Apr 30, 2018

Remebering Mets History: (1973) Jerry Koosman Wins NL Pitcher of the Month

Jerry Koosman started out the New York Mets 1973 season terrific himself. He won the N.L. April Pitcher of the Month Award.
Jerry Koosman made his 1973 debut pitching in the third game of the season. On April 11th 1973 Koosman took the mound in St. Louis against the Cardinals Reggie Cleveland.

The Mets helped out Koosman right away in the 1st inning. Bud Harrelson, Felix Millan & John Milner all singled. Cleveland then threw a wild pitch to Rusty Staub scoring Harrelson. Rusty then knocked a base hit into the outfield putting the Mets up 2-0. In the 3rd, John Milner hit his first HR of the season to make it 3-0.

In the 3rd St. Louis scored, when Jose Cruz tripled & scored when Jim Fregosi booted a ground ball.

In the 5th Felix Millan tripled  bringing in Duffy Dyer. Millan would score on a passed ball charged to catcher Ted Simmons.

Koosman pitched seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) striking out four Cardinals. He was relieved by Tug McGraw who had a shaky 9th inning. Jose Cruz led off with a single & pinch hitter Tim McCarver drew a one out walk.

Lou Brock then grounded out but Ted Sizemore singled scoring a run, putting the Cardinals just one run behind. This was only the start of Tug McGraws troubles, something he would not work out until August when he became un hittable.

Manager Yogi Berra decided to remove McGraw with new comer to the Mets bullpen; Phil Hennigan. Hennigan got pinch hitter Bernie Carbo to fly out to centerfielder Rich Chiles, earning his first save.

On April 19th, Koosman made his first start at Shea for the 1973 season, facing Rick Reuschel & the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs scored first when Jose Cardenal drove home former Met Jim Hickman with an unearned run. Hickman had reached base on an error by Rusty Staub. But it was the only run Koos would allow on the day, as he sailed along on to a complete game five hit 3-1 victory.

The Mets offense came in the 4th inning; John Milner singled & then Wayne Garrett doubled driving him in. Next Jerry Grote singled to score Garrett with run number two. In the 8th inning, John Milner hit his fourth HR of the season giving the Mets an insurance run in the 3-1 win.



April 25th:  Koosman & the 9-7 Mets went against Leo Durocher's Astros at the Houston Astrodome, which was labeled the 8th wonder of the world. Koosman's opponent that day was Don Wilson.

Wilson was a fine pitcher, who put up double figures in wins in each of his eight seasons. In 1968 he tied what was then a record, striking out 18 batters in a game. He had won 15 or more games three times in his career & posted ERA's under three, three times in his career for poor Astros tams.

In 1971 he had his best year going 16-10 with a 2.45 ERA (third behind Tom Seaver & San Diego's Dave Roberts) & 180 strike outs (7th in the NL).

Unfortunately in January 1975, Wilson was found dead at his home, in the passenger seat of his Ford Thunderbird from carbon monoxide poisoning. The garage was connected to the house, his son was also killed, as his wife & daughter were hospitalized but survived. Don Wilson was just 29 years old.


In the April 25th game, Koosman rolled along to another complete game victory, beating the Astros 5-2. He struck out three, walked two & allowed six hits. He served up a HR to Doug Rader (nick named the Red Rooster) & a sac fly to Cesar Cedeno.

The Mets offense was led by Le Grande Orange; Rusty Staub who hit a pair of solo HRs against his old team mates. Staub had come up with Astros in the early sixties & was one of Houstons first star players.

These HRs were Staub's first two of the season, up to that point he was batting just .151.

In the top of the 3rd inning, Bud Harrelson & Felix Millan both singled. John Milner delivered with a two run double & then scored when left fielder, George the Stork Theodore singled him home.


AApril 29th 1973: Koosman closed out his big month with his best outing on the 1973 regular season. He pitched a four hit shut out in Atlanta beating the Braves Carl Morton in a 1-0 pitchers duel.

Morton was the 1970 Rookie of the Year while pitching in Montreal, going 18-11 posting a 3.60 ERA, but lead the league with 125 walks. He would win 15 or more games three times with Atlanta with a best 17 wins in 1975.

Koosman struck out four & walked just one batter, lowering his ERA to 1.06.

