Remembering Mets History (1973 NLCS) Game #4: Reds Even Up Series on Pete Rose's 12th Inning HR

Tuesday October 9th, 1973- NLCS Game #4
New York Mets vs. Cincinnati Reds 

For Game #4 of the 1973 NLCS, 50,786 paid fans came out to Shea Stadium hoping to see the Mets finish off the Cincinnati Reds & advance to the World Series.

Most folks were still talking about the events of Game #3 highlighted by the Bud Harrelson / Pete Rose bench clearing brawl. Pete Rose was no doubt public enemy #1 in New York.

Before the game in the batting practice cages Bud Harrelson showed off his Superman t-shirt he would usually wear under his uniform jersey. This time he playfully had X-ed out the S symbol, much to the delight of the media.

Shea Stadium was filled with anti-Pete Rose banners lashing out at the Reds All Star. "This Rose Stinks" / "Rose is a Weed" / "Rose Is a Bum" / "Sit Down Ya Bum"/ were just some of the many slogans written on sheets & oaktag banners hanging from the Shea rafters. 

Whenever Rose came to bat or walked onto the field he was greeted with a chorus of boos, along with many other obscenities in a creative New Yorkers vocabulary. From this day forward, Rose would get booed in New York at just the sight of him, something that went on for many years. some of us still don't forget!

As for the game, today's Mets starter would be George Stone (12-3 / 2.83 ERA). Stone had come over, along with Felix Millan from the Atlanta Braves prior to the season. Stone was yet the third left hander in Mets pitching coach Rub Walker's fine arsenal of starters. 

Trivia: Since July 14th, George Stone had gone 8-0 with a 2.80 ERA in 13 appearances. His last post season start was in the 1969 NLCS vs the Mets.

Red's manager, Sparky Anderson sent Fred Norman to the hill. Norman had come over from the San Diego Padres in a trade on June 12th.  After going 1-7 with a 4.27 ERA for the Padres, he turned things around in Cincy to go 12-6 with a 3.30 ERA since joining the Reds.

Over the first two innings, both pitchers started out fine, retiring their opponents three up three down.

In the home 3rd inning, centerfielder Don Hahn led off with a walk. After Bud Harrelson received a huge ovation from the Mets crowd, his fielder's choice advanced Hahn to second.

Fred Norman then walked Mets pitcher George Stone. Wayne Garrett then flew out to centerfield for the second out as Hahn advanced to third. With two outs, Felix Millan drove a single to left field scoring Hahn with the first run of the game, it was 1-0 Mets.

George Stone did not allow a Reds base hit until the 5th inning, when Johnny Bench singled. Bench was quickly erased on a double play ball off the bat of Andy Kosco as he grounded to Bud Harrelson who flipped to Millan & then he threw over to Milner at first completing the 6-4-3 DP. The Shea fans cheered their hero Bud Harrelson once again.

In the 6th, Stone struck out Darrel Chaney then got pinch hitter Larry Stahl & Pete Rose, who continued to have insults & boos shouted at him, to both fly out.

In the top of the 7th inning, Tony Perez who was 0-10 in the series up to that point, tied the game with a HR. After a two out walk to Andy Kosco, Yogi Berra brought in Tug McGraw for the first time in that post season series.

On the day, George Stone went 6.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out four & walking two. 

On the Reds side, Fred Norman retired the Mets in order in both the 4th & 5th innings for seven in a row. In five innings he allowed one run on just one hit, with three strike outs & three walks.

He was relieved by the Game #2 starter Don Gullet. It was a brilliant move for Anderson as 
Gullet would come in & shut down the Mets over the next four innings, allowing just two singles as he struck out three. In the 7th, Jerry Grote singled with two outs but Don Hah was retired on a fly ball out to end the inning. 

In the top of the 9th, Pete Rose led off with a base hit. Next Joe Morgan sacrificed & Tug McGraw couldn't handle it, as both runners were safe. After getting Tony Perez to pop out, McGraw walked Johnny Bench to load the bases. But McGraw struck out Andy Kosco & had Dennis Menke pop up to Garrett at third base for the third out.

In the bottom of the 9th, with the score sill tied at one, Felix Millan led off with a base hit, his second hit of the game & fourth of the NLCS. 

But Gullett struck out Rusty Staub, then got Cleon Jones to pop up to Joe Morgan & John Milner to ground out to end the inning.

In the top of the 10th, Ed Crosby singled with one out & advanced on a wild pitch to pinch hitter Phil Gagliano.

With two outs, Pete Rose was walked intentionally. Then McGraw walked Joe Morgan to load the bases. Tony Perez then hit a shot to deep right field, Rusty Staub leaped & made a fantastic catch for the third out. 

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Clay Carroll came on & retired the Mets in order.

Rusty Staub Makes One of
Two Great Catches

Staub Goes Down After Crashing into Wall
In the top of the 11th, back-to-back one out singles from Andy Kosco & Dennis Menke put the winning run-in scoring position. 

Tug McGraw struck out Cesar Geronimo for the second out. But then, Dan Driessen hit a fly ball to deep right field, but Rusty Staub chased it, leaped & made a spectacular circus catch crashing into the right field wall. He injured his shoulder & would miss a start in Game #5 of the NLCS & the first Game of the World Series. The injury would affect his throwing the rest of the post season.

Red pitcher, "the Hawk" Clay Carroll pitched two scoreless, hitless innings retiring all six batters he faced. 

After 4.1 innings of relief, Tug McGraw was through. He allowed no runs on four hits with three strike outs & three walks.

In the top of the 12th inning Harry Parker (8-4 / 5 saves / 3.35 ERA) came on to pitch for the Mets. After retiring Ken Griffey, the most hated man in New York, Pete Rose came on & belted a HR over the right field fence putting the Reds ahead 2-1.

Rose raised his fist in the air as he ran around the bases to an even louder chant of boos &
obscenities from the dejected Mets crowd. 

Trivia: In his Book "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Al Michaels who was a young broadcaster with the Reds back then said he asked Rose what he was thinking as he rounded first base. 

Rose said, "he looked into the Reds bullpen & said Sparky needs to get a right hander up because Rusty Staub was leading off the next inning."

Parker got the next two outs as the game went to the bottom of the 12th.

In the bottom of the 12th, Pedro Borbon who bit a Mets cap & got beat up by Buzz Capra in Game #3 got some revenge of his own. 

Borbon retired the Mets in order, as Rusty & Cleon Jones both flew out & John Milner grounded out to end the heartbreaking game.

The Reds tied the series at two games each as it would all come down to a deciding Game #5 the next day at Shea Stadium.


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