May 13, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1972) Willie Mays Returns To New York With A Game Winning HR

Sunday Mothers Day-May 14th 1972: This was a historic & emotional day at Shea Stadium, as the great Willie Mays made his triumphant return to New York.

Mays had just been traded to the Mets from the San Francisco Giants on Thursday May 11th 1972.

The future Hall of Famer had always been a favorite of Mets owner Joan Payson & she had pursued Mays for years. Now she got her man to finish out his career in the City where his great Hall of Fame career began. Mays had debuted in New York with the New York Giants 21 years earlier in 1951.
The National League, New York fans were thrilled to have the Say Hey Kid back home.


In his first game with the Mets, Mays was batting lead off and playing fat irst base. It was a day filled with standing ovations from the Shea crowd of  35,505 as the Mets took on Willie's old team; the San Francisco Giants.

Left hander; Ray Sadecki started for Yogis Berra's first place Mets (17-7) against "Sudden" Sam McDowell & Charlie Fox's sixth place Giants (9-19).

Willie Mays led the game off with a walk, the first of two he'd have on the day. McDowell couldn't find the plate, as he followed with walks to Bud Harrelson & Tommie Agee. Next up came was another new addition to the '72 Mets; Rusty Staub.


Staub had come over from the Montreal Expos in the off season. Staub gave Willie & the mom's in attendance a huge Mothers Day gift, blasting a grand slam HR, putting the Mets up 4-0.

Sadecki cruised along until the 5th inning, as the Giants Fran Healy singled & Bernie Williams tripled to score him. Then the Giant short stop Chris Speier doubled to bring him Williams in. Next up; second baseman Tito Fuentes hit a two run HR & it was a tie ball game.

Don Carithers came in to pitch for the Giants, as Willie Mays led off the bottom of the 5th inning. In story book, dramatic fashion, Willie gave the crowd a thrill as he hit a HR over the Shea wall, putting the Mets up 5-4. The Mets dugout jumped up in excitement & the Shea crowd went crazy. Welcome home Willie!


That HR
would end up being the game winner, as Jim McAndrew came on to pitch four scoreless innings to earn the save. The Mets only had four hits in the game but held on to win it 5-4 and had a nice three game lead ahead in first place.

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