The Mets manufactured their only run in the 2nd inning. Ed Kranepool had a one out base hit, followed by a Wayne Garrett base hit advancing Kranepool to third base. Jerry Grote then delivered a sac fly for the games only run as Kranepool scored.

On the month Koosman went 4-0 with three complete games in four starts.

He allowed just four earned runs in 34 innings, striking out 14 batters while walking 7 & posting a 1.06 ERA. He was the leagues top pitcher up to that point.

Former Mets Catcher & Helmet Inventor: Charlie O'Brien (1990-1993)

Charles Hugh O’ Brien was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 1, 1960. The six foot two Charlie O attended Wichita State University, hitting 25 HRs with 116 RBIs while leading his team to the 1982 College World Series.

That year he was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the fifth round as a catcher. Initially he hit .291 with 14 HRs at AA Albany in the Eastern League in 1983 but dropped off significantly the next two seasons. In 1985 the solid defensive catcher, got a September call up batting .273 in 16 games.

In 1986 he got traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with two minor leaguers for pitcher Moose Hass. He played three seasons in Milwaukee and never hit like he did in college ever again, putting up a best .234 with 6 HRs 35 RBIs in 1989. In Milwaukee he was primarily B.J. Surhoff’s backup catcher, putting up strong defensive numbers. He threw out 43% of runners attempting to steal in 1989 & tossed out at least 36% every season in Milwaukee.

In August of 1990 he was traded to the New York Mets for two players to be named later, who turned out to be Julio Machado and another player named Kevin Brown. He didn’t hit much but became known around the league as one of NL's best defensive catchers.

O’Brien battled Mackey Sasser & Rick Cerone for the Mets catching job in 1991. Although he did not win the starting role, mostly due to his hitting, he became Dwight Gooden’s personal catcher.

With the Mets, O’Brien would also catch former Cy Young winners Bret Saberhagen & Frank Viola. In his career O'Brien would be the back stop for a total of eleven Cy Young Award winners that he would call pitches for. Only four of those pitchers actually won the Award the season O'Brien was their catcher. O’Brien became famous for his long curly hair over the collar look, similar to Gary Carter.

O'Brien debuted in New York on September 1st with the first place Mets catching Julio Valera who earned his first win that day, beating the San Francisco Giants. On September 8th O'Brien had a rare big day at the plate getting three hits with three RBIs in a Mets 12-2 win over the Phillies.

On September 11th he had another three RBI day in a Mets 10-8 win over the Cardinals topped off by a walk off Daryl Strawberry HR. In the month he hit .162 with nine RBIs in 28 games played. Behind the plate he threw out a league best 46% of would be base stealers 16 of 35.


In 1991 his first full season as a Met he hit .185 with two HRs, six doubles & 14 RBIs. But it was his defense that made him such a good player, in 1991 he posted a .988 fielding % throwing out 32% of would be base stealers. At the plate he enjoyed a three hit day on May 15th driving in a run against the Padres at San Diego.

Later that summer he drove in three runs in a 904 win over the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. He hit his first HR of the season on August 22nd in a Mets 6-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 30th he hit a solo HR helping David Cone beat the Reds 3-2 in Cincinnati.

In 1992 as Todd Hundley's backup catcher, he threw out 46% of would be base stealers, second best in the National league while posting a .991 fielding %. At the plate he hit .212 with 2 HRs 12 doubles & 13 RBIs.

On May 1st he hit a two run HR in Atlanta against the Braves in an 8-7 win. O'Brien added another HR in late August in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. On September 14th O'Brien drove in three runs with a bases clearing double in a Mets 10-8 win at Wrigley Field.

In 1993 he had his best year at the plate & hit a career high .255 with 4 HRs 11 doubles & 23 RBIs appearing in 67 games. In early May he had a three game stretch where he had seven hits while driving in runs in three straight games. On May 25th his double in the top of the 9th inning drove in two runs putting the Mets ahead for good, after rallying from being down 4-1.

Again in July he had a three game stretch where he drove in runs in each game, enjoying a four game hit streak. In August he had another four game hit streak & had two different games where he drove in more than one run. On September 22nd, he hit a two run HR in Pittsburgh scoring Jeromy Burnitz for the game winning runs. He averaged 67 games behind the plate in each of his three seasons with the Mets.

