Remembering Mets History (1969) Mets Click Their Heels After Taking Two at Wrigley Field

As the Summer of '69 moved on, the New York Mets were surprising everyone with their winning ways. The Mets came into this big series at Wrigley Field in Chicago at 49-37, five games behind the Cubs. 

The Mets had taken two of three at Shea Stadium the previous week in dramatic fashion. They dropped the first game in Chicago but would take the next two.

After the Cubs had beat Tom Seaver 1-0 in the opener, the Cubs third base man Ron Santo jumped up clicking his heels while leaving the field.

This had been a tradition for Mr. Santo & it did not sit well with the Mets. The Amazing's thought
 it was a bush league move, a sign of disrespect & they wanted revenge. It proved to be motivation for the young team.

Tuesday, July 15th, 1969- Today the Mets sent rookie Gary Gentry (8-7) to the mound to face a former teammate & Tom Seaver's childhood friend Dick Selma (9-3). Selma who was mostly a started but had also done some relief work was on a personal seven game win streak dating back to May 4th.

After two scoreless innings, the Mets put up a run in the 2nd inning when Al Weis singled to left & Tommie Agee brought him in with a triple to center. Agee's fourth triple of the year. The Cubs responded in the bottom of the inning with a sac fly from Don Kessinger.

In the top of the 4th, Art Shamsky led off with a base hit, Ed Kranepool added a one out base hit as well. Then with two outs, Al Weis hit one of his two HRs of the regular season, a three-run blast off Selma. 

Trivia: Al Weis, a Long Island native was a Mets backup infielder known for his glove work. Weis was brought over by manager Gil Hodges from the White Sox where he played six seasons. This was Weis' first HR of the season; he would hit another tomorrow as well. In his career Weis hit just seven regular season HRs & batted .219.

In the 1969 World Series he batted .455 with a big HR in the series clinching Game #5 & he drove in three runs as well.

In the top of the 5th, Ken Boswell added a solo shot as the Mets won it 5-4. The Cubs got an RBI single from Ernie Banks, then in the 8th inning, back-to-back solo HRs from Billy Williams & Ron Santo off Gary Gentry. Mets reliever Ron Taylor came on for the four out save which included two strike outs in the 9th inning. 

Wednesday, July 16th, 1969- In the rubber game, a full house of 36,795 packed Wrigley Field, and all the transistor radios in New York were tuned in on this Wednesday afternoon.  

Future Cubs Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins (12-6) took the hill for Chicago facing the Mets Don Cardwell (3-8). Jenkins would lead the NL in strikeouts in 1969 (273) & win 21 games. He won twenty or more games six straight seasons. The Mets Don Cardwell had spent two seasons with the Cubs throwing a no hitter & winning 15 games in 1961. At 33 years old, he was known as the old man of the Mets young staff.

In the top of the 1st, the Mets got to Ferguson Jenkins as they sent nine men to the plate & scored four runs. Tommie Agee led off with a doubled and scored on Ken Boswell's base hit. Cleon Jones who was batting .346 among the league's leaders singled and stole his 13th base of the year. 
Wayne Garrett was intentionally walked and Ed Kranepool singled home Jones making it 2-0.

Then, Mets backup catcher J.C. Martin (a .227 hitter) drove a base hit to left field scoring two more Mets runs. It was a 4-0 Mets lead.

In the top of the 2nd, Tommy Agee hit his 16th HR of the year, to make it 5-0. Cleon Jones & Art Shamsky both singled, then Wayne Garrett grounded to the pitcher, the speedy Jones scored on the throw to first making it 6-0 New York.

The Mets starter Don Cardwell got knocked out in the 2nd inning, after giving up four runs on six hits. The Cubs got RBI singles from Randy Hundley, Don Kessinger, Glen Beckert & Billy Williams. as they made a game of it. 

The Mets Jim McAndrew relieved Cardwell. In the 3rd he gave up two lead off singles & was relieved by Cal Koonce. Koonce gave up a sac fly to Jimmy Qualls who had broken up Tom Seavers perfect game the week before. All of a sudden it was a one run game. 

But Koonce stopped the Cubs there as he shut out the Cub offense & scattered just four hits over the next five innings, in a stellar relief performance getting the win. Reliever, Ron Taylor closed out the 8th & 9th innings earning his 9th save of the year.
The Mets did add more three more runs, Al Weis "the mighty might" as he would be dubbed by Mets broadcaster Lindsey Nelson in the World Series, hit his second HR in two days, the only two HRs he would hit in the regular season. His homer led off the 5th inning off reliever Rich Nye.

In the 8th, Art Shamsky added a two run HR off Ted Abernathy, his 7th of the year making it 9-5 Mets.

Trivia: After the game, The Mets' Tom Seaver jumped & clicked his heels outside the Mets dugout while smirking over at Ron Santo & the Cubs dugout. The Mets were now just three games behind the Cubs & had taken six of the last eight games head-to-head. The young Mets sent a firm message to the Cubs & the rest of the league as well.


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