50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"
Sunday August 17th 1969: After the Mets had swept yesterday's doubleheader Gil Hodges Mets (65-51) were playing great baseball, but were still nine games behind the Chicago Cubs & tied for second with the St. Louis Cardinals.
On this Sunday, the Mets & Padres were playing another double header. Today was also another Shea classic; it was "Banner Day" a tradition since the Mets second season, 1963 in the Polo Grounds.
A crowd of 35711 came out for the festivities & the twin bill. Jerry Koosman took the mound against Joe Neikro.
First Game: Jerry Koosman came out and threw a complete game five hit shutout . There was mo need to use the bullpen, giving them a nice rest. Kooz sailed along striking out five & walking only two while earning his 10th win of the year (10-8). Koosman had lost his last outing on August 12th, but would only lose one more game the rest of the way going 8-1 in the regular season.
The Mets were down 2-0 into the 5th, when Bud Harrelson & Donn Clendenon both singled off Joe Neikro. Then, catcher Duffy Dyer hit his second HR of the year, a three run shot, to put the Mets ahead for good 3-2. (Dyer would only hit three HRs all season).
Night Cap: In this game, the Mets handed the woeful Padres their tenth loss in a row & fourth loss in two days at Shea Stadium.
Gil Hodges gave Mets pitcher Don Cardwell the start and he was outstanding. Cardwell would not allow any runs through seven innings pitched. He allowed eight hits, walked three & struck out three as well. The win got him to 5-9 on the year. He would start 21 of his 31 appearances inn 1969.
In the home 7th, Ed Kranepool singled & Al Weis came in as a pinch runner. Jerry Grote then walked putting two on. Bud Harrelson then tripled to the deepest part of the ballpark in centerfield, scoring both runners, making it 2-0. J.C. Martin then hit a sac fly to score Harrelson, making it 3-0.
Mets reliever, Cal Koonce started the 8th with a 3-0 lead but ran into trouble.
Ollie Brown reached on an error & then back to back singles from Al Ferarra & Larry Stahl gave the Padres their first run. Koonce exited & Ron Taylor, the Mets ace of the bullpen in '69, saved it ending the threat & pitching a scoreless 9th. It was Taylor's 12th save of the year.
The Mets started a six game winning streak at that point and a twelve out of fourteen winning stretch taking them to the end of August. They were getting very hot and everyone was contributing to get wins. They took over sole possession of second place & were eight behind the Cubs. The Miracle was gaining momentum.