The Oakland A’s won the World Series in 1973, defeating the New York Mets, 4 games to 3.
In many ways, the outcome could hardly be labeled a surprise, as the A’s had won the 1972 World Series and would cop a third title in 1974 before free agency and penny-pinching by owner Charlie O. Finley broke up one of the game’s most colorful dynasty.
How They Got There
Though the A’s had won “just” 94 games during the 1973 regular season, they easily outpaced the Kansas City Royals to take the American League West by six games.
They then squeaked by the powerful 97-win Baltimore Orioles to take the American League Championship Series in five games, setting up an Oakland return to the Fall Classic.
Meanwhile, the Mets scrapped all season long in the old National League East, eventually edging the St. Louis Cardinals by just one-and-a-half games to take the flag, albeit with a ho-hum 82-79 record that stills stands as one of the worst showings for a playoff team.
Improbably, the Mets took the NLCS in five games from the 99-win Cincinnati Reds, who had the best record in all of baseball.
The World Series matchup was set, with most fans expecting the A’s to steamroll the “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets.
Tooth-and-Nail World Series
Game 1 was a tight affair at the Oakland Coliseum, with the A’s prevailing, 2-1.
In Game 2, the bats came alive, with the Mets grabbing a road win in 12 innings. New York scored four runs in the top of the final frame, and the A’s could only manage one in response, leaving the Mets with a 10-7 victory.
The battle remained tight in Game 3 at Shea Stadium, with Mets scoring two in the bottom of the first, and the A’s tying it up at up with one in each the sixth and eighth. It remained knotted until the top of the 10th, when Bert Campaneris singled home Ted Kubiak to give the A’s a 3-2 lead (and eventual win).
Game 4 was all Mets, as they scored three in the bottom of the first and never looked back en route to a 6-1 win.
The Mets took their first Series lead in Game 5, scratching out a 2-0 victory over Vida Blue, with Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw holding the A’s scoreless.
Facing elimination back at home, Oakland cobbled together a run in each of three innings while Catfish Hunter, Darold Knowles, and Rollie Fingers limited the Mets to seven baserunners and a single run in Game 6.
That set up a winner-takes-all Game 7, with Jon Matlack (Mets) squaring off against Ken Holtzman. The first couple frames were tense, but the A’s pretty much killed the suspense with a pair of two-run homers off the bats of Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson in the bottom of the third.
Oakland scored one more in the fifth, the Mets answered that one in the sixth, and then the bats quieted down. New York scratched out a two-out run in the top of the ninth from a walk, single, and an Oakland error, but that was all she wrote.
Knowles got Wayne Garrett to pop up for the third out, and the A’s had their second of three titles in a row.
Mr. October Emerges
Reggie Jackson, who hit .310 with a homer and six RBI was named World Series MVP.