The 1975 New York Mets finished with an 82-80 record. Right in the middle of the miraculous 1973 season and the major selloff in 1977, it was one of the most inconsequential years in club history—or so it may appear.
Whenever I go back to look at notable accomplishments by Mets players, I’ll often stumble onto things most fans may recall. In the 1970s, my dad was trying to keep the revolution going as he hitchhiked across the northeast to get to Grateful Dead concerts. I don’t know much about baseball from this time period. Anything my father once knew has probably been forgotten about.
Having recently landed on the 1975 Mets Baseball-Reference page, I realized a few things. Well worth knowing, it was a season where two prominent offensive records were set.
A member of the 1975 Mets set a new single-season home run record
Dave Kingman unleashed his power stroke for the 1975 Mets. His first year with New York ended with 36 home runs: a brand new franchise record. Those early Mets clubs struggled to clobber baseballs the way Kingman routinely could. In his first chance after leaving the San Francisco Giants, he put his name in the record books.
The record wouldn’t hold for long. A year later, Kingman beat his own total with 37 home runs. It would become a mark that would hold for several more years. Kingman would later tie it in 1982 when he made his return to Queens.
There was another, less talked about, offensive record set in 1975
Curious for the answer, I was intrigued to know who the first Mets player to reach 100 RBI was. I thought maybe Tommie Agee, Cleon Jones, or even Kingman reached the century-mark. This wasn’t the case. The first man to reach 100 RBI in a season was Rusty Staub.
Unlike Kingman who wore a Mets uniform for the first time in 1975, this year marked the last for Staub—until he would also later return in the 1980s when my dad was actually starting to get haircuts more than once every few years.
On a team lacking offense, Staub managed to drive in 105 runs for the 1975 club. It was the first time he did this in his career. He would have a few more later on, but in the interim, his triple-digit RBI season with the Mets held as a franchise record.
I’m always fascinated by numbers from past Mets teams. The 1975 season offered plenty of strange ones I didn’t expect. Catcher Jerry Grote had five triples. Other than Kingman and Staub, the only other player on the team to even reach double-digits in home runs was center fielder Del Unser, a left-handed-hitting veteran I’m not sure too many people even remember suited up for the club.
On the other side of the ball, the Mets received some awesome pitching. At 22-9 with a 2.38 ERA, Tom Seaver won the final Cy Young Award of his career. Backing him up from the bullpen, we find one of the best seasons ever by a Mets reliever. Bob Apodaca, in 84.2 innings of work, saved 13 games and had a 1.49 ERA.
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The 1975 Mets may not have brought much joy in the standings. However, a couple of guys did give some fantastic performances.