Oct 20, 2017

Remembering Mets History (1973): World Series Game #3 - Tom Seaver vs. Catfish Hunter At Shea

Oakland A's vs. New York Mets

Tuesday, October 16th 1973 World Series Game #3

There was so much excitement in New York City as the Mets returned home for the third game of the World Series. 54,817 was the official attendance on a crisp autumn Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. Pitcher Jerry Koosman said "I'll be sitting in the dugout, and the crowds will get going and I'll feel a chill up and down my spine."

Pre Game Meeting At Home Plate
NBC Broadcasting Team For Game #3
Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson & Tony Kubek

Mets Radio Broadcaster: Bob Murphy Prior to
Game Three of 1973 World Series
Official game time was 8:30 pm , because NBC wanted the prime time audience, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn agreed. It was the first game played back at Shea, since the fans tore the place up a week earlier at the conclusion of the NLCS win over the Cincinnati Reds. The grounds crew worked as hard as they could to make repairs but it was a tough job.

Wayne Garrett
Quotes: The infield is in terrible shape," says Met Third Baseman Wayne Garrett. "The ground crew works as hard as it can, but no money is put into it. The infield is sinking.

Everybody knows that the grass part of an infield is supposed to be higher than the dirt part. Here it's the other way around. Unless you get a ball on a long hop you're in trouble."

The Oakland A's, never strangers to controversy, were in the middle of major news stories. In Game #2, Dick Williams had brought in veteran infielder; Mike Andrews to play second base late in the game. This was a common practice for the A's who usually replaced regular second baseman Dick Green during the course of a game. Andrews was charged with two errors in the same inning & after the game was forced to sign a waiver that he was injured.

A's Captain Sal Bando Answers Questions for NY Press
This came down from owner; Charlie Finley, in hopes of activating infielder Manny Trillo in his place.

The news got out & it was top baseball news. Eventually the Commissioner stepped in as did Players Union boss Marvin Mitchell. Andrews was to be reactivated & would join the team the next night.

The A's players wore black armbands with Andrews uniform number on their sleeves in his honor. It was in the Shea Stadium club house they had a team meeting & decided to support their player, although team Captain; Sal Bando denied rumors that they were boycotting the Series.

Dick Williams Resigns as Manager- Telling His
Team At Shea Stadium In Closed Door Meeting
It was also on this night, that A's Manager; Dick Williams announced to his team, that he was completely fed up with Finley's medaling & would be resigning at the end of the Series, win or lose. It was even being rumored that Williams was taking a job in New York with the A.L. NY club. 

As for the actual game, Mets had evened up the Series in Game Two & had their Cy Young Award winner Tom Seaver (19-10 / 2.08 ERA / 251 Ks) going up against the A's top pitcher; Catfish Hunter (21-5 / 3.34 ERA / 124 Ks) in a marquee billing. These were two of the top pitchers in the game at the time & there was a lot of anticipation over the match up.

Casey Stengel & Commissioner Bowie Kuhn
The Old Professor; Casey Stengel, the first Manager in Mets team history, was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to the delight of the crowd. Stengel was in Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's box tossing the pitch to Jerry Grote.

Oakland Athletics       New York Mets
1Bert CampanerisSS
1Wayne Garrett3B
2Joe RudiLF
2Felix Millan2B
3Sal Bando3B
3Rusty StaubRF
4Reggie JacksonRF
4Cleon JonesLF
5Gene Tenace1B
5John Milner1B
6Vic DavalilloCF
6Jerry GroteC
7Ray FosseC
7Don HahnCF
8Dick Green2B
8Bud HarrelsonSS
9Catfish HunterP
9Tom SeaverP

Seaver Ks Bando in 1st Inning
Tonight Tom Seaver's fastball would be electric, as he overpowered the A's batters in an almost record fashion.

Seaver allowed a double to Joe Rudi in the second inning, but struck out Sal Bando (swinging) & Reggie Jackson (looking).

In the second inning, Seaver struck out the side & then did it again in the 5th inning, giving him nine Ks up to that point, already.

Wayne Garrett Hits Mets Leadoff HR
Hunter had a rough start, but settled down to be just as hard on the Mets hitters.

In the bottom of the 1st inning, Wayne Garrett led off with a HR, blasted to deep right field. Garrett had hit a HR off Vida Blue in the 3rd inning of Game Two, at Oakland.

It was the second time in Mets history, that a Mets batter led off a World Series; Game #3 with a HR. Tommie Agee had done it in the 1969 Series against the Baltimore Orioles & Len Dykstra would accomplish the feat again in the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox.

After Garrett's HR, Felix Millan & Rusty Staub both dove base hits to left field. Then with Cleon Jones up, Hunter threw a wild pitch allowing Millan to score with the Mets second run.

The Mets had Hunter on the ropes & could have blown the game open, but failed to make the kill.

Catfish settled in, striking out Jones. He then made an error on a John Miner ground ball & had two men on with one out. But he struck out Jerry Grote & got Don Hahn to line out to centerfield. Hunter walked a Met in each of the next two innings but gave up no hits or runs.

