Remembering Mets History: (1967) The Odd Couple Movie Filming At Shea Stadium

Tuesday June 27th 1967:  Hollywood set up its cameras at Shea Stadium for a scene for the original movie version of “The Odd Couple”starring Walter Matthau & Jack Lemmon. Shea made it’s film debut in a game between the home town New York Mets & the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Originally Roberto Clemente was asked to be the batter in the movie scene, but he declined the part because he did not want to be portrayed as a weak hitter. Another Future Hall of Famer & star of the 1960 World Series, Bill Mazeroski took the part, getting paid $100 for his role.

The scene in the film takes place from the press box in the top of the 9th inning with the Mets holding onto a one run lead. 

Sports writer Oscar Madison is covering the
game & gets an emergency phone call in the press box from his roommate Felix Unger. 

Oscar sarcastically comments to a sports writer while getting up, the Mets still have a chance if they make a triple play. On the phone call Oscar gets annoyed when Felix tells him not to eat too many hot dogs because he’s preparing dinner at home.

On the field during the phone call, Mets pitcher Jack Fisher pitches to Mazeroski who hits a bouncer to third baseman Ken Boyer. Charles steps on third, throws to (Ken Boswell I believe) at second for one, who then throws over to Ed Kranepool at first, completing the triple play.

Legendary sports writer Maury Allen makes a cameo appearance & tells Oscar he just missed the greatest play he’s ever seen. Oscar yells into the phone at Felix “Are You Crazy, are you out of your mind?” A few Met players come out of the dugout to shake hands with the infielders.

Throughout the movie Oscar is seen wearing a Mets hat, which just goes to show you how popular the Mets were even before 1969. 

On the TV show, Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison also often wore a Mets hat. Keep in mind the Odd Couple TV show began in 1970 & ran through 1975, a very good period in Mets history. Both Oscar characters had pictures of Mets players on their wall too.

The scene was filmed before a real game between the Mets & Pirates. When the actual game began, Mets manager Wes Westrum had Dennis Bennet take the mound against Pittsburgh’s Woodie Fryman. 

Starting Lineups

The Mets hit Woodie hard in the bottom of the 1st, inning. Bud Harrelson lead off with a single, then Cleon Jones reached on base with an error.

Tommy Davis then singled home Harrelson, & Ron Swoboda blasted a three run HR to put the Mets up 4-1. 

In the 2nd the Mets Jerry Buchek & the 9th place hitter- pitcher Bennet both singled. 

Bud Harrelson hit a sac fly ball that scored Buchek. In the top of the 4th inning, Bennet was replaced by Dick Selma after allowing two runs on seven hits with the Mets leading 5-2. 

Selma earned his first win of the year by throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings striking out four Pirates. On the big day of the movie, Bud Harrelson had three hits, Ron Swoboda & The Glider Ed Charles both had two hits each. 
The Mets win put them at 25-41 in ninth place, 17 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals who would go on to win the World Series, beating the Boston Red Sox in seven games. The Mets finished the year at 61-101 in tenth place.


Anonymous said…
Correction, it was sportswriter, Haywood Hale Broun, not Maury Allen in the scene with Matthau.
Anonymous said…
I was at the game with my Dad. Mazeroski hit the first pitch off the wall. It was the 2nd pitch that was the triple play. During the real game, Gene Alley and Jose Pagan batted out of order.
rent slave said…
The third baseman is Ken Boyer,as he is wearing #14.
rent slave said…
The 3rd baseman in the triple play is Ken Boyer.
Anonymous said…
Reports are conflicting over Clemente refusing to be in the movie.

One report is that they tried filming the scene with Clemente 6 times, but he kept beating the throw to first. When he slowed himself down to not beat the throw, it was laughable, so they finally subbed Mazeroski, a much slower runner.

The other story is that an enraged Clemente refused when he found out on the day of the shooting that he was going to hit into a triple play.

For what it's worth, Clemente is in the credits for the movie, so it seems more sensible that they did film it with both Clemente and with Maz, and chose the Maz scene.
rent slave said…
I heard that Clemente's refusal was because of the low pay for the scene.

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