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Believing in Myself

I can't believe that I've never written about the Mets walk-off win of July 9, 1973.

But after multiple unsuccessful searches, I've come to the conclusion that I have not written about the game played the day that Tug McGraw first uttered "Ya Gotta Believe!" during a pre-game team meeting with chairman Donald Grant.

Perhaps I have, in which case you're treated to a blogging rerun, but it's not checked off in the "written" column of my database, which seems like an odd oversight on my part.

McGraw's yelp is much more remembered than the game, which sounds like it would have been a good fit for an instant classic. Pitchers Tom Seaver and Don Wilson were in charge for six innings before Lee May homered for a 1-0 Houston lead in the seventh.

The score stood that way until the home ninth, and the Mets survived being down to both their last out and their last strike before Jim Beauchamp tied the game with a two-on, two-out single to left center. The Mets ended up loading the bases but failed to score, sending the game to extra innings.

The Astros put two on the 10th and two on in the 11th, but Harry Parker prevented scoring on a day in which McGraw did not make a mound appearance.

Wilson finally yielded to reliever Jim York in the 12th and the Mets took advantage. Willie Mays singled with one out, and advanced to second on a Wayne Garrett groundout, on a hit-and-run. Felix Millan's subsequent single brought Mays home with the winning run.

There is no mention of McGraw's comments to the team in the New York Times that day. The significance of them, and the win that stopped a skid of seven losses in eight games, would not be known until later in the season.

True Metlievers know...The Yankees, in first place on that date in 1973, blew a 3-0 lead and lost to the White Sox, 4-3, on Pat Kelly's walk-off single. Though they'd recover shortly thereafter with a spurt of six wins and seven games, the Yankees belief system did not match the Mets that season. Though in first place as late as August 2, they closed the season with a 20-33 skid to finish 80-82 and in fourth place in the AL East.

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