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West Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

Despite finishing next-to-last in the National League in runs scored (608) and posting a record of just 82-79 during the regular season, the New York Mets ended Pittsburgh’s three-year reign as N.L. East champions in 1973.  The Mets finished 1 ½ games ahead of the runner-up St. Louis Cardinals in the decidedly-mediocre N.L. East.  The Pirates slipped to third, 2 ½ games back, the Expos finished fourth, 3 ½ games out, and the Cubs came in fifth, only five games off the pace.  Only the last-place Phillies ended the campaign more than 10 games out of the top spot, finishing 11 ½ games behind the division-winning Mets.

Rusty Staub served as the primary offensive threat in New York’s feeble lineup, which also placed 11th in the 12-team circuit with only 85 home runs.  Staub batted .279, hit 15 homers, and led the club with 76 runs batted in.  John Milner finished first on the team with 23 home runs, while Felix Milan paced the offense with a .290 batting average and 82 runs scored.  

New York’s greatest strength lay in its pitching staff, which placed third in the league with a team ERA of 3.26.  Four starters finished in double-digits in victories, with staff ace Tom Seaver leading the way.  Seaver earned his second Cy Young trophy by posting a record of 19-10, with a league-leading 2.08 earned run average in 290 innings of work.  He also led all N.L. hurlers with 251 strikeouts and 18 complete games.  

Although the Pirates failed to repeat as division champions, their lineup featured arguably the league’s best player in Willie Stargell.  The powerful left-handed slugger batted .299, scored 106 runs, and topped the circuit with 44 home runs, 119 runs batted in, 43 doubles, and a .646 slugging percentage, en route to earning a second-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting.

The man who finished just ahead of Stargell in the balloting was Pete Rose, whose Cincinnati Reds repeated as Western Division champions.  The National League’s strongest team over the course of the regular season, Cincinnati finished first in the N.L. West with a record of 99-63, 3 ½ games in front of the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers.  Although the Dodgers had the league’s best pitching staff, Cincinnati’s powerful offense relegated Los Angeles to a second-place finish in the divisional race.

Rose had a sensational year at the top of Cincinnati’s batting order, scoring 115 runs and topping the circuit with 230 hits and a .338 batting average.  He also had a considerable amount of help from teammates Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, and Joe Morgan.  Perez hit 27 homers, drove in 101 runs, and batted .314.  Bench hit 25 home runs and knocked in 104 runs.  Morgan hit 26 round-trippers, knocked in 82 runs, scored 116 others, and batted .290.  

However, the league’s most potent offense belonged to the Atlanta Braves, who finished fifth in the division, 22 ½ games off the pace.  Featuring three players who surpassed 40 home runs, Atlanta’s lineup topped the circuit with 799 runs scored.  Davey Johnson established a new record for second basemen by hitting 43 homers.  He also knocked in 99 runs.  Third baseman Darrell Evans homered 41 times, drove in 104 runs, and scored 114 others.  Hank Aaron went deep 40 times, knocked in 96 runs, and batted .301.  Unfortunately for the Braves, they also surrendered 774 runs to the opposition.

The third-place San Francisco Giants, who finished 11 games behind the Reds, proved to be another club that had a difficult time keeping opponents off the scoreboard.  Although the Giants finished third in the league with 739 runs scored, they also allowed the opposition to cross the plate 702 times.  Nevertheless, San Francisco’s batting order featured one of the senior circuit’s top players in Bobby Bonds, who had arguably the finest all-around season of his career.  Bonds hit 39 home runs, drove in 96 runs, batted .283, stole 43 bases, and led the league with 131 runs scored.

Meanwhile, the Reds not only finished second in the league with 741 runs scored, but they also placed fourth in the circuit with a team ERA of 3.40.  Cincinnati’s staff included five pitchers that won at least 11 games, with Jack Billingham and Don Gullett serving as the team’s top two starters.  Billingham led the club with 19 wins, a 3.04 ERA, seven shutouts, 16 complete games, and 293 innings pitched.  Gullett finished second on the team with 18 victories.