O’Brien was not resigned for 1994 as Kelly Stinnett was given the backup catcher’s role. Charlie O went to the Atlanta Braves as a free agent & became the personal catcher of Cy Young winner Greg Maddox. He also was Steve Avery’s main catcher as the Braves went on to win the 1995 World Series. O’Brien went 2-5 in the NLCS good for a .400 average and 0-3 in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.

Brawl At Shea Stadium: He became unpopular with Met fans, when he was involved in a brawl at Shea, leveling short time Met John Cangelosi. Cangelosi had charged the mound after getting hit by a pitch from Braves pitcher, John Smoltz. It was the second time that season Smoltz had plunked Cangelosi. The 6'2" O'Brien tackled the 5'8" Cangelosi from behind, wrestling him to the ground.

After two seasons in Atlanta, he moved onto to the Toronto Blue Jays backing up Pat Borders and having career highs in 1996 in HRs (13) & RBIs (44) hitting .238.

In Toronto he would catch Pat Hentgen in his CY Young season adding to his list of award winners. O’ Brien had brief stints with the Anaheim Angels (1998-1999) Chicago White Sox (1998) & Montreal Expos (2000) bbefore retiring in 2000.

In a 15 year career he was a lifetime .221 hitter, with 493 hits 56 HRs 119 doubles a .303 on base % & 261 RBIs. He posted a .990 lifetime fielding % making only 47 errors in nearly 5800 innings. He threw out a career 37% of would be base stealers (265 runners) posting a .990 fielding %.

Inventor: The biggest thing Charlie O’Brien will be remembered for is pioneering the hockey-style catcher's mask used today by many catchers.

While playing with the Blue Jays he invented the new style mask, and worked with the Van Velden Mask Co. of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to develop his idea. The new design, called the All-Star MVP, was approved by MLB in 1996 and O’Brien was the first to use it.

Retirement: Since baseball O'Brien, a life long hunter & lover of the outdoors, now runs one of the premier whitetail deer operations in the country, Catch 22 Ranch. His hunting success and knowledge of deer hunting has led him to be one of the key members and hosts of the ever-popular hunting show Deer Thugs.

O'Brien still resides in Tulsa.

Family: O’Brien’s son was a star basketball player & catcher at his dads old college at Wichita State. In 2011 he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 18th round.

Apr 29, 2018

Remembering Mets History (1996): John Franco Earns 300th Save

Monday April 29, 1996: Dallas Green was still heading the New York Mets at this point, but would not last the season, as he would be replaced & the Bobby Valentine era would begin.

On this day the Mets (11-13) took on a Felipe Alou's very good Montreal Expo team (17-9) that would finish second in a period still without a wild card.

It was a milestone day for Mets reliever John Franco. The New York born pitcher became the first left handed reliever to record 300 saves.



Starting Lineups




In the home 3rd, Rey Ordonez doubled & was brought in by Mets All Star, Lance Johnson. After the Expos tied it, a Lance Johnson ground out scored Edgardo Alfonzo to put the Mets ahead 2-1. Jeff Kent doubled in another run putting the Mets ahead 3-1.

In the 8th, Mets relievers Doug Henry & Bob Macdonald surrendered a run to bring the game with in one. Henry gave up back to back singles & then a ground out by Henry Rodriguez scored the run. A typical small ball game was underway.

That set the stage for Franco, who came on in the 9th inning. He struck out Darin Fletcher & then surrendered a base hit to F.P. Santagello. He struck out Shane Andrews & then got Sherman Obando to fly out to end the game.

It was Franco's his fifth save of the year, and #300 of his career, the most ever by a left hander.

Pete Harnish got the win, Lance Johnson led the offensive attack with two hits and two RBIs.

The Brooklyn born John Franco would pitch in 51 games in 1996, going 4-3 with 28 saves and a solid 1.83 ERA. He would become the All Time Mets leader in saves with 276, and retire third on the All Time list with 424 saves. He is still first among left handed relievers.

Remembering Mets History: (1980) Pete Falcone Ties MLB Record Striking Out First Six Batters

Thursday May 1st 1980: A small crowd of just 5928 came out to see Joe Torre's Mets (6-11) already in 5th place take on the eventual 1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies (7-9) led by Dallas Green.

Tonight an old Mets nemesis, Lefty Steve Carlton took on Brooklyn's own Pete Falcone.

Starting Lineups


The game would start out with Falcone striking out the first six batters he faced, setting a Mets record while accomplishing that feat. It also tied an MLB record & had only been done four times proio in baseball history.

