In 1975, manager Yogi Berra is fired and replaced by coach Roy McMillan. The move comes less than two years after Berra managed the Mets into the World Series.
M Donald Grant thought McMillan was a strong quiet leader like Gil Hodges. McMillan was merely quiet.
Just remember the clubhouse comparison between Hodges and Berra: In the third inning, Hodges would be thinking about what he was going to do in the sixth; with Berra, in the sixth inning, he’d be thinking about what he should have done in the third.
Its deja Vous all over gain. huh.
Tom Seaver (Yogi called him “Seavers”) was no big fan of manager Berra. Yogi once came onto the field the second time in an inning by mistake forcing him to remove “Seavers”. Yogi was not a great manager but he didn’t trade a top CF prospect like Amos Otis for a druggie Joe Foy and he didn’t trade a talented young arm like Nolan Ryan for a rapidly aging 3B Jim Fregosi.
Berra cost the Mets another WS Championship in 1973 by mishandling the pitching staff in the post season, specificly his use or non use of George Stone in the WS.
Actually, the major criticism of Yogi’s post-season handling of the pitching staff came in the final two games of the World Series. They were going out to Oakland for Game Six, up three games to two and in a position to close it out. Instead of using 23-yr-old Jon Matlack in Game Six and saving a well-rested Seaver for Game Seven, Yogi opted to use Seaver on three days’ rest in Game Six, with the 23-yr-old Matlack as his fallback option for Game Seven. You can’t help but wonder how things might have been different if he had just stuck with the regular rotation.
Actually the argument is Yogi should have started George Stone in Game 6 and Seaver on his normal 4 days rest in game 7. Which is a fine argument if you ignore the fact that Catfish Hunter gave up 1 run in game 6 and Ken Hotlzman 2 runs in game 7. Both were on three days rest. Matlack pitched very well in game 4 on three days rest. Perhaps Seaver would have pitched a shutout on four days rest. I prefer to blame Felix Milan for booting a routine groundball in game 1. The Mets usually had pitchers go on four days rest in 1973. At this time in baseball pitchers would often go on two days rest..Gibson and Stottlemyre in 1964. Koufax and Kaat in 1965. Lonborg in 1967. Mclain and Lolich in 1968.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out Stone pitched well in his NLCS start against the Reds and had three shutout innings in the world series. So perhaps he would have matched Hunter pitch for pitch.
Another question is should Yogi have bowed to sentiment and started a retiring Willie Mays in Game 7? Mays put on a horrible show missing flyballs in the twilight of game 2. But it was Willie Mays….The more I think about it, losing that World Series hurt real bad.
Losing that world Series was not so bad. It was a bad team that won only 83 games and it was a miracle they made the playoffs. The Series that hurt the most was the 88 playoffs to the Dodgers. That Met team was far superior but didn’t even see the WS.
To add still another comment on Yogi’s pitcher selection, hw was first base coach in 1969 and saw Seaver pitch 10 innings of one-run baseball in game 4. Yogi had a philosophy of “if you are gonna get beat, get beat with your best”. He used that on the last day of the regular season when he started Seaver in the first game of a double header against theCubs needing one to win. Lindsey Nelson spent the last 4 inningsthanking 5,000 people. Umpires got smart and said the second game was rained out.
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