Remembering Mets History: (1976) Jerry Koosman Wins His 20th Game

Thursday September 16th, 1976: Jerry Koosman, had pitched for the Mets for ten seasons. He had won ten or more games in a season, eight times. He had won 15 or more games three times, with one 19 win season. 

Koosman was the Mets all time best post season pitcher with a 4-0 record, 3-0 in World Series play with a 2.39 ERA. It was on this day in 1976 when he reached the 20th win mark in a single season.

Joe Frazier's Mets were in third place (77-69) 11 1/2 games out of first place and had up until recently had a chance in the pennant race. Tonight they hosted Red Schoendienst 5th place St. Louis Cardinals (65-79). Brooklyn born, Pete Falcone (12-13) a future Met went up against Koosman on this night in front of just 5,472 fans at Shea.

It was Koosmans night all the way, he kept the Cardinals in tow all night long, giving up just four hits. The only run he allowed was an 8th inning, solo HR to a young Keith Hernandez, his 7th of the year. Koosman struck out 13 batters on the night, eight of them coming from the 6th inning on, including striking out the side in the 6th & 9th innings.

The Mets gave Koos run support early on with a little help from the Cards. In the 3rd, Falcone walked Felix Millan & John Milner, then an infield error on a Joe Torre grounder brought in the Mets first run. 

In the 5th, Torre doubled & was brought home by Roy Staiger who singled to center field. In the 7th, Bruce Boisclair hit his second HR of the year making it 3-0. Boisclair added an RBI single in the 8th to cap off the 4-1 win.

After the game Koosman along with his wife Lavonne & his mother enjoyed a toast of champagne in celebration. Sadly that March Koosman lost his father & lived with that inspiration his father provided the whole season.

Going back to July 30th, Koos had won nine of ten straight games, all of them complete game victories. He had tossed three shut outs including a two hitter & three hitter in September. 

He ended the year at 21-10 (2nd in the NL in wins) with 200 strike outs (3rd in the NL) & a 2.69 ERA (4th in the NL) posting 17 complete games (2nd in  the NL) & three shut outs. He lost out to Randy Jones in the Cy Young voting, an honor in which Koosman deserved to get.


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