The 1969 New York Mets- were the Amazing Mets. The doormat of the National League for the first seven years of their existence with 5 10th place [last place] finishes and 2 9th place finishes. In 1968 they finished 9th with a record of 73-89 24 games out of first place. It was their best record ever. While they were showing improvement no one would have predicted the miracle of 1969- when the New York Mets- the lovable losers- would win the World Series. Everything went perfectly that year for the Mets. There were certainly no expectations. They really only had two everyday players in their starting line-up -outfielders Cleon Jones and Tommie Agee. The rest of the positions were platoon- who started depended on whether it was a left handed or right handed pitcher going against them. It all worked perfectly. The players knew their roles and they all seemed to rise to the occasion when it was needed. They also had a very good pitching staff led by the great Tom Seaver [the greatest pitcher I have ever seen.] Nolan Ryan was also on that team but at this point he was 22 years old and a star of the future [but not with the Mets.] One of the scrubeenies who had his moments of fame that year was outfielder Ron Swoboda.
In 100 years Ron Swoboda will still have a secure place in baseball history. He was one of the Met heroes that amazing summer/fall. He hit .400 in that World Series against the Orioles but what he will always be remembered for his diving catch on Brooks Robinson’s line-drive to right field. The Mets were up 1-0- and the Orioles did score on this play- the runner at third tagged up and scored- but this catch helped to save the day for the Mets- who would win in the 10th inning and take a 3 games to 1 lead over the Orioles. One of the great catches -and moments in World Series history. Swoboda wasn’t known for his glove. When he came up to the Mets in 1965 manager Casey Stengel said of Rocky Swoboda ‘ Amazing strength. Amazing bat. He will be great, super, wonderful. Now if he could only learn to catch a flyball.” Who would have known- that is place in history would be -his amazing diving catch of a flyball.