Aug 31, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1975) Seaver Wins His 20th Game & Sets Record With Eight Straight 200 K Seasons

Monday September 1, 1975: This was a big night at the time for the '75 Mets.

Interim Manager Roy McMillan's third place Mets (72-64) were just four games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates (75-59).

Danny Murtaugh's Pirates were at Shea this evening, as 45,991 fans filled up Shea Stadium to see Pittsburgh's John Candeleria (7-4) go up against that Years Cy Young Award winner; Tom Seaver. Seaver was going for his 20th victory & going after yet another strike out record.

MLB Record: Tonight Tom Seaver would strike out ten Pirates, putting him over the 200 strike out mark for the eighth straight season. A feat no other pitcher had done before.

In the 1975 season Seaver would once again lead the league in strikeouts with 243. It was the fouth time he topped the National League in strike outs, doing it in 1970, 1971, 1973 & 1975. He would do it one final time the following season in 1976.

Tonight's victory put him at the twenty win mark, the fourth time in his career that he reached that milestone. Seaver would end up leading the league in victories in 1975 going 22-9 with the 3rd best ERA in the league at 2.38.

He pitched 15 complete games (3rd in the NL) & toss five shut outs (4th in the NL). These number won Tom Terific his Third Cy Young Award (1969-1973-1975).

Seaver would win the Player of the Week Award this week, his second Player of the Week Award of the Year. He had also won Pitcher of the Month in June of 1975.

Starting Lineups

Seaver was spectacular on this night, as he pitched the complete game four hit shut out. He gave up just one walk while striking out ten. From the 6th inning on, he notched six of the ten strike outs. It was the second straight game he struck out ten batters & the third time on the year he went into double figures in strike outs.

 In the home 1st, the Mets gave him support quickly. Rookie Mike Vail hit his first career HR, putting the Mets up 1-0. Later in the 6th, Felix Millan led off with a single and scored on a Rusty Staub double. Joe Torre then drove home Staub with a base hit, to seal the Mets 3-0 win.

Remembering Mets History: (1974) Tug McGraw Pitches His Only Career Shut Out

Sunday September 1st, 1974: Yogi Berra's fifth place Mets (60-71) were nine games back at the start of September, but unlike last year there was no NL Pennant run in store this September. 

The Mets were the reigning NL Champs but were to loose their title in the next month. Tonight the Mets hosted Clyde Kings third place Atlanta Braves (73-61) in front of 33,879 fans. The Braves Carl Morton (14-7) went up against The Mets Tug McGraw (5-7).

In his Mets career, Tug McGraw made 36 starts for the club, most of them in the earlier part of his career. In the upsetting Mets 1974 season, the team needed help in the starting rotation at times & McGraw filled in making four starts. This game would be McGraw's only shut out of his fine career, albeit most of it was as a reliever.

Starting Lineups

McGraw scattered just five hits on the night, coming off the bats of Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson, Ralph Garr, Darrell Evans & Marty Perez. Tug walked just one while striking out three in the complete game victory.

Morton shut down the Mets, until the 4th inning, John Milner & Rusty Staub both singled. Then rookie Benny Ayala flied out to center field, Rusty Staub was thrown out trying to get back to first base but John Milner was able to score on the play. 

In the 5th, the Mets Teddy Martinez singled & McGaw drew a walk. Bud Harrelson singled bringing in Martinez. Felix Millan grounded out, but McGraw scored on the play making it 3-0. It was all the Mets needed for the win.

Turn Back the Clock To Some Old Mets Advertisments:

What better way to make for a nicer day at Shea, Mets baseball & a big fat salty pretzel?

If you can't get to the ballpark, listen to the voices of experience: Lindsey, Ralph & Bob made it all come to life for so many of us.

Back in the late sixties, you could get your official Original Mr. Met wrist watch for only $9.99.

A Casey Stengel ad for Westinghouse dish washers in the early sixties.

Here's another great Yogi Berra Yoo-Hoo ad. Two great Hall of Famers.

The official beer of the Mets for years was extra dry Rheingold. Who could forget those little brown nip bottles?
1969 World Champion Met's outfielder Art Shamsky with model / actress Lauren Hutton in Harpers Bazaar, circa 1970.

Tom Seaver for the Men's Store at Sears, wearing that early seventies "comfort- shirt", and a classic seventies wide burgundy tie.

Gary Carter was the amazing clean up hitter for Northville Gasoline. Gary was quite the commercial success upon his arrival in New York in 1985.

Here's how Dwight Gooden also known as "Dr. K"- fixes his Ribs, with Kingsford charcoals.

Remember when half the Mets games were broadcast on Channel 9 & the other half were on cable's Sports Channel? They had you covered.

In the seventies the Mets were on New York's Country Music AM station, 1050 WHN.

David Wright represents Union Carpenters constructing the new Citi Field in 2007.

Remembering Mets History: (2016) Big Night As Mets Continue Playoff Persuit / Grandy Hits A Pair of HRs & Familia Ties Club Save Record

Tuesday August 30th 2016: The previous night Yoenis Cespedes hit a dramatic walk off HR at Citi Field taking a page from his own book of a year ago. Cespedes helped the Mets take the first game of a big series with the Miami Marlins. The Mets had now won eight of their last ten games. The Mets are now hot, in the midst of a wild card chasing pennant race to the post season.

A team that has been struggling with injuries all year, a team that lost their Captain David Wright, one of their sluggers Lucas Duda for pretty much the entire season & has also lost its one of it's top pitchers; Matt Harvey for the year. Now it's Steven Matz down as well as second base slugger Neil Walker.

The list goes on & on......and oh yea the Mets future outfield star Michael Conforto has struggled so much he's in the minor leagues. It's a different team than last years NL Champions but many of the old faces are still there as well. Are these Mets who were hurting to score runs all year now making the run we all expected & wanted..........looks like it's happening.

Terry Collins Mets (67-64) were hosting Don Mattingly's Miami Marlins (67-64) both tied for second place in the NL East and 2 1/2 games out of the wild card hunt as well. Yes it was a big game. Those hurting Mets sent another young inexperienced pitcher to the mound as their young star studded staff suffered through injuries & fatigue. Sunday Robert Gsellman stepped up, Monday it was Rafael Montero & tonight Seth Lugo.

Lugo started out with a shaky 1st inning,  allowing a two run HR to Christian Yelich. He eventually settled down, giving up no more runs, he went six innings allowing those two runs on five hits, four strike outs & a walk.

The Mets bats were slugging tonight, the now blonde but still sore legged Asdrubal Cabrera,  blasted a two run HR, his 17th of the year, as he continued his hot hitting after returning from the DL. Jay Bruce who's still trying to feel comfy with a bat in a Mets uniform got a solid hit & scored on Wilmer Flores base hit.

The score remained that way until Curtis Granderson delivered a pinch hit HR in the in the 6th inning. He stayed in the game & hit a two run HR in the 7th inning. Granderson's crazy season has him at 22 HRs with just 38 RBIs, very strange. He's on pace to become the first player in MLB history to hit 25 HRs & drive in less than 50 RBIs.

Also in the 6th, Jose Reyes (who's hitting .300 by the way) doubled. Walks to Cabrera & Bruce loaded the bases. Alejandro De Aza who couldn't hit anything at the start of the season & although he's still under .200,  has driven in 15 of his 21 RBIs in the month of August.

With Jim Henderson not being able to close the door in the 9th, the Marlins scored two runs. Terry Collins went to Jeruys Familia & he struck out Marcell Ozuna to end the game. He earned the save his 43rd on the season, tying his own Mets record, also shared with Armando Benitez.

Mets looking to sweep the Fish & ready to kick some Nationals butts around on Labor Day weekend.

Aug 30, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (2003) Joe Reyes Is Youngest Player To Hit HRs From Both Sides of the Plate

Thursday August 28th, 2003: Art Howe's fifth place Mets (59-73)were certainly struggling at this point in time, but there was some bright spots in the teams future. Rookie speedster Jose Reyes had just been brought up that June adding some excitement to the ball club.  At this point, Reyes was already batting over .300 & stealing bases like crazy, dazzling everyone with his speed, as well as his fine play on the field.

