1973 New York Mets season
|1973 New York Mets|
1973 NL Pennant|
NL East Champions
|Major League affiliations|
|Owner(s)||Joan Whitney Payson|
|General manager(s)||Bob Scheffing|
(Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy)
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The 1973 New York Mets season was the 12th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Manager Yogi Berra led the team to a National League East title with an 82–79 record, the National League pennant and a defeat by the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Their .509 winning percentage is the lowest of any pennant-winner in major league history as of 2015. The season was well known for pitcher Tug McGraw's catchphrase "Ya Gotta Believe!!!"
- November 1, 1972: Danny Frisella and Gary Gentry were traded by the Mets to the Atlanta Braves for Félix Millán and George Stone.
- November 27, 1972: Brent Strom and Bob Rauch were traded by the Mets to the Cleveland Indians for Phil Hennigan.
- November 27, 1972: Tommie Agee was traded by the Mets to the Houston Astros for Rich Chiles and Buddy Harris.
- November 30, 1972: Dave Marshall was traded by the Mets to the San Diego Padres for Al Severinsen.
- March 28, 1973: Bill Sudakis was traded by the Mets to the Texas Rangers for Bill McNulty.
It began with turmoil
The 1973 Mets were much improved from their "miracle" 1969 team. They had a group of young proven stars—including Jon Matlack, Rusty Staub, John Milner, and Félix Millán—mixed in with veterans from the 1969 club, such as Jerry Grote, Cleon Jones, Wayne Garrett, and Bud Harrelson. Their pitching staff, led by Tom Seaver, was among the finest in baseball. But injuries hampered the Mets throughout the entire season.
The Mets got off to a 4-0 start to the season, and were still at first place by April 29 with a 12-8 record. But then, injuries to their key players caused turmoil. By July 26, the Mets were in last place, yet still only 7 1⁄2 games behind. On August 16, they were 12 games below .500, with 44 games to play.
On August 30, the Mets were in last place, with only a month left to play. However, the division was so tight-knit that that last place standing consisted of only a 6.5 game deficit. At the completion of August (one day later), the Mets were in fifth place, nine games under .500, but, in the balanced mediocrity of that year's Eastern Division, just 5 1⁄2 games out of first. The mathematical inequities of divisional play were beginning to show up. On September 11, the Mets were in fourth place, five games under .500, but just three games out. Ahead of them were the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Montreal Expos.
"You Gotta Believe!!!"
With Tug McGraw urging his teammates on and celebrating victories with what soon became the catch phrase of 1973, "You Gotta Believe!!!" the Mets kept zigging and zagging away from would-be tacklers, and taking an occasional side-swipe, headed for this most unlikely of pennants. Down the stretch, Yogi Berra, veteran of many a pennant race, ran four starters at the league: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, and George Stone, with the suddenly unhittable McGraw coming out of the pen with boisterous-and justified-confidence. (For his last 19 games, the screwball-throwing lefty showed 12 saves, 5 wins, and an ERA of 0.88).
The unexpected clincher
After sweeping a three-game series from the Pirates at Shea on September 21, the Mets' record stood at an even 77-77, but that .500 record was good enough for first place and a half-game lead. Illustrating just how dense the crowd was at the top, fifth-place Chicago was just 2 1⁄2 out. The Mets won five of their last seven to finish as National League East Division Champions. The Cardinals finished second, 1 1⁄2 games behind, Pittsburgh third at 2 1⁄2, Montreal fourth at 3 1⁄2, and Chicago fifth, 5 games out.
This was the only NL East title between 1970 and 1980 not to be won by either Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates.
|New York Mets||82||79||0.509||—||43–38||39–41|
|St. Louis Cardinals||81||81||0.500||1½||43–38||38–43|
Record vs. opponents
1973 National League Records
Opening Day starters
- Duffy Dyer
- Jim Fregosi
- Bud Harrelson
- Cleon Jones
- Willie Mays
- Félix Millán
- John Milner
- Tom Seaver
- Rusty Staub
- June 5, 1973: Lee Mazzilli was drafted by the Mets in the 1st round (14th pick) of the 1973 Major League Baseball Draft.
- July 11, 1973: Jim Fregosi was purchased from the Mets by the Texas Rangers.
|1973 New York Mets|
Starters by position
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|2B||Millán, FélixFélix Millán||153||638||185||.290||3||37|
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|Dyer, DuffyDuffy Dyer||70||189||35||.185||1||9|
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
|Apodaca, BobBob Apodaca||1||0||0||0||∞||0|
|W: Pedro Borbón (1-0) L: Tom Seaver (0-1) S: None|
|HR: NYM – None CIN – Pete Rose (1), Johnny Bench (1)|
|Pitchers: NYM – Seaver CIN – Billingham, Hall (9), Borbón (9)|
|W: Jon Matlack (1-0) L: Don Gullett (0-1) S: None|
|HR: NYM – Rusty Staub (1) CIN – None|
|Pitchers: NYM – Matlack CIN – Gullett, Carroll (6), Hall (9), Borbón (9)|
October 8: Shea Stadium, New York City
|W: Jerry Koosman (1-0) L: Ross Grimsley (0-1) S: None|
|HR: CIN – Denis Menke (1) NYM – Rusty Staub (2), (3)|
|Pitchers: CIN – Grimsley, Hall (2), Tomlin (3), Nelson (4), Borbón (7) NYM – Koosman|
October 9: Shea Stadium, New York City
|W: Clay Carroll (1-0) L: Harry Parker (0-1) S: Pedro Borbón (1)|
|HR: CIN – Tony Pérez (1), Pete Rose (2) NYM – None|
|Pitchers: CIN – Norman, Gullett (6), Carroll (10), Borbón (12) NYM – Stone, McGraw (7), Parker (12)|
October 10: Shea Stadium, New York City
|W: Tom Seaver (1-1) L: Jack Billingham (0-1) S: Tug McGraw (1)|
|HR: CIN – None NYM – None|
|Pitchers: CIN – Billingham, Gullett (5), Carroll (5), Grimsley (7) NYM – Seaver, McGraw (9)|
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Mets – 1, A's – 2||October 13||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||46,021||2:26|
|2||Mets – 10, A's – 7 (12 inns)||October 14||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||55,989||4:13|
|3||A's – 3, Mets – 2 (11 inns)||October 16||Shea Stadium||54,817||3:15|
|4||A's – 1, Mets – 6||October 17||Shea Stadium||54,817||2:41|
|5||A's – 0, Mets – 2||October 18||Shea Stadium||54,817||2:39|
|6||Mets – 1, A's – 3||October 20||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||49,333||2:07|
|7||Mets – 2, A's – 5||October 21||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum||49,333||2:37|
Awards and honors
- Tom Seaver
- Willie Mays
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Memphis
- Tommie Agee page at Baseball Reference
- "Events of Friday, August 31, 1973". Retrosheet.
- Von Benko, George (July 7, 2005). "Notes: Phils–Pirates rivalry fading". Phillies.MLB.com. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
From 1974-80, the Phillies and Pirates won all seven National League East titles (Phillies four, Pirates three).
- "Pirates perform rare three-peat feat 4–2". USA Today. September 28, 1992. p. 5C.
The Pirates...won three (NL East titles) in a row from 1970-72.
- Lee Mazzilli page at Baseball Reference
- Jim Fregosi page at Baseball Reference
- Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. ISBN 978-0-9637189-8-3.
- 1973 New York Mets
- 1973 New York Mets team page at www.baseball-almanac.com