Falcone struck out Lonnie Smith & Pete Rose swinging & then got Gary Maddox looking at a called third strike. In the 2nd inning, he got sluggers Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski & then catcher Bob Boone to all go down swinging.

Falcone was going good until weak hitting reserve second baseman Lis Aguayo hit a two run homer in the 5th inning. The two runs would be all the Phillies needed in the 2-1 win. Carlton walked Eliot Maddox with the bases loaded for the Mets only run. Former Met legend Tug McGraw came on for the save as a Phillie.



The Italian American Falcone, a Brooklyn kid & cousin of Mets coach Joe Pignatano went 7-11 for the 1980 Mets, tied for second most wins on the staff.

He spent four years with the Mets, going 26-37 with a 3.91 ERA in 145 games 86 starts.

Apr 28, 2018

Remembering Mets History (1969) The Mets Play Thier First Game Outside The United States

Tuesday April 29th 1969: This game would mark the first time the New York Mets ever played a regular season game outside of the United States. It began an NL East competition that would last into the new millennium when the Expos left Montreal for Washington D.C.

Montreal Expos history: The 1969 expansion, Montreal Expos were named after the 1987 Worlds Fair (Expo '67) held in the city. Montreal had been an AAA home to the Montreal Royals, a long time minor league club that began play in 1897.


With the exception of ten years (1918-1927) minor league ball was played since then in Montreal for 53 years. The Royals were an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the place where Jackie Robinson also played for breaking into MLB. The team won seven championships in their era.

The first star player for the Expos was the Popular (future Met) Rusty Staub whom the locals named "Le Grande Orange". The future Cajun chef also learned to speak French while in Montreal.


Jarry Park, Montreal Quebec: The Expos played in a large park area where a baseball field was built- Jarry Park (or Park Jarry as the French Canadians say) was home to the club until they moved to Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in 1976.

Park Jarry was a cold windy place, with the sun setting in west blinding the first baseman's eyes. Forgotten is the fact that there was a large swimming pool beyond the outfield, belonging to the parks grounds.

This was long before the pools & splash HRs of today in various in ballparks. Pirate slugger Willie Stargell once landed a 490' shot into the pool, earning its nickname "Willies Pool". Today the area is Stade Jarry a tennis stadium.

Just 8,577 fans showed up on a brisk Montreal afternoon to watch Gene Mauch's Expos (7-12) face Gil Hodges eventual World Champion Mets (8-11). Veteran MudCat Grant went for the Expos taking on the Mets lefty, Jerry Koosman.



Starting Lineups


The game was highlighted by two HR's hit by Ed Kranepool. Kranepool blasted a 2nd inning shot & a 6th inning shot both off of Mud Cat Grant.

It was all the Mets needed as fine pitching once again came from the 1969 Mets.


Koosman would pitch into the 5th inning, allowing no runs on two hits. Fireballer Nolan Ryan came in relief went the distance shutting out the Expos, striking out seven walking no one & scattering four hits. He earned the victory to go 2-0 on the year.



Remembering Mets History: (2010) Mets Play Fourth Longest Game In Team History



Saturday April 17th, 2010: At 3:15 PM Jerry Manuel's New York Mets took the field to play Tony La Russa's St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

43,709 attended the game but how many were still there when the games ended six hours & fifty three minutes later after 10 PM? This was to be the fourth longest games in Mets history which ended after twenty innings. The game would feature a Mets record nine pitchers & twenty four players overall.

Starting Lineups


Johan Santama would have a good outing throwing seven shut out innings striking out nine batters while allowing just four hits. Ryota Iqarashi & Pedro Feliciano both pitched 1.1 innings each.

Fernando Nieve put in 2.1 scoreless getting relieved by Hisanori Takahashi who got the Mets to the 14th inning holding the Cards scoreless.

A young Jenry Mejia who had just debuted a couple of weeks earlier would give up three hits but also held the Cards scoreless.

Raul Valdes who pitched 38 games for the Mets in 2010, then tossed two more scoreless.


Nine Cardinal pitchers held the Mets scoreless until the 19th inning. Jose Reyes lead off with a walk & was sacrificed over to second. David Wright walked & Jason Bay was hit by a pitch.

then St. Louis pitcher Joe Mather served up a sac fly to Jeff Francoeur. It seemed that maybe this one would be over.

