Let’s take some time to appreciate the 1969 New York Mets in their 50th Anniversary.
Were you there when the 1969 New York Mets won the World Series? Were you one of the 57,397 (box score) people at Shea Stadium who watched Cleon Jones catch a deep fly ball to left field, then sink down to one knee in prayer as the Mets somehow won their first championship in five games?
Trivia question 1: Sho sang the National Anthem before game five of the 1969 World Series? (answer at the end)
Trivia question 2: Who joined Kurt Gowdy on the pregame show before game five?
Well, I wasn’t there either, but I was at the game before (box score).
I was nine, my mother was dying of a brain tumor, and my dad, big brother, and I went to Shea for game four, the one where Ron Swoboda made an incredible diving catch in right-center field in the ninth inning with runners on first and third and one out.
I don’t remember a single thing about the game, but my brother does. He has a scrapbook with newspaper clippings and autographs of almost every player and coach, which he shows me every time I visit him.
1969 National League Championship Series complete broadcasts
Game 1 (not found)
1969 World Series complete broadcasts
So that’s the miraculous end of the 1969 season, but how did they get there?
Before looking at 1969, we have to look at the 1968 roster. The 1968 Mets went 73-89–the most wins the in franchise history at that point–with an average age of 25. Many names are familiar if you know the more famous names of the 1969 roster.
The 1969 Mets went 100-62, an astounding jump of 27 wins in one season. They averaged 26 years of age.
Players added in 1969: Amos Otis (22 years old in 1969), Bob Johnson (26), Bobby Pfeil (25), Donn Clendenon (33), Gary Gentry (22), Jack DiLauro (26), Jesse Hudson (20), Jim Gosger (26), Rod Gaspar (23), Tug McGraw (24) (McGraw was already on the Mets, but pitched in the minors in 1968), Wayne Garrett (21)
Players who played for the Mets in 1968 and 1969: Cleon Jones, Tommy Agee, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Ron Taylor, Don Cardwell, Al Jackson, Al Weis, Art Shamsky, Bob Heise, Cal Koonce, Danny Frisella, Duffy Dyer, Ed Charles, Ed Kranepool, JC Martin, Jim McAndrew, Ken Boswell, Kevin Collins, Les Rohr, Ron Swoboda.