Friday, July 10, 2009

Ya Gotta Believe

On July 9, 1973, the Mets beat the Astros 2-1. Although I remember the 1973 Mets as a team decimated by injuries most of the year, on July 9, they played the following line-up.

Garrett 3b
Millan 2b
Jones cf
Staub rf
Kranepool lf
Milner 1b
Hodges c
Harrelson ss
Seaver p

For those of you too young to remember, this was the line-up the team used most of the year, and certainly for most of the "Ya Gotta Believe" stretch drive, except that

(a) Ed Kranepool did not normally play left field. Cleon Jones did. The Mets basically went through 1973 without a major-league center fielder, which is how Willie Mays, at 42, found himself slipping and sliding his way through the World Series.

(b) Ron Hodges started only 37 games at catcher that year, Jerry Grote, the nominal starter, only started 76. (Duffy Dyer caught too).

Seaver was 9-4 going into the game, and finished at 19-10, but did not get the decision that night. Harry Parker did.

But even with the starting line-up basically together that night, even with the win, the Mets ended the evening at 35-46, which is generally how I remembered it, in last place, which is also how I remembered it.

This is what I did not remember. They were 12 games back at this point. Which makes their late season accomplishments all the more impressive.

What I remembered better, although I had to look it up, was that on August 30, the Mets were still in last place, but they were only 6 games back. They went 20-8 the rest of the way to win the division.

Ya Gotta Believe