Oct 21, 2017

Remembering Mets History (1973): World Series Game #5: Koosman & McGraw Combine To Shut Out A's

Thursday, October 18th 1973: World Series Game #5- Shea Stadium, New York.
The fifth game of the 1973 World Series was played on a forty eight degree, breezy night in New York, as 54, 817 fans filled up Shea Stadium. The fans seemed more louder on the original television & radio broadcasts than in the first two games at Shea. It was a rematch of the Game #2 lefties, Jerry Koosman vs. Vida Blue.

Tug McGraw & Rollie Fingers Laugh It Up Before the Game

Starting Lineups

Don Hahn & Jerry Grote

The Hammer- John Milner
After a quiet 1st inning, the Mets made some noise in the 2nd. Cleon Jones who was still feeling better but was still suffering from the flu, drove a lead off double to left field.

Next up "the Hammer" John Milner singled to right field bringing in the game's first run, exciting the Mets fans. It was Milner's sixth hit of the Series, as he had hit safely in all but one game up to this point.

In the 3rd inning, Bert Campaneris got a two out base hit to centerfield. Koosman kept a close eye on him & with his great left handed pick off move, nabbed him for the third out on a close play.

In the home 4th the Mets threatened again, as Staub & Cleon Jones both singled. John Milner bunted but Staub was forced at third base. After Jerry Grote fouled out, Don Hahn reached on a Bert Campaneris error at short, as he over ran a grounder in the hole. But Vida Blue got Bud Harrelson to pop up to end the inning.

Milner Steps On First Retiring Joe Rudi

 A's Joe Rudi Makes Spectacular Catch

In the bottom of the 6th, Cleon Jones blasted a drive to left field. A's outfielder Joe Rudi snagged it, making a fine catch & hit off the fence falling to the floor.

Grote Scores Mets Second Run
It was a spectacular catch, that even had the Shea Faithful applauding. Rudi one of the games best outfielders, had also made a legendary catch in the 1972 World Series against the Reds.

Jerry Grote then reached base with a two out base hit off Blue. Next up Don Hahn tripled to the left center field gap, scoring Grote with the Mets second run making it 2-0. Blue was removed & Darold Knowles came in to pitch in his fifth straight Series game.

Third Base Coach Eddie Yost & Don Hahn After RBI Triple
Meanwhile Jerry Koosman was pitching another fine post season game. Koosman had gone 2-0 in the 1969 World Series & had a win under his belt in the 1973 NLCS against Cincinnati. In Game #5 of the 1973 World Series he was spectacular once again. Going into the 7th inning, Kooz was pitching a shut out & had only allowed two hits while walking three.

Quotes: Jerry Koosman- "I went into the ball game feeling very confident. I had good stuff in the bullpen, although after an inning or two, I found I wasn't getting my curveball over due to the dry air. My fingers stayed dry, so I relied on a fastball that was moving in every direction".

Koosman Shuts Down A's
Back in the 5th inning, Gene Tenace had led off with a walk. With one out catcher Ray Fosse blooped a pop fly behind second base. Felix Millan made a circus catch behind the infield, with his back turned from home plate, shades of Willie Mays great 1954 World Series catch with the New York Giants.

Millan's great catch possibly saved the game, as it stopped any chance of the A's having a big inning. Rusty Staub coming in from right field, tangled up with Millan after the catch was made, but no one was hurt. Millan had almost gotten the double play at first, but a diving John Milner just missed a tag on a Tenace.

In the top of the 7th, the A's threatened; Gene Tenace drew his second walk of the game & with one out Ray Fosse doubled to left field. Manager Yogi Berra, felt Koosman was tiring & he went to his ace relief pitcher; Tug McGraw. McGraw came in to a jam with runners on second & third with one out, as the Mets were clinging to a 2-0 lead.

Yogi Berra Calls on Tug McGraw For Save
The Stadium's organist; Jane Jarvis played the traditional "Irish Jig" as McGraw warmed up receiving a big ovation from the crowd.

