This Date in Mets History: April 14 — Kooz debuts, Ryan wins first, and Franco saves #400

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April 14 is a pretty eventful for Mets Hall of Famers and Baseball Hall of Famers with ties to the Mets.

Yesterday marked the 46th anniversary of Tom Seaver's big league debut. Today, let's look at two of his Miracle Met rotation mates. Just 24 hours after Seaver made his MLB bow, it was Jerry Koosman's turn to toe the rubber for the first time. Mets starter Jack Fisher didn't have it on April 14, 1967, as the Phillies smacked his offerings around Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium for eight hits and four runs in less than three innings. Needing a few frames of long relief, manager Wes Westrum called upon the 24-year old Koosman, who proceeded to keep the Phils hitless for two and two thirds. Kooz would make four more relief appearances before getting sent down Triple-A Jacksonville in mid-May. He'd return to the bigs in September '67, however, having struck out 183 minor leaguers in 178 innings. Wes Westrum plugged the young lefty into the rotation during his second cup of coffee and that's where Kooz would remain for the rest of his Mets career.

One year later, the Mets farm system graduated another promising young pitcher. Nolan Ryan joined the Mets' starting staff in 1968 and, on April 14, he picked up his first career win by hurling six-plus shutout innings against the Astros. Ryan got off to a fast start in this one, striking out the side in the first and whiffing a pair in the second. He'd run his total to eight by the time manger Gil Hodges hooked him in the bottom of the seventh. Reliever Danny Frisella picked up where Ryan left off, recording three of the game's final seven outs via K to preserve the victory.

Birthdays
Mark Bomback, the Pacfic Coast League's Minor League League Player of the Year in 1979, turns 60. Bomback earned P.O.Y. honors by going 22-7 with a 2.56 ERA for the Vancouver Canadians. That performance impressed the Mets, as the team swung a deal for him at season's end. Dropped into New York's rotation, Bomback won a team-high 10 games in 1980.

Transactions
The Mets finalized their Opening Day roster mere minutes before first pitch on this date in 1964 by selling former Dodgers legend Duke Snider to the rival San Francisco Giants. Snider hit .243/.345/.401 with 14 home runs the previous year for the New York , but the team finished 51-111 and the losing took its toll on the Silver Fox. Wanting to play for a contender in his final season, Snider asked for a trade and the Mets acquiesced.

Game of Note
Orel Hershiser picked up his first win as a member of the Mets on April 14, 1999. The team jumped out to an early lead against the Marlins thanks to a three-run second inning that featured RBI doubles from Todd Pratt and Edgardo Alfonzo. Florida fought back for one in the fifth, but Robin Ventura negated it with a solo homer two frames later. Leading 4-1 in the ninth, manager Bobby Valentine called upon closer John Franco to close things out. Franco's change up was a real dead fish that night, as he fanned the side on three strikeouts of the swinging variety to earn his third save of the season and the 400th of his career. At the time, Franco was just the second reliever to reach that milestone,

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
It was 148 years ago today that the traitor John Wilkes Booth snuck into Abraham Lincoln's box at Ford's Theater and fatally shot the president during a performance of Our American Cousin. As Mets fans, the most recent American cousins to play for our team are outfielders Fred Lewis (2012) and Matt Lawton (2002) who share a set of grandparents. Other Mets cousins of note include pitcher Pete Falcone (1979-82) and longtime pitching coach Joe Pignatano, as well as Moises Alou (2007-08) and Mel Rojas (1997-98), though those two originally hail from the Dominican Republic. Pinch hitter extraordinaire Matt Franco (1996-2000) happens to be step-cousins with actress Kate Hudson, whose stepfather Kurt Russell never played for New York, though he did escape from it in 1997.

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