Wednesday April 23rd, 1969: On this cool night at Shea Stadium, Gil Hodges Mets (6-8) hosted Larry Shepard's Pittsburgh Pirates (10-5) in front of just 7274 fans.
Tonight Veteran pitcher, Jim Bunning who had thrown his famous 1964 Fathers Day no hitter against the Mets, when he was with the Phillies was on the mound for the Pirates this evening. Bunning won 17 or more games eight times in his 17 year career. He won 19 games five times & was a twenty game winner once in his career, he made the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 thru the Veterans Committee.
Gild Hodges sent a winless Jerry Koosman to the mound. Koosman was in his third season, his second as a dominant left hand starter behind Tom Seaver. Koos won 19 games in 1968 (4th in the NL) with a 2.08 ERA (4th best in the NL) & would win 17 games in 1969, striking out 180 batters while posting a 2.28 ERA (5th best in the NL). Koosman was a vital part of the 1969 Mets success, he also would go 2-0 in the 1969 World Series posting a 2.04 ERA.
Koosman rolled through the game shutting out the Pirates, allowing just five hits along the way. He struck out six batters while walking three. This was the first of 16 complete games for Koos in 1969.
To get an idea of how the games has changed, the 16 complete games were 9th best in the league. It was also the first of his six shutouts, fourth most in the NL.
The Mets just needed two runs for the win, in the home 1st, second baseman Ken Boswell doubled, he was brought in by Cleon Jones for the first Mets run. In the 4th, Jones doubled & Ed Kranepool singled him in with the Mets second run.
Mets notes: Cleon Jones had three of the Mets six hits on the day & was batting .444. He would have 15 games in 1969 where he had three or more hits. Jones would be in the race for the batting title most of the year finishing third with a .340 average.