But in the home 19th, Mets pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, walked Ryan Ludwick & gave up a double to Albert Pujols. Then Mets nemesis Yadier Molina singles to tie the game & give K-Rod a blown save.


In the top of the 20th Angel Pagan led off with a base hit & Mike Jacobs followed with another. Pagan alertly got third & would score on Jose Reyes sac fly. This time Mike Pelfrey was brought in to close it out & that he did earning the only save of his career.

The 2010 Mets ended the season in fourth place at 79-83, it was the final year Jerry Manuel was the helm getting replaced by Terry Collins in 2011. The front office also changed as Sandy Alderson took over for Omar Minaya.

Remembering Mets History: (1968) Mets Lose 1-0 In One of the Longest Games In MLB History

April 15th 1968: On a warm Texas night, 14219 Astros fans cane to what was billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Houston Astrodome. This was the very first indoor stadium used for baseball & it had its own artificial turf known as Astroturf.

The Mets & Astros had both come into the league in 1962 as part of baseballs big expansion. Neither team had yet to see a winning season, the Mets were getting close as their 1969 Miracle Amazing World Championship  was one year away. The Astros would get to .500 in 1969 & not have their first winning season until 1972. Their first playoff berth would come in 1980.

This game would last six hours & six minutes going 24 innings, with only one run being scored. It is one of the longest games in MLB history, currently the ranking as the fifth longest game ever. At that time no game had ever gone scoreless beyond 22 innings & no night game had ever gone that far. Gil Hodges would use a Mets record eight pitchers on the night & a total of 23 players. The Astros used five pitchers & 17 overall players.

Starting Lineups





Two very good pitchers started out in this one & both put in great performances. The Mets Tom Seaver pitched 10 shut out innings, allowing just two hits.

Seaver walked no one & struck  out three batters. Seaver allowed a hit in the 2nd & not another one until the 10th inning, when Rusty Staub singled with two outs.

From the 11th inning to the 17th, five Mets pitchers; Ron Taylor, Cal Koonce, Bill Short, Dick Selma & Al Jackson would allow just four hits & two walks (both by Chris Short). Danny Frisella would come in to pitch five shut out innings allowing four hits, with four strike outs & a walk.


The Astros Don Wilson pitched nine shut out innings, allowing five hits, three walks & striking out five. Astro pitchers John Buzhardt & Danny Cobs got them to the 15th inning. From there Jim Ray came on to pitch seven innings, striking out 11 Mets allowing just two hits. Quite a performance. In the 20th inning Wade Blasingame came on to pitch the last four innings.

The Mets had two men on in the 7th, but Al Weis grounded out to end the inning. In the top of the 9th with two men on, Tom Seaver came to bat & grounded out to end that inning. In the top of the 12th the Mets had a golden opportunity, as Jerry Grote & Al Weis both singled. Second baseman Ken Boswell then singled as well, but Grote a slow runner couldn't score. Tommie Agee then grounded out to end the inning. Agee as well as Ron Swoboda both went 0-10 on the night.

The Mets got two men on in the 19th inning & a runner actually reached third base. Only three runners reached third base all night. But Jim Ray struck out Jerry Grote, that's when Cleon Jones stole third. Then pitcher Danny Frisella came to bat & Ray struck him out as well.

The last Mets pitcher of the night was Les Rohr. In the 22nd inning Rohr walked Rusty Staub and a wild pitch advanced him to second. With two outs (future Met) Bob Aspromonte was walked intentionally. Rohr then struck out Julio Gotay to extend the game.

In the bottom of the 24th, Norm Miller led off with a hit, Les Rohr then balked him over to second. The "toy cannon" Jimmy Wynn was given a free pass. Rusty Staub grounded out & the runners advanced to second & third. John Bateman was then walked to load the bases in hope of  a force at any base.

Next up, Bob Aspromonte hit a ground ball to short stop Al Weis, Weis committed an error & Norm Miller crossed the plate at 1:37 AM to end the game. It was a heartbreaking loss for New York.

Four years earlier the Mets had lost the longest day game in history at that time, a 23 inning seven hour 23 minute 8-6 loss to the Giants in San Francisco.

Behind the plate that night was New Jersey born Umpire, Ed Sudol. Strangely enough, Sudol would be behind the plate at Shea Stadium on September 11th, 1974 as the Mets & Cardnials played a 25 inning game, lasting seven hours, five minutes. That game is ranked as the second longest in history.



