1972 New York Mets season: Wikis


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1972 New York Mets
Major league affiliations
1972 information
Owner(s) Joan Whitney Payson
General manager(s) Bob Scheffing
Manager(s) Yogi Berra
Local television WOR-TV
Local radio WHN
(Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy)

The New York Mets' 1972 season was the 11th regular season for the Mets, who played played home games at Shea Stadium. Led by manager Yogi Berra, the team had a 83-73 record yielding a 3rd place finish in the National League's Eastern Division.




Death of Gil Hodges

On April 2, 1972, Gil Hodges and his coaches Rube Walker, Joe Pignatano and Eddie Yost, were in West Palm Beach, Florida. As they were returning to their motel after a round of golf, Walker said, "What time do you want to go to dinner, Gil?". Without a sound, Hodges pitched backward and fell, his head striking the stone sidewalk with a sickening knock. Hodges was dead of a heart attack, two days short of his forty-eighth birthday.

The Mets wore a black-armband on the left sleeves of their uniform jerseys during the 1972 season in honor of Hodges.

A new man in charge

On April 6, the Mets announced their new manager, Yogi Berra, former catcher and pennant-winning manager for the New York Yankees, one of baseball's best-known and well-liked personalities; one of the game's few names, in fact, that transcended it and was known to the non-baseball world. The Berra legend was already a quarter of a century in the making, and it came with a full complement of malapropisms and apocryphal stories. But those who knew him, knew that much of the Yogi Berra legend was the product of newspapermen, and that Berra, in his greatness, was a very keen student of the profession he had been practicing with remarkable success for so many years. While he did mangle a phrase now and then, with Yogi it was important that you listen to what he was saying, not how; and what he said generally made very good sense.

The announcement of Berra's appointment was accompanied by another; the Mets had traded outfielder Ken Singleton, infielder Tim Foli, and first baseman-outfielder Mike Jorgensen to the Montreal Expos for hard-hitting outfielder Rusty Staub. That these announcements were made on the day of Hodges's funeral gives one a telling glimpse into the boardroom side of baseball, the cold-blooded practical side that must at all times keep the machinery geared and running. Grief, mourning, sentiment, it was all there, but it could not be allowed to impinge on reality's ongoing tide. Yogi Berra was manager and 28-year old Rusty Staub was in the outfield. In Staub, the Mets had a bona fide smacker, a .311-hitting, 97-RBI man the year before with Montreal. Also joining the club this year was John Milner, a left-handed, power-hitting, first baseman-outfielder.

Notable transactions

Regular season

Season summary

"Say Hey" is back in New York

On May 11, the Mets added another "new" face to the team. In a move seasoned with sentiment more than anything else, they acquired Willie Mays form the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Charlie Williams and cash.

The acquisition of Mays had been a longtime dream of that old New York Giants fan, Mrs. Joan Payson. With Willie no longer pulling the weight of his large contract, Giants owner Horace Stoneham made him available, and Mrs. Payson could not resist.

He was, of course, no longer the fabled Willie Mays, the greatest player since Joe DiMaggio, and some said, maybe the greatest ever. He was 41 years old, slowed down considerably in the field and at the plate, no longer possessing that cannon of an arm. He was in truth, something of a liability now in center and it was more prudent to play him at first base. Actually, outside of still being something of a drawing card, there was no place for Mays on the club. But there he was.

A sizzling start, then they fizzled

The club got off to a sizzling start in 1972, playing better than .700 ball in early June. But soon after, a series of disabling injuries to Staub, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, and Cleon Jones brought the team up short and dropped them into their third consecutive third-place finish, 13.5 behind Pittsburgh.

It had been a highly disappointing year. Jim Fregosi, with a broken thumb in spring training, never got on track and continued the third-base jinx with a .232 batting average. Ken Boswell hit just .211 and the club was ready to give up on him. John Milner flashed some power with 17 homers but batted only .238. Tommie Agee, unhappy at being displaced in center by Mays now and then, batted .227, and the club already had his ticket punched. Staub, limited to just 66 games because of a broken hand, hit .293 and was sorely missed. Mays batted a respectable .267, but his fielding deficiencies were now glaring.

Tom Seaver was 21-12, Jim McAndrew 11-8, Jerry Koosman 11-12, while Rookie of the Year Jon Matlack was 15-10. Gary Gentry slumped to 7-10, leaving his employers disenchanted. Tug McGraw continued as the bullpen ace, with 8 wins and 27 saves.

Witnessing history

On September 30, Matlack made the trivia lists when he served up a double to Pittsburgh legend Roberto Clemente. It was the Pirate great's 3,00th and last big-league hit. On New Year's Eve, Clemente lost his life when the plane on which he was taking food and medical supplies to earthquake-smashed Managua, Nicaragua, crashed into the ocean soon after taking off form San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Season standings

NL East W L GB Pct.
Pittsburgh Pirates 96 59 0 .619
Chicago Cubs 85 70 11 .548
New York Mets 83 73 13.5 .532
St. Louis Cardinals 75 81 21.5 .481
Montreal Expos 70 86 26.5 .449
Philadelphia Phillies 59 97 37.5 .378

Opening Day starters

Notable transactions


1972 New York Mets roster
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager


Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = position; G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI

Other batters

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI


Starting pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Other pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers


Awards and Records

  • Willie Mays, Starting Centerfielder, MLB All-Star Game
  • Tug McGraw, Pitcher, MLB All-Star Game
  • Tom Seaver, Pitcher, MLB All-Star Game

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Tidewater Tides International League Hank Bauer
AA Memphis Blues Texas League John Antonelli
A Visalia Mets California League Joe Frazier
A Pompano Beach Mets Florida State League Gordon Mackenzie
Short-Season A Batavia Trojans New York-Penn League Wilbur Huckle
Rookie Marion Mets Appalachian League Chuck Hiller




External links


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