Oct 21, 2017

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.

No comments: