1969 NLCS Preview: New York Mets vs
Atlanta Braves: during the regular season, the Mets had taken eight of twelve games from the Braves. The Braves entered the first ever NLCS as favorites with 13-10 odds.
When the 1969 season began, the Mets were rated 100-1 to win the NL East & the Braves were 50-1 to win the NL West.
Pitching: The Mets are all about pitching, this is why they got here & this is why they have the advantage. Cy Young Award Winner- Tom Seaver (25-7 / 208 Ks / 2.21 ERA) Jerry Koosman (17-9 / 180 Ks / 2.28 ERA) Gary Gentry (13-12 / 154 Ks / 3.43 ERA) Nolan Ryan (6-3 / 92 Ks in 89 innings / 3.53 ERA)
Ron Taylor (9-4 / 13 saves / 2.72 ERA) & Tug McGraw (9-3 / 12 Saves / 2.24 ERA) leading the bullpen.
For Atlanta, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro (23-13 / 193 Ks / 2.56 ERA) led the way. Ron Reed (18-10 / 160 Ks / 3.47 ERA) Pat Jarvis (13-11 / 123 Ks / 4..43 ERA) George Stone (13-10/ 102 Ks / 3.65 ERA).
Their bullpen was led by Cecil Upshaw 27 saves/ 6-4 / 2.91 ERA) & Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm who came over late in the year (in 8 games was 2-02 with 4 saves. 0.73 ERA).
New York Mets / Atlanta Braves 1969 Match Ups
First Base: The Braves future Hall of Famer, Orlando Cepeda (22 HRs 88 RBIs .257 Ave) had the advantage of the Mets platoon of Ed Kranepool (11 HRs 49 RBIs .238 Ave) & Donn Clendenon (12 HRs 37 RBIs .253 Ave.)
Second Base: Defensively & offensively the Braves Gold Glover in 1969, Felix Millan (6 HRs 57 RBIs 174 hits 23 doubles 98 runs scored) was far superior than Ken Boswell (3 HRs 32 RBIs 101 hits in 102 games & .279 Ave). In 1973 Millan would take Boswell's job as the Mets everyday second baseman.
Short Stop: The Mets Bud Harrelson (0 HR 24 RBIs 42 Runs scored .248 Ave.) was by far one of the leagues best defensive short stops & his guts & gritty play made him far superior than the Braves Gil Garrido (0 HR 10 RBIs .220 Ave.)
Third Base: Another big advantage to the Braves. Clete Boyer (14 HRs 16 doubles 57 RBIs .250 Ave) was nearing the end of his career but was still a good bat & won the Gold Glove at third that season.
The Mets were platooning veteran Ed Charles (3 HRs 18 RBIs .207 Ave in 61 games) & Rookie Wayne Garrett (1 HR 11 doubles 39 RBIs .218 Ave. in 124 games).
Centerfield: The Mets Tommie Agee was one of the leagues best (winning a Gold Glove in 1970) as he would prove in the World Series. Agee could hit for both power & average (.271 Ave.) leading the Mets in HRs (26) RBIs (76).
He also had great speed & stole bases (12 steals in 21 attempts). In Atlanta Tony Gonzales (10 HRs 50 RBIs .294 in 89 games) came on to fill in for an injured Felipe Alou.
Left Field: The Mets left fielder Cleon Jones, had the leagues third best average (.340). Jones led his team in hits (164) walks (64) on base % (.422%) doubles (25) & stolen bases (16). He was second in RBIs (75) & had hit 12 HRs as well. The Braves, Rico Carty did not qualify for the batting title, as he played in 104 games (.342 Ave. 16 HRs 58 RBIs). Carty would win the 1970 batting title (.366) & bat .299 life time.
Right Field: In right it was Braves all the way- Hall of Famer-Hank Aaron (44 HRs 30 doubles 97 RBIs .300 Ave.) In five years time he would become the all time HR leader. The Mets platooned Ron Swoboda (9 HRs 10 doubles 52 RBIs & a .235 Ave in 109 games) & Art Shamsky (14 HRs 47 RBIs .300 Ave in 100 games).
Catcher: Jerry Grote (6 HRs 12 doubles 40 RBIs 252. Ave.) certainly gets the nod over Bob Dider (0 HRs 32 RBIs .256 Ave in 114 games) both defensively & offensively. Grote threw out 56% of runners trying to steal on him.
Bench: The Mets get the edge on the bench too, since they will be platooning most of their position players.