Thursday, March 17, 2011

Opening Day Flashbacks, 1973

Opening Day of 1973 saw a match-up of two teams that would go on to finish forth and fifth in the NL West that year. For those in attendance, they got one and a half games for the price of one as the Astros and Braves were locked in a 1-1 dual until Houston would win it in the thirteenth inning.

Starters Dave Roberts of the Astros and Gary Gentry of the Braves were shutting their opponents out until the bottom of the fifth, when Gentry helped his own cause by singling in 2B Davey Johnson for a 1-0 Braves lead. Jim Wynn, who would play for Atlanta during the 1976 season, homered off of Gentry to begin the sixth inning, but neither team would plate any more runs until the top of the thirteenth inning-when Astros super stud Cesar Cedeno doubled in the eventual winning run off of Cecil Upshaw.

Player of the Game- Cesar Cedeno
Cedeno, in the early part of his career, looked like he was heading to Cooperstown. As a 19 year-old rookie in 1970, he hit .310 in 90 games. Combining speed, power, and Gold-Glove defense in center, Cedeno became only the second player in history to hit 20+ homers and to steal 50+ bases in the same season (a feat he accomplished three straight seasons). He also ranks 25th on the all-time stolen base list with 550 career steals. This evening, Cedeno would go 3-6 with the game winning RBI. Cedeno would pull off his second straight 20/50 season in '73, but would eventually see his games played significantly decline due to injuries that were the result of his
all-out style of play.

Pitcher of the Game-Roric Harrison
Harrison, who was originally signed by the Astros at age 19, was in his first year with the Braves in '73 (he pitched in Baltimore during the 1972 season). Relieving starter Gary Gentry, Roric pitched five innings this night, allowing only three hits and no runs while striking out five Astros. Unfortunately, Cecil Upshaw followed Harrison and ended up losing the game for the Braves in the thirteenth.

No comments:

Post a Comment