Tonight McGraw would put in a fine performance on the national stage, adding to his reputation as one of the games top relievers. He first loaded the bases walking pinch hitter Deron Johnson. He then got pinch hitter; Angel Mangual to pop out to Harrelson at short. With two outs, & the Shea fans going wild, cheering him on, he got Bert Campaneris to strike out looking at his famous screwball.

The crowd went wild, as a revved up Tug McGraw came back to the dugout pounding his glove on his upper thigh. This was his trademark move, a sign of affection toward his wife, a message between the two that said I love you.

In the 8th inning, McGraw got Rudi & Bando for two quick outs but then got in a bit of a jam. He walked Reggie Jackson & Gene Tenace putting the go ahead run up at the plate. Blue Moon Odom came in to pinch run for Tenace. McGraw then got Jesus Alou to line out to Garrett at third base, ending the threat.

In the 9th inning, McGraw got Ray Fosse to line out to left field for the first out. He then fooled Ted Kubiak & pinch hitter; Billy Conigliaro to both strike out looking.

Jerry Koosman got the win, his second of the post season & his third World Series win of his career.

Koosman is still the Mets most winning post season pitcher going 4-0 with a 3.37 ERA. He allowed 15 earned runs while striking out 31 batters & walking 15 in 40 innings of work over six games.

Tug McGraw earned his second save of the 1973 post season, his first in the World Series. He was the winning pitcher in Game #2 & had struck out 14 A's in the series. McGraw was 1-0 with two saves in his Mets post season career, pitching in eight games he posted a 1.71 ERA giving up four runs on 13 hits, with 18 strike outs & 13 walks in 22 innings of work.

New York Mayor John Lindsay
The game took two hours & thirty nine minutes to play, ending just before eleven PM.

The Mets were now up three games to two & heading back to California needing just one more win to complete  another Miracle,

New York was going wild, as even Mayor John Lindsay joined in holding up a sign from the Shea Stadium "Sign Man" that read; You Gotta Believe!

Remembering Mets History (1973): World Series Game #6- A's Even Up Series

           Remembering the 1973 NL Champion Mets
              New York Mets vs. Oakland A's

Mets Tom Seaver , Bud Harrelson & Wives
Arrive At San Francisco Airport Prior to
Game Six of the 1973 World Series
Sunday October 21st, 1973: World Series Game #6

Managers Yogi Berra & Dick Williams
George Stone had earned a save in the 12th inning of Game #2 at Oakland, but he had not appeared in the World Series since. He had been on six days of rest if he had gotten the call. Stone had not made a start since Game #4 of the NLCS which was eleven days prior. He certainly was well rested & certainly had the credentials after having a fine season.

Stone had gone 12-3 with an .800 winning %. He posted a 2.80 ERA on the year & since July 14th had won his last eight decisions. In two post season appearances he had posted a 0.93 ERA in 7.2 innings pitched.

But with the talents of Cy Young Winner Tom Seaver, lefty Jerry Koosman & the Mets latest young stud; Jon Matlack, he was not managers Yogi Berra's go to guy. In fact looking back, Stone had not pitched in any games in the final week & a half of the regular season which spanned six games.

In the World Series, with New York back in Oakland needing just one game to finish off the mighty Oakland A's, Manager Yogi Berra chose to skip over Stone once again. Stone would not appear again until the 7th inning of Game Seven.

Berra chose to go with the ace of his staff for Game #6, the man known as "the franchise"; Tom Seaver. What makes the decision strange is that Seaver was working on three days' rest, with 290 regular season innings & 26 post season innings on his arm (316 total).

Quotes: George Stone-"A lot of people have asked me that over the years. I thought I had a chance to start and I was disappointed that I didn't. He decided to go with the three main starters, but I was a control-type pitcher, the kind of pitcher that gave Oakland trouble.

I thought I deserved a chance to start. And even if we lose, we still have Game 7 and everyone on an extra day of rest. Some of the players begged Yogi to start me. I even talked with the opposing players and manager, and they had a scouting report ready for me because they thought I was going to start. But it's best to get over it. Yogi might have had orders from above."

Some of the Mets players felt Stone was best choice for that game. If he had gone out & pitched poorly, Seaver could always come in relief. If he went deep into the game & lost, all three Mets top pitchers would have been ready for Game #7.