But on this day, he went into the record books for something else, his power. Jose Reyes became the youngest player in MLB history to hit HRs from both sides of the plate.

Starting Lineups

The Mets were in Atlanta taking on Bobby Cox's first place  Braves (85-48). Al Leiter went out & won his 13th game (13-7) beating former Met; Mike Hampton (12-6).

With the game still scoreless in the 5th inning, Reyes led off & hit a solo HR off Hampton from the right side. Later in the top of the 9th, with New York clinging to the 2-1 lead, Reyes hit a two run shot from the left side of the plate off pitcher; Trey Hodges. The exciting young Reyes drove in all three runs in the 3-1 Mets win, while making history.

Remembering Mets History: (1971) Cleon Jones Hits Walk Off HRs Two Saturdays In a Row

Saturday August 21st 1971: Gil Hodges fourth place Mets (61-62) sent Tom Seaver (13-8) to the mound, trying to get the club to the .500 mark. Today they hosted Preston Gomez, last place San Diego Padres (47-80) who sent Dave Roberts (11-12) up against Seaver in front of 26,584 fans at Shea Stadium.

It was a typical Tom Seaver low scoring pitchers duel as Dave Roberts matched Seaver along the way. Roberts would allow just two hits & one run going into the 9th inning, striking out seven. Seaver had scattered six hits striking out eight giving up just one run.

Starting Lineups

In the top of the 5th inning, Ed Spiezio hit a solo HR, his seventh of the season. Spiezo (father of former big leaguer Scott Spiezio) would hit 39 career HRs in 1544 at bats.

In the bottom of the 7th, Cleon Jones led off with a triple. Tommie Agee brought him in with a sac fly tying up the game at one.

The score stayed that way going into the bottom of the 9th.

In the 9th, Larry Stahl walked & stole second with one out, but Seaver got "Downtown" Ollie Brown to line out & Spiezio to fly out to right ending the threat. In the bottom frame, Ted Martinez grounded out & Ken Boswell flew out.

Cleon Jones stepped in & was the hero of the day, hitting a walk off HR to end the game, giving Seaver his 14th win of the year.

A week later on Saturday August 28th 1971: The Mets (65-64) had barely gone over the .500 mark. Gil Hodges Mets hosted Walter Alston's second place Los Angeles Dodgers (69-63).

The Mets had already defeated L.A. in the first game of this Saturday afternoon twin bill at Shea Stadium.

In the night cap, the starters were Gary Gentry for New York & the Dodgers Don Sutton. Sutton was outstanding on the day, shutting out the Mets through seven innings, allowing just three hits, striking out six. 

Gentry was also tough, as held the Dodgers scoreless until the the 8th inning. Duke Sims doubled to right field, and a young Bobby Valentine was brought in to pinch run. Next pinch hitter Tom Haller lined a base hit to right, scoring Valentine.

In the 8th Jim Brewer relived Sutton, he retired the first two batters but then catcher; Duffy Dyer doubled to center. Tommie Agee then singled to left field tying up the game 1-1. Tug McGraw came in & pitched a scoreless 9th inning.

In the bottom of the 9th, with two outs, Cleon Jones stepped in & was the hero once again. Cleon hit another walk off game winning HR, thrilling the crowd of 43,492 with a 2-1 Mets win. McGraw earned the victory bringing him to 9-5 on the year, while holding a 1.83 ERA.

Early Eighties Mets Pitcher: Mike Torrez (1983-1984)

Michael Augustine Torrez was born on August 28th 1946 in Topeka Kansas. The tall six foot five right hander was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964 at age 17.

Torrez went 10-10 at AAA Tulsa & would make his MLB debut as a September call up for the 1967 World Champion Cardinals. 

