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 season as he was to retire at the end of the year. It had just been 19 years since he took the 1954 New York Giants to a World Series sweep over the Cleveland Indians.

Durocher managed the Brooklyn Dodgers (1939 - 1948) winning one pennant. The New York Giants (1948 - 1955) winning two pennants & World Series. The Chicago Cubs (1966-1972) with three second place finishes & the Houston Astros (1972 - 1973). Overall, he went 738-565.

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

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 leadoff 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.

The Mets Jon Matlack started the game by striking out former Mets World Series hero, Tommie Agee, he then got two ground ball outs. 

Matlack was outstanding on the night, in the 3rd inning he got all three outs on ground balls. He would take 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. He would hit a double to left field. The perfect game & the no hitter were both gone, but the shutout was still in tact.

Matlack got himself together, got another ground ball out from catcher Skip Jutze. He then struck out Jerry Reuss, as well as Tommie Agee again to end the 6th..

In the 7th, Matlack walked "the toy cannon" Jimmy Wynn. Wynn tried to steal, but Mets catcher Duffy Dyer nailed him at second. Bob Watson flew out for the third out. Matlack was holding onto the 1-0 lead.

In the 8th, he allowed another walk, this one to "the Red Rooster" five time Gold Glover at third base, Doug Rader. Matlack then got Tommy Helms, the man with the only hit on the day, to ground into a double play, ending the inning.

In the 9th Matlack was even more overpowering, he struck out Skip Jutze, pinch hitter Ray Busse & Tommie Agee for the third time, for the last out. 

Matlack earned the one hit shutout, the first one hitter of his career. It was the tenth one hitter in Mets history at that point in time.

Matlack struck out seven batters & walked two. He went to 7-10 on the year, 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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