Game 4 was mired in controversy. First, Tom Seaver’s photograph was used on some anti-war Moratorium Day literature being distributed outside Shea Stadium before the game….although the pitcher claimed that his picture was used without his knowledge or approval. Another controversy that day involved the flying of the American flag at Shea Stadium….as New York City Mayor John Lindsay had ordered flags flown at half staff to observe the Moratorium Day and honor those that had died in Vietnam….as many were concerned, including 225 wounded servicemen who were attending the game….when Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced that the American flag would be flown at full staff at Shea for Game 4.
Tom Seaver redeemed himself for his Game 1 performance by shutting the Orioles out through eight innings….and once again, Donn Clendenon provided the lead with a homer in the 2nd….and then In the 3rd inning, after arguing ball-strike calls too strenuously with plate umpire Shag Crawford….Orioles manager Earl Weaver became the first manager since 1935 to be ejected from a World Series game.
Seaver ran into trouble in the top of the 9th….when O’s Frank Robinson and Boog Powell hit back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on first and third….when Brooks Robinson hit a sinking line drive towards right that Mets right fielder Ron Swoboda dove for and caught just inches off the ground….as Robinson tagged and scored….but Swoboda’s heroics kept the Orioles from possibly taking the lead. Elrod Hendricks then flew out to Swoboda to end the inning.
In the bottom of the tenth, Mets Jerry Grote led off by blooping a double to left….then Al Weis was intentionally walked….and Mets manager Gil Hodges sent J. C. Martin up to hit for Seaver….and Martin laid down a sacrifice bunt….but Orioles reliever Pete Richert hit Martin in the wrist with his throw to 1st….as the ball went down the right field line…..and Rod Gaspar, running for Grote, came around to score the winning run.
Replays showed Martin running inside the first-base line, which appeared to hinder Richert’s ability to make a good throw and Orioles second baseman Davey Johnson from catching it. Subsequent controversy focused on MLB rule 6.05 (k)….which states that a batter shall be out….with the ball dead and the runners returned to their original bases if “…In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base.”
The umpires’ judgment was that Martin did not interfere.