Oct 21, 2017

Remembering Mets History (1973): World Series Game #7- The Dream is Over

New York Mets vs. Oakland A's

Sunday, October 21st 1973: World Series Game #7

Willie Mays Final Game
A capacity crowd of 49,333 filled the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, hoping to see their "Swingin' A's" win their second straight World Series title.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by actor; Clint Eastwood. Eastwood would always be famous in the Bay Area, as his Dirty Harry movies took place in San Francisco.

It was once again the two left handers; the Mets Jon Matlack going against Oakland's Ken Holtzman.


Starting Lineups

New York's Mayor John Lindsay & Casey Stengel

The first two innings were quiet but in the home 3rd inning, the damage was done. It would be the two batters that killed the Mets the entire Series sealing the A's victory that afternoon.

With one out pitcher Ken Holtzman hit his second double of the World Series another shot down the left field line, just like he had done in Game #1.

Next, the pesty; Bert Campaneris homered to right field, sending the A's fans into a frenzy.

Joe Rudi then singled & Reggie Jackson followed with a two run HR of his own, really exciting the Oakland crowd. Jackson jumped in the air & leaped on home plate as his A's teammates were there to greet him. It was 4-0 & the A's never looked back.

Harry Parker came in to relieve Matlack & would pitch a scoreless inning 1/3. Ray Sadecki came in the 5th inning & was greeted with a Campaneris base hit, advancing on an error in the outfield. Joe Rudi brought him in with a single making it 5-0 A's.

In the 7th inning, Berra finally brought in George Stone but it was too late. Stone would pitch two scoreless innings, giving up three hits while striking out three.

Had he started Game Six, or even Seven for that matter, with his all his rest & the A's not being too familiar with him, would things have turned out differently? It's a question us Mets fans & players have been asking for forty years.

In the Mets 6th, the Mets had back to back doubles, as Felix Millan doubled & came home on a Rusty Staub double. It put the Mets on the board with a run. A's manager Dick Williams, removed Holtzman & brought in Rollie Fingers.

Fingers shut the Mets down into the 9th inning. In the 9th, with the Mets fighting for their lives, John Milner drew a walk. Jerry Grote flied out, but then Don Hahn singled to right field. Bud Harrelson grounded out to the pitcher as both runners advanced.

Ed Kranepool was brought in as a pinch hitter & reached on a Gene Tenace error at first base. John Milner scored & the tying run was coming to the plate.

Yogi Berra had Tug McGraw warm up in the bullpen. In right field Reggie Jackson yelled over "Don't bother warming up Tug, we got you now".

As the Mets put some men on base McGraw yelled back "Reggie we're going to get you know" Reggie took a deep breath & showed a bit of respect saying "you might at that".

Dick Williams went to the mound removing Fingers & brought in Darold Knowles. Knowles set a World Series record by appearing in all seven games. He got Wayne Garrett to pop out to Campaneris at short stop & it was all over. The Mets had fallen one game short of another miracle. The Oakland A's won the second of three straight World Series & were the 1973 Champions.

The Mets had gone from last place at the end of August, to a 20-8 September, winning the NL Eastern Division on the final day of the regular season. That year a slogan that would stay with the team for years to come was born; when Tug McGraw said "You Gotta Believe"!

They then went out & beat a heavily favored Cincinnati Reds team in a dramatic playoff series, that included one baseballs all time greatest brawls. The Mets then entered  the World Series, an underdog, against the reigning Champions. The team left their home at Shea Stadium, in New York, needing just one win in two games for another Miracle finish. It was not to be, they fell one game short of that dream.

Mets Manager; Yogi Berra said that he told his team before the game, no matter what happened that afternoon he was proud of them.

After the game A's outfielder Joe Rudi came to the Mets locker room to congratulate them on their season. Even the Mighty A's had earned a respect for the Mets.

Rudi talked baseball & reviewed plays of the series with Tom Seaver, Koosman, Matlack & Cleon Jones. He then went back to celebrate with his own team.

Reggie Jackson was named the World Series MVP. He had nine hits, tied with Bert Campaneris & Joe Rudi for most hits on the A's team. Jackson hit .310 (9-29) 1 HR 3 doubles 1 Triple 6 RBIs 2 walks & a 355 on base %.

