Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where Have You Gone - Jerry Koosman

Jerry Koosman, the enigmatic Mets lefty from the late 1960's and most of the 1970's was interviewed by Newsday's Jim Baumbach in today's paper.

Koosman is my favorite Mets starter; liked him more than Seaver, Matlack, Gooden, Darling, Swan, Ojeda, Leiter, et al. Koosman was a money pitcher. Seaver got all the press (and wins), but Koosman was golden in the post season. Seaver, in all his greatness, was not the post season pitcher that Koosman was.

Koosman, affectionately known as Kooz to the Shea faithful, was asked about this year's Tampa Bay Rays, and their similarities to the 1969 Mets. Kooz admitted not knowing much about Tampa Bay, but did say this about how he and the young Mets felt going into the 1969 World Series, "We felt we proved that we could win by getting to the World Series." Koosman also said, "The World Series was just a new endeavor, something none of us had ever experienced before..."

Koosman only allowed four runs and seven hits in 17 2/3 innings in winning Games 2 and 5.

Baumbach also writes, "Personally, I went out there with a fear of losing," Koosman said. "I just didn't want to lose. I didn't want to be taken out of the ballgame. I didn't want to be pinch hit for. I didn't want to be behind, whatever. I was just really fearful of losing and pitched my butt off because of that.

A real interesting anecdote from 1969: Pearl Baily, the actress/singer who many times sang the National Anthem at Shea told Kooz as he was starting his warm-ups that she saw the number 8, and predicted the Mets would win. Bailey didn't know how or why, but just that the Mets would win...the Mets won 5-3, to win the 1969 World Series.

Koosmanm, 65, now resides in a small suburb of Wisconsin.

For more on this, check out Jim Baumbach's article in today's Newsday.

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