Remembering Mets History (1976) Dave Kingman Hits Three HRs In Tom Seaver's Three Hit Shut Out in L.A.
Friday June 4th, 1976: One month before America was to celebrate its 200-year birthday on July 4th, the craze across the nation was celebrating the bicentennial. The Mets were on a west coast road trip, as Joe Frazier's third place Mets (25-27) were in Los Angeles to play Walt Alston's second place Dodgers (30-21). The Mets had lost four straight & 11 of their last 13.
The '76 Mets did make a nice run in the summer but would finish the year third at 86-76.
The Dodgers went on to 92 wins but had no chance to catch the Big Red Machine, as they won their second straight World Series.Walt Alston would retire at the end of the season after managing the Dodgers since 1954, winning four World Championships. Tommy Lasorda would take over the Dodgers for the next thirty years winning two Championships.
As for the Mets it was to be their last winning season for the next seven years & no one knew it at the time, but also the last full season with Tom Seaver in New York, until a return in 1983.
On this Friday night, a big crowd of 52,516 came to see their own knuckleballer Burt Hooton take on Tom Seaver. In the crowd on this evening, was legendary USC coach, Rod Dedeaux, who had coached both Tom Seaver & Dave Kingman.
In the 5th, Met third baseman Roy Staiger singled & was moved over by a Seaver bunt. Mike Phillips then singled to right bringing in the third Mets run. Wayne Garrett followed with a walk.
Kingman then struck again, this time blasting a three-run shot over the left field fence. His second of the night, 18th of the year & fifth RBIs on the evening too.
Ed Kranepool followed with a solo back-to-back HR, making it 7-0 & knocking Hooton out of a nightmare start. 4.2 innings of work, seven runs, seven hits, three HRs, two walks & a strike out.
Kingman then hit his third HR of night, #20 on the young season. For Kingman he set a Mets
record being just the second Met, besides Jim Hickman up to that point to hit three HRs in a game & with eight RBIs on the night.
The Mets added a run in the 9th, when Bruce Boisclair & Ed Kranepool both had singles. Jerry Grote then doubled bringing in the tenth run. That inning Kingman struck out.
As for Tom Seaver, he coasted to a complete game three hit shutout. He struck out eight & walked just one. Seaver got his record to 5-4. The rest of the way he would go 14-11 but post a 2.59 ERA with 235 strike outs. He set a record with nine straight seasons of 200 or more Ks.
He still would set a Mets single season record with 37 HRs (2nd in the NL to Mike Schmidt), breaking the mark of 36 he set the year before.