Mets slugger John Milner challenges for the HR record in our 1973 simulation

Can the 1973 virtual New York Mets imitate real life with a trip to the World Series?

After an absence from the postseason in 1972, the virtual New York Mets head into the 1973 campaign looking to build on their successful trip to a championship in 1971.

If you’ve been following allowing with our simulated Mets history, you may notice this format is a little different. Due to popular demand, we’re going to stick strictly with some highlights and numbers as opposed to writing it up in a story format. It will make for an easier read and allow us to cover a few other topics on Rising Apple as the 2020 season inches closer.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s quickly recap how the virtual Mets have done so far:

1962: 52-108
1963: 43-119
1964: 44-118
1965: 50-112
1966: 56-105
1967: 64-98
1968: 74-88
1969: 93-69
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
1972: 80-76

The virtual Mets already defeated the Oakland Athletics once in the World Series. Will we see them do it again, just as the real-life Amazins did, in 1973?

Preseason Predictions

The preseason predictions have the Mets set to go 70-91 in 1973. This would put them in last-place

In the real version of the 1973 season, you may recall how many of the teams in the NL East struggled to compete with the rest of the league. At just 82-79, the Mets managed to capture the division title in a tight race with four teams within five games.

The preseason predictions may be right about this one. In spring training, the club went 9-21.

Regular Season Results

Despite a lack of belief from the virtual experts, there’s plenty to look forward to this year. Tom Seaver is aiming to win his fifth Cy Young and fourth straight. I’m also eager to see how Jon Matlack performs after seemingly coming into his own in 1972.

Rather than take you through some of the ups and downs of our virtual 1973 season, let’s jump right to the end. How did the Mets do?

At the All-Star Break, the Mets sat at 49-44. This was good enough to give them a three-game lead in the division. It was looking like the experts got this one wrong.

An important offensive number to watch, John Milner concluded the first half with 17 home runs. It’s a long shot, but maybe he can become only the second player in team history to reach 30.

The team also has three players with 10+ wins. At 12-6 with a 1.86 ERA, Matlack leads both categories.

The second half was a raise between the Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The three exchanged spots in first, second, and third often through the end of the season. As of September 8, they were all tied for first.

Every game in the final weeks mattered. The quest for a playoff return ended short. At 83-77, the Mets were 3 games behind the first-place Phillies and a half-game behind the second-place Pirates. The simulation would not mimic real life.

Honors

The Mets sent the same two men to the All-Star Game this year as they did in the previous. Representing the orange and blue once again in the All-Star Game, we find Tom Seaver and Tug McGraw.

For the second straight year, McGraw took the loss in the All-Star Game. Seaver didn’t get into the game, but rumor has it he was happy to be there.

This didn’t stop McGraw from coming away with his second Reliever of the Year Award in three years. His 11-6 record with 17 saves and 1.56 ERA certainly made him a suitable candidate for the honor.

Notable Individual Statistics

Yet again, pitching led the Mets. Tom Seaver and Jon Matlack each won 18 games with Jerry Koosman not far behind with 17. For a change of pace, Matlack led the team with a 1.92 ERA.

At the plate, John Milner nearly did become the club’s single-season home run king. With 32 home runs, he came up one short of tying the number set by Frank “Don’t Call Me Big Hurt” Thomas in 1962. Although he didn’t set the record, he was only the fourth Mets hitter to top 20 home runs.

We didn’t get the return trip to the postseason we were hoping for. Although this was another fun season to follow, the 1973 virtual Mets campaign will be a forgotten one.

Next: Mets 1972 Season Simulation

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Next up, we move forward to 1974 where we hope to get back on the right path before the inevitable dark days ahead in the latter part of the decade.

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