Sep 8, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1969) Bean Balls Fly As Koosman Ks 13 Cubs & Agee HRs

Monday September 8th, 1969: This is yet another important date in Mets history & an important series for the 1969 Amazing Mets.

Leo Durocher's first place Chicago Cubs (84-57) come to town to take on the second place New York Mets (81-57) who were only 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs. An official crowd of 43,274 filled Shea Stadium on a rainy night of good old fashioned pennant race baseball.
The Cubs sent their number two pitcher; New Jersey born Bill Hands to the mound (16-12) to face the Mets number two man; Jerry Koosman (12-9). 

As Tom Seaver was "the franchise" to the organization, Jerry Koosman was a spectacular number two man behind Seaver. The left hander was also a big money pitcher & a man you also wanted on the mound in a big game.This night was a big game.

The Mets Tommie Agee led off the home 1st inning. Bill Hands immediately threw a haed hunting pitch at him and Agee hit the dirt. A message was being sent by the pitcher & the Cubs, from their manager Leo Durocher. Agee brushed him self off & play went on, thats the way it was in those days. Agee grounded out & the Mets were retired in order that inning.

In the top of the 2nd inning, Jerry Koosman didn't waste any time, he nailed the Cubs top hitter; Ron Santo to send a message right back to the Cubs. 

After the game the press hounded Koosman for his actions, finally he gave in, telling them what they wanted to hear.-  "They threw at Tommie, I had to do it and end it right there. If I don't, they keep doing it & they keep getting away with it". 

When asked if it the incident was talked about on the bench, he said "Nobody said anything to me. I've got to do it & I'll do it again. If Tommie doesn't think I'm working for him, he won't work for me." 

Quotes: The Mets Manager; Gil Hodges agreed "Our boys will take care of our boys".

Koosman not only sent a message with the knockdown pitch, but he sent a message with his performance. After hitting Santo, he struck out the side; Ernie Banks, Jim Hickman & Randy Hundley. He allowed just one hit going into the 6th inning.

 In 1969, Tommie Agee was one of the most important Mets position players. He made things happen & gave 110%, on the field with his glove, with his base running or with his bat. In the 3rd inning, Bud Harrelson reached base with an infield single. Agee followed, answering Hands after the knock down pitch in the last at bat, with a two run HR, putting the Mets ahead 2-0. It was Agee's 26th HR of the season,most on the Mets ballclub. The Shea Faithful went wild as the Mets were proving they were for real.

In the 6th Koosman gave up three straight hits & a sac fly to Santo, as the Cubs tied the game at 2-2. Later,in the bottom half of the inning, Agee led off with a double to left field, once again off Bill Hands.

Next, Wayne Garrett followed with a base hit scoring Agee, with the go ahead run, 3-2 Mets. The play was close, catcher Randy Hundley argued as did Leo Durocher, but Agee was still safe.

Koosman struck out two batters in the 7th, retiring the side in order. In the 8th he gave up two lead off singles to Glen Beckert & Billy Williams. Gil Hodges stuck with him. Koosman got Ron Santo to ground into a double play & struck out Ernie Banks to end the threat.

In the 9th he gave up a single but struck out all three other batters to seal the Mets win & bring the club that much closer to first base. The Cubs could feel their season collapsing as the Mets could feel their dream getting closer. It was the Mets third win in a row in a streak that would reach ten straight wins & getting into first place.

Koosman was spectacular through the night, he struck out 13 while walking just two. He gave up two runs on seven hits, pitching the  complete game 3-2 victory. He earned his 13th win of the season (13-9) while lowering his ERA to 2.48. He struck out nine of the eleven different Cub hitters to step into his plate area.

No comments: