Remembering Mets History: (1977) The Felix Millan / Ed Ott Brawl

Friday August 12th 1977: Joe Torre's last place Mets (47-66) traveled to Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh for a double header with Chuck Tanner's second place Pirates (66-49).

The bad times were underway for the late seventies Mets and tonight marked the end of another key player's career from the 1973 NL Champion team.

In the 1st game of the twin bill, Jerry Koosman (8-13) took a 3-1 loss to the Pirates; Jim Rooker (10-6). Both pitchers went the distance, with Kooman giving up three runs on six hits & Rooker giving up the lone Met run on nine hits.

In the night cap Mets started Bob Myrick against Bruce Kison. In the 2nd inning Myrick himself, added an RBI base hit making it 1-0. Lee Mazzilli added a two run HR in the 4th putting the Mets up 3-2.

The Mets were battling, but the Pirates tied it up at 3-3 in the sixth inning. Met Manager; Joe Torre made a double switch bringing in Felix Millan to play second base, as Doug Flynn moved over to short stop, and Bob Apodaca was brought in to pitch. In the inning, Rennie Stennett reached on Lenny Randle's error and  Fernando Gonzalez double gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead. 

Next Apodaca intentionally walked Pirate catcher; Ed Ott to set up a double play.  The infamous Mario Mendoza came to bat (The term the "Mendoza line" was named after him, referring to a player batting under the .200 mark). Mendoza grounded to short stop Doug Flynn, he flipped to Millan at second base attempting the double play.

But the 200 lb. Ed Ott slid hard into Millan trying to break up the play. The usually mild mannered Millan, started shouting at Ott, then punched him in the face with the ball still in his hand. 

Ott a former college football player & wrestler, grabbed Millan and slammed him to the ground. The result was Millan breaking his collar bone & injuring his shoulder. He was taken off the field on a stretcher, and Ott was ejected from the game. 

Bobby Valentine came out to replace Millan on the field, & former Met catcher; Duffy Dyer replaced Ott. He would drive in the game winning run later in the 12th inning, with a base hit off Sonny Siebert.

Millan was done for the season and he never returned to the major leagues as he opted to play in Japan the next year. There he won a batting title & received the Best Nine Award.


Jane Allen-Quevedo said…
I read this post with great interest because I've been working with Felix in writing his autobiography. Your post helped me correct what would have been an embarrassing error! Thank you!
Anonymous said…
i wonder why there is no video of this incident. millan was a great met. all mets fans from that era remember him fondly.

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