May 31, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Sweep Of Giants At Shea Brings Win Streak To Four

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"
It was always a big deal when the Giants & Dodgers came back to town, in those good old days. It had been just a dozen seasons ago, that the Giants & Dodgers had left the Polo Grounds & Ebbets Field for the West Coast. 

Many of their loyal fans would still come out to root for their old teams when they visited New York. So it was an exiting weekend in New York as the Giants started out a three game series with the three game set with Dodgers to follow.

This was to be a big week for the Amazing Mets as they went on an 11 game win streak, opening up some eyes around the league & starting to show they were for real.

1969 S.F. Giants: The 1969 San Francisco Giants won 90 games (90-72) finishing second in the NL West just three behind the Atlanta Braves.

The outstanding player of the '69 Giants was Willie McCovey who led the NL in HRs (45) & RBIs (126) batting .320, winning the league's MVP Award. Willie Mays was aging & limited to 117 games.

Bobby Bonds had a fine year as well, stealing 45 bases (3rd most in the NL) while hitting 32 HRs with 90 RBIs & leading the league in strike outs (187).

Hall of Fame pitchers, Juan Marichal won 21 games (21-11) & Gaylord Perry won 19 games (19-14). Pitcher Frank Linzy was 14-9 with 11 saves in 58 appearances.

Friday 5/30/69: Clyde King's fourth place San Francisco Giants (24-21) arrived at Shea for a three game series. Tom Seaver went up against Mike McCormick in front of 52,272 fans. 

McCormick had won 22 games two years ago, in the shadows of Hall of Famers, Gaylord Perry & Juan Marichal. 

Starting Lineups

Willie McCovey hit his 14th HR of the year to lead off the 2nd inning. Former Met, the teams first starting All Star, Ron Hunt added an RBI single in the 3rd to make it 2-0. Willie McCovey's sac fly made it 3-0 in the 6th inning.

In the home 7th, Ron Swoboda took McCormick deep, ending his potential shut out.
In the 8th inning down 3-1, Utility man; Rod Gaspar came up big against a tiring McCormick, hitting his only HR of the season, narrowing the lead to 3-2.

With two outs, Tommie Agee singled & knocking McCormick out of the game. The new pitcher was Frank Linzy, Cleon Jones who was batting .369, singled as well. Ron Swoboda then added another RBI, as his single tied it up at three. Manager King went to his pen again, bringing in Joe Gibbon. 

Gil Hodges who had Art Shamsky pinch hitting for Charles, made his next move sending in Duffy Dyer to bat instead. Dyer came through, as he singled home Cleon Jones with what turned out to be the winning run 4-3. 

Reliever Ron Taylor closed the game out with a perfect 9th inning. Seaver got his 7th win of the year (7-3) pitching eight innings, allowing three runs on four hits, he struck out eight & walked
just one. METS WIN STREAK @ 2

Saturday 5/31/69: A crowd of 32178 came to Shea Stadium in this matinee, as future Hall of Famer, Gaylord Perry went up against Mets Rookie, Gary Gentry.

Starting Lineups

In the 4th inning, slugger Willie McCovey belted a two run HR, his second of the series & 15th of the season to make it 2-0. But that would be all Gentry would allow, in seven innings he gave two runs on five hits, with three walks while striking six. 

In the bottom of the inning, Mets third baseman, the Glider- Ed Charles, provided the big blow, with a three run HR, his first of the year. Charles would hit just three HRs all season. It was 3-2 Mets.

In the 8th inning, Wayne Garrett singled & was sacrificed to second. Ed Kranepool was walked intentionally & reliever Ron Herbel got Ron Swoboda to strike out. Ed Charles, delivered once again, his base hit scored Garrett, sealing the 4-2 win.

Trivia: The four RBI game for Charles, was his biggest of the season in 61 games played. 

Tug McGraw earned his first save of the year, as Gentry went to 4-4 with the win. Perry took the loss.

Sunday 6/1/69: On this Sunday afternoon, 41,294 fans came to Shea Stadium as the Mets went for the series sweep. Gil Hodges sent another one of his young pitchers to the mound, Jim McAndrew. He went up against the Giants Bobby Bolin. The previous year, Bolin had the NL's second best ERA (1.99) behind Bob Gibson's record 1.12.

Starting Lineups

Jim McAndrew got pulled in the 2nd inning due to a blister on his finger. A rocky 1st inning, had him give up two hits, two walks & a sac fly RBI from Jim Ray Hart. He departed with two men on & two outs. Don Cardwell came in relief, and a wild pitch gave the Giants their second run.

In the home 2nd, Ron Swoboda & Ed Charles both singled. Jerry Grote tripled tying up the game at two. Grote had three triples on the year & 22 in his 16 year career.

