SWOBODA: One of the Amazins.
There were signs prior to their showdown series against the Cubs that 1969 had the potential to be a breakout, if not special season.
The Mets always had their troubles against the Giants, and finding little ways to win was never their forte. However, on this day in 1969 the Mets completed a three-game sweep of San Francisco at Shea Stadium, winning 5-4 on Ron Swoboda’s bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning.
Swoboda signed with the Mets after playing one year at the University of Maryland, and debuted with the team in 1965. Swoboda hit 15 homers by the All-Star break, but finished the season with 19, then a Mets’ rookie record (broken by Darryl Strawberry in 1983).
For all his strength, Swoboda never became a big time home run hitter and finished his career with 73. He will always be remembered for hitting a pair of two-run homers off Steve Carlton, Sept. 15, 1969, and robbing Brooks Robinson of extra bases with a diving catch in right field in Game 4 of the World Series.
SWOBODA CAREER STATS
Good morning folks. Anything that makes one laugh out loud is something to share. Such is the case with this note. There are a lot of funny nuggets in Mets lore, but this one is a gem.
On this date in 1964, the Mets scored a then club record 19 runs in a 19-1 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
As the story goes, a fan called a New York newspaper and asked, “How did the Mets do today?’’
He was told they scored 19 runs.
After a pause, the fan asked, “Did they win?’’
Actually, in reading about those days, its plausible to think it happened.
It would have been interesting to follow them as an expansion team. If anybody has any early-year stories, please share.
Dillon Gee will be the latest to attempt to halt the Mets’ slide, which is at three games.
After getting waxed 11-1 last night by the Cubs in response to owner Fred Wilpon’s comments about payroll and calling out three of his key players, the Mets are in need of an emotional overhaul.
“We’re going to move on,’’ Mets manager Terry Collins said, reading the cliché handbook. “Just chalk it up as a game we didn’t play very good. We didn’t pitch as well as we can.’’
The Mets are again on the offensive skids with 14 runs scored in their last seven games.
NOTEBOOK: David Wright had a second opinion on the stress fracture in his lower back, and the original diagnosis was confirmed. … Angel Pagan is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday. … The news isn’t good on Ike Davis, whose foot is still sore, so he’ll remain on the disabled list.
After kicking away Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium, the Mets are in Chicago tonight to face the Cubs.
When you look at Mets’ history they’ve have periodic rivals. In 1969 and again in 1973, the Cubs were a big deal on their schedule. There’s also been the Pirates, the Braves and the Phillies.
One of my favorite sports books is “The Year the Mets Lost Last Place,’’ which documented a three-series stretch in 1969. Every now and then I’ll pick up the book and start to read. It always is fresh.
Mets at Cubs used to be in the afternoon, but that’s another lost tradition. Night games at Wrigley Field? I still don’t like it.
Here’s tonight’s line-up:
Jose Reyes, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
Willie Harris, CF
Ronny Paulino, C
Ruben Tejada, 2B
Jonathan Niese, LP
COMMENTS: The first game after Fred Wilpon threw Reyes and Beltran under the bus. Not inaccurate comments, but it does make you wonder what the agenda is here.
Not even chemistry would make Todd Hundley the player he was supposed to be. On this date in 1996, Hundley homered from both sides of the plate and drove in a career-high seven runs in a 14-5 victory at San Francisco.
HUNDLEY: Enjoyed career day on this date.
Hundley would hit 41 homers that season, but never again had a year that approached those numbers. According to the Mitchell Report, Hundley started using steroids that season after never hitting more than 16 prior to that year.
Hundley, the son of former major league catcher Randy Hundley, hit 124 homers in nine seasons with the Mets, and after stints with the Dodgers and Cubs, finished with 202 career homers when he retired after the 2003 season.
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine and Hundley feuded after the manager suggested his catcher needed more sleep, in reference to his late-night party image.
After Mike Piazza was acquired in May of 1998, it was apparent Hundley was done with the Mets and was traded to the Dodgers after that season.
Four years after his retirement, Hundley was named in the Mitchell Report along with another Mets catcher, Paul Lo Duca, for using performance enhancing drugs.
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