Game #6 Starters: Hunter & Seaver
It was a luxury Berra had with such a talented staff, the Mets best weapon & the main reason they were this close to a championship.

Cleon Jones -"We can all second-guess Yogi. We talked to Yogi about it, and a bunch of us wanted him to start Stone. He was our best pitcher in September.

And when we asked Yogi to start him, he said if he did that the writers would eat him alive. But if you win it's different. Good managers take chances and don't worry about what the writers say. If we needed to go to the seventh game, we had four great pitchers. If we couldn't beat Oakland with those four, we didn't deserve to win. I felt that way then, and I feel that way now."

Mets Catcher Jerry Grote
Not everybody on that Mets team agreed, at least not publicly. Jerry Grote never debated Berra’s decision: "It was his decision, and we were not in a position to question the manager's decision, we didn't have a choice. If Seaver had won, no one would have said a word. I'm not about to second-guess him."

Tug McGraw said: "Some of the guys wondered why we pitched Seaver in the sixth game & Matlack in the seventh game.

They felt Seaver was tired & could have been held back a day & maybe Stone should have started instead. He'd pitched super all season & deserved a shot. But Yogi went with Seaver, the club stopped hitting anyway".

Jack Benny Tosses Out First Pitch
49,151 fans came out to the Oakland Coliseum on sunny Saturday afternoon for Game #6. It was once again a top marquee billing, as Tom Seaver went up against Catfish Hunter. Jack Benny threw out the first pitch from Charlie Finley's box seat.

Starting Lineups


The Mets quickly got two men on, as leadoff batter Wayne Garrett walked & Rusty Staub singled with one out.

But Hunter got Cleon Jones & John Milner to both fly out ending the inning.

In the A's 1st, Joe Rudi singled to right field. Then with two outs, Reggie Jackson doubled to the left field gap, scoring Rudi with the A's first run.

In the home 3rd, Sal Bando singled to center field with two outs. Reggie Jackson who began to earn his nick name "Mr. October" during this World Series, doubled to right center field bringing in his second run in a 2-0 A's lead.

After the game Jackson would give Tom Seaver a major tribute, telling the press, that Seaver did not have his overpowering fastball he had in New York. He continued, saying he has all the respect in the world for Tom Seave. He was not himself & he gave them seven great innings.

Sluggers Reggie Jackson & John Milner Before Game

Quotes: Jackson said "he's the greatest athlete in the world. Tom Seaver wasn't Tom Seaver in ability, he was only Tom Seaver from his heart".

Seaver may not have been his Cy Young Award self, but still put in a fine day; seven innings, two runs on six hits, two walks & six strike outs. Catfish Hunter was better, he went into the 8th inning allowing just one run on four hits, one walk & one strike out.

Mets Ken Boswell Sets World Series
Record With Three Pinch Hits
In the Mets 8th inning, Ken Boswell got his second pinch hit of the Series with a one out base hit. He would set a World Series record the next day, with three Series pinch hits. 

Darold Knowles was brought in to his sixth Series game & gave up back to back base hits to Wayne Garrett & Felix Millan. Boswell came home making it a 2-1 game.

A's manager Dick Williams went to his best reliever; Rollie Fingers to face the heart of the Mets order. Fingers got Rusty Staub to strike out & Cleon Jones to fly out to Jackson in centerfield, ending the Mets threat.
Ed Kranepool Makes Final Out 

In the home 8th, the A's added insurance as Jackson singled to center field & advanced to third on Don Hahn's error. Jackson had his third hit of the game.

Gene Tenace followed with a walk & pinch hitter Jesus Alou hit an RBI sac fly to Cleon Jones in left field. Jackson came home & scored with an insurance run, to make it 3-1. It would be all the A's needed, as Rollie Fingers retired the Mets in order in the 9th.

John Milner flew out to right field for the first out. Jerry Grote grounded out to second for out number two.

Then pinch hitter; Ed Kranepool, batting for Don Hahn popped up & made the final out. 

The A's won it 3-1 & the World Series was now tied at three games each.