Remembering Mets History (1972): Rookie John Milner Drives in Five Runs in Mets 12 Run Win

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 batters: Bud Harrelson, Ken Boswell & Tommie Agee. Rusty Staub followed with a sac-fly scoring Harrelson giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. 

Still with nobody out, John Milner then cracked a double to left field bringing in Boswell & Agge, making it a quick 3-0 Mets lead. McNally was relieved by Denny Lemaster who got out of the inning without any more damage.

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

Next, Jim Fregosi singled. Ed Kranepool popped out then Duffy Dyer singled putting two on. After Gentry struck out, Bud Harrelson added an RBI base hit up the middle. Then Ken Boswell singled, bringing in both Dyer & Harrelson making it 9-0 Mets. Denny Lemaster was through as well & Tom Walker came in for Montreal.

The Mets Gary Gentry went through the first three innings holding the Expos scoreless. In the top of the 4th with two outs, Ken Singleton doubled & Bob Bailey's RBI single put the Expos on the board. 

In the bottom of the 4th, Jim Fregosi led off with a base hit. Eddie Kranepool flew out, then the battery of Duffy Dyer & the pitcher Gary Gentry both singled. Tom Walker then walked Ted Martinez with the bases loaded making it 10-2 Mets. 

In the bottom of the 7th, Tommie Agee walked & then Jim Fregosi tripled bringing in Agee for the 11th Mets run. 

Trivia: Fregosi actually had four triples that year for the Mets. In 1968 he had led the American 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.

Gary Gentry went the distance allowing just two runs on four hits, he struck out five & walked two earning his third win to get to 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA.

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


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