On September 10th, he pitched to one batter & struck him out in a 8-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The next year he began the year with the Cardinals & went 2-1 but was sent down in late May. He went 8-2 at AAA Tulsa in the Pacific Coast League as the Cards won another pennant & lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

In 1969 the Cards fell to fourth place & Torrez filled in on a staff of Bob Gibson (20-13) Steve Carlton (17-11) & Nelson Briles (15-13) going 10-4 with the best winning percentage on the staff. He fell to 8-10 in 1970 & in June of 1971 was traded to the Montreal Expos for Bob Reynolds. Torrez would spend four years in Montreal, having two 15 win seasons.

In 1972 he Balor Moore & Bill Stoneman made a good rotation, but the team had no offense. Torrez won 16 games (9th most wins in the NL) going 16-12 with a 3.33 ERA. He struck out 112 batters, but also walked 103 in 243 innings of work. Torrez would be among the league leaders in walks allowed through most of his career.

He would also give up lots of hits & runs as well, although he was a work horse pitcher. Ten times in his career he pitched over 200 innings. He also walked 100 batters or more six times (leading the league three times) & gave up over 100 runs seven times (leading the league twice). He was known as a nibbler, not having the best stuff but a guy who would nibble away at the corners of the strike zone.

In 1974 he won 15 games, tying Steve Rogers for the Expos team lead & went on a seven year stretch where he won double figures. That year Torrez married a girl from Montreal & was hoping to stay put to raise a family. But it was not to be, manager Gene Mauch was tired of his walking too many batters & a trade was made. 

In 1975 he went to the Baltimore Orioles in a big traded that sent he & Ken Singleton to the Orioles for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins & a Bill Kirkpatrick.

 The deal was terrible for Montreal, as McNally retired in May, Coggins got very sick & was released & Kirkpatrick never pitched for the team. The trade was great for Baltimore, Single became an All Star outfielder & Torrez a top hurler.

He won twenty games (20-9) fourth most wins in the AL, posting a 3.06 ERA in 270 innings (9th in the AL) , while leading the league with 133 walks. He was part of another talented staff that included Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar & Ross Grimsley, but the O's finished second to the Boston Red Sox ending their six year run as AL East champs.

That off season Torrez was traded to the Oakland A's who had just won five straight AL West Division titles & three World Series (1972-1974). It was a monster trade at the time, sending Reggie Jackson & Ken Holtzman to the Orioles for Torrez & Don Baylor.

Torrez had another good year there, going 16-12 with a 2.50 ERA. He tossed four shut outs as well (4th in the AL). The only other starting pitcher left from the A's Championship years was Vida Blue who went 18-13.

After starting out 1977 3-1 in April he was traded to the AL New York team for Doc Ellis, Marty Perez & Larry Murray. There he went 14-12 helping the club to a world championship. It was his only post season appearance of his long career. In the ALCS he took a loss to the Kansas City Royals in Game #3 at Kansas City. In the World Series he was the winning pitcher in Game #3 at Los Angeles & the winner in Game #6 at New York.

That winter he signed on as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. He would spend seven seasons in Boston winning 16 games in each of his first two seasons. His 16 wins were 8th best in the league in 1979. He would finish second on the Red Sox staff to Dennis Ekersley both seasons. Also on the staff were Luis Tiant & Bill Lee, making up one of the league's best.

But it was a heartbreaking season in 1978 for the Sox, They fell apart, losing 17 games in the standings after holding a big lead in the AL East. They rebounded to come back & force a one game playoff after being down 3 1/2 games with 14 to go.

Torrez capped off the season, with one of the biggest blows against the Red Sox in modern history. It was Torrez who gave up the 7th inning, three HR, deep to left field over the Green Monster, to weak hitting short stop; Bucky Dent. Boston had been up 2-0 but were now behind & never came back. The Sox lost a heart breaker finished second & then third the next year.

In 1979 Torrez led the league once again in walks & earned runs. In 1980 he fell to 9-16 the worst record he had since 1973. In the strike shortened 1981 season he rebounded to a 10-3 record posting a 3.68 ERA. After going 9-9 in 1982 he was traded to the New York Mets for a player to be named later.

