1969 Mets: World Series Game #3- Agee Makes Two Spectacular Catches & Ryan Saves the Day

Tuesday October 14th 1969- Shea Stadium, New York:

For the very first time in it's history, Shea Stadium hosted a World Series game. 56,335 Mets fans filed into Shea Stadium to see the Amazing Mets (100-62) go against the Baltimore Orioles (109-53). 

The series was tied at one game each, after the split in Baltimore.

Manager Gil Hodges sent his rookie  pitcher; Gary Gentry (13-12 / 3.43 ERA / 154 Ks) to the mound against O's Manager Earl Weaver's future Hall of Famer; Jim Palmer (16-4 / 2.34 / 123 Ks).

But this day would belong to Mets center fielder; Tommy Agee. Agee put on one of the best defensive displays in World Series history & a key hit as well. 

The festivities got under way, as Roy Campanella was honored in a pre game ceremony & tossed out the ceremonial first pitch. Campanella the former Brooklyn Dodger & team mate of Mets Manager Gil Hodges, was a three time MVP who played in five World Series. 

 Starting Lineups

In the 1st inning an excited Shea crowd settled in for the big game. Gentry took the mound & struck out Don Buford for the first out. 

Paul Blair flew out but Gentry walked Frank Robinson. But Boog Powell grounded out to second base to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 1st, Tommie Agee led off & gave the Shea crowd something to cheer about right away. He blasted a HR to left center field, putting the Mets on the board with 1-0. 

It was Agee's first hit of the Series after going hitless in the first two games.

Gentry got through the 2nd inning 1-2-3.
Palmer got the first two outs in the bottom of the 2nd, then Jerry Grote walked. Bud Harrelson followed with a single into center field.

Next up Pitcher; Gary Gentry came up and  surprised everyone with a double down the left field line scoring both runners, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. Gentry had only six hits (one double) & one RBI all season long in 84 at bats.

In the 4th, Gentry started the inning by striking out Paul Blair looking. Then Frank Robinson & Boog Powell both reached with base hits. In a big spot, Gentry struck out Brooks Robinson for the second out. Catcher, Elrod Hendricks came to bat.

Hendricks ripped a Gary Gentry pitch in to the left center field gap. Tommy Agee ran a long long way, stuck out his glove & made a spectacular catch grabbing the ball backhanded in the glove's webbing. 

He ran up against the green
Shea Stadium wooden wall, with the ball, like a snow cone hanging on the top of his glove. 

The spectacular catch, saved two runs & was the third out of the inning, ending the threat. The Shea crowd went wild, standing & cheering in amazement. 

Even NBC broadcasted Curt Gowdy let out a suprising scream of excitement as Agee made the catch "what a grab, Tom Agee saved two runs".

In the 4th inning, Jim Palmer walked Bud Harrelson, he then had him picked off of first base but his throw was wild. The error got Harrelson to second, but he was stranded there when Gary Gentry struck out.

Gentry got through the 5th inning with three straight ground ball outs. In the bottom of the 5th, Palmer walked Wayne Garrett but got Cleon Jones to fly out & Art Shamsky to ground out to Davey Johnson.

In the top of the 6th, Gentry got the first two outs & then walked Frank Robinson. Boog Powell then singled, sending Robinson to third. With runners on the corners, Brooks Robinson flew out to Shamsky in right field, ending another threat.

In the home 6th, Ken Boswell led off with a single and then scored when Jerry Grote doubled to left field, giving the Mets a big 4-0 lead. Palmer then struck out Harrelson & Gentry to stop any more damage.

Gary Gentry rolled along into the 7th inning. He retired the first two batters on fly balls. Elrod Hendricks fly ball was close, as it was caught in deep right center field.

Gentry, then got wild. He walked Mark Belanger, pinch hitter Dave May & Don Buford. 

Manager Gil Hodges came out, realizing Gentry had tired & took the ball from him. The Shea Stadium crowd gave him a nice ovation for the rookie's great effort. 

From the bullpen, came the young fire ball throwing; Nolan Ryan. Ryan was last seen, pitching in relief of Gentry in Game #3 of the NLCS at Shea Stadium, sealing the win.

Ryan served up a fastball to Paul Blair that he got a hold of & ripped to the right center field gap. Once again, Tommie Agee got on his horse, this time dashing to his left. He stretched out his glove and made a sliding diving grab, saving at least two more runs from scoring. 

The Orioles threat & the inning was over. Tommie Agee had made two of the greatest catches in World Series history, both in the same game, saving at least four runs. He certainly helped demoralize the mighty Orioles with another nail in their coffin.

The Shea Stadium crowd cheered once again, with a standing ovation. Now everyone was in America was witnessing the Amazing Mets. Tommy Agee secured his place in Mets history & in the hearts of Mets fans forever.

The crowd of 56,335 gave Agee another standing ovation as  he led off the bottom of the 7th inning. He reached base with a walk. But reliever Dave Leonhard stopped the Mets there, ending the inning.

Nolan Ryan breezed through the 8th inning, getting Frank Robinson to fly out, albeit to deep left center field. Ryan then struck out Boog Powell looking & Brooks Robinson swinging. The crowd went wild once again.

In the bottom of the 8th, Ed Kranepool added a solo HR of his own making it 5-0 Mets.

In the 9th, Ryan got the first two outs on fly balls. He then walked Mark Belanger. Pinch hitter; Clay Dalrymple then singled & Ryan walked Don Buford to load the bases. 

Ryan then struck out Paul Blair looking to end the game. New York took a two games to one lead & got closer to the Miracle.

Overall, young Gary Gentry went 6.2 shut out innings, allowing three hits, striking out four & walking five. 

In relief, Nolan Ryan pitched 2.1 innings, giving up no runs with one hit, striking out three Orioles & walking two, earning the World Series save.

Trivia: It was the only time Nolan Ryan ever pitched in a World Series in his 23 year career.


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