Most of the pieces were there in 1968 and there were lots of little signs of what was to come. In these early May games, the Mets would get two straight walk off wins by key players in the 1969 Championship.
Monday May 20th 1968: Gil Hodges Mets (16-20) hosted Larry Shepard's Pittsburgh Pirates (15-19). Veteran Bob Veale went up against the Mets newest star pitcher, Left hander Jerry Koosman. Koosman was already turning heads at 5-2 with a 1.65 ERA.
In the bottom of the 4th, "the Glider" Ed Charles hit his first of two HRs on the evening. This was "the Gliders" fourth HR of the season, he had joined the Mets at the start of the 1967 season.
Koosman gave up a lead off triple to Matty Alou, then struck out the side in the 2nd, with two more in the 3rd. In the 5th, he gave up a solo HR to the star of the 1960 World Series, Bill Mazeroski.
Koosman would strike out ten batters along the way, pitching the complete game scattering five hits with two walks. Koosman continued to pitch well starting out his career, making him a dangerous #2 man behind Tom Seaver.
Bob Veale had only gave up the one run and he too struck out ten, while walking three. In the bottom of the 9th, Ed Charles led off the inning. He connected for his second HR of the day, a walk off game winner thrilling the Shea Crowd.
"The Glider" would have just one other multi HR game with the Mets, coming on June 6th at Wrigley Field in Chicago. "The Glider" would have nine HRs by June 6th, but finish the year with just 15.
Tuesday May 21st 1968: This afternoon game at Shea took in just 8,188 fans to see the Mets host the Pirates once again with Tom Seaver taking the mound against Al McBean. Seaver was suffering from poor run support to start out the season, he was 1-3 but had a 1.83 ERA.
In the 1st, Seaver gave up a two run HR to Willie Stargell, making it 2-0. The Hall of Fame slugger would go on to hit the most HRs of any visiting player in Shea Stadiums history. A record Mike Schmidt would eventually tie.
In the 2nd, Jerry Grote led off with a base hit & Tommie Agge tied the game up with a two run HR. It was just Agee's second HR of the year, as he struggled in his first year in New York, before shining on the '69 Championship team.
Pitcher Al McBean gave Seaver some trouble as he singled in the go ahead run in the 5th inning.
In the home 5th, Bud Harrelson doubled with one out. Second baseman Ken Boswell then doubled him in to tie the game up, with the first of his big hits on the day.
This wild wacky game went 17 innings, with Seaver pitching 11 innings allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out six with one walk. Cal Koonce came on for five scoreless innings & Ron Taylor struck out two & secured a scoreless 17th inning.
In the bottom of the 117th, Agee led off with a base hit & was moved over to second by Jerry Buchek. Ken Boswell, in his eighth at bat of the day, then delivered his third hit, an infield single to the second baseman allowing Agee to score the game winning fourth run.