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This Date in Mets History: 7/17 - Bad Luck in '69, Warren Spahn Released, the Gil Hodges Bridge

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Roy McMillan, a Met in the mid-1960s and the Mets' manager for part of 1975, would have turned 83 today.
Roy McMillan, a Met in the mid-1960s and the Mets' manager for part of 1975, would have turned 83 today.

For a Miracle Met, Jim McAndrew suffered miraculously bad luck. He drew Bob Gibson in his first major league start, the year Gibson tossed 13 shutouts and slow jammed a 1.12 ERA. In his first four turns on the mound, in fact, the Mets hatched nothing but duck eggs for the rookie, spoiling a strong debut with an 0-4 stumble. Welcome to 1968, the Year of the Pitcher. The next season, the charmed one, a line drive broke a finger on his pitching hand. Then, his every shirt and last pair of socks were stolen with his luggage out of a restaurant parking lot. In spring training, 1970, he lost four teeth when a batting-practice missile found him grinning in the outfield. And on July 17, 1971, he opened his eyes in a hospital with a concussion and twenty stitches pinching the skin above his right ear. In another pre-game mishap in the outfield, McAndrew and Gary Gentry proved one can shag too eagerly, if not too well.

Transaction

1965: The Mets released the 44-year-old future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. Spahn went 4-12 with the 1965 Mets, a touch off his career mark of 363-245. Yogi Berra came out of retirement for four games to catch Spahn that year. "I don't think we're the oldest battery," said Yogi, 40, "but we're the ugliest."

Birthday

  • Roy McMillan, the Mets' shortstop from 1964-66, was born in depression-era Texas, son of the local barber. Short in stature and slight of frame, the career .243-hitter (mostly for Cincinnati) was a wizard with the web, and is remembered in New York for starting a triple play in a 23-inning marathon against the Giants in 1964. In 1975 he took over for Yogi Berra as interim manager of the Mets and skippered to a record of 26-27.

Notable Games

On July 17, 1963, Joe Hicks crashed an 11th-inning homer for a rare walk-off win against the New York San Francisco Giants at the Polo Grounds (Box). For the visitors, Willie Mays went 2-5 with a triple and Willie McCovey swatted one out of his old West-155th-street home. But the hapless Mets, 32-61, beat Gaylord Perry to win the game and claim the town.

A decade later (Box), the Mets faced down the Braves while six runs in the hole in the visitor's ninth. With one out and one on, Rusty Staub lifted a pitch into the seats. Then, John Milner took his swing and followed Cleon Jones through the circuit for another two-run blast. Down to their last out with empty bases, two singles squeaked the Mets to within a run, leaving Beauchamp and Kranepool at the corners with Willie Mays at the bat -- for our side. Willie found a pitch he liked and streaked it into the outfield. Beauchamp raced like a thoroughbred around from first base to score. And the Mets, with an 8-7 victory, completed one of the greatest comebacks in blue and orange history.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection

On July 17, 1938, Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan lifted off from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, ostensibly for a return trip to California. Twenty-eight hours later, he landed in Dublin. Floyd Bennett Field is today a hub of South Asian and West Indian cricket. It is connected to the Rockaways via the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.