Apr 21, 2016

Remembering Mets History (1970) Tom Seaver Ties MLB Record With 19 Strike Outs In A Game

Wednesday April 22, 1970: Tom Seaver was presented with his 1969 Cy Young Award in a pre-game ceremony at Shea Stadium. It was the first of the three Cy Young Awards Tom Seaver would collect in his career.

That same afternoon he took the mound in front of 14,197 fans, facing Preston Gomez's San Diego Padres with their bright yellow early seventies road uniforms. The Friars sent pitcher Mike Corkins to the mound to face Seaver. 

There were many school kids in attendance on class trips at this historic Shea matinee, it was also the first Earth Day to be recognized in the United States.

Seaver started the day with two strike outs in the 1st inning. The Met offense provided a run in the bottom of the 1st, as Bud Harrelson singled & scored on a Ken Boswell double. In the top of the 2nd, Seaver gave up one of the two hits he would surrender on the day; a solo HR to Al Ferrara. Ferrara a former L.A. Dodger who had some small acting roles on Batman & Gilligans Islands TV series'.

In the 3rd inning, Seaver got Corkins & third baseman; Van Kelly to strike out (numbers 4 & 5). In the bottom half of the 3rd, the Mets Tommy Agee led off with a base hit & then quickly scored on aBud Harrelson triple.

Seaver rolled along, in the 4th although he gave up his second hit, a single to Al Ferrara, he struck out Cito Gaston & Jerry Morales (numbers 6 & 7). In the 5th inning, Seaver stuck out Barton & Corkins for numbers 8 & 9. He retired the side in order & did the same in the 6th with another strike out (number 10).

Seaver would get better as the game went on, from the last out of the 6th inning to then last out of the 9th, he struck out everybody. He struck out the last ten batters of the game, setting a record that still stands today. Four of those batters went down looking.

In the 7th, Nate Colbert went down swinging, Dave Campbell & Jerry Morales both were caught looking (numbers 10-11& 12). In the top of the 8th, Seaver got Bob Barton looking & then struck out pinch hitters; Ramon Webster & Ivan Murrell looking.

In the 9th inning, the fans were really excited as they knew they were witnessing baseball history. Seaver struck out Van Kelly for #17 & then Cito Gaston for #18. 

On this historic day he would need one more strike out to tie Steve Carlton for the single game strikeout record of 19. With two outs the last batter was none other than; Al Ferrara, the only guy who had hit Seaver all day. Seaver threw two sliders and two fastballs past him to tie the MLB single game strike out record.

Quotes: Tom Seaver: "I was still worried I'd make a mistake and Ferrara might hit it out," Seaver said. "But when I got two strikes on him, I thought I might never get this close again so I might as well go for it." "Everybody congratulated me when I got No. 16 in the eighth inning,"  "I just told them, 'Let's get some more runs.' All I could think of was that Carlton had struck out 19 of us and still lost."

 In addition to the last ten batters striking out, Seaver had retired the last 16 batters of the game as well. Seaver threw 136 pitches in the game, 81 fastballs, 34 sliders, 19 curve balls, & only two change ups. The win was his 13th regular season win in a row, dating back tho the 1969 regular season, he was 3-0 at that point for 1970.

Trivia: Interestingly, Seaver's 19 strikeout performance broke Nolan Ryan's Mets record of 15 which he had set five days earlier against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium.

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