September 19, 1967: Rohr Wins Major League Debut

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Date: September 19, 1967
Mets starter: Les Rohr
Mets: 6
Dodgers: 3
Winning pitcher: Les Rohr
Key player(s): Les Rohr, Bob Heise, Tommy Davis
Key play: Heise’s double, Tommy Davis’s RBI single

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The game featured the major league debut of pitcher Les Rohr, who was the Mets’ first pick in Baseball’s first ever amateur draft two years earlier. Rohr recorded his first win as a major leaguer in a 6-3 Mets victory over Los Angeles.

Rohr’s initial big league appearance got off to a tough start. Les issued a walk to Dodgers’ leadoff batter Willie Davis, who advanced to third base on an ensuing single by Ron Hunt. A force play ground ball by Lou Johnson brought home Willie Davis with the first run of the game. Al Ferrara singled to advance Johnson to third and Wes Parker went down on strikes. Luis Alcaraz reached on an error by first baseman Ed Kranepool that allowed Johnson to score for a 2-0 Los Angeles lead. Rohr then fanned Jeff Torborg for the inning’s final out.

Bob Heise drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the first. Tommy Davis singled to advance Heise to third base and moved to second on right fielder Ferrara’s throw. With Ron Swoboda at bat, Dodgers’ starter Bill Singer threw a wild pitch that scored Heise and sent Tommy Davis to third. Swoboda was retired on a foul pop-up to first baseman Parker. Singer then got Kranepool on a line drive to shortstop Tommy Dean to end the inning.

To begin the top of the second, Dean singled and moved to second base on Singer’s sacrifice bunt. Willie Davis followed with a single on which center fielder Amos Otis threw to catcher Jerry Grote for an out at home on Dean. Hunt lined out to left fielder Tommy Davis to finish off the inning and Singer retired the Mets in order in the bottom half. Rohr pitched a scoreless top of the third and the Mets were limited to a bunt single by Heise in the bottom of the inning. Les gave up just a single to Alcaraz in the top of the fourth. Singer then set down all three New York batters in the bottom half.

Willie Davis hit a one-out triple in the top of the fifth. Hunt followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Davis and a fly ball by Johnson was caught by right fielder Swoboda for the inning’s third out. Leading off the bottom half, Otis singled and went to second base on an error by left fielder Johnson. Grote grounded out to second baseman Alcaraz to advance Otis to third. Rohr popped out to Dean and a walk to Bud Harrelson ensued. Heise doubled to score Otis and Harrelson, tying the game at 3-3. Tommy Davis hit a single to plate Heise and put the Mets ahead by a run. Tommy stole second, but was stranded there as Singer fanned Swoboda to close out the inning.

Rohr surrendered just a walk to Ferrara in the top of the sixth. Singer gave up only a single to Ken Boswell in the bottom half and Mets’ reliever Dick Selma hurled a perfect top of the seventh. Selma hit a single against Los Angeles reliever Phil Regan to open the bottom of the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Harrelson moved Selma to second base and Heise popped out to Parker. Regan retired Tommy Davis on an inning-ending ground ball to Hunt. Selma then set down the Dodgers 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth.

Swoboda got a bunt single to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. Kranepool hit a double to drive home Swoboda and consecutive walks to Boswell and Otis loaded the bases. Grote followed with a sacrifice fly to score Kranepool with the Mets’ sixth run of the game. Selma’s sacrifice bunt moved Boswell to third base and Otis to second. Regan then got Harrelson on a fly ball to center fielder Willie Davis to end the inning.

Parker drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth. Alcaraz hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Harrelson and a single by pinch-hitter John Roseboro ensued. Selma got pinch-hitter Ron Fairly to hit a force play grounder to Kranepool. Dick then retired pinch-hitter Bob Bailey on a pop-up to second baseman Heise for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory as Rohr chalked up the win in his major league debut.