Jul 22, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: The 1969 MLB All Star Game

July 23rd 1969: MLB All Star Game- Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington D.C.


Gil Hodges- Willie Mays & Leo Durocher
The 40th Mid Summer Classic was originally scheduled for the night of July 22nd, but heavy rains caused the game to be postponed. It was then played in the afternoon of the next day, July 23rd. To date it's the last All Star Game to be played in the daytime.

The game was played on the historic day that Apollo 11 was to return to earth & splash down in the Pacific Ocean, fresh off the first United States moon landing. President Richard Nixon was to throw out the first pitch on Tuesday night but after the game was rained out, he had to go west to greet the astronauts & his VP Spiro Agnew tossed out the first pitch.

Koosman & Seaver with Ted Williams
The game featured a talented group of players that produced 20 Hall Of Famers. The game was broadcast on NBC with Curt Gowdy calling the play by play, Tony Kubek & Mickey Mantle served as analyst. 45,259 fans came out to see the game live. The managers were Detroit Tigers' Mayo Smith & the St. Louis Cardinals' Red Schoendienst.

The Mets Cleon Jones, who was one of the leagues leading hitters, got the start in left field batting 6th. Mets pitchers Tom Seaver & Jerry Koosman also represented the Mets. Seaver did not pitch due to stiffness in his arm.



Starting Lineups



    Former Brooklyn & NY Giants Foes
    The Tigers' Denny McLain, who had won 31 games in 1968 & would lead the league again in wins in 1969 (24) was scheduled to start for the AL, but he arrived late for the game. 

    Mel Stottlemyre (future Mets coach) got the start in McLain's absence. McLain would pitch the 4th inning, allowing a McCovey HR, a hit & two walks.

    In the top of the 1st, Matty Alou led off with a base hit. He advanced to second & then third on pitcher Mel Stottlemyre's wild pitch. He scored on Frank Robinson's error. 

    In the 2nd, the Mets Cleon Jones led off with an infield single. The Cincinnati Reds Johnny Bench hit a two run HR making it 3-0. Bench would get robbed of a second HR by Boston's Carl Yastremski later in the game.

    In the home half of the 2nd inning, the local All Star hero, Frank Howard hit a solo HR delighting the fans. Howard hit 44 or more HRs in each season from 1968-1970, leading the AL twice.



    McCovey HRs
    In the 3rd with Oakland's Blue Moon Odom now on the mound, Hank Aaron singled & Willie McCovey blasted a two run shot. McCovey was the 1969 NL MVP leading the league in HRs (45) & RBIs (126) for the second straight year. He also led in On base % & slugging.

    Cleon Jones then reached on an error & Bench singled. Then future 1973 Met, Felix Millan, a member of the 1969 NL Western Champion Atlanta Braves, doubled scoring Cleon & Bench. 

    Jerry Koosman pitches 7th Inning
    Pitcher, Steve Carlton then also doubled bringing in Millan for a commanding 8-1 NL lead.

    In the home 3rd, Tigers catcher Bill Freehan led off with a HR making it 8-3. In the 4th, Willie McCovey hit his second HR of the game, earning him MVP honors.

    In the 6th inning, Cleon Jones got his second hit of the game, a single off a Baltimore Oriole pitcher, he would face in that years World Series, Dave McNally. Jones along with McCovey, Johnny Bench & Matty Alou, all had two hits on the day.

    In the 7th inning, the Mets youngster Jerry Koosman came on to pitch. After allowing a lead off double to Boston's Rico Petrocelli he retired the next three batters, including striking out Baltimore's Brooks Robinson. Brooks would face Kooz again in the World Series.

    In the 8th Koosman got Carl Yastremski & Paul Blair (another Oriole he'd face in the World Series) to both fly out. Phil Niekro came on to close out the 9th for the NL. The NL won it 9-3 with 11 NL hits & 6 AL hits.

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