Remembering Mets History (1972) Down by Eight Runs- Mets Have Biggest Comeback in Team History

Saturday September 2nd, 1972: Yogi Berra's Mets (64-59) were in third place, fourteen games out & time was running out on them with thirty games left to play. Tonight, they were in Houston, playing a good Astros team (73-55). The Astros were in second place in the NL West, seven games behind the Cincinatti Reds. 

The Astros started the year with Harry Walker as manager, he was fired in late August as the Astros fell to nine games back. Former Met Salty Parker managed for one game, then the legendary Leo Durocher took over. He got the Astros on a six-game win streak, entering tonight's game.

But unfortunately, the Astros would lose four straight then go 11-14 the rest of the year, to finish third. Durocher would take Houston to an 82-80 season in 1973 before ending his 26-year managerial career (2008-1709). The Mets would finish third (83-73) in 1972.

Today's starting pitchers would be rookie Brent Strom (0-2) making his fourth career start & Houston's Don Wilson. Wilson would go 15-10 on the year with a 2.68 ERA. He would win eleven or more games seven straight seasons. 

Wilson one of the better pitchers of his era, also threw a no hitter & made an All-Star team. Sadly in 1975 he was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of his home, with is family in the home.

Brent Strom
Brent Strom
In the bottom of the 1st, the Astros Jimmy Wynn drew a walk & then Lee May hit 28th HR of the year, making it 2-0 Astros. Strom got though the 2nd but, in the 3rd, the pitcher Don Wilson & short stop Roger Metzger both singled. Cesar Cedeno doubled bringing in both runners to make it 4-0 Houston.

Ray Sadecki came on in relief, he would allow an unearned run in the 5th to make it 5-0. Bob Rauch came on to pitch for New York in the 6th. Doug Rader singled & Tommy Helms doubled him in to make it 6-0. In the 7th, the Astros sent six men to the plate, as Rauch walked Cedeno & Jimmy Wynn. He also threw two wild pitches, Bob Watson then drove a base hit to right scoring both runners making it 8-0.

The Mets had never come back from such a deficit & never did again in sixty seasons of Mets baseball. But on this night, they had the greatest comeback in team history. In the top of the 8th, they sent 12 batters to the plate, would collect eight hits & score seven runs.

Duffy Dyer & Bud Harrelson started the inning with singles, the Don Wilson loaded the bases walking pinch hitter Dave Marshall. Tommie Agee the hit a sac fly putting New York on the board. Ken Boswell then hit a three run HR, his 8th HR of the year making it an 8-4 game. Don Wilson exited the game as Fred Gladding came into pitch.

Rookie John Milner & Ed Kranepool both singled. Cleon Jones then doubled bringing in Milner with the Mets fifth run. Fred Gladding was removed & Jim Ray came on to pitch for Houston. Wayne Garrett greeted him with a base hit bringing in Kranepool & Jones making it a one run game.

In the crazy game, Jerry Koosman was brought in to pitch the 8th inning. Koosman had made four relief appearances on the year. He was struggling losing his last three starts & was 2-6 since July 11th. After hitting Tommy Helms with a pitch to start the inning, he got Larry Howard to fly out & struck out Jim Ray. Roger Metzger then singled but Kooz struck out Cesar Cedeno to end the inning.

Jim Ray began the 9th, but he walked Tommie Agee & then Ken Boswell singled to right. Leo Durocher brought in Tom Griffin to pitch. John Milner laid down a bunt, an error by Doug Rader allowed Agee to score to tie the game. 

The Astros chose to walk Ed Kranepool to load the bases. Cleon Jones singled bringing in two more runs, putting the Mets ahead 10-8. Wayne Garrett singled to finish off the Mets scoring.

Tug McGraw closed it out, striking out two in a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th inning to earn his fifth win (5-5).

Ken Boswell led the way with four hits, a HR & three RBIs. Cleon Jones & Wayne Garrett also collected three RBIs on the night with two hits each. Ed Kranepool, John Milner, Bud Harrelson & Duffy Dyer all had two hits as well.

Trivia: As mentioned, being down 8-0, makes this the largest comeback in team history. The Mets have come back from seven runs down, three different times in franchise history.


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