In the Giants 5th, McCovey hit his third HR of the series, one in each game. It was his 16th HR of the year.

In the home 5th, with two outs Bolin walked Wayne Garrett & Cleon Jones. Ed Kranepool & Ron Swoboda both added RBI singles putting the Mets ahead 4-3.

The Giants; Jim Davenport tied it up with an RBI single scoring Tito Fuentes in the top of 6th. 

With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 9th, Giants reliever Joe Gibbon had an awful inning. He walked Bud Harrelson, then got the next two outs.

Then he walked Cleon Jones, & rookie Amos Otis. Feeling the pressure, he then walked Ron Swoboda and in came Bud Harrelson with the winning run. 

The Mets swept the Giants for the first time in team history, and had a four game win streak. METS WIN STREAK @ 4.

At this point the Mets were 22-23 in third place, nine games behind the Chicago Cubs.

Remembering Mets History: (1976) Dave Kingmans Big Start In May

Tuesday May 4th 1976: At this early point in the 1976 season, the Mets managed by Joe Frazier were 15-8 and in first place in the NL East. A Shea Stadium crowd of 18,528 fans came out to see the Mets host the reigning World Champions, the Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds, managed by Sparky Anderson. 

Both clubs starting pitchers were off to good starts, The Mets Tom Seaver & the Reds Fred Norman were both 3-0 up to this point.

Fred Norman lost his control in the 2nd inning, issuing four walks which led to two Mets runs. The Reds got a run back in the 3rd, as Seaver himself walked two & Pete Rose singled in Cesar Geronimo. 

In the home 3rd inning, Joe Torre led off with a single. Then Dave Kingman hit a two run HR, putting the Mets ahead for good on the day. 

This started off a very hot productive streak for Mr. Kingman also known by the names "SkyKing" & "Kong". It was already Kingman's tenth HR of the season, the most in the league. The Mets got another run in the game on an Ed Kranepool RBI hit, capping off the 5-3 win. Seaver bested to 4-0 on the year as the first place Mets were rolling along nicely.

Friday May 7th 1976:  Tonight the first place Mets hosted John McNamara's third place San Diego Padres, as the National League's two best pitchers of 1976 faced off against each other. The Mets Jerry Koosman went up against the Padres, Randy Jones, who would narrowly beat out Koos for that years Cy Young Award.

1976 had some good highlights for the Mets: Jerry Koosman would win twenty games & slugger Dave Kingman would set a Mets club record with 37 HRs, second most in the NL. It would be Tom Seaver's last full season before trade in 1977. Sadly it was to be the clubs last winning season until 1984.

In the May 7th, Friday night game, it was Dave Kingman  he was to be the star. In the 1st inning he wasted no time, as he blasted a two run HR off Jones, scoring Joe Torre with the first two runs of the game. In the 4th, Koosman helped out his own cause with an RBI single to go up 3-2. The Padres managed two runs off Koosman, & the score was 3-2 into the 8th inning.

Then Padre relief pitcher; Mike Dupree, allowed a lead off double to Felix Millan & a single to Joe Torre. Kingman then followed with a three run blast to left center field, putting the Mets ahead 5-4. It was his eleventh HR of the young season. It turned out to be the game winner, as Koosman went the distance for the victory. He allowed two runs on six hits with seven strike outs to go to 3-1.

Wednesday May 12th 1976: Five days later the Mets were on the road to play the Braves in Atlanta. The Mets were still in first place at 19-11 & Dave Bristols Braves, were in fifth place at 9-19. 

The Braves pitcher, Andy Messersmith, who was one of the games top pitchers in the early to mid seventies, and had also became one of the first free agents, who had signed with Atlanta but was struggling at 0-4. The Mets once again had Jerry Koosman on the mound. 

In the top of the 1st, Kingman started it off with a solo HR. In the Mets 4th, Joe Torre & Ron Hodges got aboard & a Roy Staiger single made it 3-0. Mike Phillips added an RBI hit & Del Unser a sac Fly to make it 4-0 Mets.

In the 5th it was Kingman again, hitting his league leading 14th HR of the season, also hit off Messersmith. Kong also added an RBI double in the 7th inning making it 6-0 Mets.

Kingman had a big four hit evening & drove in three runs, already giving him 33 RBIs for the season. Up to that point in Mets history, the team had never had a slugger like Kingman, putting up such big HR numbers.

The Mets would win the game 6-3, as Koosman earned his fourth win (4-1) & Skip Lockwood earned the save, his fifth.

In the first 12 days of May 1976, in a span of ten games, Dave Kingman had five HRs with 13 RBIs while collecting 13 hits.

