Amazin’ Look Back: April 1973 – Jerry Koosman Wins N.L. Pitcher Of The Month; Cleon Jones’ Injury Under Scrutiny; Time For Yogi To Show Jim Fregosi The Bench


The Mets are hopefully enjoying a few days off with their families, or just spending quality time away from the park.  Two day breaks in the schedule like this do not come often.  Between the chalk lines, we last left the Mets posting a 4-2 record during their recently concluded road trip through Houston and Atlanta.  Thanks to Jerry Koosman‘s complete game, 1-0 shutout thrown over the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets finished 12-8 for the month of April, tied for first place in the National League East along with their arch nemesis, Chicago Cubs.  The Pittsburgh Pirates are just 1.5 games behind.

February 14, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; A view of a baseball sitting in a puddle in the dirt during New York Mets spring training at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

On this first day of May, the National League office announced Mets hurler Jerry Koosman was named N.L. Pitcher of the Month for April – a well deserved award.  Jerry started four games last month and won them all.  After defeating the St. Louis Cardinals on April 11th with a seven inning, two run, four strikeout performance, Koosman reeled off three straight complete game victories over the Cubs, Astros, and his most recent white-washing of the Braves.  He allowed one run against the Cubs in his second start, however, unearned.  Jerry Koosman’s ERA now sits at a minuscule 1.08 mark after thirty-four innings pitched.

Tomorrow, May 2nd, the Amazin’s begin a seven game home stand starting with Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine.  Tom Seaver is expected to take Shea Stadium’s mound opposed by the Reds’ Ross GrimsleyCleon Jones however will not be playing again.  He has now missed the last six contests due to a leg injury suffered during a double-header versus the Cubs back on April 19th, in which he played both games.  Mets fans remember well the fifty-six games Cleon missed last year, in addition to his overall poor season.  This year, Jones was batting a season low .248 when he went down.  His only two home runs of the season both came on opening day.  He also had six runs batted in during his first six games, but nothing after.  The Mets were 6-5 with him in the line-up, and so far are 6-3 in his absence.  With Cleon Jones out, Ed Kranepool has been getting most of the time in left field.  But the matter isn’t that cut and dry.  Once again, fairly or not, Cleon Jones is the subject of raging scuttlebutt regarding his dedication and effort.  Me?  I think the way he gets treated around here is shameful.  And maybe it was Gil Hodges who opened that door years ago.  Of course, that’s just my opinion, but who knows?  What I do know, is Cleon has been accused of not giving his all, before.  This time, even Yogi Berra can’t quite grasp the severity of Jones’ latest injury, and there are rumors he will talk with Jones about his latest injury in the near future.

The Mets clearly need to score more runs.  Although they boast a winning record, the Mets allowed fifty-four runs in April, and scored fifty-three.  Needless to say they are cutting things close, and that came with Cleon Jones either struggling in the line-up, or injured.  Most fans expect Cleon to return and be productive again, but the lack of productivity from Jim Fregosi is getting to a point I can no longer stand.  Traded for Nolan Ryan, he was supposed to provide pop for the Flushing Nine.  Instead, he’s been nothing but a flop.  Frogosi has started eleven of the Mets twenty games so far, and is only hitting .226 after thirty-one at-bats. – a small sample size, but frustrating nonetheless.  He has no home runs and just three runs batted in.  He struck out eight times so far, yet owns a lofty .351 OBP.  However, that does not interest me.  Fregosi was brought here to be a slugger, and has only done so at a pathetic  .290 clip this season, and just .344 last year.

Wayne Garrett will never, ever be compared to Eddie Mathews, or even his counter-part on the Cubs, Ron Santo.  But as a rookie, Garrett remained undaunted by pressure while the Mets chased a pennant back during the ’69 season.  In Wayne’s sophomore season of 1970, he clubbed twelve home runs and drove in forty-five runs as a part-timer, then missed practically all of the ’71 season.  He is off to a sleepy, but respectable .258 average in thirteen games played.  The Mets are 9-4 with Wayne Garrett in the line-up.  Despite not having a home run so far to speak of, I still strongly suggest Coach Yogi give third base back to Wayne Garrett full time again, with haste.  Please!  A month into the season, the division is packed tight, and so we can’t continue looking at the Uniformed Mistake routinely under-perform.  Or did everyone forget last year?  In 101 games and 340 at-bats, Fregosi only hit .232, with five homers and thirty-two runs batted in – a near mirror image of his final unremarkable 1971 season with the Angels.  Yogi – forget this lefty-righty platoon at the hot corner.  Is this why we traded Nolan Ryan – to platoon Fregosi?  Really?  Make this nightmare go away.  If GM Bob Scheffing can’t whip together another trade, then I want Wayne Garrett.  Surely, he can give the Mets more than just five home runs.  Let him play a whole season, and Wayne might even triple that.

Let’s Go Mets!

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