The Reds’ outstanding team balance deserted them in the playoffs, though, as the Mets outscored them by a combined margin of 23-8 in pulling off a shocking five-game upset.  Cincinnati batted just .186 as a team, with New York’s pitching staff posting an exceptional team ERA of 1.33.  The Mets clinched their second National League pennant with a convincing 7-2 victory in Game Five, after the two clubs scuffled earlier in the Series in Game Three.  A bench-clearing brawl erupted in the fifth inning of  that third contest when Pete Rose and Bud Harrelson exchanged words after Rose slid into the Mets’ shortstop at second base.  Rose subsequently tackled Harrelson, causing both benches to empty and later prompting New York fans to pelt Rose with garbage when he returned to his position in left field.  The incident very much exhibited the frustration the Cincinnati players felt over the course of the five games.

New York then came within one game of winning the world championship, going up 3-2 against the Oakland Athletics in the World Series, before finally falling to the A’s in seven games.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• April 6 - At Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, 51,695 fans watched as the Pirates retired the jersey #21 of the late Roberto Clemente.  The Pirates then defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 7–5, with a ninth-inning rally.

• July 15 - Willie McCovey hit his 400th career home run during a 12-0 Giants victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

• July 21 – Hank Aaron hit the 700th home run of his career against Ken Brett during an 8-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.  The milestone homer allowed Aaron to join Babe Ruth as the only players to reach the 700-homer plateau.

• July 24 – The National League won the All-Star Game 7-1 at Kansas City.

• August 17 – New York’s Willie Mays hit the 660th (and last) home run of his career off Cincinnati’s Don Gullett during a 2-1 loss to the Reds.

• October 8 – In Game Three of the National League Championship Series, the New York Mets' Rusty Staub homered in the first and second innings, helping the Mets crush the Cincinnati Reds 9–2 at New York's Shea Stadium.  The contest featured a bench-clearing brawl involving Pete Rose and Bud Harrelson.

• Willie Mays hit six home runs, drove in 25 runs, and batted just .211, in 209 at-bats in his final season.

• The Mets won the National League pennant with a .509 winning percentage – the lowest ever for a major league flag winner.

• New York's Rusty Staub led all batters in the 1973 World Series with 11 hits, a .423 batting average, and six runs batted in.

• San Francisco’s Gary Matthews (12 home runs, 74 runs scored, .300 batting average) earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• Atlanta’s Phil Niekro threw a no-hitter against San Diego on August 5.

• San Francisco’s Ron Bryant led the league with 24 wins.

• The Chicago Cubs traded Fergie Jenkins to Texas for Bill Madlock and Vic Harris.

• Willie Mays retired holding the record for most career chances by a National League outfielder (7,290).

• Bobby Bonds hit a season record 11 homers leading off a game.

• The Mets were the first team in history to win the pennant without a 20-game winner, .300 hitter, or 100-RBI man.

• Lou Brock batted .297, scored 110 runs, collected 193 hits, and led the league with 70 stolen bases.

• Montreal’s Ken Singleton hit 23 home runs, drove in 103 runs, scored 100 others, batted .302, and led the league with a .429 on-base percentage.

• Expos teammate Mike Marshall won 14 games in relief, compiled a 2.66 ERA, led the league with 31 saves, threw 179 innings, and established a new major league record by making 92 mound appearances.

Seasons of the National League

1876 · 1877 · 1878 · 1879 · 1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902 · 1903 · 1904 · 1905 · 1906 · 1907 · 1908 · 1909 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919 · 1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929 · 1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939 · 1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ATL 2109 5631 799 1497 758 .239 219 34 206 84 40 2402 .330 .344 .684 112 46 65
CHN 2097 5363 614 1322 570 .188 201 21 117 65 58 1916 .312 .252 .597 144 37 75
CIN 2209 5505 741 1398 686 .188 232 34 137 148 55 2109 .338 .277 .632 118 51 78
HOU 2025 5532 681 1391 634 .167 216 35 134 92 48 2079 .281 .240 .559 135 36 83
LAN 1974 5604 675 1473 623 .195 219 29 110 109 50 2080 .326 .256 .619 123 57 81
MON 2237 5369 668 1345 613 .179 190 23 125 77 68 1956 .336 .251 .640 144 28 115
NYN 1973 5457 608 1345 553 .220 198 24 85 27 22 1846 .351 .272 .640 147 36 108
PHI 2098 5546 642 1381 592 .185 218 29 134 51 47 2059 .306 .267 .603 91 45 56
PIT 2110 5608 704 1465 664 .218 257 44 154 23 30 2272 .313 .294 .645 130 40 60
SDN 2063 5457 548 1330 516 .179 198 26 112 88 36 1916 .277 .244 .556 115 33 73
SFN 2077 5537 739 1452 684 .217 212 52 161 112 52 2251 .349 .289 .658 113 37 75
SLN 2128 5478 643 1418 592 .188 240 35 75 100 46 1953 .309 .245 .587 149 50 89