Mid Seventies Mets Pitcher: Rick Baldwin (1975-1976)

Rickey Allen Baldwin was born June 1, 1953 in Fresno, California, the home town of Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. The tall six foot three, side armed right handed throwing Baldwin, was drafted by the New York Mets in ninth round of the 1971 draft.

In 1972 he was second on the Mets A ball Visalia staff, to Cecil Reynolds going 12-8 leading the team with 90 strike outs. Baldwin won nine games at AA Memphis (1973) & AA Victoria (1974) while posting winning records in each of the next two seasons.

In 1975 Baldwin impressed the team and made it North out of Spring Training with a lot of promise for his future. The team gave him Tug McGraw’s old uniform number 45, since McGraw had been traded to the Phillies that off season. Baldwin made his Mets debut in the second game of the 1975 season pitching a scoreless 8th at Shea Stadium in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

On April 11th, he blew a 9th inning game at Pittsburgh as he was brought in to relieve Jerry Koosman with the bases loaded & a 3-1 lead. Baldwin allowed a two run single to Rennie Stennett, and then Mac Scarce who had come over in the Tug McGraw trade gave up the final losing hit. In his next outing Baldwin blew a two run lead to the Cardinals in St. Louis but was taken off the hook as the Mets scored seven runs to win the game 14-7.

Baldwin then earned his first save on April 20th in three innings of relief against the Chicago Cubs. In that game he did allow three runs. By June Baldwin became one of the Mets top relievers out of the bullpen, something they needed badly after they had traded away McGraw. 

By the All Star break he had four saves but also had blown five saves as well. Upon his return he saved two more games on the road in Chicago & St. Louis. 
In September he earned his third & final win on the year pitching four scoreless innings at Shea against the Montreal Expos. 

For the 1975 season, Baldwin would be second on the club to Bob Apodaca in saves with six. He led all Mets pitchers in appearances with 54 going 3-5 with a 3.33 ERA, he had 54 strike outs with 34 walks in 97 innings pitched.

In 1976 he started out the year at AAA Tidewater, having a good year going 8-4 with 14 saves, posting a 2.31 ERA. He was called up to the Mets for two brief weeks in June then returning again in September. In 11 games with New York he appeared in 22 innings and posted a 2.26 ERA, with no record.

In 1977 Baldwin was rolling along at 4-1 at AAA Tidewater when he was called back up in late May. He would appear in 40 games mostly in middle relief, going 1-2 with a save and a 4.45 ERA. On June 21st he earned his only victory against the Atlanta Braves. He pitched the last game of the 1976 season earning the save at Busch Stadium in the Mets 6-4 win over the Cardinals. That game would be his last MLB appearance.

He was drafted away by the expansion Seattle Mariners in 1977 but never cracked their big league staff. He pitched at AAA through the 1978 season, ending his big league career. In his three year career he appeared in 105 games, going 4-7 with seven saves & a respectable 3.60 ERA, striking out 86 batters with 75 walks in 182 innings pitched.

May 30, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1973) Tom Seaver Strikes Out 16 Giants

May 29th, 1973: the Mets were in the midst of a California West Coast road trip. Yogi Berra's Mets were just below .500 at 20-21 in second place 5 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs. 

They had lost four straight, including getting beat by a pair of Hall of Fame pitchers the past two nights. The previous night the first place San Francisco Giants, Juan Marichal beat rookie Tommie Moore & the night before that, the Dodgers Don Sutton beat Jerry Koosman in a 2-1 classic.

Tonight's game drew a small crowd, just under 8000 at Candlestick Park. The Mets sent Tom Seaver to the mound to face off against Jim Barr.

Starting Lineups

Seaver started things off by striking out two batters in the 1st inning, & then the side in the 2nd inning.

In the 5th inning, Seaver put the Mets on the board hitting his first & only HR of the season. Seaver was a fine hitting pitcher who batted .154 with 12 career HRs & 86 RBIs.

In the Giants home 6th inning, Tito Fuentes doubled to left field & Willie McCovey blasted a two un HR. McCovey was one of Seaver's most respected & toughest opponents, growing up in Fresno made him an idol. It was 2-1 Giants. Barr kept the Mets at bay, holding them to just one run through eight innings.

Seaver allowed just the two runs & was striking out Giants along the way. He had at least one strike out in every inning with a pair of K's in the 4th, 5th inning & 8th innings.

In the top of the 9th, pinch hitter Ken Boswell drew a walk. Giants manager Charlie Fox, pulled Barr & brought in reliever Randy Moffitt. Moffitt is the younger brother of female tennis star Bill Jean King, who was on top of her game in 1973.

Moffitt surrendered singles to Bud Harrelson & Tom Seaver. He then walked Wayne Garrett forcing in a run to tie the game. Felix Millan followed with a two run single, putting the Mets up 4-2. Moffitt was gone & Sudden Sam McDowell was brought in to pitch.

