The 1964 New York Mets are an improving team, if not a good one. The 1st team to play in William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, they stand at 24-60 entering a double dip with the Reds in front of 27,156 New Yorkers enjoying a Sunday afternoon of baseball.
Starting in the 1st game for the Mets is Galen Cisco, the 28-year-old, 6′ 0” right-hander from Memorial High School in St. Mary’s, OH. He is 3-11 with a 3.64 ERA. Cisco is coming off a loss to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, looking to rebound on this July Sunday. Leading off for the Reds is 2nd baseman Pete Rose, the 24-year-old in his sophomore season. Galen looks in, sets and pitches. Rose grounds one through the hole between 1st and 2nd for a single. Marty Keough walks up to the plate, looking to get something going. Charlie Hustle has the same idea on the base paths, and takes off for 2nd. Catcher Jesse Gonder throws across the field to nail Rose at the base. Keough, deflated, strikes out. Center fielder Vada Pinson doubles to the same position he fields, but left fielder Frank Robinsonlines out to right to end the threat and the inning.
On the mound for the Reds is Joey Jay, the veteran, 6’4” switch-hitting right-hander. He walks center fielder Larry Elliot to begin the frame. All-Star 2nd baseman Ron Hunt walks up to the plate, and Elliot takes off as Hunt hits the ball to the shortstop. He has nowhere to go but to 1st for the out. 1st baseman Frank Thomas is hit by a pitch, setting up a 2 on and 1 out situation for left fielder George Altman. He unfortunately strikes out, and right fielder Joe Christopher lines out to his own position to end the threat.
Both pitchers sail through the game. Cisco gives up a single hit in each the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 8th.
The Mets’ offense isn’t much better. Their best opportunity to score is in the 3rd when Altman gets a single with Ron Hunt on 1st and 2 out. Unfortunately he is thrown out at 3rd on the play. They sprinkle only 4 hits through 8 innings.
Galen heads out to the mound, looking to get the Mets to the bottom half of the 9th still scoreless. He gets the 1st 2 men out, but walks 3rd baseman Steve Boros. Catcher Hal Smith is pinch hit for by Johnny Edwards and Tommy Harper pinch runs for Boros at 1st. Clearly wanting to get into scoring position with 2 out, Harper takes off for 2nd. Gonder, a man who threw Pete Rose out in the 1st, sends the balls towards 2nd…and on its way into center field. Harper gets up from his slide and heads to 3rd without a throw. With the pitcher Jay behind Edwards, Cisco intentionally walks him. Cincy manager Fred Hutchinson doesn’t pull Jay back, even with a runner on 3rd, asking the pitcher to help his own cause. Cisco buckles down, however, and strikes Jay out to give the Mets a chance to walk-off.
Jay heads to the mound looking to send this game into extras. Edwards stays in at catcher and Harper stays in at 3rd base. Frank Thomas is the 1st up for the Metsies, but he grounds out to 3rd. George Altman is back up at the plate, and he doubles to right-center to get things going. Joe Christopher walks up aiming to win in for New York. Joey Jay looks in, glances at the runner, sets and pitches. Christopher swings and sends a line drive to the same spot Altman hit his. It touches down and the Mets win the ball game!!! It is only the 4th walk-off this year but the 2nd in 4 games (and the 2nd in 2 wins.) The team mobs Christopher on the field as the fans go wild. Manager Casey Stengel smiles in jubilation. They then run into the clubhouse to get ready for the second game.
Galen Cisco goes the whole 9 innings, striking out 5, walking 4 and scattering 6 hits. He lowers his ERA to 3.33, though it is only his 4th win of the year (4-11.)
Joey Jay takes the hard-luck loss, going 8.1 innings, giving up 1 run, striking out 5, walking 1 and giving up 6 hits. He is 4-6 with a 3.32 ERA.
On the mound for the second billing is Frank Lary, the veteran 5’11” right-hander out of the University of Alabama. The Mets purchased his contract from the Tigers in May. He last pitched July 2 and last started June 28. He enters the game 0-5 with 6.34 ERA. He has a fantastic 1st inning though, striking out Rose and Keough, and getting a fly ball to right from Pinson.
On the mound for the Reds is Bob Purkey, the veteran 6’2” right-hander from South Hills High School in Pittsburgh. He strikes out Larry Elliot to start the game, but Ron Hunt knocks one over the left field wall for a home run. The Mets lead 1-0. Frank Thomas flies out to center and George Altman is out trying to bunt his way on to end the 1st.
While Lary walks Frank Robinson to start the 2nd, Robinson is thrown out by Jesse Gonder trying to steal. The catcher has thrown out both Pete Rose and Frank Robinson today. Lary then gets 1st baseman Deron Johnson to line out to right and Johnny Edwards to fly out to short.
The Mets immediately get things going in the bottom half. Joe Christopher, the hero of the 1st game, singles to right field. Gonder then singles as well, sending Joe to 2nd. While 3rd baseman Charley Smith flies out to 1st, the bases are loaded when shortstop Roy McMillan is hit by a pitch. Lary heads on up, but unfortunately strikes out. It’s up to Larry Elliot, who comes through with a huge 2-out single, scoring both Christopher and Gonder for a 3-0 lead. Hunt then grounds into a force play at 2nd to end the inning.
Lary absolutely cruises. He goes the full 9, giving up only 1 run, walking 1, striking out 6 and giving up 6 hits. The Mets tack 2 more on in the 4th on a Ron Hunt single, winning the game 5-1. It’s Frank’s 1st win of the year and he exits the day with a 5.43 ERA.
It was the 7th doubleheader at Shea this year and the 1st time ever the Mets won both games. It was also only the 2nd time this year the Mets got back-to-back complete game wins. They exit the day with a 26-60 record.
In August, Frank Lary is traded to the Milwaukee Braves in exchange for Dennis Ribant and $25,000. He will be reacquired in 1965. The Mets finish the year 53-109 record, the best so far in their young history. Shea Stadium is a sweeping success with 1,732,597 going through the turnstiles in its 1st year, 2nd only to Dodger Stadium (2,228,751).
The 1964 New York Mets.
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