Torrez joined the 83' Mets staff that included the return of Mets legend Tom Seaver, Craig Swan & youngsters Walt Terrell & Ed Lynch. Torrez made his Mets debut on April 9th, in the third game of the season, at Shea Stadium. Torrez gave up five runs in six innings, taking a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He lost to the Cardinals in St. Louis in his second start, beginning the year at 0-2. 

Torrez then made three relief appearances before getting a start on April 27th in Cincinnati. He went eight innings allowing just one run on three hits, earning his first win 2-1 over the Reds. In his next start he went nine innings, but without run support took a 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros. Torrez was 2-6 by the end of May with an ERA over five. He had a good stretch at the end of June winning three straight games, including a three hit one run victory against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium on June 26th.

Torrez was a streaky pitcher that season, after three straight wins he lost four straight dropped six of seven. But at the end of August, Torrez won another three straight, beating the San Francisco Giants twice & the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 31st, he pitched a complete game one run victory beating the Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela.

In September he went 1-3 to finish the year at 10-17, the most losses in the National League. He also topped the league in earned runs allowed (108) & walks (113). He pitched 22 innings struck out 94 & posted a 4.37 ERA.

Torrez began the year with Mets in 1984 but this was a completely different team, the pitching staff now had Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling & Sid Fernandez on board. Torrez actually got the nod to make the Opening Day start that season, taking a loss at Cincinnati. He was shelled for six runs on six hits, exiting in the second inning.

Torrez pitched into the six inning allowing no runs in his next start, but got no decision in the Mets 3-1 win. In that game, Torrez hit the Houston Astros young All Star short stop; Dicke Thon in the face with a fastball, fracturing his orbital bone almost ending his career. Thon recovered but was never the same player.

On April 21st Torrez made the start but was gone after allowing three runs in the 1st inning. On May 13th the Dodgers tagged him for four runs at Dodger Stadium, as he exited in the 5th inning taking a 5-3 loss. On June 3d, he pitched 8 innings & although he gave up ten hits, only allowed one run to The St. Louis Cardinals. But that day Dave LaPoint was better shutting out the Mets & Torrez 1-0.

On June 9th, Torrez got his only win of the year, beating the Expos in Montreal. By the end of June he 1-5 with a 6.30 ERA when the Mets gave him his release.

Torrez signed with the Oakland Athletics, pitched in two games ending his career at age 38. In his long 18 year career he was 185-160 (150th all time in wins / 119th in losses).

He had 1404 strike outs, 1371 walks (23rd all time), 1340 earned runs (69th all time most) allowed in 3042 innings (126th all time) over 494 games. He threw 15 shut outs, 117 complete games as well as 103 wild pitches in 458 starts (76th all time) & posted a 3.96 ERA.

Retirement: In 2011 he was named General Manager of the Newark Bears as they began play in the Canadian American Association, but was fired that summer.

Aug 29, 2016

Tug McGraw (Part Two) 1973 Mets N.L. Championship Year "You Gotta Believe"

In 1973 Tug started out the season with another Opening Day save after relieving Tom Seaver to finish off the Philadelphia Phillies. In the first month of thee 1973 season he had four saves and was posting a 1.59 ERA, just like the Tug McGraw of old. But in mid May he began to struggle, he only notched one save from that point through mid June and he was getting hit hard.

In an early May game he blew a four run lead against the Houston Astros, giving up a three run HR to Bob Watson. He was charged with seven runs overall on that day. He did get credit for three saves following that game but then allowed two HRs to the Pittsburgh Pirates, blowing a save while taking a loss. His ERA soared to 5.19 & over the next two months. He blew four saves, took two losses dropping to 0-4 on the year & only notched three saves.

On June 28th he came in relief in the 7th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, Greg Luzinski & Tommy Hutton led the way & lit him up for four runs. In the second game of a July 1st double header he gave up a walk off HR to the Chicago Cubs Randy Hundley at Wrigley Field. Another terrible outing came two days later in Montreal on July 3rd, when he allowed seven earned runs in relief to the Expos.

