5 sometimes forgotten members of both 1969 and 1973 Mets World Series squads

Mar 21, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets former players Wayne Garrett (11) and Ron
Mar 21, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets former players Wayne Garrett (11) and Ron / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Certainly as the decade of the 1960’s came to a close, and the 1970’s emerged, the New York Mets had the core, especially with the surplus of great young arms, to become a dynasty much like the Oakland A’s did from 1971 to 1975.

The A’s did it with a great pitching staff featuring Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, and Ken Holtzman leading the rotation with Rollie Fingers as the closer. The Mets had just as much talent with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Nolan Ryan with Tug McGraw coming out of the pen.

The A’s had one big bopper in Reggie Jackson with a supporting cast of clutch performers. Unfortunately, the Mets did not have that one impact bat, although they should have because they passed on Reggie in the draft in favor of Chilcott guy. And the irony is that the two teams would clash in “73 in what would be the end of what could have, and should have, been a Mets dynasty.

There were a number of players who enjoyed being a part of both the 1969 and 1973 seasons. Some of the players common to both rosters are obvious – Seaver, Koosman, and McGraw on the mound, and Jerry Grote, Bud Harrelson, and Cleon Jones. All played a significant role in 1969 and on the ’73 squad.

1) Wayne Garrett

Wayne Garrett is not forgotten as a member of the 1973 team because he simply can’t be. He finally emerged as the Mets starting third baseman after three different players were brought in – Joe Foy, Bob Aspromonte, and Jim Fregosi – in three consecutive seasons respectively to be the No. 1 guy. Garrett became the team’s leadoff batter and one of their most reliable players in a season that saw just about everyone go down with injuries. He was probably the team’s MVP in 1973.

But he is kind of forgotten for the first Mets World Series team. In 1969 he was a very green rookie who was forced into Major League action as a result of being plucked from the Atlanta Braves as a Rule 5 selection. That meant if he didn’t stay on the Major League level the entire season, he would have to be returned. But he was mentored by Ed Charles and provided infield help with the military commitment of Harrelson taking him away from the team.

Although a bit overmatched during the 1969 regular season hitting just .218, he did get 400 at bats. While managing only 1 HR and 39 RBI in the regular season, he proved to be very clutch in the post season, hitting a big home run in the NLCS. He had his best season in 1973, hitting .256 with 16 HR and 58 RBI, mostly from the leadoff position.