Oct 4, 2020

1969 Mets: NLCS Game #3: The Mets Win The Pennant

Monday October 6th 1969, NLCS GAME #3- Shea Stadium, New York: There is no doubt that Shea Stadium in New York City was the place to be on this historic day in Mets history. 54,195 excited Amazing Mets fans filled Shea Stadium with the hottest ticket this side of the moon. 

It was the first Post season game in Mets history to be played at Shea Stadium. It was actually the first Championship Series game ever played in New York baseball history too for that matter.

The Mets had taken the first two games of the series in Atlanta & were looking to clinch in a sweep at home. 

Mets Manager; Gil Hodges sent young rookie pitcher, Gary Gentry (13-12 / 3.43 ERA / 154 Ks) to the mound, as Atlanta Braves Manager; Lum Harris sent Pat Jarvis (13-11 / 4.43 ERA / 123 Ks) to oppose him. 

All the world tuned in to NBC to watch the Amazing Mets make history.

Starting Lineups

The Braves hottest hitter;  Hank Aaron greeted Gentry in the 1st inning with a two run HR, putting Atlanta up onthe board first. Aaron would hit .357 (5-14) in the series with 3 HRs 7 RBIs. Aaron drove in seven of the Braves 15 runs.

In the home 1st, Tommie Agee led off with a double. But he was erased on line drive back to the pitcher, in which Jarvis turned into a double play. Cleon Jones singled but the inning was over when Art Shamsky got caught looking at a third strike.

In the top of the 3rd inning Gentry surrendered two hits to start the inning, a single to Tony Gonzalez & a double to Hank Aaron. 

Manager Gil Hodges felt he saw enough in Gentry, he took out Gentry and brought in his young fireballer Nolan Ryan (6-3 / 3.53 ERA / 125 Ks). 

Ryan who was still known to be wild & have control issues, was a bold choice for Hodges. 

But since it was a long relief situation, he felt the youngster was the right guy & was he ever.

Ryan struck out Rico Carty & after an intentional pass to Cepeda, struck out Clete Boyer looking. 

Ryan would give up a two run HR to Cepeda in the 5th, but that would be it. In the 6th & 7th innings he retired the sides in order.

In the 8th he gave up two base hits but in between that he struck out Cepeda & Boyer both looking, electrifying the crowd. 

In seven innings of work, the flame throwing Ryan struck out seven, four of them left looking at the third strike as it blew by them. 

He gave up two runs on two hits with two walks.

 It was one of his biggest outings as a Met or in his career, up to that point in his young history.

Tommie Agee got the Mets on the board in the 3rd inning with his second HR of the Series, a solo shot off Jarvis, making it 2-1. 

In the home 4th, Art Shamsky singled to right field to lead off the inning. Then it was Ken Boswell once again, the new Mets slugger hit his second HR of the Series, a two run shot, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. Cepeda's HR put Atlanta ahead once again 4-3.

But the ’69 Mets never stayed down for to long, in the bottom of the frame, Nolan Ryan led off with a base hit. 

Then Wayne Garrett, who had hit just one HR all season in 400 at bats, blasted a shot over the right field fence putting the Mets ahead 6-4. The Mets never lost the lead & never looked back.

Cleon Jones doubled, knocking out the starter Pat Jarvis, he was removed in favor of future Mets pitcher, George Stone. Stone got Shamsky to ground out for the second out.

Next, the hot hitting Kenny Boswell singled, bringing in Jones to make it 6-4 Mets. 

For Boswell, It was his third hit & third RBI of the day. Boswell would lead all Met hitters with five RBIs in this NLCS. His four hits were second best to Tommie Agee & Wayne Garrett, who both collected five hits.

In the home 6th, Jerry Grote doubled & was sacrificed over to second base by Bud Harrelson. Tommie Agee added another hit, as he singled to left field, with his fourth RBI of the Series, topping off the 7-4 Mets win & clinching of the pennant.

The Shea Stadium crowd were on their feet & ready to explode as the 9th inning began. Nolan Ryan took the mound as the anticipation & the excitement built.

First, Bob Aspromonte, flew out to Agee in center for the first out. Future Met Felix Millan, then grounded out to short stop Harrelson.

The crowd were now ready to storm the field, as the unthinkable was about to happen. 

Braves batter, Tony Gonzales grounded to Wayne Garrett and as he threw the ball to first baseman; Ed Kranepool for the final out, the first Miracle happened, The New York Mets won the NL Pennant & were headed to the World Series!

Mets broadcaster; Lindsey Nelson proclaimed " the Mets win the pennant, the Mets win the pennant". 

The Shea crowd went absolutely nuts, charging onto the field & tearing it apart. The Mets players ran to the dugout for their safety. 

By the time the fans were done & had all exited, The Shea Stadium playing field looked like the surface of the moon.

The Miracle Mets or the Amazing Mets as they were also know as, were the National League Champions, winning the hearts of millions & forever becoming the face for all underdogs. 

They celebrated in the locker room as the champagne flowed. 

The New York Mets had five days to prepare for the World Series where they would play the Baltimore Orioles & represent the National League. It was a wild scene. 

Nolan Ryan & Joe Pignatano during post game interview

Jerry Grote & Rod Gaspar celebrate with NY Mayor John Lindsay

Joan Hodges congratulates her husband Gil.

After all the celebrations on the field & in the locker room, pitchers Tom Seaver & Gary Gentry went back on the field to view the damage on the playing surface. It was to be quite a job for the grounds crew to fix up for the World Series!

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