Wednesday, October 30, 2013

1969 PLAYOFFS- Game Three- Mets N.L. East CHAMPS!

I'll forever miss Bob Murphy, to me the all-time voice of the New York Mets.
This next card is a favorite of mine because the photo Topps used and the one here were taken only a second apart. Topps used this picture on a card titled GAME 2, but since that game was played in Atlanta that could not be correct. Boswell is wearing his home uniform.

I also loved the title. When I first saw the card I remember going " yeaaa, Mets show muscle!". Topps used this phrase again in the '71 World Series cards when Frank Robinson showed muscle.

Ken Boswell hit 3 home runs all season long. His two long balls in the N.L.C.S., both important blasts, was another example of how together the '69 Mets were better than the sum of their parts. Kenny Boswell, Art Shamsky and Wayne Garrett were not considered threats at the plate. Yet they all contributed mightily in capturing the N.L. flag.

They didn't give an MVP award for the N.L.C.S. in 1969. But if they did it would have been an interesting call as to who would have received it. Art Shamsky led in hits(7) and avg(.538) but he did little else, driving in 1 and scoring 3 times. Ken Boswell, who only had 3 round trippers all season hit the two most important home runs in his life and had 5 RBI. Tommie Agee (2SB, 4R, 1DB, 2HR, 4RBI,.357) and Cleon Jones (2SB, 4R, 2DB, 1HR, 4RBI,.429) both had similar numbers and a great series. 

Mound wise the Mets much ballyhooed pitching didn't show up, the ERA for the entire staff for the three games was .500. Nolan Ryans game three 7 inning 3 hit relief performance is most noteworthy, but would it have given him the nod in a 3 game sweep?

Hank Aaron batted .357. He had 5 hits. Two were doubles, 3 were home runs, one in each game. He drove in seven runs in the three games. It pains me to give this award to a non-Met but I'm afraid Hank wins it. This might have been crazy controversial if it really happened in the very first N.L.C.S.
If any one out there wants to argue that a Met should have gotten the award I'm willing to listen, and if convinced make a new MVP card. As of now the 1969 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award goes to Henry Aaron, still the MLB home run king in my book.

I have used excerpts from William J. Ryczek's excellent book The Amazin' Mets, 1962-1969 for info on cardbacks and text. This book is a great read for any Met fan.

The stat card with the Met totals is an actual Topps card.

Friday, October 25, 2013

1969 PLAYOFFS-Game One: Mets vs. Braves in the first N.L.C.S. ever!

Topps did a good job with the '70 post season cards. One for each game. Good pics. Was thrilled when I first saw them.
Wished there were more than one per game and that they were in color.
The 1970 Fantazy '69 Playoffs GAME ONE cards.

Funny thing that the card should say how the Mets pitching needed to be good. It wasn't very. But their hitting came alive against the Braves pitchers. The Braves pitching, after ace Phil Niekro, was shaky. In September the Braves talked 46 year old Hoyt Wilhelm out of retirement to shore up the pen, and he helped close games in the stretch run, but he was not eligible for the post season because he was signed so late in the season. This left the Braves with a very thin bullpen. The Mets, considered a weak hitting team, took advantage.

 Taylor does not get enough
recognition for his contributions
to the '69 miracle.

Hope you have a pair of 3-D glasses^. Every household should have a pair in the junk drawer. Right?

A special thanks to Steve's Baseball Photography Pages for the Boswell Photo.

The 1969 Amazin' Mets Season in a Blogshell

1969 was the 100th Anniversary of Major League Baseball.

They came up with a logo that is still used today. Unless we evolve and grow another head or more arms, they should never change this logo. It's one of the best logo designs ever.

I always liked when Topps did cards using TVs and TV shaped borders. A big fan of these I imagine that if Topps did make a card like that in the '70 set it would have looked something like these. I doubt they would have all been about the Mets but those are the only ones we are concerned about here. This thread will be about the Mets '69 season and these cards will show hi-lights. These are four and I will make and add more as I review the season for the top 20 hi-lights. I will also be adding text and photos eventually. If anyone out there has any suggestions for a season highlight card, please let me know. If any suggestions are used I will credit the person who suggested it by including their name on the card.
___Expo third baseman Coco Laboy bats on opening day at Shea.__

If opening day in 1969 was any indication the Mets were on their way to another typical losing season. They hosted the new Montreal franchise's very first major league game.
A first inning error by 2nd baseman Ken Boswell opened the door for two unearned runs off ace Tom Seaver. The Mets took a lead in the 2nd, 3-2, on a Tommie Agee bases loaded double that knocked Montreal's starter, Mudcat Grant, out of the game. Expo (& future Met favorite) Rusty Staub tied the game the very next inning with an RBI single. Montreal took the lead in the top of the 4th when Seaver gave up a solo homer to the Expos relief pitcher, Dan McGinn. Pitcher McGinn's round tripper was the first home run ever by an Expo, and it almost wasn't as it hit the top of the right center field wall and bounced out of the ballpark. The Mets flexed their offensive muscles and rallied for 3 in the fourth highlighted by a Cleon Jones double.

You would think with a 6-4 lead that Seaver would cruise to a win, but Tom only lasted 5 innings. Cal Koonce came on in the 6th and the Expos Mack Jones re-tied the game
with a two run double. With two out in the 7th Koonce walked 2 and Maury Wills followed with an RBI single and once again New York found itself behind 7-6.

Met vet pitcher Al Jackson started the 8th and Rusty Staub greeted him with lead off homer. After giving up two more hits relief pitcher Ron Taylor took over with similar results. Expos third baseman Coco Laboy took Taylor deep for a 3 run blast. With the score 11-6 the Mets pitching, one of their strong points, looked pretty weak. Not
known for their hitting, the Mets did get back in the game. Ex-Met Don Shaw pitched the 9th for the Expos and the Mets slapped him around. A Jerry Grote RBI single and a 3 run pinch hit homer by Duffy Dyer got the Mets to within a run. Amos Otis followed with a single but was stranded on 2nd and the game ended 11-10 Expos.

This was a helluva game. For New York Agee drove in 3, Cleon Jones had 3 hits. Duffy Dyer with a 3 run pinch hit homer in the 9th! For the Expos Maury Wills, Rusty Staub, Mack Jones, Bob Baily and Coco Laboy all contributed to the Expos first win ever. Even with the Mets surprising offensive outburst it looked like it was going to be a long losing season.

Man, I forgot all about these cards. Looking for 1969 photos I came across these and I remembered I was very into them. The summer of '69 I was using my allowance to buy these, not baseball cards. When man landed on the moon in '69 I was sitting next to the TV with my new little reel to reel tape recorder holding the mic up. I wanted to record the event for historical purposes, in case there was no one else on the planet bothering to capture the moment (sound-wise).
I'm gonna work a few of these cards into this '69 season page.