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Yogi and the Mets learn the hard way that It ain't over 'til it's over.
This is the question that manager Yogi Berra faced 39 years ago today: With the Mets needing to win from a World Series title with two left to play, which game should Tom Seaver start? Berra opted to go for the knockout punch in Game Six, letting his ace face the A's on three days rest.
Was that the right decision? Gary Cohen doesn't think so. He says something to that effect multiple times per season, arguing that a fresh George Stone followed by Tom Seaver at full strength in Game Seven (if needed) would have been preferable to the tandem of Seaver and Jon Matlack each with one less day off.
It's a defensible position, but contra Cohen, Yogi probably did the right thing. Tom Terrific made seven starts on short rest during 1973 and, save for a three inning disaster against the Pirates in late September, he went at least seven in all of them and didn't allow more than three runs in any of them. Matlack was even better on an abbreviated schedule, albeit in a smaller sample size: five starts, three complete games, an average of just over eight Ks per, and a 1.29 ERA.
For the Mets on October 20, 1973, it was good process, good results. Just not quite good enough. Seaver held the A's to just two runs over seven with both scores coming courtesy of Reggie Jackson RBI doubles. The Mets, meanwhile, couldn't do much of anything against Catfish Hunter and a late-inning combination of Darold Knowles and Rollie Fingers. Hard to win against a team that's got three Hall of Famers playing in their prime, even when countering with an inner circle guy. Final score: Athletics 3, Mets 1.
- "I'm Keith Hernandez. And it's my birthday" is perhaps what's running through the mind of perhaps the most beloved player ever to wear the orange and blue today. The anchor of the Mets infield from 1983 to 1989 and member of the '86 Mets of broadcast teams since 2006, it was a pleasure to watch Hernandez play for the better part of a decade and it remains a joy to listen to him banter with Gary and Ron six years into their partnership.
- Pitcher Jonathan Hurst is 45. Jersey #13 was unlucky for Hurst, who gave up 14 runs in ten innings for the 1994 Mets and earned a one-way ticket to Norfolk just two weeks into the season.
- Rick Ownbey turns 55 years old today. A highly regarded prospect in the early '80s, Ownbey appeared in 18 games for the Mets between 1982 and 1983 before getting traded to St. Louis in a deal for fellow birthday boy Keith Hernandez.
The Mets bid farewell to their franchise leader in wins and strikeouts on this date in 1965, sending Al Jackson and infielder Charley Smith to the St. Louis Cardinals for third baseman Ken Boyer. Just one season removed from winning the National League MVP, the 34-year old Boyer declined precipitously in '65 and GM George Weiss sensed an opportunity to buy low. The former star slowed bounced back to league average as a Met, posting OPS+ of 100 and 101 in two seasons with the team.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Today is World Osteoporosis Day. Much tattooed reliever Jon Rauch got his neck ink done as a tribute to his wife when she contracted the bone disease shortly after giving birth to their daughter. That Rauch dude seems like a pretty okay guy.