August 21, 2008

A Favorite Shea Memory- From 1973

My dad was born in Brooklyn, but was a die-hard Giants' fan, as I've mentioned in previous posts. In 1973, the year I turned 9, my younger brother, Michael, finally began accompanying my dad and I to games at Shea, and one of the most memorable of these was on August 24th, against those darned Giants! It was fun to see my dad rooting against the Giants, which had to be a LOT easier since Willie Mays was now a Met! It was also the days when Shea was basically a cement blob with green metal corrugated squares decorating the outside, and yet in all its ugliness, there was still something clean and inviting about the park- maybe it was just my age, but I always remember older Shea more fondly.

The starting pitchers were Jerry Koosman and Juan Marichal, a should-be Hall-of-Famer vs. a Hall-of-Famer, and best of all, the Mets won 1-0 in a pitcher's duel that went 10 innings!!! This was my first extra innings game, and both pitchers went the distance- something that wouldn't happen today, of course. What we didn't know at the time was that this would be Marichal's final appearance against the Mets, and he had to face his old teammate and friend, Willie Mays, which must have been very weird for him, to say the least. (Side note- I still maintain that Koosman should be in the hall, and I'll revist that argument in the weeks to come from a post I wrote about 2 years ago.)

I remember that Felix Millan, the Mets second baseman who was known to choke up so high on the bat, hit the single that knocked in, I think, Kenny Boswell for the only run. This was very gratifying to my brother, who had just received his first baseball bat from my dad a few weeks earlier- a blue Felix Millan autograph model. This game was my first live pitcher's duel, and that was the main memory of the game itself...however, the best parts of the non-game-related action was a.) being there with my brother for the first time, b.) being allowed to share a pretzel during the game and then getting my OWN pretzel on the way out (there used to be great pretzels for sale at the end of the game- do they still do that at Shea? I don't think so...) and c.) the line for the bathroom was about 15 minutes long and I remember holding it in because I didn't want to miss any of the action of the game- and that was the FOURTH INNING!!! Just a reminder- when you have to go...(LOL)

This wasn't my first memory of Shea, but it was my first game with my brother in tow, and for that reason, it's one of my most memorable! (It didn't hurt that I was able to buy the "revised" Mets' yearbook, a Rusty Staub button and a Jerry Koosman button, and I still have both, and a Mets' pennant, which finally succombed to age a few years ago).

In the weeks to come, I'll share additional Shea memories- and I'd love to publish some of yours!


Shea Lover said...

I remember those pretzels!! I used to buy an extra soda (RC Cola with the little plastic on top) at the end of the game so I had it to wash down the pretzels with! And I remember those giant buttons, too- I had a Jerry Grote button - it had a cut-out on the back like you could stand it up like a photo frame! Great memories- thanks!!

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