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Jerry Koosman Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: December 23, 1942 in Appleton, Minnesota
Biography | show moreshow less

Baseball Career:
First Game: April 14, 1967; Final Game: August 21, 1985
Bat: Right Throw: Left Height: 6' 2" Weight: 205

Awards and Achievements:
Named NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News (1968)

Jerry Koosman
This article was written by Irv Goldfarb and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

It has become almost legend, though in reality there are a few different versions of the story: In March of 1966, three New York Mets farmhands, all going by the name of Jerry, set out from Atlanta on their way to minor league training camp in Homestead, Florida. Jerry Johnson sat between the driver, Jerry Wild, and the car's owner, who was fast asleep in the passenger seat. While motoring through Athens, Georgia, they were blind-sided by a woman rushing back from her lunch break. The Jerrys’ car was ruined. Suddenly stranded far from their destination, the three pitchers needed a ride. The owner of the car first called his father, who promised to wire him some money for a new one; then a call went out to Mets farm director Joe McDonald, requesting an additional $50. When the cash arrived, a used car was located and the players continued on toward their baseball careers.

Frankly, the player who had called McDonald wasn’t performing all that well; a left-hander, he had combined for a 5-13 record at two different stops in 1965. "We didn't think he was much of a prospect," McDonald admitted later. "He threw hard, but he didn't have a breaking ball." However, just as the Mets were on the verge of releasing him, McDonald remembered the $50 loan. He decided he'd take the money out of the player's paycheck, then let the lefty go once the debt was paid. But thanks to a new pitch learned that winter, and markedly better results on the mound, the Mets decided they’d let him stay.

And on a crisp fall afternoon in October 1969, when a Davey Johnson fly ball landed softly in the glove of Cleon Jones, the lefty on the mound turned in delight and jumped into the arms of catcher Jerry Grote. The Mets' decision to keep him had paid off, and in return, Jerry Koosman had helped lead the New York Mets to one of the biggest upsets in World Series history.

Film Credits | show moreshow less

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