Remembering Mets History (1967) Bud Harrelson's First Career HR

 Thursday August 17th, 1967: This Thursday afternoon game at Forbs Field in Pittsburgh was the first of a double header. Wes Westrum's Mets (48-69) were in ninth place of a field of ten battling just to stay ahead of the last place Astros. 

Westrum would resign at the end of the season with just 11 games left in the season, as he was looking to stay on as manager but heard the Mets were after Gil Hodges who was managing in Washinton with the Senators.

The most took on sixth place Pirates (56-62) who were now being managed by Danny Murtaugh who had just took over the job from Harry Walker in July. They would finish at .500 at 81-81 at the end of the year.

On this afternoon, Mets Rookie of the Year, Tom Seaver (12-8) made the start, Seaver had just pitched a three-hit shutout over the Pirates at Shea on August 13th. He went up against the Pirates Steve Blass (4-5).

Today's game would be highlighted by Bud Harrelson's first career HR. The thin 155 lb. Harrelson, never known for his hitting but was one of the defensive best short stops of his era, making two All Star teams because of his glove. his roommate Tom Seaver said Harrelson helped his career by stopping many base hits behind him. He had speed, was a good base runner as well & drew a good number of walks.

Bud Harrelson led off the game with a walk, Cleon Jones & Bob Johnson followed with base hits, but the Mets couldn't bring in a run. In the bottom of the inning, Seaver was shaky allowing base hits to Maury Wills & Matty Alou. He struck out Al Luplow but then Willie Stargell tripled & Bill Mazeroski hit a sac fly putting the Mets in a 3-0 hole. Matty Alou added an RBI base hit in the 2nd inning.

In the top of the 3rd, Harrelson led off with a base, he went to third on Cleon Jones' base hit. Bob Johnson then tripled to right as Harrelson & Cleon both scored. Johnson would score when Ed Kranepool grounded out to Stargell at first.

Both starters were done early, as Don Cardwell relieved Seaver after three innings & Juan Pizzaro came for Blass in the 4th inning as well. The game stayed at 4-3 until the 5th.

The Mets Bob Johnson walked; Tommy Davis singled & Ed Kranepool sacrificed the runners over. Ed Charles was walked intentionally to load up the bases. Outfielder Tommie Reynolds then singled to centerfield; Johnson scored but Davis was thrown out at the plate by Matty Alou, as the game remained tied at four. After Jerry Grote was put on intentionally, Cardwell grounded out to end the inning.

The game was tied until the top of the 8th. That day the Pirates right fielder was Al Luplow not Roberto Clemente in his usual position. Luplow had played with the Mets in 1966 & had just been purchased by the Pirates in late June.

 Harrelson hit a pop fly down the right field line that Luplow tried to make a shoestring catch on. He couldn't make the catch, the ball bounced off the wall toward centerfield. 

Luplow thought was it was a foul ball. When umpire Ed Vargo called it fair Luplow began to argue the call with Vargo, Harrelson who had good speed & was a good base runner, kept going around the bases. He was safe at home & Bud Harrelson had his first MLB career HR, an inside the park HR that put the Mets up 5-4. 

Pirate manager Danny Murtaugh pulled Pizzaro & brought in Roy Face to pitch. Cleon Jones followed with a base hit. The short time Met, Bob Johnson had one of the biggest days of his career, collecting four hits & two RBIs on the day, singled to right field advancing Jones to third base. As Tommy Davis grounded out, Jones scored putting the Mets ahead 6-4.

Willi Stargell who has the most the all-time HRs against the Mets hit his 16th of the year here, but Cardwell held on to win the game earning his fourth win (4-9).

Trivia: Bud Harrelson would hit just seven HRs in his career in 4744 at bats. In the sixties he played from 1965-1970 & todays inside the parker was the only HR he hit in that decade.

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