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ATL 449 76 85 1461 803 575 6302 1467 144 131.930 690 774 34 8 35 52 5
CHN 410 77 84 1438 885 438 6091 1471 128 52.790 584 655 27 8 40 47 4
CIN 429 99 63 1473 801 518 6193 1389 135 48.950 562 621 39 15 43 36 8
HOU 430 82 80 1459 907 575 6236 1389 111 62.680 614 672 45 13 26 52 5
LAN 374 95 66 1492 961 461 6100 1270 129 47.160 497 565 45 13 38 47 4
MON 434 79 83 1452 866 681 6271 1356 128 59.980 601 702 26 5 38 59 6
NYN 355 82 79 1465 1027 490 6127 1345 127 75.340 532 588 47 9 40 39 1
PHI 419 71 91 1446 919 632 6241 1435 131 83.030 643 717 49 10 22 61 2
PIT 446 80 82 1452 839 564 6244 1426 110 62.910 603 693 26 9 44 42 4
SDN 431 60 102 1430 845 548 6192 1461 157 49.860 661 770 34 10 23 53 3
SFN 414 88 74 1451 787 485 6219 1442 145 63.990 613 702 33 7 44 58 5
SLN 426 81 81 1461 867 486 6148 1366 105 62.960 528 603 42 11 36 45 5

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ATL 2485 7515 5485 1838 192 .966 17544 119 60 0 23
CHN 2458 7415 5265 1971 179 .972 17252 78 53 0 7
CIN 2620 7514 5498 1881 135 .976 17676 43 33 0 13
HOU 2432 7343 5494 1709 140 .955 17527 102 43 0 15
LAN 2400 7513 5454 1913 146 .969 17894 74 36 0 24
MON 2645 7438 5358 1889 191 .928 17417 76 50 1.00 24
NYN 2350 7292 5426 1719 147 .958 17579 67 43 0 7
PHI 2538 7339 5384 1803 152 .966 17367 65 60 1.00 19
PIT 2422 7430 5368 1877 185 .970 17409 84 39 1.00 9
SDN 2383 7350 5307 1841 202 .959 17160 84 44 0 14
SFN 2415 7456 5478 1783 195 .966 17427 103 34 0 15
SLN 2480 7395 5484 1726 185 .941 17528 74 53 0 27

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Cincinnati Reds 99 63 2017601 1 801
Los Angeles Dodgers 95 66 2136192 2 961
San Francisco Giants 88 74 834193 3 787
Houston Astros 82 80 1394004 4 907
Atlanta Braves 76 85 800655 5 803
San Diego Padres 60 102 611826 6 845

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
New York Mets 82 79 1912390 1 1027
St. Louis Cardinals 81 81 1574046 2 867
Pittsburg Pirates 80 82 1319913 3 839
Montreal Expos 79 83 1246863 4 866
Chicago Cubs 77 84 1351705 5 885
Philadelphia Philies 71 91 1475934 6 919

Awards

Silver Slugger

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Tagged:
1973 NLCS, 1973 World Series, Bill Madlock, Bobby Bonds, Bud Harrelson, Cincinnati Reds, Darrell Evans, Dave Johnson, Don Gullett, Felix Millan, Fergie Jenkins, Gary Matthews, Hank Aaron, Jack Billingham, Joe Morgan, John Milner, Johnny Bench, Ken Brett, Ken Singleton, Lou Brock, Mike Marshall, New York Mets, Pete Rose, Phil Niekro, Roberto Clemente, Ron Bryant, Rusty Staub, Tom Seaver, Tony Perez, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell

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