Legendary Italian / American NY Giants Pitcher: Sal "The Barber" Maglie (1945 / 1950-1958)

Salvatore Anthony Maglie was born on April 26, 1917 in Niagara Falls, New York. His father Giuseppe came from a prosperous family in Italy but when he immigrated to America, his lack of education could only get him certain jobs for small pay. He ended up a pipe fitter who later ran a grocery store, and di well for himself. A young Sal would also work in that store, but had a love for baseball.

His parents wanted him to work and forget about sports. But Sal snuck out to play. He was a good basketball player too, even getting a scholarship in which he turned down. The six foot, two inch tall right hander, attended Niagara University where he played baseball becoming a pitcher.

At first he worked in the local Niagra chemical plants while pitching for company teams. After failing  a few tryouts, Maglie eventually began his pitching career with a semi pro team out of Buffalo, New York. There he was noticed by former big leaguer Steve O'Neill who gave him a shot. Maglie once beat the legendary Satchel Page in a 1-0 duel in those years.

He had some bad years with the AA Buffalo Bisons & fell down to the Pony League then to Class A, where he finally had a good year, winning 20 games. In 1942 he failed a physical & was not admitted to the US military during World War II. With many of the players getting drafted, Maglie was signed by the New York Giants in 1942.

After a poor year, he resigned & went back to work in the chemical plant for two years. He returned to baseball in 1945 pitching with AAA Jersey City Giants.

He would get called up for the Giants later that year & was already 28 years old. Maglie debuted on August 9th, 1945 pitching middle relief in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 14th, he got his first start & threw a complete game 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds, at the Polo Grounds. In early September he tossed back to back shut outs, beating the Phillies & Chicago Cubs. He finished up at 5-4 with a 2.35 ERA.

In 1946 he jumped over to the Mexican League in order to make more money, something other players had done also. The MLB Commissioner at the time Happy Chandler; then put a ban on players who jumped leagues. Maglie did not get a chance to return to the big leagues for another four years, 1950- when the ban was lifted. By this time he was 33 years old. 


But it was now, that the legend of Sal Maglie was to be born. He became known as "Sal the Barber," because he gave close shaves to the batters. Famous for throwing pitches up & in, under their chins. On the mound he would stare down, at his hitters with an angry look. He donned a five o’clock shadow, with a razor stubble beard, which added to his menacing look.

Quotes: Maglie said “When I’m pitching, the plate is mine”.

But off the mound he was a known as gentle, courteous, good-natured guy. One sports writer actually wrote" when Maglie spoke he sounded like a priest’s in a confessional ”.

Maglie was a key part to the success of the New York Giant teams of the early 1950s. He began the 1950 season in the bullpen and was 5-3 by late July, getting placed into the starting rotation.

From there on he was sensational, going on an incredible eleven game winning streak. In August he tossed five complete games going 6-0 with a save to his credit. On August 26th, he began a stretch were he threw four straight complete game shut outs. 

On August 26th he shut out the Cardinals in St. Louis although he gave up eleven hits he allowed no one to score. In his next start at Pittsburgh, he allowed just five hits while walking two batters, shutting out the Pirates 3-0. 

On September 4th, he defeated the Phillies 9-0, in the second game of a double header in Philadelphia. Then on September 9th, he beat Brooklyn's Preacher Rowe in a 2-0 win at the Polo Grounds.

He finished the year at 18-4 (8th most wins in the league) while leading the league in ERA (2.71) winning % (.818%) and shutouts (5). He struck out 96 batters in 206 innings coming in tenth place for the overall MVP Award. He was also second in the league with ten hit batters.

In the Giants miracle run of 1951, Maglie was the ace of the staff & arguably the best pitcher in the league. That year the rival Brooklyn Dodgers had two twenty game winners; Preacher Roe (22 wins) & Don Newcombe (20 wins).

But the Giants had two twenty game winners of their own; Maglie & Larry Jansen, who both won 23 games. Maglie (20-6) & Jansen tied for the league lead in wins.

On May 4th, he pitched a one hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, at the start of an eight game winning streak. In that stretch, he also tossed a two hit shut out against the Phillies in Philadelphia. Maglie would add a three hitter along the way & find himself at 15-4 by the end of July.

