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Woodie Metpecker

I was as surprised as Gary Cohen when Keith Hernandez said on Tuesday night's broadcast that Woodie Fryman was the most terrifying pitcher he ever faced.

Granted, I'm 33, and my only recollection of Fryman is of an old man on a Fleer baseball card, and don't pretend to know too much about his career, but for one thing.

Fryman didn't just scare Hernandez. He scared the Mets too. He's one of an elite group of pitchers to have allowed a base hit to the first batter of the game, then not allowed another runner to reach the entire game.

That happened on July 1, 1966, when the Mets were mediocre and Fryman was a 26-year-old rookie southpaw from Kentucky. After the Pirates were retired in the home first, Ron Hunt singled to start the Mets half. It was an infield hit, a clean single over the mound, that the New York Times had no quibbles with. Eager to create some early offense, Hunt was thrown out trying to steal second.

That was that. Fryman struck out eight and his teammates scored 12. Willie Stargell, Donn Clendenon, Bill Mazeroski and Jose Pagan all homered, as the Pirates bashed the Mets, 12-0. The paper noted that the fans were a little impatient and booed, a little unusual for the team at that time.

That was the 6th of 141 wins for Fryman and the first of four one-hit shutouts he would throw. Amazingly, he got another against the Mets, as only a John Stearns 5th-inning double prevented a no-no from Fryman on May 3, 1975.

But whatever scare tactics Fryman employed, coaxing Hernandez into a 9-for-41 (with no HBP) against him, they didn't work with everybody. Fryman lost 155 games in his major-league career, and his mark against the Mets was "only" 13-12.

True Metfrys know...Woodie Fryman is the only pitcher in major-league history to have pitched two shutouts, allowing 1 hit or fewer against the Mets. Twenty two other pitchers have done it once.

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