Amazin’ Look Back, 1973 World Series Game 6: A’s Win 3-1, Tie Series

The Mets traveled to Oakland for game 6 of the World Series with a 3 games to 2 lead. On the cusp of the franchise’s second championship in four years, manager Yogi Berra had a choice to make. He could send Tom Seaver to the hill in game 6, on three days’ rest, to try to close Oakland out and return the Mets to the top of the baseball world. Or, he could start the well-rested George Stone in game 6 (Stone pitched an inning in relief in game 2, 6 days ago), and hold Seaver for a possible game 7, when Seaver would be on a full four days’ rest. Stone had pitched well this year, posting a 12-3 record with a 2.80 ERA. Stone had started 20 of the 27 games in which he appeared this season, so he seemingly would have been up for the task. However, Berra chose to go with Seaver on short rest, and the results were not what the manager had hoped.

June 18, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets former pitcher Tom Seaver gestures in the dugout before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Right away, it was obvious that Seaver was not the dominating pitcher he had been all year. The A’s touched him for a run in the bottom of the first, when Joe Rudi singled with one out. After striking out Sal Bando, Reggie Jackson drilled a double to left-center field, scoring Rudi. Meanwhile, the Mets were mustering little offense against Oakland starter, Catfish Hunter. The Mets could not capitalize on a leadoff walk to Wayne Garrett in the first, and from there, the Mets went quietly in the second and third innings. Oakland notched another run in the bottom of the third, when Sal Bando singled with two outs, and scored on another double by Jackson. The Mets closed the gap to 2-1 in the top of 8th, when Ken Boswell, batting for Seaver, singled with one out. Darold Knowles relieved Hunter, and Garrett singled to send Boswell to third, who then scored on a single by Felix Millan. Garrett advanced to third on Millan’s hit with one out, but Rusty Staub struck out and John Milner was retired on a fly ball, ending the Mets’ threat. The A’s added an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th on a sacrifice fly by Jesus Alou. Rollie Fingers set the Mets down in order in the 9th to force a decisive game 7 tomorrow.

There will be much discussion about Berra’s decision if the Mets should lose tomorrow. On the one hand, it’s understandable to want to take your best shot in game 6, and avoid having the season come down to one game, when anything can happen. However, Seaver had not pitched on three days’ rest regularly, and was being asked to do so in the most important game of the 1973 campaign. In the end, the Mets received a valiant effort from their ace, who went 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits. He struck out 6. However, this performance was not at the level we have come to expect from Seaver, and understandably so with his pitching on short rest. Tomorrow, Jon Matlack will face Ken Holtzman to determine baseball’s 1973 World Champions.

Here are the starting lineups from today’s game:

Mets:

Wayne Garrett 3B

Felix Millan 2B

Rusty Staub RF

Cleon Jones LF

John Milner 1B

Jerry Grote C

Don Hahn CF

Bud Harrelson SS

Tom Seaver p

A’s:

Bert Campaneris SS

Joe Rudi LF

Sal Bando 3B

Reggie Jackson RF

Gene Tenace C

Vic Davalillo CF

Deron Johnson 1B

Dick Green 2B

Catfish Hunter P

 

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Topics: Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, Yogi Berra

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