Jul 29, 2009

Today In Mets History: 1969- Gil Hodges Removes Cleon Jones From Left Field

JULY 30, 1969: By no means do I mean to bash Cleon Jones, he is one of my favorite all time Mets and is a big part of Mets history. But Cleon did have some drama during his playing days as documented on the July 27 posting & todays as well. We still love ya Cleon!!
The Houston Astros come into a wet Shea Stadium and dominate the Mets. In the first game of a double header, the Astros behind the pitching of Don Wilson, pummel the Mets 16-3. In the second game Larry Dierker allows 12 hits & 5 runs but the Astros pound Gary Gentry & Nolan Ryan for 11 runs to sweep the pair.

In the top of the third it was already 7-0 and Nolan Ryan replaced Gary Gentry. Astros catcher Johnny Edwards doubled to left field scoring Doug Rader. Mets left fielder Cleon Jones who had been nursing an ankle injury, slowly went after the ball and weakly tossed it to the infield. Next thing everyone knew manager Gil Hodges was out of the dugout & walking past the mound. Ryan had just pitched to one batter, Gil didn’t want him. Bud Harrelson thought he was coming for him but couldn’t figure what he did wrong, Hodges walked past the short stop. Cleon Jones who also thought Gil was going to Harrelson now knew he was coming for him. The rest of the team held their breath; “I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of this” though Tom Seaver.

According to Cleon Jones he said Hodges told him “that ankle is bothering you, you better come out, if you’re nursing it like that”. Jones at first said “ I told you I can play through it Gil, the grass is just wet”. Hodges pulled him from the game. He walked away with a dejected Cleon Jones a few feet behind him with his head down. Hodges just proved to his team that he would not settle for anything else but 100% from his players, always, no matter what the score is. At the time Jones was leading the N.L. in hitting, the rest of the players said, if he can remove the league’s batting leader he could remove any of us. From this day on the 1969 Mets went 45-19 the best in baseball.


youngjet said...

Could you imagine a manager trying that stunt today? He'd be fired dealing with today's egomaniacs.

The Mets allow players, coaches and executives to by-pass superiors to talk with the owners. Wonder why they drop balls and throw balls away?? No accountability..

Long live Gil!!!

Seamus O Riley said...

It was before money took over the dignity of the game.