Links to an Amazin’ History

LINKS TO AN AMAZIN’ HISTORY

Throughout the month of October MetsRewind will look back at select moments and games from New York Mets postseason history. We invite you to read, listen and watch Mets history unfold through this collection of Amazin’ links and stories. Disclaimer: The links included are select moments and are not meant to be exhaustive. In addition, the highlights are a collection of games and events and are not published on the exact date the event took place. 

Past the advertisements for four-channel tape decks and JBL “loudspeakers” and the new Royal 590 electric typewriter, there sat the payoff for baseball fans. You could sink their teeth into Sports Illustrated’s coverage of the 1973 World Series. From exclusive quotes from Oakland Athletics manager Dick Williams to photographic evidence of a ground ball skipping under Felix Millan’s glove in Game 1, you can rewind to the four-page spread of stories and photos of coverage.

1973 World Series: Two Days in Oakland

“I just missed it. I was waiting for the hop and it didn’t take the hop. I didn’t get down for the ball. I’ve made errors before, but never one so important.” – Felix Millan

Game 2 of the 1973 World Series ended in celebration and sadness. The New York Mets celebrated a 10-7 win to even the Series at one. Then, baseball fans around the world were saddened when Willie Mays announced his retirement. Legendary Daily News writer Phil Pepe wrote:

On the longest day, I was the oldest player who got the game-winning hit in the wildest World Series game in years.

Willie Mays, saying goodbye to America, delayed his departure long enough to bounce a single up the middle in the 12th inning of the longest World Series game in history and what can you say about a 42-year old legend who is retiring after this year?

What you can say is that he looked every bit of his 42 years and had people feeling sorry for him as he floundered around under two fly balls in the sun. And you can say that he battled back to drive in the go ahead run off Rollie Fingers as the Mets scored four runs and punched out a 10-7 victory over the A’s in game No. 2 here Sunday.

After the longest day, the Oldest Met was the Happiest Met.

“It’s a helluva way to go out,” said Mays, “I was very excited. I guess I’m just an emotional guy, but I try not to show it on the field. A week ago, I didn’t think I’d be in a World Series. Now this.”

Almost a month ago Mays said goodbye to America and he’s still here, winning ballgames. The thing with Willie he likes long goodbyes.

Interest and attendance were dropping, and football was ascending. Stuck in a rut, baseball was dying. Then Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, a second-division club with wife-swapping pitchers, leaving the House That Ruth Built not with a slam but a simper. He vowed not to interfere—before soon changing his mind. Across town, Tom Seaver led the Mets’ stellar pitching line-up, and iconic outfielder Willie Mays was preparing to say goodbye. For months, the Mets, under Yogi Berra, couldn’t get it right. Meanwhile, the A’s were breaking a ban on facial hair while maverick owner Charlie Finley was fighting to keep them underpaid. But beneath the muttonchops and mayhem, lay another world. Elvis commanded a larger audience than the Apollo landings. A Dodge Dart cost $2,800, gas was a quarter per gallon. A fiscal crisis loomed; Vietnam had ended, the vice president resigned, and Watergate had taken over. It was one of the most exciting years in the game’s history, the first with the designated hitter and the last before arbitration and free agency. The two World Series opponents went head-to-head above the baby steps of a dynasty that soon dwarfed both league champions. It was a turbulent time for the country and the game, neither of which would ever be the same again.

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MetsRewind shares the full radio broadcasts of all seven games of the 1973 World Series.

After beating the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Championship Series (3-2), the Mets matched the up with the defending champion Oakland Athletics, who were hunting a third straight title. The series went back-and-forth from Oakland to New York and the Mets took a 3-2 Series lead after Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw combined to pitch a three-hit shutout in Game 5 at Shea Stadium.

Mets manager decided to start Tom Seaver on short rest in Game 6, a decision that still haunts Mets fans today. Despite pitching seven innings and allowing just two runs, Catfish Hunter stymied the Mets offense, allowing just a single run. Darold Knowles and Rollie Fingers held New York scoreless the final two innings to give the A’s a 3-1 win and forcing a Game 7.

You can listen to the radio broadcast of the entire 1973 World Series here or listen on demand by subscribing to our iTunes or Spotify podcast.

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Mets Rewind
National League baseball in New York was redefined on March 6, 1961 when the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. formally received a certificate of membership from leave president Warren Giles. Of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs today, the case could be made that no other team has a more compelling franchise history than the New York Mets. From Casey Stengel to Yogi Berra, Marv Throneberry to Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Tug McGraw, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Valentine, Pedro Martinez and Matt Harvey, the Mets are loaded with character(s). Then there are the Amazin’ seasons — 1962, 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000, 2006-2008 and 2015 — full of miracles, joy, hope and heartbreak. Mets Rewind is designed for that purpose: To share team history in a distinct and entertaining format. We hope you — the baseball fan — enjoy the content. We encourage you to share your memories.
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