The Giants were ten games back at the start of August & were thought to be dead in the pennant race. They would go on an incredible come back stretch to tie the Dodgers by the last day of the season. From August 12th to the end of the season he was 8-1 with six complete game wins. In September alone, he beat the Brooklyn Dodgers three times. On September 9th, he beat Ralph Branca in a 2-1 win at Ebbetts Field.

On October 3rd he was the starting pitcher in one of the most famous games in baseball history. Maglie, shut out the Dodgers in the third & final game of the 1951 NL Playoff series forced by the tied record. He held down the Dodgers into the 8th inning, before surrendering four runs, leaving down 4-1. It seemed he would be the losing pitcher, until Bobby Thompson connected for the most famous walk off HR in history, sending the Giants to the World Series.

He finished up second in both ERA (2.93) & complete games (22). He struck out 146 batters (third in the league) pitched 298 innings & recorded four saves.

He made the All Star team and came in fourth in the MVP voting. (This was before the Cy Young Award was given to pitchers). At the plate he hit his first career HR, driving in five runs and batting .152. 

Post Season: In the 1951 World Series, Maglie took the loss in Game#4 of the World Series, losing at the Polo Gounds
to AL New York's Allie Reynolds. Reynolds had an extra days rest because of the previous day’s rain out. Sal gave up four runs on six hits in five innings pitched,  including a two run HR to Joe DiMaggio.

In 1952 he was already 35 years old & just in his third full season pitching in the majors. He had a great start to the season, beating the Philadelphia Phillies at the Polo Grounds on Opening Day, striking out eight batters.

In his second start he pitched a two hit shutout at Ebbets Field striking out eight Dodgers. Through his first nine starts he won every game, allowing more than two earned runs in only one of those games.

He was 11-2 with a 3.06 ERA entering July & made another All-Star team. He was undefeated in August as well going 3-0 with another shut out on August 19th, coming against the Chicago Cubs. He finished the year at 18-8 (second most wins in the NL) with a 2.92 ERA (tenth in the NL) pitching in 216 innings striking out 112 batters. Although he had such a great year, he was starting to have back issues, that would limit his effectiveness.

In 1953 his numbers began to decline as his age caught up to him slowly. He pitched in 27 games with 145 innings, eight less starts & 50 less innings than the previous year. His record slipped below .500 for the first time, with an 8-9 record.

He rebounded with 14 wins in the Giants 1954 Championship season, becoming the number three man on a staff. That group included; twenty game winner Johnny Antonelli & 17 game winner Ruben Gomez.

Maglie began the season with an Opening Day 4-3 win against Brooklyn at the Polo Grounds. He started out strong at 4-0 with a five hit shutout pitched on April 25th, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Phillies. In the month of July, he went 4-1 with a pair of saves added in relief efforts.

Over the last two months of the year, he pitched well but had seven no decisions going 3-1 in that time. On the season he went 14-6 (9th most wins in the NL) with two saves, striking out 117 batters (8th in the NL) in 218 innings pitched, posting a 2.96 ERA (8th in the NL).

For his efforts he even received votes for the MVP Award, coming in 22nd in that voting.

Post Season: In 1954 “The Barber” opened up the World Series against the Cleveland Indians, in Game #1 at the Polo Grounds. Just like the 1951 Series, Maglie had a troubled first inning.

Cleveland lead-off batter; Al Smith singled, then the 1954 AL batting champ Bobby Avila singled as well. Maglie was then able to retire Larry Doby on a grounder and Al Rosen on a pop-up. Then Vic Wertz came to the plate & doubled to deep right-center and the Indians had a 2-0 lead. This was enough for Leo Durocher to get Don Liddle to warm up in the bull pen.

Maglie reared back to get the next out. The Giants eventually tied the game & Maglie then cruised all the way to the eighth inning. He was relieved going 7.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, with two walks & two strike outs.

Don Liddle did relieve Maglie & gave up a long fly ball off the bat of Vic Wertz. It resulted in the famous Willie Mays over the shoulder catch, perhaps the most famous defensive play in baseball history. The Giants went on to win it in the bottom of the 10th on a three-run walk off pinch hit HR by Dusty Rhodes. Maglie got no decision & did not get another appearance in the four game Series sweep.

The following season, Maglie struggled suffering from back issues, in 23 games he was 9-5 with a 3.75 ERA into July when he was placed on waivers. He was picked up by the Cleveland Indians where he finished the year going 0-2.

