Glad To Have MET Ya: Koosman Was Biggest In ’69 When It Counted Most

June 24, 2019 - 6:30 pm
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By Joey Wahler

While pitching in the Army, the greatest Mets lefty ever, Jerry Koosman, was discovered by the son of a Shea Stadium usher.

"His name was John Luchesi and he was my catcher down in Fort Bliss, Texas, there in El Paso,” Koosman said. “So he caught me a lot and he told his dad, and I guess his dad told the Mets."

Of Koosman’s 222 regular season victories, 140 came as a Met, plus two in the 1969 World Series against the Orioles. Kooz won Game Two, including six no-hit innings, then went the distance, winning the Game Five clincher.

"I always enjoyed the toughest competition,” Koosman said. “I have the privilege of looking back knowing that I faced the best there ever was. So to have that opportunity, that's great for a young guy to be able to look back on."

When Davey Johnson flew out ending that '69 World Series, left fielder Cleon Jones gave the ball to Koosman.

"So I had it for a number of years,” Koosman said. “And finally someone came along and offered me a price that I said, well, rather than it sitting in a box in my house, let them eventually display it or whatever. And I sold it."

For 11 years, Tom Seaver and Koosman were the Mets dominant one-two punch, often suggesting adjustments to each other.

"If he was struggling, he would look in the dugout and I could just point to one, whether it was his leg, or shoulder, or whatever it was,” Koosman said. “And he could immediately correct it, because we'd talk about those things. And I'd do the same thing with him."

For this weekend’s 50th anniversary at Citi Field, Koosman reunites with those Miracle Mets.

"We're getting older,” Koosman said. “We know we're not going to live forever. And some of these guys I haven't seen for 30, 40 years. So it'll be great to get back and reminisce."​