Things are getting dicier in the NL East on this date in 1969. After Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan combined to stuff the Phillies, 9-3, at Shea Stadium, the Mets closed within 2 ½ games behind Chicago.
Ryan, Seaver and Koosman
The victory was the Mets’ 18th in 24 games, while the Cubs were in the process of losing 10 of 18, including that day to Pittsburgh.
Gentry worked six innings and Ryan the final three for the win.
The Mets broke the game open with two in the seventh and four in the eighth.
Tommie Agee drove in three runs and scored three others, and Art Shamsky and Rod Gaspar drove in two runs apiece.
When the consider the event, it was shocking that only 13,000 were in attendance on this day in 1973 at San Francisco.
MAYS: Always popular at Shea.
The Giants beat the Mets, 4-1, in what was Willie Mays’ last appearance as a player in Candlestick Park. Mays went 0-for-4.
Five days later, against Cincinnati’s Don Gullet at Shea Stadium, Mays hit his 660th and final home run of his career.
This was Mays’ last season, and it was a disappointing way to go out, even if he played in the World Series. In 66 games, Mays hit .211 with six homers and 25 RBI.
The Mets traded for Mays in May of 1972 in a public relations coup for the franchise. At the time, the Giants were in financial distress and owner Horace Stoneham couldn’t guarantee a position after retirement.
The 1985 season was all about “missing it by that much,’’ and this game on that date was no exception.
Atlanta’s Zane Smith outdueled the Mets’ Rick Aguilera in a 1-0 shutout at Shea Stadium. Smith and Hall of Fame closer Bruce Sutter combined to give up three hits.
The Braves got to Aguilera in the seventh on a walk to Dale Murphy, and back-to-back singles by Bob Horner and Terry Harper.
With the loss the Mets fell a game-and-a-half behind St. Louis in the NL East.
On this date in 1973, the Mets’ Jon Matlack threw a one-hit shutout at Shea Stadium over the Houston Astros, 1-0.
Tommy Helms doubled in the sixth for Houston’s only hit, and Duffy Dyer’s double drove in Rusty Staub for the game’s only run.
With the victory, the Mets improved to 36-46, sixth place in the National League East, 12 games off the pace.
It was a different time then, but the message is the same. Those Mets didn’t give up on the season and reached the World Series. The road is different today, but looking back history tells us good things can still happen in this season.
HUNT: His card has to be worth more than two bucks.
The Mets will soon host the All-Star Game at Citi Field. However, on this date in 1964, Shea Stadium was home to its only All-Star Game, won 7-4 by the National League.
Second baseman Ron Hunt was the first Met to start an All-Star Game and went 1-for-3 with a single off the Angels’ Dean Chance.
Hunt played with the Mets from 1963-66, then went on to play with the Dodgers (1967), Giants (1968-70), Expos (1971-74) and Cardinals (also in 1974).
Hunt’s baseball legacy was summed up by this quote from him: “Some people give their bodies to science; I give mine to baseball.’’
He had a knack for being hit by pitches, and was plunked 243 times in his career (he had 1,429 career base hits). Incredibly, he was hit 50 times in 1971 while with the Giants. He led the league in that category for seven straight seasons.