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The 5 Ws and Howe

Who: Tom Seaver

What: Pitching and winning a baseball game

When: June 12, 1977

Where: Houston Astrodome, Houston, Texas

Why: Everyone else is gonna write about the Yankees or Phillies today. I'm going to write about the 32nd anniversary of Tom Seaver's first "last start" for the Mets.

And How: Art Howe, former Astros second baseman.

I happened to have a copy of this game on audio tape, and in listening to it, a couple of things stood out.

* There was no mention at any time of Tom Seaver dealing with any issues with Mets management or the media. This despite the fact that a trade with the Reds was within three days of occurring, and was the dominant subject in the New York Times game story the next day. Seaver's post-game comment: "Leave me alone, please."

* One-minute commercial breaks really speed up a game.

* This may be sacrilege for a Mets fan to say this, but I didn't like Lindsay Nelson's announcing. The accent was too strong for me, and his description was not strong enough. He felt like what he was- a tv announcer doing radio. On the other hand, Ralph Kiner was quite good (Murph was Murph...that goes without saying).

* Tom Seaver showed Johan Santana-like gumption finishing this game after putting two men on base with two outs in the ninth. A Joe Torre mound visit was nothing more than to break up the mood, the Mets manager noted afterward. But you get the feeling that Seaver told him that it was the starter's game to win.

The Mets didn't get the lead in this one until late, and Seaver had to bat against Floyd Bannister with his team trailing, 1-0, in the 8th inning. His successful sacrifice set up Lenny Randle's game-tying single and the subsequent run-scoring wild pitch that put the Mets ahead.

The one aspect of Lindsay Nelson's broadcast I did like was his call of the final batter. When Art Howe launched a deep fly to left, Nelson (and Joe Torre) nearly had a coronary. His voice rose to Russ Hodges/Bobby Thomson levels, but this wasn't the Polo Grounds.

It was the Astrodome, where long fly balls make a Citi Field-esque home just shy of the fence (newspaper writer Parton Keese notes the Mets were saved by the Astros moving their fences back 10 feet the previous winter).

Howe missed a walk-off home run by a hair. Instead, the Mets had a 3-1 win. And that's good because it would have sucked for Tom Seaver to have lost his first goodbye game as a Met. And Howe.

The true Mets fan knows Howe...Art Howe hit 3 of his 43 career home runs vs Tom Seaver, tied with Vida Blue and John Candelaria for his most against any pitcher.

Highest Career BA vs Tom Seaver
Minimum 35 PA

.444- Terry Puhl
.391- Dave Concepcion
.389- Willie Davis
.389- Art Howe
.375- Lee Lacy
>> Out of 161 total hitters


Stormy said…
Great stuff, as always!

Lindsay was before my time. I do miss Murph.

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