Remembering Mets History (1969) Jerry Koosman Strikes Out 15 Setting A New Mets Record

Wednesday May 28th, 1969: A small crowd of 11,860 came out to Shea Stadium as Gil Hodges' Mets (19-23) hosted a new NL Western team, the San Diego Padres (18-30). 

The Padres were one of four new expansion teams in 1969, the first year of divisional play. The Padres joined the Montreal Expos in the NL. The AL got the Kansas City Royals & the Seattle Pilots.

It was the Padres first trip to New York; they had beaten the Mets in the series opener the previous night. The Mets were on a five-game losing streak, their longest of the 1969 season. 

On this night the Mets young left hander, Jerry Koosman took the mound. Koosman had missed a month of action from April 29th to May 24th, with a shoulder issue. This was his second start after his return.  Although he had only given up two runs, he took a 3-1 loss to the Astros on May 24th. Tonight, his opponent was the friars, Clay Kirby.



Tonight, Jerry Koosman was brilliant. He would pitch ten shutout innings, unfortunately getting no decision in the 11-inning affair. 

Trivia: He set a Mets record (up until this point in team history) by striking out 15 batters, surpassing Nolan Ryan's previous record of 14. 

Koosman allowed just four hits & walked two in his 15 K performance. The 15 strike outs were also an NL high up to that point in the season.

He started out the game fanning Tommy Dean, then after a fly ball out, he struck out "Downtown" Ollie Brown.

In the 2nd inning, Koos walked slugger, Nate Colbert. Al Ferrara singled & Roberto Pena sacrificed. But Koosman struck out Cito Gaston & then intentionally walked former Met, Chris Cannizzaro to get to the pitcher Clay Kirby. He then struck him out looking. 

From there, Koosman retired 21 of the next 22 batters. He collected a strike out in the 3rd, then got Nate Colbert & Al Ferrara looking in the 4th. After allowing a double to Gaston to lead off the 5th, he got Cannizzaro to line out, then got Kirby looking. Tommy Dean flew out to end the inning. 

He collected a strike out in both the 7th & 8th innings to get to 11 Ks on the night. It was the first of three times he would reach double figures in strike outs in the Championship season.

In the 8th inning, he struck out the side, getting Cannizzaro, Kirby & Dean. Clay Kirby & Tommy Dean both struck out three times on the evening. In the 9th, Nate Colbert collected a two out single, but Koos retired Ferrara on a grounder to Wayne Garrett.

With the game still scoreless in the 10th, Roberto Pena led off with a base hit. But Koosman got Cito Gaston to pop out to the mound, then Cannizzaro lined out to center. He got pinch hitter Ivan Murrell for strike out #15. That was a Mets record at the time.

Trivia: Tom Seaver would tie the MLB record striking out 19 batters on April 22nd, 1970. His victim's that night were also the Padres.

Koosman pitched ten shutout innings, allowing four hits & two walks. 

For the Padres, Clay Kirby was also on point, he went nine innings shutting out the Mets. He allowed seven hits, three walks & struck out four. In the 10th, he was relieved by Tommie Sisk. 

Sisk walked the leadoff man, pinch hitter Art Shamsky. Amos Otis came in to pinch run, Tommie Agee attempted a sacrificed, but Otis was out at second. Billy McCool came on to pitch & intentionally walked "The Glider" Ed Charles. But Ken Boswell lined out & Charles was doubled off first base to end the inning.

In the home 10th, Cleon Jones reached on an error at third base, by Roberto Pena. 
Padres' Manager Preston Gomez went to the bullpen brining in reliever Frank Reberger. 

Ron Swoboda then singled putting Jones on third. Reberger intentionally walked Jerry Grote, bringing up Bud Harrelson with the bases loaded.

Bud Harrelson, was one of the most valuable players on the 1969 Mets. It was usually because of his glove on defense, but also contributed with speed & fine base running.  There were also times like this, where the .248 hitter would contribute with a key hit. 

Here he singled to right field, scoring Cleon Jones with a walk off Mets win. It was his 10th RBI of the year he would have 24.

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