50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Spring Training 1969 (Part 2)
50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"
The money seems nothing by todays standards bit was pretty good for 1969. Seaver got a 40% raise taking him tp $35,000 & Koosman who was just entering his second year, jumped from league minimum ($10,000) to $25,00, a substantial 65% increase.
Mets infielder Al Weis was also signed, Ken Boswell, Ed Kranepool & Art Shamsky have all agreed to sign over the phone. In the next few days, the only unsigned Mets, Tommie Agee, J.C. Martin & Ron Swoboda signed contacts as well.
As he signed Swoboda stressed a need to impress Gil Hodges & make up for his attitude last year. His moping in the outfield after striking out, his helmet throwing & temper tantrums, things Hodges saw as unprofessional.
The 1969 Mets seemed to open a few eyes during Spring Training. In mid March they beat the reigning, 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers 12-0. Two days later they clobbered the 1968 N.L. Champion St. Louis Cardinals 16-6, collecting an incredible 22 hits. Al Weis along with youngsters Ken Singleton & Amos Otis all homered for New York. In that game they Mets first six batters, hit safely & they scored seven runs in the 1st inning.
A two game exhibition series against the Minnesota Twins, was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the New Orleans Commission was trying to sell the idea of MLB there. After a rain out, a double header was played, where the Mets destroyed the Twins 12-4 with inside the park homers into a wooded area, by Jerry Grote & Cleon Jones.
In a five inning, shortened game in the night cap, where the teams had planes to catch, the Mets won easily 5-1. That game featured a 250ft pop fly HR by Bud Harrelson, in the strange ballpark.
The Mets finished their 1999 Spring Training 15-10 impressing some with a few of these big victories. But still, no one but Gil Hodges actually thought the Mets would win the NL East, let alone the World Series.