In 1956 he began the year in Cleveland but after two games, he was purchased by his long time rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers for $1000. He made a great comeback and pitched great down the pennant stretch.

On June 4th he pitched a three hit shutout at Milwaukee to defeat the Braves. On August 14th he pitched seven scoreless innings against his old Giants team mates earning no decision in Brooklyn's 3-1 loss.

On September 1st he beat them at the Polo Grounds, allowing just one run in 5.1 innings pitched. On September 25th, Maglie had his best game of all, throwing a no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies at Ebbetts Field.

Years later he said "The last pitch I threw was a fastball, low and outside. Marty Blaylock was the batter and he hit the pitch on the ground to the second baseman, Jim Gilliam. Gilliam scooped it up and threw him out to end the game." The game would put Brooklyn just 1/2 game behind the Milwaukee Braves in the battle for first place. Four days later Maglie beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of a double header securing the Dodgers spot in first place, clinching at least an NL tie.

On the year he was 13-5, with the league's third best winning % (.733%) He had nine complete games & 2.87 ERA (4th best in the NL) helping the Boys of Summer win another the Pennant.

On the mound he also posted a perfect .1000 fielding %. He finished second to team mate Don Newcombe in the first balloting for the Cy Young Award, and was also second to Newcombe in MVP voting.

Post Season: Maglie opened the 1956 World Series against the AL New York club with a 6-3 complete game win at Ebbets Field, striking out ten batters. He was the opposing pitcher in Game #5 when Don Larsen threw his famous perfect game. Maglie was also good on that day, allowing just two runs on five hits, but obviously took the loss. Maglie went 1-1 in that Series allowing five runs in 18 innings, pitching two complete games and striking out 15.

In 1956 he appeared on the TV show what's my line, where blind folded celebrities try to guess who a person is by questioning.


He went 8-6 the next season, ending up on the A.L New York club at the end of the season. He became one of very few players to have played on all three New York clubs before the Giants & Dodgers left for California. He began 1958 in the A.L. & then finished his career with the St. Louis Cardinals going 3-7 for the entire 1958 season.

In his ten year career, Maglie was 119-62 with 14 saves, throwing 25 shut outs (173rd all time) with 93 complete games, posting a 3.15 ERA (228th all time). He compiled a .657 winning %, 19th all time & was the ninth best in history when he retired. Maglie struck out 862 batters with 562 walks in 1723 innings.

Although he was known as the Barber, and did come in the top ten in his league, four times in hit by pitches, he hit just 44 batters in his entire career.

Retirement: After his playing days Sal served two terms as pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox (1960-1962/ 1966-1967). In 1969 he was also the pitching coach for the Seattle Pilots, in their only year of existence.


Many pitchers gave Maglie credit as as he became a well respected pitching coach. Hall of Fame Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale & 1967 Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg both credited Maglie with teaching them how to master pitching inside to hitters. Red Sox pitcher (future Met coach) Bill Monbouquette also gave credit to Maglie when he struck out 17 batters in a 1961 game.

During the Red Sox Impossible Dream season of their 1967 pennant, Maglie was the teams pitching coach but there were issues. He had signed a two year deal & when new manager Dick Williams came along, they didn't get along. Williams wanted his own guy.

Also that year, Maglie's wife Kay died of cancer & ate 49 he was a widower with two sons. After the Sox won the pennant, they lost the World Series in seven games to the Boston Red Sox & Maglie was fired the next day. He was outraged at Williams & publicly said so. He the got the job in Seattle with Pilots.


After baseball he worked as a wholesale liquor salesman & a coordinator for the Niagra Falls Convention Bureau.

Maglie’s reputation made him a popular New York favorite & he appeared at many Mets old timers games.
 Family: Maglie married to his first wife Kay back in 1941. While with the Giants, they lived in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York. They adopted two boys, one made a career in the Air Force. Sadly the other son, had issues with drugs & alcohol after his mothers death. He passed away in 1982.

Sal Maglie suffered a brain aneurysm in 1981 but did recover. After the death of his son, his health deteriorated & he was placed in a Nursing Home in 1987. He passed away in Niagara Falls, New York in 1992 at age 75.

Honors: Maglie is inducted in The Italian American Sports Hall of Fame & has a baseball stadium named after him, in his home town of Niagara Falls. A highly acclaimed book about his life in & out of baseball was written by Judith Testa in 2007.