Apr 6, 2016

Remembering Mets Opening Days of the Past: (1970) - World Champion Mets Win Their First Opening Day Game

April 7th 1970: After the Mets had won the 1969 World Series they enjoyed all the celebrity aspects that went along with it.

Dubbed "The Amazing Mets" every member of that team would forever be remembered for their contribution to the Miracle Mets.

On March 31st, after Spring Training the Mets were invited to the White House & Commissioner Bowie Kuhn gave President Nixon a Mets World Series ring.

In the front office, Bob Scheffing took over as the GM, as Johnny Murphy had suffered a fatal heart attack on January 16th.

Pitching Coach Rube Walker & Manager Gil Hodges
The '70 Mets opened the season in Pittsburgh, taking on the Pirates at Forbes Field in front of 34,249. The Pirates season was set to open up in the new Three Rivers Stadium, a large cookie cutter circular stadium, but construction delays put off its opening until July.

The Mets batting order looked similar to the '69 World Champs, except for the addition of newly acquired third baseman; Joe Foy. Manager Gil Hodges sent his Cy Young Award winner Tom Seaver to the mound to face Danny Murtaugh's Pirates & pitcher Steve Blass.

Starting Lineups

The World Champs struck in the top of the 1st, as Tommie Agee singled & advanced to second on Foy's ground out. Cleon Jones doubled him in & Art Shamsky singled home Jones for a 2-0 Mets lead.

Seaver was shaky in the 1st as well, giving up a leadoff double to Matty Alou & an RBI single to Roberto Clemente. The Pirates tied it in the 2nd as Al Oliver tripled & catcher; Jerry May (a short time future Met) brought him in with a sac fly. In the top of the 3rd, Tommie Agee got his second hit, stole second & advanced to third on a ground out. He scored on Joe Foy's sac fly to right field, 3-2 Mets.

Seaver & Blass settled down until the 6th, Matty Alou tripled & Clemente drove him with his second RBI on the day, 3-3 game. The games stayed that way into extra innings. Reliever; Ron Taylor replaced Seaver in the 9th inning & pitched two scoreless innings.

Seaver pitched 8 innings giving up 3 runs on 9 hits with no walks & 5 strike outs. Chuck Hartenstein replaced Blass in the 10th inning. Blass went 10 innings, 3 runs on 9 hits 9 strike outs & 2 walks.

In the 10th inning, the Mets threatened, Agee got his third hit of the day with a base hit. He was sacrificed to second by Bud Harrelson. With two outs Cleon Jones hit a tough grounder to second, Agee attempted to score but was thrown out at home by Bill Mazeroski, ending the inning.

But in the 11th the Mets came back again, rookie Mike Jorgensen, who had replaced Shamsky at first base, singled to lead off the inning. Ron Swoboda reached on an error & Wayne Garret sacrificed both runners over. Jerry Grote was then walked intentionally, loading them up. Ken Boswell was announced as the pinch hitter but Pirates manager went to his bullpen, brining in lefty; Joe Gibbon.  

Donn Clendenon
Hodges went to his bench bringing in the 1969 World Series MVP; Donn Clendenon in to hit for Boswell. Clendenon delivered with a base hit up the middle, bringing in Swoboda & Jorgensen, 5-3 New York.

Tug McGraw came in for the bottom of the inning & recorded the save. The Mets had won their very first Opening Day game.

The 1970 Mets would be in the pennant race until late September, but fell short finishing third at 83-79 six games back.

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