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The 1969 World Series was played between the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles, with the Mets prevailing in 5 games to accomplish one of the greatest upsets in Series history. The World Series win earned the team the sobriquet "Amazin' Mets."
Series MVP: Donn Clendenon (New York)
The New York Mets, who had never finished higher than ninth place (next-to-last) nor won more than 73 games in a season since joining the National League in 1962, were not highly regarded before the 1969 season started. In fact, the best that could be said for them was that because the National League was being split into two divisions that year, the Mets were guaranteed to finish no lower than sixth place. With three weeks to go in the season, the underdog Mets stormed past the Chicago Cubs, who had led the Eastern Division for most of the season, winning 100 games and capturing the first National League Eastern Division crown. Third-year pitcher Tom Seaver won a major-league-leading 25 games en route to his first Cy Young Award; the other two top Mets starting pitchers, Jerry Koosman and rookie Gary Gentry, combined to win 30 more games. Outfielder Cleon Jones hit a (then) club-record .340 and finished third in the National League batting race, while his lifelong friend and outfield mate Tommie Agee hit 26 home runs to lead the club. In the first League Championship Series, the light-hitting Mets, once again considered underdogs, put on an uncharacteristic power display by scoring 27 runs in sweeping the favored Atlanta Braves in three games.
The Baltimore Orioles, featuring stars at almost every position, waltzed through the 1969 season, winning 109 games (until 1998 the most games won since the advent of divisional play) and brushing aside the Minnesota Twins in three games in the ALCS to win their second pennant in four years. The Orioles were led by star sluggers Frank Robinson and Boog Powell, who each hit over 30 home runs and drove in over 100 runs; third baseman Brooks Robinson, perhaps the best-fielding hot-corner player in baseball history; and pitchers Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer, who combined for 63 victories. It was felt that in the face of such statistical comparisons, only the most reckless gambler would put any money on the Mets.
October 11, 1969 at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - New York Mets 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 1 Baltimore Orioles 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 X 4 6 0 PITCHERS: NYM - Seaver, Cardwell (6), Taylor (7) BAL - Cuellar WP - Cuellar LP - Seaver HOME RUNS: NYM - None BAL - Buford ATTENDANCE: 50,429
October 12, 1969 at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - New York Mets 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 0 Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1 2 0 PITCHERS: NYM - Koosman, Taylor (9) BAL - McNally WP - Koosman LP - McNally SAVE - Taylor HOME RUNS: NYM - Clendenon BAL - None ATTENDANCE: 50,850
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 New York Mets 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 X 5 6 0 PITCHERS: BAL - Palmer, Leonhard (7) NYM - Gentry, Ryan (7) WP - Gentry LP - Palmer SAVE - Ryan HOME RUNS: BAL - none NYM - Agee, Kranepool ATTENDANCE: 56,335
October 15, 1969 at Shea Stadium (New York Mets)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - - Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 1 New York Mets 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 10 1 PITCHERS: BAL - Cuellar, Watt (8), Hall (10), Richert (10) NYM - Seaver WP - Seaver LP - Hall HOME RUNS: BAL - none NYM - Clendenon ATTENDANCE: 57,367
October 16, 1969 at Shea Stadium, New York
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Baltimore Orioles 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 2 New York Mets 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 X 5 7 0 PITCHERS: BAL - McNally, Watt (8) NYM - Koosman WP - Koosman LP - Watt HOME RUNS: BAL - McNally, F. Robinson NYM - Clendenon, Weis ATTENDANCE: 50,429
Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman pitched 6 1/3 innings of no-hit ball in game 2. He was bidding to match Don Larsen's World Series no-hit feat.
Mets outfielder Tommie Agee almost single-handedly won game 3 for his team. He led off the bottom of the first inning by hitting a home run, then made two great catches at crucial points in the game to save at least 5 Baltimore runs.
Game 3 marked the only World Series appearance in Nolan Ryan's 27-year career.
Long-time Mets fan favorite Ron Swoboda, not known for his fielding prowess, upstaged Agee's heroics in the 9th inning of game 4, making a diving, tumbling catch of Brooks Robinson's sinking line drive and preventing the Orioles from scoring more than one run. Some rank Swoboda's catch as the greatest in Series history. Swoboda also drove in the Series-winning run in game 5.
Game 4 was mired in controversy. 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. Orioles skipper Earl Weaver argued some ball-strike calls too strenuously and became the first manager in 34 years to be ejected from a World Series game. In the 10th inning, Mets pinch-hitter J.C. Martin was hit by a throw while running to first base, which allowed the winning run to score. Photographs later showed that Martin was running inside the baseline, which could have resulted in his being called out for interference. The umpires said that they didn't make the call because they felt that Martin didn't intentionally interfere with the play.
Light-hitting Mets second baseman Al Weis, who hit only seven home runs in his big-league career, hit his first Shea Stadium home run to tie game 5. He hit .455 to lead both teams in batting.
In an ironic twist, Oriole second baseman Davey Johnson, who would later manage the Mets to their second World Series win in 1986, flew out to Cleon Jones for the last out of the 1969 World Series.
Quote of the Series
"There's a fly ball out to left. (Cleon) Jones is waiting...the Mets are the World Champions! Jerry Koosman is being mobbed! Look at this scene!"--Curt Gowdy, announcing that the Mets had just won their first World Series.
|Major League Baseball World Series|