Remembering Mets History (1972): Rookie John Milner Drives in Five Runs

Wednesday May 17th, 1972: Yogi Berra's first place Mets (20-7) were off to a good start in the '72 season. The season got started late due to a players Strike.

More sadly, at the end of Spring Training, the Mets family lost their beloved Manager, Gil Hodges, who passed away from a fatal heart attack. The organization was devastated, in the aftermath gave the position to the popular favorite, coach Yogi Berra.

On evening, 16,905 fans came out to Shea Stadium, to see the Mets host Gene Mauch's Montreal Expos (13-14). Gary Gentry went for the Mets against Ernie McAnally.

There were big expectations, for the Mets rookie slugger, from Atlanta Georgia, John Milner. He was even labeled "the hammer" (named after his hero- Hank Aaron). After making a brief debut in 1971, Milner was expected to be the Mets HR star of the future.

In 1972, Milner began making pinch hit appearances & got his first start on April 26th. That day he went 2-4, then he got a hit in his next start. In his third start he got two more hits & Yogi felt he was ready. On this day Milner would have one of his biggest days in his rookie campaign, as well as his career.

In the home 1st, Montreal's Ernie McNally walked the first three Mets Bud Harrelson, Ken Boswell & Tommie Agee. Rusty Staub hit a sac-fly giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. 

John Milner then cracked a double to left field bringing in Boswell & Agge, making a quick 3-0 Mets lead. 

In the home 3rd, Tommie Agee led off with a walk & Rusty Staub reached on an error. John Milner then hit the first HR of his young career, a three-run blast giving the Mets a 6-0 lead. For Milner it was his fifth RBI of the game.

Next, Jim Fregosi & Duffy Dyer both singled, with two outs Bud Harrelson added an RBI base hit. Then Ken Boswell singled, drove in Dyer & Harrelson making it 9-0 Mets.

In the 4th, Fregosi singled, then after Eddie Kranepool flew out, Dyer & the pitcher Gary Gentry singled. With the bases loaded Ted Martinez walked making it 10-2. 

In the 7th, Tommie Agee walked & then Jim Fregosi having one of his biggest days in his short Mets career, tripled bringing in Agee. 

Trivia: Fregosi actually had four triples that year for the Mets. In 1968 he led the league with 13 triples for the California Angels. 

Duffy Dyer later singled Fregosi in, topping off the Mets twelve run, seventeen hit day in a 12-2 victory.

Milner led the day with two hits & five RBIs. Duffy Dyer had four hits with an RBI, Fregosi collected three hits with an RBI. Bud Harrelson, Tommie Agee & Rusty Staub had two hits each.


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