Just in time for the holiday season, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list takes a look at the most memorable moments in the history of our beloved Mets. We will continue our countdown today with number five, Pete Rose fights Bud Harrelson.
Date: October 8, 1973
The Buildup: After winning the division in stunning fashion and making the playoffs, the Mets would find themselves going against The Big Red Machine (the moniker of the Cincinnati Reds teams between 1970-1976) in the National League Championship Series. The series was tied at one after the Mets pounded the Reds in Game Two. Bud Harrelson then added some fuel to the fire, telling reporters after the game that the Reds looked he did at the plate. Joe Morgan would grab the Mets short stop during batting practice before Game Three and reportedly said "If you ever say that about me again, I'll punch you." Morgan also informed Harrelson that Pete Rose wasn't too happy about the comment.
The Moment: With Jerry Koosman on the mound for Game Three of the NLCS , the Mets were routing the Reds. By the fifth inning, the Mets were leading by a score of 9-2. At 5'11," Bud Harrelson is a tall man, as Pete Rose was at the same height. However, at 140 lbs. compared to Pete Rose at 200 lbs., a 60 lb. difference, Bud Harrelson isn't a very big man!
It was the top of the fifth inning, and with one out Pete Rose was able to get on base. Fittingly, enough it would be Joe Morgan batting behind him. As fate would have it, the ball Morgan would hit would be a ground ball double play. Pete Rose slid hard into second to try and break up the double play, and then decided to shove Harrelson after the play was over. Harrelson took offense, and all hell broke loose.
The Aftermath: The Mets ended up rolling to a victory in Game 3 to grab a 2-1 lead in the series. The Reds ended up winning Game Four in extras, but the Mets won the deciding fifth game at Shea to advance to the World Series. The series would end up being a hard fought affair as the Mets would blow a 3-2 series lead in Oakland to lose the championship in seven games.
In Hindsight: The Bud Harrelson fight was symbolic of the 1973 season as a whole. Even though there were other teams that looked bigger and tougher than the Mets, they kept fighting until the bitter end. The season came to a bittersweet end as they couldn't close out a second championship in four years, but the Mets took advantage of the momentum from the fight to complete an improbable pennant run.
Check back tomorrow when the fourth most memorable moment in Mets history is revealed!
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