50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets (April 20th 1969): Mets Score Season High 11 Runs For the First of Four Times
50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"
The Mets had won Saturday's game as two Hall of Famers battled, Tom Seaver out dueling Bob Gibson 2-1. Todays starters were the young Jim McAndrew for the Mets taking on veteran Nelson Briles.
Trivia: Briles was a 19 game winner the previous year but was 0-1 in the World Series loss to the Detroit Tigers. He had a 1.64 ERA going 1-0 in the 1967 World Series win over the Boston Red Sox. Briles an accomplished singer, would sing the National Anthem at Shea Stadium, in the 1973 World Series.
In the bottom of the 1st it looked as though it was to be the Cardinal's day, as they beat up Mets starter Jim McAndrew for three runs, four hits a walk & a Lou Brock stolen base. A Mets double play ended the inning that could have been a lot worse. Joe Torre led that inning with a two run HR.
Trivia: Joe Torre would drive in 100 runs in 1969, the first of three straight years. He would drive in 100 or more runs five times in his career & win the 1971 MVP Award. He spent five years with the Cards beginning in 1969 (1969-1974).
Mets owner Joan Payson had tried to bring Torre to the Mets a few times, but no deals ever panned out. Torre finally arrived with the Mets in 1975 finishing out his playing career there & starting out his managerial career there as well.
In the top of the 2nd, Cleon Jones led off with a double. With two outs, Jerry Grote started out his big hitting day as he doubled in Jones with the Mets first run.
McAndrew was done by the 4th inning, with 3 innings pitched he gave up three runs five hits, a walk & a HR, ballooning his ERA to a whopping 11.32.
Nolan Ryan would come in for the Mets and be outstanding. In 4.1 innings getting into the 8th inning, Ryan allowed no runs on one hit with four walks & four Ks. Ryan was still having control issues in his early years. Today Ryan earned his first win of the season, as he would go 6-3 on the year as a starter (10 games) & reliever (15 games) while striking out 92 batters in 89 innings.
The Mets exploded in the top of the 5th, knocking out Nellie Briles (six runs on six hits) being relieved by Mike Torrez. Jerry Grote started out with a walk, then young infielder Kevin Collins hit his first HR of the year tying the game.
Trivia: Collins spend parts of four seasons with the Mets, getting traded at the traded deadline to the Expos in the deal that brought Donn Clendenon to New York. In 89 games he batted .209 with 2 HRs 15 RBIs.
The Mets then loaded the bases as Bud Harrelson & Ken Boswell singled with Cleon Jones drawing a walk. Torrez came into pitch & walked Ed Kranepool then surrendered a two run double to Ron Swoboda. It was now 6-3 Mets.
In the 7th, the Mets collected two more runs off Torrez as with two outs, Cleon Jones singled. Ed Kranepool then doubled as did Ron Swoboda. It was 8-3 Mets.
In the top of the 9th with new Cards' pitcher Gary Waslewski on the mound, Jerry Grote completed his big day at the bat. After Cleon & Kranepool singled, Swoboda drew a walk. Grote then doubled clearing the bases making it 11-3 Mets. Cal Koonce closed out the game for the Mets, retiring the Cards.
Mets notes: The 11 runs would be a season high for the 1969 World Champs, but they match the total & would score 11 runs three more times on the season.
On the day Jerry Grote drove in a season high four runs. He & Cleon Jones both collected three hits. At this point Jones was batting .426 while Ed Kranepool, Ken Boswell & Ron Swoboda were all over .310. Ron Swoboda had three RBIs on the day as well.