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, as that particular Orioles squad was (and still is by some baseball pundits) considered to be one of the finest ever. The World Series win earned the team the sobriquet "Miracle Mets," as they had risen from the depths of mediocrity (the 1969 team had the first winning record in Mets history).
Karl Ehrhardt, known as "the sign man" at Shea Stadium, held up a sign after the Mets won the final game: "There Are No Words." The Mets became the first expansion team to win a division title, a pennant, and the World Series, winning in their eighth year of existence. Two teams would later surpass that, as the Florida Marlins won the 1997 World Series in their fifth year (also becoming the first wild card team to win a World Series) and the Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series in their fourth year of play.
The 1969 World Series would later figure in the plot of the American movie Frequency.
|1||New York Mets - 1, Baltimore Orioles - 4||October 11||Memorial Stadium||50,429|
|2||New York Mets - 2, Baltimore Orioles - 1||October 12||Memorial Stadium||50,850|
|3||Baltimore Orioles - 0, New York Mets - 5||October 14||Shea Stadium||56,335|
|4||Baltimore Orioles - 1, New York Mets - 2 (10 innings)||October 15||Shea Stadium||57,367|
|5||Baltimore Orioles - 3, New York Mets - 5||October 16||Shea Stadium||57,397|
With this win, the Orioles looked to be proving all the prognosticators right, as it was a dominant performance. Don Buford led off the game for the Orioles by homering off Tom Seaver. The O's then added three more runs in the fourth when, with two outs, Elrod Hendricks singled and Davey Johnson walked. Mark Belanger then singled in a run, followed by an RBI single by pitcher Mike Cuellar. Buford would cap the inning off by doubling in Belanger.
The Mets got their run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by light-hitting Al Weis.
However, Koosman would lose both the no-hitter and the lead in the seventh as Paul Blair singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Brooks Robinson. But, that would be it for the Orioles' offense. The Mets pushed across a run in the top of the ninth on back-to-back-to-back singles by Ed Charles, Jerry Grote, and Al Weis, scoring Charles.
Koosman had trouble finishing the game, as he issued two-out walks in the bottom of the ninth to Frank Robinson and Boog Powell. Ron Taylor came on to retire Brooks Robinson for the final out and earn the save.
Agee led off the game for the Mets with a home run off of Jim Palmer, then saved at least five runs with his defense. With two out in the fourth and Oriole runners on first and third, Agee raced to the 396-foot sign in left-center and made a backhanded running catch of a drive hit by Elrod Hendricks. In the seventh, the Orioles had loaded the bases with two out, but Agee made a headfirst diving grab of a line drive hit by Paul Blair in right-center.
Ed Kranepool added a home run and Jerry Grote an RBI double for the Mets, while Gary Gentry pitched six shutout innings and helped his own cause with a 2nd-inning two-run double. Nolan Ryan, making what would be his only World Series appearance in his 27-year career, pitched the final three innings and earned a save.
Tom Seaver atoned for his Game 1 ineffectiveness by shutting the Orioles out through eight innings. Once again, Donn Clendenon provided the lead with a solo homer in the second. In the third inning, after arguing ball-strike calls too strenuously with plate umpire Shag Crawford, Earl Weaver of the Orioles became the first manager since 1935 to be ejected from a World Series game.
In the top of the ninth, Seaver ran into trouble. Frank Robinson and Boog Powell hit back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on first and third. Brooks Robinson then hit a sinking line drive towards right that Mets right fielder Ron Swoboda dove for and caught just inches off the ground. Frank Robinson tagged and scored, but Swoboda's heroics kept the Orioles from possibly taking the lead.
In the bottom of the tenth, Jerry Grote led off by blooping a double to left. Al Weis was intentionally walked, and Mets manager Gil Hodges sent J. C. Martin up to hit for Seaver. Martin laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Orioles reliever Pete Richert hit Martin in the wrist with his attempted throw to first. Rod Gaspar, running for Grote, came around to score the winning run.
Replays showed Martin was inside the first-base line, which hindered Richert from making a good throw. It was suggested that had the Orioles protested the call, claiming interference (which they never did), that the protest would have been disallowed since Martin did not intentionally interfere with the throw (as per Major League Baseball Official Rule 7.08[b]).
Dave McNally shut out the Mets through five innings and helped himself with a two-run homer in the third inning. Frank Robinson homered in the inning as well, and the Orioles looked to be cruising with a 3-0 lead.
But, in the sixth, McNally hit Cleon Jones on the foot with a pitch. McNally and the Orioles claimed the ball hit the dirt and not Jones, but Mets manager Gil Hodges showed the ball (which had skipped into the Mets dugout) to homeplate umpire Lou DiMuro. The umpire found a spot of shoe polish on the ball and awarded Jones first base. McNally then gave up Series MVP Donn Clendenon's third homer of the series (a record for a five-game World Series that still stands) to cut the lead to 3-2. Earlier, in the fifth, Mets' starter Jerry Koosman appeared to have hit Frank Robinson with a pitch, but DiMuro ruled that the pitch hit his bat before hitting him. Replays showed, however, that Robinson was indeed hit first.
In the seventh, the unheralded and light-hitting Al Weis tied the score with a solo homer. Weis only hit seven home runs in his big league career; this was his first home run ever at Shea Stadium. Weis would lead all batters in this series with a .455 average.
The Mets' winning runs scored in the eighth as Game 4 defensive hero Ron Swoboda doubled in Jones with the go-ahead run. Swoboda then scored when Jerry Grote's grounder was mishandled by first baseman Boog Powell and then dropped by the pitcher. Jerry Koosman would get the win, his second of the series.