Remembering Mets History (1970) Nolan Ryans Tosses A One Hitter

Saturday April 18th, 1970: On this afternoon matinee at Shea Stadium, Gil Hodges' reigning World Champion New York Mets were still flying high, nine games into the 1970 season. 

The Mets were at 5-4 at this point while on their first home stand of the season. Today they hosted Frank Lucchesi's Philadelphia Phillies in front of 23, 500 fans at Shea.

Today the Mets young fireball throwing pitcher, Nolan Ryan was making his first start of the 1970 season. He went up against the Phillies Jim Bunning, who was familiar with Shea Stadium, having had pitched a perfect game there on Father's Day 1964.

Today would be a historic day for Nolan Ryan as he would reach one of many, many milestones to come in his career. Today he would throw his first one hit game. Of course, Ryan would go onto throw an MLB record seven no hitters, but he would also throw 12 one hit games, also an MLB record tied with Bob Feller.

In the top of the 1st inning, the Phillies Denny Doyle led off with a single to left field. No one had any idea at the time, that this would be the only hit the Phillies would manage the rest of the afternoon. 

Ryan walked the second hitter Don Money, one of six walks he would issue on the day. He then struck out Johnny Briggs & Deron Johnson. After walking catcher Tim McCarver to load the bases, he got out of the jam by striking out slugger Larry Hisle to end the threat.

In the bottom of the 1st, the Mets gave him some support. Tommie Agee & Bud Harrelson started the game with base hits. Joe Foy then singled to right, as Ron Stone made an error on the play, both Agee & Harrelson scored with the Mets first two runs. After Cleon Jones made out, Art Shamsky reached on a fielder's choice that scored Foy giving Ryan a 3-0 lead.

In the 2nd inning, Ryanstarted out by striking out Ron Stone for his 4th K of the day. He then walked Larry Bowa & the pitcher Jim Bunning. Ryan got Denny Doyle to ground out & Don Money to fly out to Agee.

In the 3rd inning, he struck out the side, fanning Johnny Briggs, Deron Johnson & Tim McCarver to total seven strike outs. 

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Mets tacked on a run as Foy 7 Cleo Jones led off with base hits. Art Shamsky then doubled bringing in Foy with the fourth run.

In the top of the 4th, Larry Hisel reached on a Joe Foy error at third. Ron Stone then popped out & Ryan struck out Larry Bowa then new pitcher Barry Lersch to end the inning. He now had nine K's on the day.

In the 5th, Nolan walked the first two Phillies then struck out Johnny Briggs for his tenth K. After Feron Johnson flew out, Tim McCarver went down swinging as the 11th strike out to end the inning.

In the top of the 6th, Ryan struck out the side once again sending down Hisel, Stone & Bowa as his K total was now up to 14. In the bottom of the inning, Mets second baseman Ken Boswell led off with a HR off Phillies pitcher, Barry Lersch for a 5-0 Mets lead.

Ryan entered the 7th inning with a chance to set an MLB strike out record, but that inning
although he retired the side in order, he did not notch any strike outs for the first time in the game.

In the 8th he retired the side in order again, striking out Johnny Briggs for the third time on the day, for his 15th strike out.

In the bottom of the 8th, with one out, Nolan Ryan added to his big day with a base hit to left field, getting him a nice ovation from the Shea crowd. Tommie Agee then followed with a two run HR off Lowell Palmer, icing the Mets scoring in the 7-0 win.

In the 9th, Ryan got Larry Hisel to ground out. He then got Ron Stone on a fly ball & Larry Bowa to ground out to first base.

Mets One Hitters:
It was the fourth one hitter thrown by Mets pitchers in team history up to that point in time. The first once since Tom Seaver imperfect game on July 9th the previous year. Gary Gentry & Tom Seaver would both throw one hitter in 1970 as well.

The 15 Ks were the most he had in a single game up to that point in his career & were his season high for that year as well. 

Nolan Ryan won his first game of the year; he would end up 7-11 with 125 strike outs & 97 walks in 131 innings with a 3.42 ERA in 27 games (19 starts).  He would spend two more seasons with Mets but ultimately unhappy in New York & still having control issues he was traded away prior to the 1972 season.


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