As for Campaneris, he was certainly the runner up, Campy hit .290 with 1 HR 1 Triple 3 stolen bases 1 walk 6 runs scored & a .353 on base %.

Joe Rudi hit .333 (9-27) with 2 doubles 3 walks 4 RBIs 3 runs scored & a .400 on base %.

Captain Sal Bando had hit just .231 but had 6 hits 1 double 1 triple 4 walks 1 RBI & a .333 on base %.

Last years 1972 World Series MVP; Gene Tenace hit just .158 but did drive in three runs, as did Jesus Alou.

Overall the Mets team hit much better,.253 (66 hits) as opposed to the A's .212 (51 hits). The A's outscored New York 20-16.

Rusty Staub led all hitters with eleven hits & a .423 batting average in the Series, ailing shoulder & all. His six RBIs were the best for the Mets & tied with Jackson for most overall. Staub went (11-26) with 1 HR 2 doubles 2 walks & the Series best .464 on base %. Rusty Staub was certainly the Mets offensive MVP.

John Milner had a good series batting .296 (8-27) with 5 walks to post a .406 on base %. He also drove in two runs.

Cleon Jones had eight hits as well (8-28) batting .286 with 1 HR 2 Doubles 1 RBI 4 walks a team leading 5 runs scored & a .394 on base %.

Jerry Grote also had eight hits (8-30) batting .267 with 2 runs scored. Even Don Hahn quietly got seven hits (7-29) batting .241 with 1 double 1 triple 2 RBIs & 2 runs scored.

Wayne Garrett led all hitters with two HRs. That's almost incredible with all the sluggers the A's had. Garrett went 5-30 (.167) but drew 5 walks & scored 4 runs for a .306 on base %.

Willie Mays hit .286 (2-7) with an RBI & run scored. Bud Harrelson had six hits (6-24) with 5 walks to post a .379 on base %.

Kenny Boswell set a World Series record with three pinch hits in the Series going 3-3.

Felix Millan struggled batting .188 (6-32) with1 double 1 triple 1 RBI & 1 walk.

The Mets pitching held down the mighty A's but still not enough to win the best of seven games.

Tom Sever pitched two games (0-1) striking out 18 batters in 15 innings, allowing 4 earned runs on 13 hits & 3 walks posting a 2.40 ERA. Jerry Koosman pitched two games (1-0) three runs on nine hits seven walks in 8.2 innings with a 3.12 ERA.

Jon Matlack got three starts (1-2) he allowed 4 earned runs on ten hits, posting a 2.16 ERA in 16.2 innings of work, striking out 11 walking five.

Tug McGraw saw action in five games, earning one save (1-0) he allowed four runs on eight hits in 13.2 innings of work. He struck out 14 walked 9 & put up a 2.63 ERA.

Ray Sadecki appeared in four games, putting up a 1.93 ERA, with one save to his credit. He allowed one run on five hits with six strike outs & one walk. Harry Parker appeared in three games (0-1) no runs in 3.1 innings & George Stone appeared in two games, earning a save, allowing no runs four hits, three strikeouts & one walk.

On the winning side, the A's pitchers did well. Hall of Famer; Rollie Fingers appeared in six games, earning two saves. He allowed just one earned run in 13.2 innings for a 0.66 ERA. He struck out 8 & gave up 13 hits & four walks.

Reliever; Darold Knowles set a Series record by appearing in all seven games, he allowed no runs on four hits in six innings of work.

Catfish Hunter pitched two games (1-0) allowed 3 runs on 11 hits in 13.1 innings for a 2.03 ERA. Kenny Holtzman won two games (2-1) giving up 5 runs on 13 hits 6 strike outs & 5 walks in 10.2 innings for a 4.22 ERA.

Vida Blue pitched two games (0-1) Giving up 6 runs on 10 hits with 8 strike outs & 3 walks posting a 4.91 ERA. Paul Lindblad, Blue Moon Odom & Horatio Pina all made appearances as well.

As mentioned the A's went on to win another World Series in 1974, their third straight. The colorful A's Dynasty were one of the most dominant teams of the era.

As for the Mets, they stumbled to a fifth place finish (71-91) in 1974. Tom Seaver suffered with back issues going 11-11 with a 3.20 ERA & the whole team went down with him. After a couple of more decent seasons & the team loss of it's owner Joan Payson; things went bad. They traded off or lost most of it's core players & by the late seventies it was a nightmare.

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