of the 1st the Mets struck back, Teddy Martinez singled & Willie Mays walked. Then Rusty Staub doubled to left field scoring both runners. In the top of the 3rd, Davey Lopes was picked off 1st base by Matlack, but an error kept him on base. He would score an un earned run to tie the game. 

In the bottom of the 3rd Willie Mays hit his 655th career HR, it turned out to be the game winning run. Matlack settled in going the distance not allowing another run the rest of the way.

The 42 year old Mays also showed shades of his youth in the 3rd inning on the field. With two runners aboard, Manny Mota hit a line drive to center, Mays dove, tumbled and came up with the ball to retire the side. Quite a day for the veteran Say Hey Kid.


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