You Gotta Believe (in YouTube)!!

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Although my first Mets’ game was in 1971 (Mets won 2-0 over the Phillies), and I saw another game at Shea in 1972, I really didn’t become a die hard Amazins’ fan until the 1973 World Series. I remember seeing them on our small TV and thinking that this would be a great team to root for, being in the Fall Classic every year! I also remember being so bitterly disappointed when they lost the 7th game, and especially hated Wayne Garrett, who unforgivingly made the last out (I was just a kid).

Anyway, for some reason, video of the TV broadcast of this series is among the scarcest in the game, whether the master tapes were lost or damaged, or some other mysterious calamity befell the reels; and except for produced highlight films of the series, have not seen any of the original games as they were broadcast in over 40 years. Until now.

Someone wisely made tapes of Game 3 all those years ago, and has recently uploaded them to YT. First game at Shea, on NBC, with Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson and Tony Kubek. Seaver vs Hunter. Four videos in all, of four different half-innings – the entire 1st, top of the 5th, and some of the top of the 9th. No other videos from the source yet, but more to come, see below.

Retrosheet box score: http://tinyurl.com/8ujxlkn

Top of the first. Gowdy PBP. A’s are scoreless, including striking out Reggie Jackson, and a great placard from the Mets’ old sign man, Karl Ehrhardt.

Bottom of the first, Gowdy PBP, Mets go up early 2-0, including a leadoff HR by Wayne Garrett.
Unfortunately, that was the extent of the Mets scoring for the evening.

Top of the 5th. Gowdy PBP. Tom strikes out the side! In case anyone wonders what all the fuss was about regarding Tom Terrific, watch this.

And THIS is what You Gotta Believe! was all about. Top of the 9th, special bonus with Lindsey doing PBP. Tug (You Gotta Believe!) comes in for Sadecki with 2 on and nobody out in a 2-2 game, and shuts the door, for now (and check out what appears to be a “75” type patch on Yogi and Rube’s jackets in the dugout). Complete with great fan shots and Tug pounding his glove and going manic in the dugout. Wow, memories. This was the 1973 magic I remember well.

Mets lost on an unearned run in the 11th inning off Parker (walk, rare passed ball by Grote, Campaneris single). Too bad, a win here would’ve gone a long way towards a ’73 title, since most of us know they won the next two at Shea to take a 3-2 series lead to Oakland, but lost both out west to lose the series in 7 games. This series came to be known by Mets fans as the “Near Miracle”, and has largely faded into the background of Mets’ lore. But, for me, this is the World Series of my youth.

The original uploader says in YT comments that he has almost this entire game, until it cut off in the 10th inning, and also will be posting video from the 1973 NLCS! Can’t wait. So watch this space!

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Welcome to Shea Stadium…now batting, #7, Mickey Mantle

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Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra at the 1964 All Star Game at Shea Stadium

There was a discussion in the Baseball Fever boards a while ago whether the venerable Mickey Mantle ever played at the Polo Grounds, and I believe it was determined he made one appearance, for an exhibition in 1957. Anyway, it got me to thinking about the Polo Grounds’ descendant, Shea Stadium, and how many times old #7 stepped to the plate at Shea (and probably stepped out a few times to let the planes pass as well).

Since, unfortunately, the Mets and Yankees did not meet in the World Series during Mantle’s career (Mick just missed his shot, retiring before the Mets’ first championship season), any appearances would have had to be limited to exhibition games of some sort.

First up would be the most obvious, the All-Star Game at brand new Shea on July 7, 1964. Mickey went 1-4, with the one hit a 6th inning single off the Phillies’ Chris Short, and scored along with Harmon Killebrew on a Brooks Robinson triple that just eluded Willie Mays and tied the game at 3-3 (Johnny Callison winning it for the NL with his classic walk-off in the 9th).

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Only known photo of Mickey Mantle batting at Shea Stadium, ’64 ASG

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After that, the only other exhibitions where the Yankees would play in Queens would be the Mayor’s Trophy Game (NYNL vs NYAL), revived in 1963 at Yankee Stadium. With the game at Shea every other year, Mantle played in the 1964, 1966 and 1968 contests in Flushing (boxes below).

August 24, 1964 – A month after the ASG, 0-0, appeared to have walked in his first and only at bat, and Pepitone pinch-ran for him.

June 27, 1966 – 0-1.

May 27, 1968 – 1-2, a single off Dan Frisella.

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So, Mick’s career at Shea: 4 games, going 2-7 in 8 official trips to the plate (.222), with 2 singles and a run scored.

Incidentally, the 1968 game above was not his last at-bat in an NL park – he went 0-1 in the Astrodome at the ASG on July 9th, in his last ASG appearance, striking out in his only at bat. Who was the NL Star who struck him out? None other than Met Tom Seaver, the only time the two faced each other in their careers (video of the K below).