TLBTV: Comfortably Zoned (E7) – 1973 Mets – The “Comeback Kids”

Comfortably Zoned (E7) – 1973 Mets – The “Comeback Kids”


Welcome to Comfortably Zoned Week 3 Show 1

Your Host: Ralph Tyko

The 1973 New York Mets season was the 12th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Manager Yogi Berra led the team to a National League East title with an 82–79 record, the National League pennant and a defeat by the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Their .509 winning percentage is the lowest of any pennant-winner in major league history as of 2017. The season was well known for pitcher Tug McGraw’s catchphrase “Ya Gotta Believe!!!”

It began with turmoil

The 1973 Mets were much improved from their “miracle” 1969 team. They had a group of young proven stars—including Jon Matlack, Rusty Staub, John Milner, and Félix Millán—mixed in with veterans from the 1969 club, such as Jerry Grote, Cleon Jones, Wayne Garrett, and Bud Harrelson. Their pitching staff, led by Tom Seaver, was among the finest in baseball. But injuries hampered the Mets throughout the entire season.

The Mets got off to a 4–0 start to the season, and were still at first place by April 29 with a 12–8 record. But then, injuries to their key players caused turmoil. By July 26, the Mets were in last place, yet still only 7 1⁄2 games behind. On August 16, they were 12 games below .500, with 44 games to play.

On August 30, the Mets were in last place, with only a month left to play. However, the division was so tight-knit that that last place standing consisted of only a 6.5 game deficit. At the completion of August (one day later), the Mets were in fifth place, nine games under .500,[3] but, in the balanced mediocrity of that year’s Eastern Division, just 5 1⁄2 games out of first. The mathematical inequities of divisional play were beginning to show up. On September 11, the Mets were in fourth place, five games under .500, but just three games out. Ahead of them were the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Montreal Expos.

That’s what made the outcome, so amazing. They reached the World Series, and took the Oakland A’s, [in midst of a dynasty] to seven games, before falling short of a World Championship.

On this offering, Baseball historians from the Comfortably Zoned Network [Marty Rose, Jeff Kallman, Robert Cole, and Ralph Tyko], wax poetic about the “comeback kids.”


Let’s Talk Baseball … !!!


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