That day he said he felt like he had no idea how to throw a baseball. It was as if he had never played baseball in his life. He blew another save against the Atlanta Braves and had an ERA over six when Yogi Berra decided to use him as a starter.

His first start was July 17th in Atlanta but it was also a nightmare. He allowed seven runs on ten hits over six innings pitched but the Mets bailed him out with a seven run 9th inning, led by a pair of two run HRs from Rusty Staub & John Milner. Also pinch hitters Jim Beachamp & Willie Mays drove in runs as well with key hits.

The team also struggled through injuries to some its key players, and in the middle of summer was below .500, in last place eleven games out. By August McGraw’s record had slipped to 0-6, and then one afternoon it all seemed to make sense. He was having lunch with an old friend of Gil Hodges, a man named Joe Badamano who was a motivational speaker.

Badamano told Tug “you got to believe in yourself & think positive”. That’s it Tug said to himself, “You gotta believe”. He kept repeating it to himself, his team mates, & to the fans. Then in a famous closed door team meeting with chairman of the board; M. Donald Grant, a rally cry was born.

"You Gotta Believe": Rumors were swirling in the press about who was to be fired in the Mets organization, The newspapers actually had a poll asking the public who the Mets should let go; the manager Yogi Berra? the General Manager Bob Scheffing? Or the Chairman M. Donald Grant? Since Berra was the most popular guy, he was voted to stay.

Grant gave the team a pep talk, telling them the front office was behind them and still believed in them. Then it happened; McGraw jumped up and shouted, “You gotta believe! You gotta believe!” right in the middle of the Grants speech.

Grant wasn’t sure if he was being mocked or supported. He stormed out of the room with his brass of upper management behind him. Some of his teammates laughed thinking Tug was actually mocking the chairman of the board.

Ed Kranepool went over to Tug telling him he should straighten things out with Grant to cool him off. McGraw went over to talk with Grant, and sure enough he was upset. It took a couple of weeks but things began to turn around for the best as the team got healthy.

On August 22nd McGraw finally earned his first win, after a 9th inning comeback win by the Mets, with key hits from Felix Millan & John Milner. That week Tug earned two saves & another victory at St. Louis against the Cardinals. At the end of August 1973 the Mets were still in last place, ten games under .500 but only six games behind the first place Cardinals.

Whichever way Tug McGraw meant his “You gotta believe” outburst to be, it became legendary. For Mets fans it will never be forgotten & always be associated with the team. It was also to be one of baseball’s greatest battle cries ever. “You Gotta Believe” led the Mets from last place all the way to the World Series.

McGraw turned his season around, he had a spectacular September winning five games (5-0) and earning ten saves. He posted a 0.88 ERA striking out 38 batters in 41 innings, allowing just two earned runs all month long. On September 7th in Montreal he pitched five innings of relief from the 10th through the 15th inning, and drove in two runs with a base hit to earn the 4-2 victory.

Over an incredible eight day stretch in mid September from the 12th -19th, he saved four games and earned two victories. In that stretch he pitched 11 innings allowing no runs & struck out 13 batters. This lifted the Mets to within 1 ½ games of first place.

During a crucial Series against the first place Pittsburgh Pirates, McGraw earned the win in the final game at Three Rivers Stadium. The next night at Shea Stadium he got the save pitching three innings of shutout relief. After two more Mets wins, including the famous “ball off the wall night” the Mets were above .500 and in first place passing the Pirates. “You Gotta Believe” was being shouted everywhere all over New York City!

Clinching Series: The Mets lost their final home game of the season & went to a four game Series at Wrigley Field in Chicago, to try to clinch the NL Eastern title. After three days of rain, they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker in the first game of a double header giving the Cardinals & Prates one final chance to catch them.

But Jerry Koosman won the nightcap & clinched at least a tie of the Eastern Division. In the last game of the season McGraw came in to relieve a tired Tom Seaver in the 7th inning with the Mets ahead 6-4. He pitched three shutout innings, striking out four Cubs to earn the save and clinch the Eastern Divisional title.

