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170 Pitches...That's Nothing

So Jerry Manuel has Johan Santana on a 170-pitch count this evening after burning through most of the bullpen last night (Al Reyes, where art thou?)

While throwing that many pitches would necessitate a herculean effort, it would not set a Mets record.

Baseball-Reference.com has a handful of pitch counts from games from the Mets earliest days, and within that exists a game in which a Mets pitcher threw 172 pitches. Newspaper reading indicates that the tally was 215, and while I can't currently reconcile that difference of opinion, I feel comfortable in acknowleding that 170 pitches would not make history.

The Mets game against the Phillies on August 14, 1962 would not be considered historic by my standards, though it would certainly qualify as a doozy, one witnessed by only slightly more than 5,000 fans at the Polo Grounds. The Mets managed only one run over 15 innings despite drawing 12 walks, seven from Phillies starter Dallas Green.

Why the Phillies were frightened enough of the Mets offensive attack to issue four intentional passes is a little puzzling, but the strategy worked. The Mets stranded 14, hit into six double plays, and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

The story of this one was the staying power of Al Jackson. That phrase has dual meaning, since Jackson, along with Ed Kranepool, are the two remnants of the 1962 team who have frequented Shea Stadium throughout its history.

In this game, Jackson stuck around for all 15 innings. Through the first 14, he pitched a gem, yielding only one run and four hits (only two hits allowed through the first nine innings).

Jackson was deprived a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth when Gene Woodling grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. He was deprived of a walk-off win when the Mets couldn't get Charlie Neal, who tripled leading off the home 13th, in safely. Joe Pignatano's line drive double play killed that chance.

The Phillies won in the 15th, thanks in part to Marv Throneberry's error (the NY Times described his effort as "stooped, scooped, and missed"), starting the frame. A two-run single by Mel Roach (who hit .190 for the season) was the difference in the game, one of many ultra-frustrating defeats for the home team that season.

Those truly on a Mets pitch count know...Baseball-Reference's second-highest Mets pitch count is listed as 166, for David Cone, in his 1-0 shutout of the Giants on July 17, 1992.

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