Remembering Mets History (1970) Mets Open Up As Reigning World Champs

April 7th 1970: After the Mets had won the 1969 World Series they enjoyed all the celebrity aspects that went along with it.
Now officially dubbed "The Amazing Mets" every member of that team would forever be remembered for their contribution to the Miracle Mets.

On March 31st, after Spring Training the Mets were invited to the White House & Commissioner Bowie Kuhn gave President Nixon a Mets World Series ring.

In the front office, Bob Scheffing took over as the GM, as Johnny Murphy had suffered a fatal heart attack on January 16th.

Pitching Coach Rube Walker & Manager Gil Hodges
The 1970 Mets opened the season in Pittsburgh, taking on the Pirates at Forbes Field in front of 34,249. 

The Pirates season was set to open up in the new Three Rivers Stadium, a large cookie cutter circular stadium, but construction delays put off its opening until July.

The Mets batting order looked similar to the '69 World Champs, except for the addition of newly acquired third baseman; Joe Foy. Manager Gil Hodges sent his Cy Young Award winner Tom Seaver to the mound to face Danny Murtaugh's Pirates & pitcher Steve Blass.

The World Champs struck in the top of the 1st, as Tommie Agee singled & advanced to second on Joe Foy's ground out. Cleon Jones then doubled in Agee with the first run. Art Shamsky singled home Jones for a 2-0 Mets lead.

Tom Seaver was shaky in the 1st inning, giving up a leadoff double to Matty Alou & an RBI single to Roberto Clemente. The Pirates tied it in the 2nd as Al Oliver tripled & catcher Jerry May (who would be a short time Met in 1973) brought him in with a sac fly. 

 In the top of the 3rd, Tommie Agee got his second hit of the day, he then stole second base & advanced to third on a ground out. He scored on Joe Foy's sac fly to right field, 3-2 Mets.

Both Seaver & Blass settled down into the 6th inning. For the Pirates, Matty Alou tripled & Clemente drove him with his second RBI on the day, tying the game at 3-3. The games stayed that way into extra innings. 

Mets Reliever: Ron Taylor replaced Tom Seaver in the 9th inning. 

Seaver pitched eight innings giving up three runs on nine hits with no walks & five strike outs. 

Pittsburgh's Chuck Hartenstein replaced Steve Blass in the 10th inning. Blass went ten innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with nine strike outs & two walks.

In the 10th inning, the Mets threatened, Agee got his third hit of the day with a base hit. He was sacrificed to second by Bud Harrelson. With two outs, Cleon Jones hit a tough grounder to second, Agee attempted to score but was thrown out at home by Bill Mazeroski, ending the inning.

In the top of the 11th, the Mets came back again, rookie Mike Jorgensen, who had replaced Art Shamsky at first base, singled to lead off the inning. Ron Swoboda then reached on an error. Wayne Garret then sacrificed both runners over. Jerry Grote was then walked intentionally, loading the bases up. 

Donn Clendenon
Ken Boswell was announced as the pinch hitter, but Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh went to his bullpen, bringing in lefty, Joe Gibbon.  

Hodges also made a move as he went to his bench bringing in the 1969 World Series MVP; Donn Clendenon to hit instead of Boswell. Clendenon delivered with a base hit up the middle, bringing in both Swoboda & Jorgensen for a 5-3 New York lead.

Ron Taylor had given the Mets two scoreless innings, now Tug McGraw came in for the bottom of the inning. After issuing a leadoff walk to Roberto Clemente he retired the next three batters, striking out Gene Alley to end the game. The Mets had won their very first Opening Day game.

The 1970 Mets would be in the pennant race until late September but then fell short, finishing third at 83-79 six games back of the Pirates who would lose the NLCS to the Cincinnati Reds.


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