Yogi Berra sent in George "the Stork" Theodore to pinch hit & he came through with a sac fly scoring Millan making it 5-2, Mets.

McDowell retired Jim Gosger next & Boswell again who originally led off the inning, as the Mets batted around.

Seaver came on to finish the game off, striking out Gary Maddox for K #15 & then he got McCovey for his 16th strike out of the day.

On the night Seaver struck out every batter in the line up. Bobby Bonds led the team in wiffs, going down four times, earning "the golden sombrero".

Willie McCovey who homered, also struck out three times on the night. Chris Speier & Gary Mathews both went down twice apiece.

The victory put Seaver at 6-3 his fourth win in a row. His ERA was an incredible 1.71 eleven games into the season. He already had 82 strike outs on the season. The 16 Ks would be his highest total in a single game all year. Overall he had six games where had double figures in strike outs.

Remembering Mets History: (1964) Mets Play the Longest Doubleheader In MLB History (9 Hours 52 Minutes)

Sunday May 31st 1964: The second place San Francisco Giants (25-17) just one game out of first place, returned to New York, just seven years after leaving the Polo Grounds for the west coast. They always attracted big crowds when they came back to play the Mets & today's double header drew  57,037 fans. 

It was a day to go down in the history books, as this was to be the longest double header in baseball history. The double header lasted a total of nine hours fifty two minutes. 

The first game was a breeze, as the Giants behind Hall of Famer; Juan Marichal lasting just two hours & twenty nine minutes. The Giants beat the Mets & pitcher Al Jackson, 5-3 in nine innings.

Night Cap:

Starting Lineups

The second game started with the Mets Bill Wakefield going up against Bobby Bolin. Wakefield was hit for two runs in the 1st inning,. A leadoff walk to Harvey Kuenn led to an RBI double by Jesus Alou & then a base hit to Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

Wakefield was removed by Mets skipper; Casey Stengel after just two innings. In the 3rd the Giants hit six singles & scored four more times off pitchers; Craig Anderson & Tom Sturdivant. Tom Haller, Chuck Hiller, Jim Ray Hart & Bob Bolin all delivered RBIs. 

The Mets had scored a run on catcher Cris Cannizzaro's single in the 2nd & were down 6-1 in the 6th inning. Joe Christopher singled & up came a young twenty year old Ed Kranepool. Kranepool was an original Met, the teams first bonus baby, home grown out of the Soundview section of the Bronx. 

The youngster had just arrived after being called up from the minors, where he just played in both games of a double header the day before. Kranepool was in for a long day, as he would play in both games of this doubleheader, all 32 innings. In this at bat he tripled, bringing in a run & then scored on Charlie Smith's base hit making it 6-3 Giants.

In the 7th; the Mets Joe Christopher hit a three run HR to tie the game, all of a sudden making this an exciting ball game. It was just the start.

The Giants would send three future Mets; Ken MacKenzie, Bob Shaw & Ron Herbel to the mound through  the 11th inning. It was then Gaylord Perry, the future Hall of Famer came in to pitch an incredible ten innings of relief. He allowed no earned runs on seven hits with one walk & nine strike outs.

After the first three Mets pitchers, Frank Lary pitched two scoreless innings. Then Larry Bearnarth threw seven shut out innings, allowing just three hits with four strike outs. Galen Cisco came on in the 15th inning, pitching another nine innings & would eventually take the loss.

Triple Play: In the 14th inning, Jesus Alou singled & Willie Mays walked. Orlando Cepeda hit a hard line drive up the middle, but Mets short stop; Roy McMillan snagged it, stepped on second to get Alou & threw to first to nail Mays for the triple play. The excitement continued.

The game rolled along as one of the longest ever in baseball history, entering its 23d inning. With one out the Giants got a triple from Jim Davenport & an intentonal walk to Craig Peterson. Pinch hitter Del Crandall doubled bringing in Davenport. Then Alou added an RBI single to make it 8-6. Bob Hendley closed out the bottom of the 23rd, retiring the Mets in order.

The game is still not the longest for the Mets, they would play a 25 inning game on September 11th 1974 & a 24 inning game on April 15th 1968. The game ranks as the 8th longest game to play in baseball history.A total of 41 players were used in the game, with New York using 21 of them. Both teams used six pitchers each.
Umpire Ed Sudol

Trivia: This game was the first extra inning contest at Shea Stadium which had just opened up in April 1964, two months earlier.

Trivia: New Jersey born Umpire Ed Sudol, was the home plate umpire for this game & strangely enough, was the home plate umpire for all three of the Mets longest games mentioned above.