In the 4th, Don Hahn hit a ground rule double down the left field line. Bud Harrelson flew out & Seaver struck out. Garrett was walked intentionally & then Felix Millan got aboard with an infield hit to load the bases for Rusty Staub. But Hunter got Staub to ground out to the mound, to end the inning.

In the Mets 5th, John Milner hit a rocket down the right field line, that just missed being a HR, instead it bounced off the fool pole into Reggie Jacksons glove & was a long single.

Milner was left stranded on first base & the score remained 2-0.

In the A's 6th inning, Seaver ran into trouble. First off, he gave up a deep fly ball to left center field, that Dohn Hahn snagged for an outstanding catch jumping into the wall.

Don Hahn Makes Leaping Grab In Center Field
Next, Sal Bando hit a shot over Hahn's head to straight away centerfield, for a double. Hahn had misplayed the ball & looked a bit confused in center field.

The reason being that some of the outfield turf had been removed along the warning track & was put in the infield to make up for the damage done by the fans after the NLCS.

Hahn, who was use to his position in center at Shea Stadium, was thrown off by the longer warning track.

Quotes: Don Hahn said later: "I was playing deep, but not deep enough. I played the warning track. What should have been, wasn't. The ball dropped for a double. After the game Seaver told me he knew about the field being changed, but forgot to tell me about it."

Seaver Strikes Out Reggie Jackson Three Times
Next, Seaver got Reggie Jackson to strike out for the third time on the night. But then Gene Tenace doubled down the left field line, bringing in Bando with the A's first run of the night 

In the bottom of the 6th, Bud Harrelson led off with a base hit but was stranded as Hunter retired the next three batters.

The final out was a running catch in the left center field gap by Vic Davillio. The A's sent up three straight pinch hitters in the 7th inning but Seaver got Pat Bourque to fly out, Jesus Alou to ground out & then struck out Deron Johnson.

Darold Knowles (6-8 / 9 saves / 3.09 ERA) came in to pitch the next two innings for Oakland & held New York scoreless.

In the top of the 8th, Bert Campaneris led off with a single & then stole second base, on a close play in a cloud of dust. Joe Rudi delivered with a base to right field, tying up the game as Campaneris continued to pester the Mets, & crossed the plate.

The Two best pitchers in baseball were both done on the night, and neither would earn a decision. Seaver left the game after eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, one walk & twelve strike outs. Hunter had pitched six innings allowing two runs, on seven hits with three walks & five strike outs.

In the top of the 9th Ray Sadecki (5-4 / 1 save / 3.39 ERA) was in to pitch for the Mets, but after Vic Davallio reached on an error & Pat Bourque singled, Yogi Berra went to Tug McGraw (5-6 / 25 saves / 3.87 ERA).

McGraw got the next three A's out in order; first he nailed Davillio at third base on a bunt attempt by Ted Kubiak. The Shea Crowd cheered, next he struck out pinch hitter Angel Mangual & got Campaneris to fly out.

In the bottom of the 9th, Rusty Staub hit a ground rule double, deep in the gap. Cleon Jones was intentionally walked but Paul Lindblad (1-5 / 2 saves / 3.69 ERA) got John Milner to fly out. It was onto extra innings in a fantastic, nail bitter.

Tug McGraw All Fired Up
In the 10th, McGraw allowed a single to Sal Bando & then intentionally walked Gene Tenace with two outs. He then got Vic Davillio to fly out ending a threat.

Bud Harrelson had two out single in the bottom of the 10th, & then Willie Mays was introduced as a pinch hitter. In the last at bat of his career, Mays grounded out to short, the force was made at second base.

In the 11th inning, Harry Parker (8-4 / 5 saves / 3.35 ERA) came on to relieve Tug McGraw. Tug had pitched two innings in Game One & six innings on Sunday in Game Two.

Harry Parker Pitches 11th Inning
The A's pitcher; Paul Lindblad, lined out to Bud Harrelson for the first out. Then Ted Kubiak drew a walk.

Angel Mangual struck out for the second out, but the third strike got away from catcher; Jerry Grote for a passed ball.

Quotes: Jerry Grote: " the ball had been scuffed on one side & had been sailing, apparently Harry had turned the ball around with out realizing it & the ball went in the other direction a little bit. And being a little bit on the tired side at this stage of the game, I just couldn't react quick enough to catch ball."

This was the 11th inning & Grote had been behind the plate all night long. It turned out to be a most costly error. Bert Campaneris came to bat & once again delivered. He singled to centerfield, scoring Kubiak in what would be the winning run.

Campy was thrown out at second trying to stretch it to a two base hit, for the third out.

In the bottom of the 11th, Wayne Garrett led off with a single. Dick Williams went to his ace reliever; Rollie Fingers. Fingers recorded the next three outs & the game was over, with the Mets taking a heartbreaking 3-2 loss.

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