Jon Matlack

You can learn a lot about a baseball team from its locker room. The clubhouse is where relationships form, character is revealed and leaders speak out (or not). For the major league rookie, clubhouse real estate is valuable — sometimes priceless. Imagine being the rookie who spent eight months out of the year next to Sandy Koufax? Roberto Clemente? Lou Gehrig? Tom Seaver? These were model athletes, wise and humble men, who used their talent to teach.

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There surely must have been a support group for pitchers like Jon Matlack. Come to think of it, the original group could have been founded by the 1976 New York Mets starting rotation. Maybe it was called Pitchers without Run Support.

Matlack, Tom SeaverJerry KoosmanMickey Lolich and Craig Swan — five hurlers — each pitched their heart out in 1976. On paper, no major league team was better. The Mets team ERA was the lowest in baseball (2.94). Still, the Mets finished 86-76 in third place in the National League East, 15 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

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