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 fifteen or more games three times, with one nineteen-win season, back in his rookie year of 1968.

Koosman is 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 a personal milestone, finally reaching the twentieth win mark in a single season.

Joe Frazier's Mets were in third place (77-69) 11.5 games out of first place and had up until recently had a chance in the pennant race. Tonight, they hosted Red Schoendienst, fifth place St. Louis Cardinals (65-79). 

The Cards sent Brooklyn born, Pete Falcone (12-13) who would be 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. 

In the 1st inning he walked Luis Alvarado but retired the rest of the batters. After a base hit in the 2nd, he gave up two Cardinal singles in the 3rd, but got Keith Hernandez to strike out & then Ted Simmons to ground out to end the inning.

He issued a walk in each of the 4th of the 5th innings but that wa it. He then retired ten batters in a row. In the 6th inning he struck out the side, getting Ted Simmons & Mike Anderson looking. In the 8th inning, a young Keith Hernandez homered giving the Cards their only run.

In the 9th inning, Koosman found that little bit extra, he struck out the side, fanning Joe Ferguson, Mike Anderson & Hector Cruz to end the game.

Koosman struck out 13 batters on the night, eight of them coming from the 6th inning on. He gave up just the one run on four hits & walked three. He went to 20-8 & lowered his season ERA to 2.76.

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, Joe Torre doubled & was brought home by third baseman Roy Staiger who singled to center field. 

In the home 7th, after the stretch 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. 

Kooz 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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