Remembering Mets History (1964): Willard Hunter Earns Wins Both Ends of Twin Bill

Sunday August 23, 1964: The '64 Mets were on one of their hottest streaks of the season just coming off five straight wins & in the midst of a streak that had them nine wins in eleven games. In this twin bill sweep at Shea Stadium, Newark, New Jersey's own Willard Hunter earned both victories.

Hunter had a short two year career, playing briefly for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962 one game before getting traded to the New York Mets where he went 1-6 with a 6.65 ERA. After spending 1963 in the minors he returned in 1964.

In the first game of this double header, Pitcher Galen Cisco took the Mets into the 8th inning with a 1-1 score. Reliever Larry Bearneath pitched a perfect 9th, keeping it a tie.

In the 10th, Bill Wakefield gave up a single & a walk. Mets manager Casey Stengel came out & put in Willard Hunter. Hunter got the last two outs, ending the game as Hall of Famer Billy Williams grounded out.

In the bottom of the 10th, George Altman doubled, which led to two intentional walks to Ron Hunt & Joe Christopher. The Cubs chose to pitch to a young Ed Kranepool. Kranepool delivered with an RBI base hit, to end the game 2-1. 

1964 New York Mets players' wives 
(l. to r.) Jackie Hunt, Shirley Kanehl, Rachel Altman, Annitte Hunter, Martha Cisco, Nancy Willey, Carol Smith, Barbara Bearnarth, Judy Fisher, Beverly Cannizzaro, Madine Jackson and Marie Taylor.

In the nightcap, the Mets Dennis Ribant went up against Dick Ellsworth.

In the 4th, the Mets George Altman & Jim Hickman singled. Charley Smith them singled as well making it 1-0. In the 6th, Altman hit his sixth HR of the season making it 2-0 Mets. Catcher Chris Cannizzaro's sac fly made it 3-0.

But the Cubs came back with HRs by Billy Williams & Len Gabrielson to tie it up at three. In the 7th the Mets Bobby Klaus hit a HR to put the Mets ahead, but Billy Williams then hit his second HR of the day to tie it once again.

The game went into the 9th inning tied, as Willard Hunter came in to pitch, his second game of the day. He retired all three batters he faced.

In the bottom of the inning, the The Mets Bobby Klaus led off with a single off the Cubs reliever,Joe Amalfitano. After a Ron Hunt sacrifice, Amalfitano intentionally walked Joe Christopher & George Altman to load the bases. Jim Hickman popped up for the second out.

Next up shortstop Charley Smith singled  bringing in the game winning, walk off run. It was Smith's second hit & RBI on the day. Smith would lead the '64 Mets in HRs (20) & was second in RBI's with 58.

Willard Hunter got his second win of the day, he was now 3-1 with a 4.54 ERA. Unfortunately his next two decisions were both losses, he took a bottom of the 9th loss at Houston on September 19th & gave up a walk off HR to Dennis Menke at St. Louis during the last week of the season.

He finished up 1964 at 3-3 with five saves and a 4.41 ERA. Hunter was out of the major leagues the next season, going 4-9 lifetime, with five saves and a 5.68 ERA.

Strangely Hunter only pitched a combined 1.2 innings in both games and would only win three games all year and four total in his 68 game Mets career.


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