Remembering Mets History: (1972) Dyer's Walk Off Single Seals Matlack's ROY Award

Monday September 18th, 1972:
Yogi Berra's Mets were 73-67 in third place 15 games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. On this night 15,622 came to Shea to see the Mets host Bill Virdon's Pirates (89-51).

It was a good pitching matchup, as the Mets sent that years Rookie of the Year; Jon Matlack (12-9) to the hill against Nelson Briles (14-7). 

In the 1972 Rookie of the Year voting, Jon Matlack led the way followed by the Giants Dave Rader & the Mets John Milner.

The game certainly stood up to the billing as both pitchers were on their game.

Matlack would scatter just five hits along the way, striking out six Pirates allowing three walks. Briles had allowed five hits & two walks along the way, striking out seven Mets. Both pitchers kept their shut outs into the 9th inning.

Matlack got the first two outs of the inning, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Richie Hebner & Bob Roberstson. Matlack then got the weak hitting Gene Alley to pop out.

In the bottom of the 9th, Rusty Staub led off with a base hit. Cleon Jones sacrificed Staub over to second. Ed Kranepool then was walked intentionally. 

The Mets catcher Duffy Dyer came to the plate. Dyer had already had a fine week and a half, he had driven in five runs in his last seven games, including three in a 4-2 win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. 

Dyer would continue that week & overall drive in runs in seven of ten games. For a brief period in this season, Manager Yogi Berra had actually named Dyer the teams main catcher over Jerry Grote.

In heroic fashion, Dyer delivered with a single to left field scoring Staub. The game may have not meant anything in the standings, but it was one of the most exciting wins in the month or even the year for the Mets. 

This game sealed Matlack as the Rookie of the Year winner as well & showed the Pirates (who had just win third straight NL East title) that the Mets were coming in 1973. The Mets would win the 1969 & 1973 NL East titles breaking up the Pirates stretch of topping the division, that would last until 1976.

Trivia: In 1972 Jon Matlack went 15-10 with a 2.32 ERA (4th best in the NL), he stuck out 169 batters (10th most in the NL) he walked 71 in 244 innings in 34 appearances 32 starts. AT bat he hit .128 (10-78) with two RBIs.


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