Mets' Losing Past Nipping at Their Heels

Filed under New York Mets
August 9, 1968

This season, Manager Gil Hodges brought change on-the-field and in-the-clubhouse to the New York Mets. The club is playing big league ball, shedding its Lovable Losers persona from its expansion days. But even the best makeover attempts can hide every imperfection. The club left New York for a final trip west with its record at the breakeven mark, a remarkable feat thought unthinkable only six seasons ago. But Hodges’ troops were swept by their expansion brethren Houston Astros in a tense series under the Dome, and the road trip continued to Candlestick Park. The first order of business was no short order – Giants ace Juan Marichal (16-9) to face swing starter Dick Selma (6-8).

Selma matched Marichal inning for inning until the sixth when the Mets righthander plunked Marichal to open the frame. After striking out rookie Bobby Bonds, Selma surrendered a screaming line drive off the bat of veteran Jim Davenport that split the gap between Cleon Jones and Tommie Agee. Davenport streaked around the bases for a run-scoring triple, and then he crossed home on Mays’ ground out to short. Selma escaped further damage, but his teammates could not solve Marichal until the ninth inning.

Cleon Jones beat out a slow roller to third for an infield single to open the ninth. Ed Kranepool, one of the original Mets, executed a hit and run to perfect by slicing a Marichal fast ball over third base. Jones scrambled around to third easily beating Jesus Alou’s throw. Pitching coach Larry Jansen paid a quick visit to Marichal on the mound as the expectations in the Mets dugout grew. This was a game Stengel’s Mets had no chance of even considering a victory: a ninth inning rally against Juan Marichal. Jansen returned to the dugout, Ed Charles strode to the plate, and here’s the play-by-play:

“Ed Charles steps in
popped up to Schroder his last time up
San Francisco is playing for two
here it comes
lined – and SNAGGED by Marichal!
and now in a COMEDY of errors
— the guilty parties Jones and Kranepool —
San Francisco is going to get THREE outs on this play
as Jones took off too early and Kranepool — and I don’t know what his excuse could be —
was halfway down to second base!”

No matter how hard these young Mets try to put it all behind them, their losing past is nipping at their heels.

8/9/1968, NYM68-SFG68, Candlestick Park

                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
1968 New York          0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0     0  7  0     5  2
1968 San Francisco     0  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  x     2  5  0     2  1

New York             AB  R  H BI  D  T HR BB  K SB CS IW HP SH SF   AVG   PO  A  E PB
Agee              cf  4  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  .245    2  0  0  0
Stahl             rf  4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .228    2  0  0  0
Jones             lf  4  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .315    2  0  0  0
Kranepool         1b  4  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .199    6  1  0  0
Charles           3b  3  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .304    1  1  0  0
Martin            c   3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .266    6  0  0  0
Linz              2b  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .249    4  3  0  0
Harrelson         ss  3  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .229    0  3  0  0
Selma             p   2  0  2  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  .238    1  0  0  0
                     30  0  7  0  2  0  0  1  8  0  0  0  0  1  0         24  8  0  0

San Francisco        AB  R  H BI  D  T HR BB  K SB CS IW HP SH SF   AVG   PO  A  E PB
Bonds             rf  4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .278    0  0  0  0
Davenport         3b  3  1  2  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .216    1  2  0  0
Mays              cf  3  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .263    3  0  0  0
McCovey           1b  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .312    7  1  0  0
Dietz             c   3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .249    8  1  0  0
Alou              lf  3  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .294    0  0  0  0
Schroder          2b  3  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .133    4  2  0  0
Lanier            ss  3  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .187    3  2  0  0
Marichal          p   2  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  0  .107    1  2  0  0
                     27  2  5  2  0  1  0  0  6  0  0  0  1  0  0         27 10  0  0

New York                         INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   BF HR IW HP WP DP   ERA
Selma            L 6-9           8.0  5  2  2  0  6 109  72   28  0  0  1  0  2  3.78
                                 8.0  5  2  2  0  6 109  72   28  0  0  1  0  2

San Francisco                    INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   BF HR IW HP WP DP   ERA
Marichal         W 17-10         9.0  7  0  0  1  8  94  68   32  0  0  0  0  1  2.55
                                 9.0  7  0  0  1  8  94  68   32  0  0  0  0  1

GWRBI: Davenport
Temperature: 70, Sky: clear, Wind: out to right at 23 MPH.


**************  Top of the 9th inning, New York batting
 0-2  0 --- 10  Jones reached on an infield single to third (BX)
 0-2  0 1-- 11  Kranepool singled down the left field line, Jones to
                  third (BSX)
 0-2  0 1-3 00  Charles lined into a triple play, Marichal to Davenport
                  to McCovey, Jones out at third, Kranepool out at first
                  (X)

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