Remembering Mets History (1973) Mets Win 19 Inning Game in Los Angeles

Thursday May 24th, 1973:
Tonight, the Mets opened up a long 12 game road trip that took them through California to play the Dodgers, Giants & then the Padres, before wrapping up a two-game series in Cincinnati with the Reds.

Yogi Berra's second place Mets (20-17) went up against Walter Alston's fourth place Dodgers (24-19) in Los Angeles. 27,580 came out to Dodger Stadium for an 8:05 start. The game would go on for five hours & forty-two minutes ending at 1:47 AM west coast time. Some folks in New York had gone to sleep & were getting up for work when the game ended at 4:47 am New York time.

Tonight's starters were Tom Seaver (5-3) for the Mets & Tommy John (4-2) for the Dodgers. Tommy John, the man who they named a surgery after was already an eleven-year veteran at that point. He would win 16 games & lead the NL in winning % that year & the following season, before his famous surgery took place. John would return in 1976 & pitch 14 more seasons winning 288 games (288-231) & posting a career 3.34 ERA in 760 games pitched. 

Seaver that year's Cy Young winner was posting a 1.57 ERA at that point. He would go on to lead the NL with a 2.08 ERA, his third ERA title in four years.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Willie Davis led off with a base hit. After the first out, Willie Crawford hit a groundball to first base. The Mets Jim Beauchamp had the ball get by him Crawford got to second base & Willie Davis scored the Dodgers first run. Davis would set a Dodgers record with six hits in the game. Ron Cey then singled & Crawford advanced to third. Bill Russell then hit a sac fly scoring Crawford for a 2-0 Dodger lead.

In the top of the 3rd, Tom Seaver & Wayne Garrett started the inning with base hits. Seaver aggressively took third on Garrett's single to center. He then scored when Felix Milan grounded into a double play. 

In the top of the 5th the Mets got two runners on with base hits from Jerry May & Bud Harrelson but Tommy John got a pop up out, followed by a double play ball from Wayne Garrett. Tommy John held the Mets down until the top of the 7th inning.

After getting the first out, George Theodore & Jerry May singled to get aboard. Teddy Martinez came in to pinch run for May. Bud Harrelson then doubled to left field scoring Theodore & advancing Martinez to third. 

Dodger manager Walt Alston removed Tommy John after 6.1 innings of work, two runs on ten hits, one strike out & no walks. Pete Richert was brought in to pitch & he got out of the inning with LA still ahead 3-2.

Tom Seaver went six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, he struck out five & walked one. Phil Hennigan came on & pitched a scoreless seventh inning. 

In the top of the 8th, Cleon Jones led off with a double, then Rusty Staub singled putting runners on the corners with no one out. After Beauchamp popped out to the catcher, George "the Stork' Theodore singled to center scoring Cleon with the Mets tying run. George Culver came on & retired Duffy Dyer to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 8th, Willie Davis singled & stole second base. Hennigan then walked Joe Ferguson which was enough for manager Yogi Berra to remove him & bring in Tug McGraw. McGraw got Willie Crawford to pop up, but he then walked Ron Cey to load the bases. Bill Russell then hit a grounder to short, Bud Harrelson got the runner at home for the second out. Pinch hitter Ken McMullen then flew out to right to end the inning.

Tug McGraw would give the Mets five scoreless innings in relief, along the way he walked five as control issues would give him a problem for the first four months of the season. In the 10th inning he gave up two lead off base hits then intentionally walked Willie Crawford. He got Ron Cey to ground into a fine defensive double play by the Mets, Wayne Garrett at third to Dyer at home then over to Beauchamp at first to nail Cey. McGraw then intentionally walked Bill Russell & got veteran Chris Cannizzaro, who was pinch hitting to ground out to end the inning.

Quotes- Tug McGraw: "I can't remember that much trouble in a game I pitched."

In the 12th, the Dodgers loaded the bases again on a pair of one out singles & a walk. But once again the Mets defense turned a 5-2-3 double play this time getting Joe Ferguson at home & Bill Russell at first base. 

Jim Brewer pitched two scoreless innings for the Dodgers giving way to knuckleballer Charlie Hough. Hough went five innings, striking out five. He gave up two hits & walked three.

In the top of the 14th Ed Kranepool singled with one out. Next Willie Crawford made an error on a fly ball in right field, Kranepool tried to score but was thrown out at the plate. Felix Millan then singled but Garrett didn't score from second, Cleon Jones then flew out to end the inning. 

In the 15th, Hough walked two batters & had "the Stork" Theodore steal the only base of his two-year career in the inning. Theodore had three hits on the day with a walk in seven at bats. Hough got out of the inning when Bud Harrelson grounded back to the mound. He was relieved by Doug Rau in the 16th inning. 

For the Mets George Stone came on in the 13th inning, he pitched six scoreless allowing four hits with two strike outs & two walks. The Dodger got two runners on in both the 14th & 17th innings, but Stone eluded any scoring. The Dodgers actually had the winning run on base in six of the last ten innings but the Mets relievers kept them from scoring.

In the top of the 19th inning, Cleon Jones singled to left field. Rusty Staub then collected his fifth
hit of the game, doubling to left field & scoring Jones. Ken Boswell then pinch hit for George Stone & he singled to left scoring Rusty with a 5-3 Mets lead.  "the Stork" Theodore sacrificed Boswell to second, Duffy Dyer then walked. After Bud Harrelson grounded out, Ed Kranepool doubled to right scoring both Dyer & Boswell giving New York a 7-3 lead.

In the bottom of the 19th inning Jim McAndrew came on for the Mets & got the first two Dodgers to ground out. Pinch Hitter Von Joshua then singled but McAndrew got Davey Lopes to ground out to Millan at second who got the force play at second ending the game.

Quotes- Rusty Staub: "I was already famous playing all 24 innings in Houston against the Mets five years ago. I went 2-7 with a couple of walks. I hadn't eaten anything since 1:00 o'clock yesterday afternoon but somehow didn't get hungry during the game. Your spikes feel as though they're up in your ankles by the 19th inning, especially on that hard infield."

X-Tra Inning Trivia: The 1973 Mets would play 19 extra-inning games, with this one being the longest. They played three games that year that went 15 innings or more. The previous year they had played an 18-inning game beating the Phillies 3-2 at Shea Stadium. It was the longest game the Mets played since their 24 inning 1-0 loss to the Astros in Houston in 1968.

This was the fifth longest game (innings wise) in Mets history & the third longest game in Dodgers history.

The Mets collected a season high 22 hits in the game & the Dodgers 19. Both teams made three errors each. There were also a combined eight double plays in the game, one shy of the NL record.


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