Aug 4, 2020

Remembering Mets History (1973) Cleon Jones Collects His 1000th Hit

Thursday August 2nd 1973: At this point in the 1973 Mets Pennant season, Yogi Berra's club were still ten games below .500. They were in last place of the NL Eastern division, back nine games. Some of the papers were calling for Yogi Berra to be let go. 

There was even a fan survey asking who the Mets should axe, the manager, the GM or the Chairman of the Board. The fans voted for Yogi to stay, as he was that popular a figure.

Berra had just stated to the press a few days ago his now famous line- "It Ain't over till it's over". Tug McGraw had shouted out his famous "You gotta Believe" motivation call a few weeks earlier, at chairman M. Donald Grant's team meeting. 

Eventually things would turn around, as most
of the injured regulars returned to action. Excellent pitching & an amazing September run, got the Mets to win the Eastern division. A big win over the Big Red Machine in the NLCS & a seven game run which they fell short in the World Series, against the mighty A's. 

One of the regulars back in action was Cleon Jones. Jones was one of the Mets main hitters, he had already missed almost two months of action with an injury. He returned in July & started making a difference. On this night he reached his own career milestone.

The Mets (47-57) hosted the reigning NL Eastern Champion Pittsburgh Pirates (51-57). Danny Murtaugh's Pirates were also struggling. at this time. The Pirates were a mighty force in those days, winning five of six divisional titles from 1970-1975. Tonight the Mets Ray Sadecki took on the Pirates, Jim Rooker.

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, the Mets struck with consecutive singles from Don Hahn, Felix Millan & Willie Mays. It was Mays 1895th career RBI. 

Next up was Cleon Jones, Jones doubled to right field scoring Mays & Millan with the Mets second & third runs. For Cleon it was a mile stone 1000th hit. 

Jones by now was with the Mets for a decade, having played in parts of nine seasons. He was there for the bad clubs & then the main hitter on the 1969 Championship team. Once again he was the Mets main left fielder & key hitter in a pennant season.

In the 8th Millan reached on an error. Then Willie Mays singled & another Pirate error led to Millan scoring from first. It was 4-0. Jones then grounded out moving Mays to third. He would score on Jerry Grote's sacrifice bunt.

Veteran Ray Sadecki, had himself a shut out going to the 9th inning. He would allow a run & be relieved by Tug McGraw. It was McGraw's 12th save. 

After a terrible start, McGraw would be one of the best relievers in the game the rest of the way, helping the Mets cause. The winn was Sadecki's second (2-1).

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