Remembering Mets History: (1965) Ron Swoboda Starts His Career As a Slugger

At the start of the 1965 season, the Mets brought up a young 20 year old Ron Swoboda, soon to be their everyday centerfielder. The Mets sold Swoboda as a home grown slugger of their very own.

On April 14th, 1965, Ron Swoboda got his second career at bat coming in his second career game. He came to bat in the top of the 11th inning at Houston Astrodome, with the Mets trailing 7-3 after a tough top of the 10th where Larry Bearnarth & Galen Cisco gave up four runs to the Astros. 

Swoboda hit his first career HR a solo shot off Turk Farrell. The Mets came back but still took a 7-6 loss.

Four days later on April 18th, Swoboda got his first start while playing in center field. It came in a huge 7-1 Mets win over the San Francisco Giants, in the second game of a double header in front of 44,179 fans at Shea Stadium. The Mets beat Gaylord Perry that day, with Swoboda hitting a solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd inning.

On April 23rd, the Mets were in San Francisco going into the 9th inning behind 8-4 against Perry once again. Swoboda led off the 9th inning with a HR, his third of the year. Jesse Gonder followed with a HR as well, for a back to back shots. RBI hits from Joe Christopher & Jim Hickman tied the game. Charley Smith's sac fly won it in the 11th.

Two days later on April 25th at Candlestick Park, the Mets won another exciting 4-3 game over the Giants. Future Hall of Fame pitcher; Warren Spahn who was closing out his career with the Mets earned his second win (2-0) of the season with the help of Swoboda.

In the 5th with the Mets up 1-0, Swoboda doubled bringing home Eddie Kranepool with a run. In the 7th, Swoboda blasted a two run HR off Ron Herbel, once again scoring Kranepool to make it 4-0 Mets. It was Swoboda's forth HR of the year in just his ninth game.

On May 1st the Mets took a 9-2 loss in Cincinnati facing the Reds. Swoboda hit his 5th HR of the season, a solo shot off Sammy Ellis in just his 13th career game.

On May 8th, Swoboda had his biggest day since being in the big leagues. He hit two HRs helping lead the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Braves at Shea Stadium. In front of just over 15,000 fans, Swoboda hit a three run HR in the 1st inning off Denny LeMaster, scoring Bobby Klaus & Johnny Lewis making it 3-0 Mets. 

In the 6th he hit a solo shot off Hall of Famer Phil Niekro for HR # 7 in just his 18th career game.

It was quite a career start for the young Swoboda, he quickly became a star & a popular player on a young team hungry for talent. 

He finished his rookie year with a career high, team leading 19 HRs. He also had 15 doubles & 15 RBIs while batting just .228 with 102 strike outs.

Swoboda was not the slugger of the future, the 19HRs were a career season high for him. He finished his career with 73 HRs in 2581 at bats in 928 games played. But he did win a World Series with the 1969 Amazing Mets & made a very important catch in Game #4 at Shea Stadium, saving the game.


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