April 1968: On April 30th the Philadelphia Phillies (8-9) came to Shea Stadium to face Gil Hodges New York Mets (7-9). Hodges was ending his first month as Mets Manager & was still observing what he had to work with. Both teams were just under .500 but were hoping for good things, for the Mets they were one year away from that Miracle Season.
Tonight's game was a classic pitchers duel as the Mets Don Cardwell went on to a five hit shut out, walking no one while fanning three. It was his first win of the year against two early losses. His opponent was the Phillies Chris Short, Short pitched 7 innings & allowed just one run but that was all New York needed.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Ron Swoboda hit the game winning solo shot. It was Swoboda's 7th HR of the month, in which he had played in just 16 games. He also had collected 16 RBIs and was among the league leaders that early in the season.
In the second game of the 1968 season, the Mets visited San Francisco to play the Giants. In a great pitching matchup, Tom Seaver went up against Juan Marichal. The two Hall of Famers went at it, both lasting eight innings. Seaver took a 4-2 lead into the 9th before running out of gas. The Giants Willie Mays singled & moved up on a passed ball, then scored on Jim Ray Harts base hit. Seaver was relieved by Danny Frisella and hits to Nate Oliver & Jesus Alou ended in a Mets loss.
The Mets hitting star of the day was Ron Swoboda. In the 1st Swoboda's RBI single started off the big day. Then in the 3rd inning with Ken Boswell & Tommie Agee on base, Swoboda cracked a long three run HR off Marichal into the windy San Francisco night. It was his 1st HR of the season & put New York up 4-0.
April 19th - April 21st 1968: This three day four game stretch for Swoboda was certainly a hot one. On April 19th he hit a solo HR off the Los Angeles Dodgers Claude Osteen, but the Mets went down 3-2.
The next day Tom Seaver & Bill Singer went at it, matching zeroes into the 6th inning. Bud Harrelson reached base for the Mets with a bunt single, and Art Shamsky later walked. Swoboda came up hitting a three run HR, his third of the year. The Mets went on to a 3-3 win behind Swoboda & Seaver.
Sunday April 21st was a classic double header matinee at Shea. The Dodgers took the first game but Swoboda remained hot, he hit a 4th inning two run HR off Dodger ace; Don Drysdale, in a five run Mets inning. A four run Dodger 8th & a two run 9th off Met pitchers Bill Short & Deick Selma ended in a 7-6 Met loss.
The Mets dropped the second game as well, but Swoboda stayed hot, hitting a 4th inning solo HR. He kept a five game hit streak in tact & had hit HRs in four straight games with seven RBIs.
On April 27th Swoboda hit another HR & drove in two more runs, although the Mets lost again, this time 5-3 at Cincinnati to the Reds.
Unfortunately his hot streak ended & he would struggle the rest of the year. He would hit just 11 HRs with 59 RBIs in 132 games.