Buzz Capra pitched in parts of three seasons for the New York Mets (1971-1973). He was also involved in the infamous Bud Harrelson-Pete Rose fight in Game 3 of the 1973 National League Championship Series. Capra talks about his time in New York, playing with both Willie Mays and Henry Aaron and his electric 1974 season.
If you look at the baseball record books, Buzz Capra is a pedestrian major league player. He played parts of seven major league seasons with the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves. Like so many others, due to arm soreness, Capra was out of baseball by age 29.
But what’s on paper is only a small part of Capra’s real-life experience in the game.
Over those seven years (1971-1977) Capra could best be described as the Forrest Gump of baseball because of his knack to appear in some of the game’s most memorable moments. Call it luck, call it timing, Gump — no, sorry, Capra — had a front row seat (maybe too close) in the infamous Bud Harrelson–Pete Rose fight in Game 3 of the 1973 National League Championship Series.
After being sold by the New York Mets to the Atlanta Braves after the 1973 season, the stage was set again for Capra to witness baseball history. He pitched in relief on April 4, 1974 at Riverfront Stadium against the Cincinnati Reds and — call it luck, timing or coincidence — it just happened to be the same game that Henry Aaron hit his 714th career home run off Jack Billingham to tie Babe Ruth as the all-time home run king.
“We all, all those guys got out there and we said we’re going to have our own little designated section along the left field fence,” said Capra. “So Tom House and I are actually next to one another and I say, ‘Tommy, move over and switch with me. Two pitches later he (Aaron) hits one. If you ever watched the footage there guys are running along that fence … I’m running … I could have jumped out of his back trying to get that ball. But I was right behind him. When the ball got caught I had goosebumps.
“A lot of things got packed into that length of time, going from New York to Atlanta and be able to brush up against those great players,” said Capra. “You have to be in the right place at the right time. You got to be good … and you’ve got to have a little luck too.”