Jerry Koosman

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Jerome Martin Koosman

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jerry Koosman pitched 21 seasons as a professional, from 1965 to 1985, 19 in the major leagues and three in the minors. He served in the United States Army after being drafted in October of 1962. The New York Mets signed him to a contract in August 1964 after scouting him when he was pitching for an Army team at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX; the scout was the legendary Red Murff.

He played for the Greenville Mets (Western Carolinas League) and Williamsport Mets (Eastern League) in 1965, for the Auburn Mets of the New York-Penn League in 1966 and for the International League's Jacksonville Suns for part of the 1967 season before being called up by the Mets. He did not find much success at first, going a combined 5-13 in 1965. He was about to be released when he developed a breaking ball early in the 1966 season which made him a much more effective pitcher. He led the NYPL with a 1.38 ERA that year, to go along with a 12-7 record. He jumped all the way to the major league Mets at the start of 1967, but was cut at the end of April and continued his apprenticeship with Jacksonville, where he was 11-10, 2.43. He led the IL with 183 strikeouts and came back to New York on September 1st.

As a rookie in 1968, he went 19-12, 2.08. That season, Koosman set the National League record for most strikeouts for a pitcher as a batter, with 62, and tied the modern NL record for most shutouts by a rookie, with 7. He followed that by going 17-9, 2.28 in 1969 when the "Miracle Mets" won the World Series. He won both of his starts against the Baltimore Orioles in the Fall Classic.

He surrendered Pete Rose's 4,000th hit on April 13, 1984. He pitched for the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies from 1967 to 1985. He was released by the Phillies in 1985, ending his career. He was a minor league pitching coach for the Mets in 1991 and 1992, respectively with the Pittsfield Mets and the Columbia Mets.

Koosman pleaded guilty to federal income tax evasion in May 2009 and served six months in federal prison. In 2019, as part of the 50th anniversary of the Mets' magical championship run of 1969, the team announced that it would retire his uniform number, 36, during the 2020 season.

Notable Achivements[edit]

  • 1968 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 2-time NL All-Star (1968 & 1969)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 6 (1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1979 & 1980)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 2 (1976 & 1979)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 12 (1968-1970, 1973-1980 & 1984)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1976)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Mets in 1969

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jerry Koosman (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, September 1976, pp. 29-32. [1]

Related Sites[edit]