Remembering Mets History: (1973) Jon Matlack Tosses First Career One Hitter

Tuesday July 10th,1973: A crowd of 19,942 fans came out to see Yogi Berra's last place Mets (36-46) take on Leo Durocher's fourth place Houston Astros (47-44) at Shea Stadium. 

After 24 seasons of managing, this was to be Leo Durocher's last year before his retirement. It had just been 19 years prior he took the 1954 New York Giants to World Series sweep over the Cleveland Indians.

Tonight's pitching match up was certainly a good one, John Matlack (6-10) up against Jerry Reuss (11-5). The billing did not disappoint,

Starting Lineups

For Houston, starter Jerry Ruess would go the distance for his team, allowing just one run on six hits. He did walk five batters & one of them turned out to be costly.

In the Mets 2nd inning, Rusty Staub drew the lead off walk, then he advanced to second on a ground out. With two outs, catcher Duffy Dyer drove a single up the middle scoring Staub with what turned out to be, the only run of the game.

Jon Matlack was outstanding; he took a perfect game into the 6th inning. Up to that point he had eight ground ball outs & two strike outs. The Houston shortstop; Tommy Helms led off the top of the 6th with a double to left field. The perfect game was gone.

Matlack got himself together got another ground out from catcher Skip Jutze & then struck out Jerry Reuss, as well as former 1969 Met hero; Tommie Agee, now with Houston.

Matlack allowed a walk to "the toy cannon" Jimmy Wynn in the 7th, but Duffy Dyer nailed him trying to steal second. In the 8th, Matlack allowed another walk, this one to "the Red Rooster" five time Gold Glover at third base; Doug Rader. Matlack then got Tommy Helms to ground into a double play, ending the inning.

In the 9th he secured his one hitter, by striking out the side, Skip Jutze, Ray Busse & former Met Tommie Agee going down for the last out. Along the way he struck out seven batters, while walking two.

Matlack earned the one hit shutout, his first one hitter & the tenth one hitter in Mets history.

Matlack went to 7-10 on the year at this point, mostly due to lack of run support. From August through the end of the year he would go 7-2 to finish at 14-16 with 205 strike outs (3rd in the NL) & a 3.20 ERA. He was to be outstanding in the 1973 post season.


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