Saturday October 11th 1969- Memorial Stadium, Baltimore Maryland: It was finally here, after a Miracle season, an Amazing NLCS sweep & five days of anticipation, the New York Mets were playing in the World Series. A huge underdog to the Mighty Baltimore Orioles.
A crowd of 50,429 filled Memorial Stadium, although it was 2000 less than the stadium's capacity.
Gil Hodges sent baseballs winningest pitcher to the mound in Tom Seaver . He faced off against Cuban lefthander, twenty three game winner, Mike Cuellar.
Before the game, Tom Seaver posed with his nephew & Mets owner Joan Whitney Payson. All smiles & jitters as one of the most incredible World Series ever was about to start.
Things did not start out good for the New York Mets in the Series. In the 1st inning, Mike Cueller got Tommie Agee & Bud Harrelson to ground out. Cleon Jones did get a two out single but Donn Clendenon struck out to end the inning.
Tom Seaver took the mound & things went wrong. After a Cy YYoung season, his NLCS start was not good & neither was today.
The O's lead off batter Don Buford, took him deep. A long, deep fly ball to right had the Mets right fielder, Ron Swoboda leap up against a very shaky right field fence.
He crashed against the fence & fell down, as the ball went over the fence for a lead off HR.
As Buford rounded the bases he told short stop Bud Harrelson "You ain't seen nothing yet". Harrelson remembered years later "First batter, first inning, you ain't seen nothing yet either".
Seaver then struck out Paul Blair & Frank Robinson. Boog Powell singled but Brooks Robinson flew out for the third out.
Cueller got to 4th inning & gave up his second hit, a double to Donn Clendenon, as he collected his first Series hit. But Ron Swoboda flew out for the third out of the inning.
In the O's 4th, Seaver again had trouble. He got the first two outs, then a single to Elrod Hendricks & a walk to Davey Johnson. Next, Mark Belanger blooped a single to right, scoring Hendricks to make it 2-0.
If Cuellar & the Orioles bats weren't bad enough, the Mets had to put up with Brooks Robinson at third base. By count, Brooks dazzled the TV audiencee & the crowd with six sparkling plays at third. A 16 time Gold Glover & maybe the best ever at the position.
If Seaver wasn't having a bad enough day, pitcher Cuellar singled to bring in another run. Don Buford got his second hit, this time a double making it 4-0 Orioles.
Seaver certainly not his Cy Young self on this day & the Mets were shocked.
Cuellar continued to roll along, in the 7th Clendenon singled, his second hit of the start of a big World Series. Ron Swoboda walked but Ed Charles flew out. Jerry Grote singled but Clendenon couldn't score.
The bases were loaded for the bottom of the order. Al Weis flew out to left field scoring Clendenon with the Mets first & only run.
Trivia: The run ended a scoreless streak of 38 innings for the Oriole pitchers, going back to the 1966 Fall Classic.
Pinch hitter Rod Gaspar grounded out to third to end the threat as Cueller sealed his win.
As for the Game #1 pitchers, Seaver went five innings, allowed four runs on four hits, three strike outs & a walk.
Quotes- Tom Seaver: "O had good stuff for three & two thirds innings then lost it".
Mike Cuellar was outstanding, he went the distance, nine innings, allowing one run on six hits. He struck out eight & walked four.
Don Cardwell pitched a scoreless 6th & Ron Taylor closed out the game with two innings of scoreless work. Taylor struck out three & walked one.