Remembering Mets History (1968): Bud Harrelson Gets A 3-0 Count In the On Deck Circle

Thursday, May 2nd, 1968: On this evening Gil Hodges Mets (8-10) hosted Gene Mauch's Philadelphia Phillies (9-9) in front of 9,795 fans at Shea Stadium. 

The starting pitchers were two youngsters who would both go on to have long careers, Nolan Ryan started for the Mets & Woodie Fryman for the Phillies.

Fryman would pitch 18 years in the majors going 141-155 with a 3.77 ERA. He pitched for the Phillies (1966-1972) Tigers (1972-1975) Reds (1977) Cubs (1978) & two stints with the Expos (1975-1976 & 1978-1983).

Tonight, the Shea fans would witness a strange series of events in the 8th inning.


In the top of the 1st inning, it was a typical young Nolan Ryan inning. He walked two batters & struck out three Phillies.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Greg Gossen doubled & Jerry Grote reached on a Tony Taylor error at third base. Fryman then struck out the next three Mets to end the inning.

In the home 4th, Fryman walked Ron Swoboda to start the inning. Greg Gossen then struck out swinging. Mets Catcher, Jerry Grote singled to centerfield scoring a hustling Swoboda from first base. Next "The Glider" Ed Charles hit a HR over the left field fence making it 3-0 Mets. It was all they would need for the win.

Trivia: The HR was Ed Charles' second of the year. The 35-year-old "Glider" would lead the 1968 Mets with just 15 HRs on the season.

Nolan Ryan would strike out ten Phillies on the evening, shutting them out on three hits in seven innings pitched. Ryan, who was still wild in his early days, walked seven batters. Mets reliver, Ron Taylor earned a save with two scoreless innings.

Strange Days:
In the top of the 8th inning, John Boozer came on to pitch for the Phillies. In his warmup pitches, he repeatedly touched his fingers & went to his mouth while on the mound. 

The home plate umpire Ed Vargo warned Boozer of his actions & issued a ball one count to the batter waiting to lead off the inning, Bud Harrelson, in the on-deck circle.

Phillies manager, Gene Mach was infuriated by the call & told his pitcher Boozer to do it again. He did & Ed Vargo called ball two. Then Boozer repeated his actions again for ball three. When Gene Mauch came out of the dugout to argue with Vargo, he tossed both the manager &the pitcher from the game. 

The umpire Vargo accused Boozer of throwing a spitball. Boozer became one of just four pitchers.
in MLB history to officially be ejected from a game for use of a "spitball".

Trivia: Strangely later that season, the Cubs Phil Regan would get officially get ejected from a game, because there was too much movement on his pitches. 

The umpire Chris Pelekoudas accused him of throwing a "spitball" as well. Although he was later cleared of any wrong doings, it ruined Regan's pitching reputation. 

Regan would go on to a long successful career as a pitching coach. He worked in the Mets minor leagues from 2009-2019 before being promoted to the Mets staff in 2019 before retiring at age 81.

Hall of Famer, Gaylord Perry was also ejected for use of "the spitball" in 1982.

Bud Harrelson became the first batter in MLB history to gain a 3-0 count before even stepping up to the plate. He would end up grounding out to the new Phillie's pitcher, Dick Hall going 0-3 in the game.

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