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

The 1973 New York Mets won the NL Pennant & came within one game of the Worlds Championship. But things started out slow, with lots of injures & didn't really get going until late summer. 

But Mets lefty, Jerry Koosman was the exception, he started out that season winning NL Pitcher of the Month for April 1973 & was just Amazing.

Koosman made his 1973 debut pitching in the third game of the 1973 season. 
On April 11th, 1973 Koosman took the mound in St. Louis, facing 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 from third. Staub poked a base hit, putting the Mets up 2-0. In the 3rd, John Milner hit his first HR of the season to make it 3-0 Mets.

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

In the 5th, the Mets Felix Millan tripled bringing in Duffy Dyer. Millan would later score on a passed ball charged to Cardinal 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, then pinch hitter Tim McCarver, drew a one out walk.
McGraw got Lou Brock to grounded out, but then Ted Sizemore singled scoring Cruz, making it a one runs game. This was the beginning of Tug McGraw's troubles, that he would not work out until August.

Mets Manager, Yogi Berra removed McGraw & brought in, a comer to the Mets bullpen; Phil Hennigan. Hennigan got pinch hitter Bernie Carbo to fly out to centerfielder Rich Chiles, saving the game for Koosman & the Mets.

April 19th 1973: Koosman made his first Shea Stadium start of the 1973 season, facing off against the Chicago Cubs & their number three pitcher, Rick Reuschel. 

The Cubs got on the board first,  when former Met, Jim Hickman reached on a Rusty Staub error. Jose Cardenal drove him in with a single, an unearned run. 

That was the only run Koos would allow on the day, as he sailed along on to a complete game five hit 3-1 victory. He struck out three & walked two.

The Mets offense came in the 4th inning; first baseman John Milner singled & then Wayne Garrett doubled driving him in. 

Next, Jerry Grote singled to score Garrett with the Mets second run. In the 8th inning, John Milner hit his fourth HR of the young season, giving the Mets an insurance run in the 3-1 win. Koosman was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

April 25th 1973:  Koosman & the 9-7
Mets, went against Leo Durocher's Astros, at the 8th wonder of the world, the Houston Astrodome. 

Koosman's opponent that day was All Star pitcher, Don Wilson.

Don Wilson put up double figures in wins in each of his eight seasons. 
He won 15 or more games & posted ERA's under three, three times in his career for poor Astros tams. In 1968, he tied a record, striking out 18 batters in a game. That record was soon broken by Tom Seaver. 

Passing: Sadly, in January 1975, Wilson was found dead in his garage, due to carbon monoxide poisoning. He was in the passenger seat of his Ford Thunderbird. The garage was connected to the house, his son was also killed. Luckily his wife & daughter were hospitalized & survived. Don Wilson was just 29 years old.

On April 25th, 1973, Koosman rolled along to another complete game victory, this time beating the Astros 5-2. He struck out three, walked two & allowing six hits. 

The two Houston runs came when Koos served up a HR to Doug Rader (aka 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, his first two of the season. Staub had come up with Astros in the early 1960's & was one of the teams' first star players.

In the Mets top of the 3rd inning, Bud Harrelson & Felix Millan both singled. John Milner delivered again, with a two run double. He then scored when George "the Stork " Theodore singled in the 5th Mets run. Koosman was now 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA.

April 29th 1973: Koosman closed out his big month with his best outing of 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 had led the league with 125 walks. He would win 15 or more games three times in 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. With one out, Ed Kranepool & Wayne Garrett both singled. With Kranepool on third, Jerry Grote delivered a sac fly scoring Eddie with the game's only run. The win was Koosman's fourth.

In the month of April 1973, Koosman went 4-0 with three complete game wins 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 league's top pitcher up to that point.


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