50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Spring Training 1969 (Part 2)

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

After MLB & the Players Association came to an agreement, it was time for the clubs to sign their players. The Mets immediately signed their two ace pitchers, the guys Mets President Johnny Murphy called " the teams untouchables". Tom Seaver & Jerry Koosman were deemed untradeable in that years winter conversations with other clubs.

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.


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