Remembering Mets History (1968): Jerry Koosman Tosses Back to Back Shut Outs As Mets Win 1st Home Opener

Wednesday April 17th 1968: At the time no one could have possibly known that the Mets were one season away from being the Amazing Mets & winning a World Series. But there were early signs as they opened the 1968 season, when one of their young star pitchers, tossed back to back shut outs.

Gil Hodges, the new Mets skipper was on hand for his first Opening Day at Shea Stadium. His team hosted the former New York National Leaguers, the now San Francisco Giants, managed by Herman Franks. This year marked the Giants tenth year on the West Coast.

The Giants always drew well returning to New York & on this day 52,079 were on hand at Shea Stadium. Hodges sent his young lefty, Jerry Koosman to face the Giants' Mike McCormick. McCormick was the NL leader in victories the previous year, posting a 22-10 mark with a 2.85 ERA.

Starting Lineups

The 1968 Mets Opening Day line up were soon to be all key players for the Miracle of '69. 

In the home 2nd it was Cleon Jones who got the Mets off to a 1-0 lead with his first HR of the season. The score would stay that way until the 6th, when Ken Boswell singled & advanced, scoring when "The Glider" Ed Charles doubled to left field.

The final Met run came in the 7th, reliever Bobby Bolin surrendered a double to catcher Jerry Grote. Bolin then booted a grounder hit by Koosman putting two men on for the Mets with no outs. Al Weis would then single to left field bring home Grote to top off the 3-0 win.

As for Koosman, he was excellent, scattering seven hits, walking two & striking out ten batters. He would strike out eleven in his next start. In the 7th he struggled a bit giving up a hit & a walk but then ended the inning when he struck out Jim Davenport for the third time on the day.

Koosman would start out the year at 4-0 & finish up at 19-12 on a team that was 73-89. His 19 wins were 4th best in the NL. He struck out 178 batters but incredibly he kept an ERA under two all season until September 24th. That day he gave up five earned runs to the Atlanta Braves, putting his ERA at 2.12, the first time it was over two all season.

He ended the year with a 2.08 ERA (4th best in the NL).

Thursday April 11th, 1968: In his first start,
Koosman pitched the second game of the '68 season, He threw a four hit shut out in Los Angeles, beating the Dodgers 4-0. He struck out just three & walked four, in the complete game effort.

Koosman & Bill Singer matched zeroes until the 8th inning, when Ken Boswell tripled & Singer walked Ron Swoboda then Ed Kranepool. Art Shamsky then delivered a two run single. 

In the 8th, Tommie Agee got all the way to third base on an outfield error to lead off the inning. Swoboda then singled him in. Ken Boswell's 8th inning sac fly gave New York their forth run. 


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