Schmidtty took Tug deep to win the game and open the 1974 season.
Opening day, 1974.
Tom Seaver vs. Steve Carlton.
The defending National League champs vs. an upcoming group of youngsters featuring shortstop Larry Bowa, left fielder Greg Luzinski, catcher Bob Boone and third baseman Mike Schmidt.
When Phillies manager Danny Ozark penciled in his lineup, batting eighth...yes eighth...after Boone was Schmidt. A future Hall of Famer and probably the best third baseman to ever play the game, Schmidt opened the 1974 season as the eighth hitter in the lineup. Del Unser played center and hit third!
Both teams scored a run in the first inning, the Phillies run coming on an Unser single. Carlton gave up solo runs in the third and fourth innings, making the score 3-1.
It stayed that way until the sixth. Bowa singled to start the inning, followed by an Unser single that got away from left fielder Cleon Jones which enabled Bowa to score. Luzinski doubled to right off Seaver to tie the score at 3.
The Mets answered with an unearned run off Mike Wallace in the seventh inning to take a 4-3 lead.
Tug McGraw entered the game in the eighth inning for the Mets and breezed through Unser, Luzinski, and Willie Montanez with a pop out and two K's.
Mac Scarce pitched out of a jam in the top of the ninth to keep the score 4-3 setting the stage for the bottom.
Pinch hitter Tony Taylor led off the inning with a single to center. Ozark gave Boone the bunt signal and Boonie got the job done moving pinch runner Billy Grabarkewitz to second.
Eight-hole hitter Schmidt was 0-3 with a strikeout vs. Seaver and was now trying his luck off future teammate and carpool buddy McGraw. Well, Tugger left one out over the plate and 24-year-old Schmidt promptly crushed his 20th career home run to win the game 5-4. Little did anyone know at that time that Schmidt would hit 528 more after that opening day game winner.