A game-ending, game-saving triple play involving the Mets? What's the big deal? I've seen it before. It happened June 27, 1967. I was at Shea and I remember it as if it were yesterday.
The bases were loaded with none out in the top of the ninth and Jack Fisher held a 1-0 lead. Bill Mazeroski bounced to third, and the Mets turned a 5-4-3 triple play to win it!
But you'll never find that in any baseball records no matter how hard you try. That's because it was a scene filmed for the movie "The Odd Couple.''
In the movie, sportswriter Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) watches the Pirates load the bases and tells a cynical fellow writer in the pressbox, "What's the matter, you never heard of a triple play?''
Obsessive housemate Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon) calls him at that moment to discuss dinner. Oscar's back is to the field as he reluctantly talks to Felix, but we can see over his shoulder that the jubilant Mets indeed have turned three - unbeknownst to Oscar.
What I remember is that before the sequence was filmed prior to the Mets-Pirates game, the fans were asked to go crazy when the triple play was turned. I remember that Roberto Clemente was approached to be the batter, but he declined. I seem to remember him saying he'd do it for $500 or he'd do it for free, but he wouldn't do it for $50. Another version, according to sportswriter Maury Allen, is that for a hundred bucks, the proud Clemente not only refused to hit into a triple play, he refused to hit into a double play.
So Mazeroski did it instead. It took two takes - two pitches. He lined the first one down the leftfield line for what would have been a double. No good. Then he grounded to Ed Charles, who stepped on third and threw to Ken Boswell, who relayed to Ed Kranepool at first. Ballgame over!
A miracle? Nah. That happened two years later.
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.