He finished the 1973 Mets Pennant year at 5-6 with 25 saves in 60 appearances, striking out 81 batters in 118 innings posting a 3.87 ERA. By now he had developed his trademark of slapping his glove on his thigh as he stormed off the mound. It was a signal of affection to his wife watching at home which really took off after the birth of their second son that month.

Post Season-1973 NLCS: In the post season McGraw continued his spectacular pitching. In the NLCS against the Cincinnati Big Red Machine, he did not appear until Game #4 since Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack & Jerry Koosman all had thrown complete games. Tug struggled a bit but did not allow any runs. He got out of jams pitching four innings, walking three and giving up three hits.

In the final Game #5 clincher at Shea Stadium, he came in the 9th inning to relieve Tom Seaver who was beginning to tire. Tug walked into a bit of a jam, although the Mets had a five run lead, the bases were loaded with just one out. He got Joe Morgan to pop up & Dan Driessan to ground out to John Milner at first base. McGraw covered first base as John Milner flipped the ball to him. Tug grabbed his hat and ran for his life as the Mets fans swarmed the field, tearing up anything they could. The incredible season comeback had the Mets advanced to the World Series for the second time in four years.

In the clubhouse celebration Tug McGraw sprayed champagne shouting “You Gotta Believe, You Gotta Believe”!! In his book “Screwball” Tug said the Mets felt punchy as they arrived in the San Francisco Bay area for the World Series. “We had been denounced, damned, cheered, mobbed, written up, screwed up & bombed out of our minds”.

Post Season-1973 World Series: In the 1973 World Series Tug was again Yogi Berra’s go to guy in the bullpen. He became a national star on television for the whole country to watch.

McGraw appeared in five of the seven games, earning a win, a save, posting a 2.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched. He pitched a scoreless inning and a half in the Series Opener at Oakland’s Alameda Coliseum, but the Mets lost 2-1.

In the Game #2 ten-inning marathon in Oakland he pitched an incredible six innings of relief. He did allow four runs on five hits but also struck out eight Oakland batters. He earned the win as the Mets scored four runs off Rollie Fingers in the top of the 12th inning on RBI hits by Willie Mays, John Milner & Jerry Grote. McGraw even got a bunt base hit in the top of the 12 inning, and came around to score on one of Oakland infielder Mike Andrews two straight errors. The win evened the Series at one game each heading back to New York.

He appeared in relief of Tom Seaver in the 9th inning of Game #3 at Shea Stadium. This game  was a classic 2-2 pitching duel at that point with Seaver facing off against Catfish Hunter.

Tug pitched two scoreless innings earning no decision. Oakland won it in the 11th inning when a passed ball got by Jerry Grote on a third strike & Ted Kubiak reached second base. He scored on a Campaneis single off Harry Parker.

In Game #5 back at Shea Stadium, McGraw relieved Jerry Koosman in the 7th inning with runners on second & third base. There was one out with the Mets leading 2-0. McGraw walked Deron Johnson to load the bases, but then got Angel Mangual to pop up & Bert Campaneris (who was killing the Mets in the series) to strikeout looking on a nasty screwball. McGraw pumped his glove on his thigh, shouting as he walked off the field to a wild Shea standing ovation.

New York City Mayor John Lindsay
Even New York Mayor John Lindsay was shouting “You Gotta Believe” as Tug walked off the field. Koosman told McGraw about it as he reached the bench & Tug peeked out of the dugout to acknowledge the Mayor.

Tug and Jerry Koosman combined on a three hit shutout against the mighty A’s lineup. Cleon Jones’ RBI double in the second inning and Don Hahn's triple scored the only runs, putting the Mets ahead three games to two, as the Series shifted back to Oakland.

McGraw made one more appearance in Game #6 pitching the 8th inning with Oakland ahead 2-1. He allowed a single to Reggie Jackson but an error allowed Jackson to go third base. He scored on a Jesus Alou sac fly. In the inning he got a strike out & double play to end things. The Mets lost a heartgreaking Series in Game Seven.

Quotes: “Ten million years from now, when the sun burns out and the earth is a frozen ice ball, no one will care if I got this guy out or not” -Tug McGraw