Dec 22, 2015

Remembering Mets History: Jerry Koosman Steals Two Bases (1975)

July 22, 1975: A Tuesday night crowd of 32,000 came to watch Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine roll into Shea Stadium.

Their star catcher Johnny Bench wasn’t behind the plate tonight, he was playing in left field. Backup catcher; Bill Plummer was behind the plate catching pitcher Jack Billingham.

For the Mets, manager Yogi Berra sent out Jerry Koosman who hadn’t been consistent yet all year. Kooz was struggling with an 8-7 record, although his ERA was around 3.40. The Mets weren’t consistent either, before the All Star break they had taken three of four from the Chicago Cubs, but then got swept by the Phillies & Atlanta Braves. They then lost four straight games to these Reds as well. But since the All Star break, they had won three of five games.

In the bottom of the 1st inning, Wayne Garrett & Eddie Kranepool both singled. Rusty Staub’s sac fly brought home Garrett with the Mets first run.

In the 3rd inning Jerry Koosman got a base hit & surprised everyone in Shea Stadium, (including his manager) by taking off for second base. With no one covering the bag, catcher Bill Plummer’s throw went into centerfield and Koos headed safely to third base.

Quotes: Koosman said “their shortstop &third baseman were laying back, so I figured it would be easy for me to do”.

He then scored on Wayne Garrett’s sac fly for the second run.

Koosman was fantastic on the mound tonight too. He went into the 9th inning holding onto a three hit shutout, leading 3-0. He gave up three hits in the inning, but allowed just one run to finish the complete game.

Although Yogi Berra wasn’t to happy about his pitcher stealing a base, Tom Seaver had fun with it. The next night he presented Koosman with a base & a number two painted on it, in honor of his base running heroics.
  
Seaver called it the “Lou Brock Award”. That night Jon Matlack threw a five hitter as Ed Kranepool had three hits, driving in three runs in a 5-2 Met win.

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