Remembering Mets History: (1966) Hawk Taylor Hits the First Mets Pinch Hit Grand Slam

Wednesday August 17th, 1966: Just one week before the Beatles were to play Shea Stadium for the second time, Wes Westrum's 8th place Mets (52-67) hosted Harry Walker's first place Pittsburgh Pirates (70-48).

Although the Mets were not a good team yet, they had a solid fan base, many National League fans had latched on to the Mets after the New York Giants & Brooklyn Dodgers left New York to head out West. 

The team had various highlights in these early years, many that may have been forgotten but relived on

On this warm summer evening, 32,461 fans came to Shea & witnessed the first Mets pinch hit grand slam HR in team history.

The Pirates started out in the 1st inning, as future Hall of Famer, Willie Stargell, the man who hit the most HRs against the Mets, started out with a two run HR making it a quick 2-0 Pirate. It was Stargell's 28th of the year. 

But in the bottom of the 1st, exciting young Mets hitter Cleon Jones hit a solo HR of his own, his 6th HR on the season.

In the top of the 2nd the Pirates added a run with a HR by Bill Mazeroski. In the 3rd, three straight singles from Stargell, Roberto Clemente & Jose Pagan made it 4-1. Then a three HR from Donn Clendenon made it a 7-1 game.

In the bottom of the 4th the Mets came back, Cleon Jones & Ken Boyer singled to start out the inning. Jim Hickman followed with a base hit scoring Jones. Ron Swoboda then walked to load the bases. 

Ed Kranepool was scheduled to bat but Met manager Wes Westrum sent in 27-year-old veteran Hawk Taylor to pinch hit. Taylor was in his third year with the Mets.

Pirate pitcher Bob Veale delivered a pitch to Taylor who connected for the grand slam HR, the very first Mets pinch hit grand slam in the teams' history. The score was now 7-6 in an exciting one run ball game for an excited Mets team & Shea crowd. 

Trivia: It was the only grand slam of Hawk Taylor's career. He would hit just 16 career HRs 11 of them as a New York Met.

In the bottom of the 6th Jim Hickman singled & was forced on Ron Swoboda's ground out. Swoboda then stole second. Hawk Taylor came up & was hit by a pitch. Chuck Hiller was sent in to pinch hit & delivered a single. 

The bases were now loaded & Mets All Star second baseman punched a single to center field bringing in the tying & winning runs, making it 8-7. 

The Mets held on to the lead as Bill Helper who came on relief of Jack Fisher in the 3rd inning got the win. Fifteen-year Pirate veteran; Bob Friend, now winding down his career with Mets earned the save, his first & only one of the year.


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