Mets: A few of the best “pitchers who rake” moments in franchise history
Mets pitchers who raked: Jerry Koosman and Don Cardwell in a 1969 doubleheader
In September of 1969, the Mets were on their way to overtaking the Chicago Cubs for the National League pennant and winning the first World Series title in franchise history. They were known mostly for their pitching in ’69, with their five starters pitching to a sparkling 2.88 ERA in the regular season. Jerry Koosman and Don Cardwell were two of the formidable starting five, with Gary Gentry, Jim McAndrew, and Tom Seaver making most of the other starts for the Amazins that season.
On September 12, the Mets were playing a doubleheader on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Koosman went the distance in the first game against Pirates starter Bob Moose, pitching a three-hit shutout. In the 5th inning of that game, Koosman smacked an RBI single against Moose to drive in Bobby Pfeil and put the Mets up 1-0. That was the only run they scored, and it stood en route to a 1-0 win.
In the nightcap, Don Cardwell squared off against Dock Ellis, who became better known the next season for pitching a no-hitter while high on LSD. It was the hippie era, after all.
Cardwell tossed a fantastic game, pitching eight strong innings and allowing no runs and only four hits. He replicated Koosman’s success at the plate from the first game, driving in all the runs the Mets needed to beat the Pirates with an RBI single in the top of the 2nd inning to send home Bud Harrelson. The game finished in a tidy two hours and two minutes as a 1-0 Mets victory, their second such win of the day and their third consecutive shutout.
While researching this article, I was unable to find any other instance of a team sweeping a doubleheader with two 1-0 victories in which their starting pitchers drove in the only runs (if it turns out that there are other instances of this, someone please let me know). The Mets were Amazin’ on many days in 1969, but on September 12, their pitchers were truly Amazin’ both on the mound and at the plate.
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Though the DH no doubt would benefit the Mets with both Dom Smith and Pete Alonso on the roster, the surprise of pitchers getting big hits is one of the simple joys of baseball that I would miss. Luckily, the Mets have many stories of pitchers unexpectedly coming through at the plate for fans to look back on if the NL DH does stick around.