Remembering Mets History (1969) Ed Kranepool's Walk Off Hit Shows First Place Cubs These Mets Are Amazing

Tuesday July 8th, 1969: The 1969 Amazing Mets were continuing to play well into July & were now breathing down the necks of the first place Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs were still not taking the Mets seriously enough, but this week's exciting head-to-head action opened their eyes as well as all of the baseball worlds. These games can possibly be looked at as the biggest turning points of the 1969 Miracle Mets season.

Gil Hodges Mets (46-34) sent Jerry Koosman to the mound, as they hosted Leo Durocher's Cubs (53-32) with Ferguson Jenkins pitching for Chicago. The Cubs had a 4/12 game lead over the Mets, the game began in front of 55,096 excited Mets fans at Shea Stadium.

Cubs- Don Young
In the 1st the Cubs Don Kessinger led off with a bunt base hit, trying to stir things up. The Cubs would leave two men on as Koosman struck out Ernie Banks to end the inning. In the 2nd, the Cubs got a pair of singles & another Koosman walk to load the bases. But Kooz settled in struck out Kessinger & got Glenn Beckert to fly out, ending that threat.

Both pitchers held each team scoreless until the bottom of the 5th inning, when the Mets Ed Kranepool hit a solo HR, his 8th HR of the season. The Cubs answered in the 6th as future Hall of Famer; Ernie Banks tied the game with a solo HR of his own.

In the 7th the pitcher Jenkins led off with a walk, he was sacrificed over & was brought in by a Glen Beckert single making it 2-1 Cubs. Former Met, Jim Hickman added a solo HR in the 8th inning, putting the Cubs up 3-1.

Jenkins shut the Mets down 1-2-3 in the 7th & 8th innings. He was working on a one hitter at that point, the only hit being Kranepool's HR. He took the mound in the bottom of the 9th with a 3-1 lead.

The Mets Ken Boswell led off & roped a shot to center field. The Cubs outfielder Don Young first broke back on the ball & then rushed in after misjudging it.

 But it was too late, it dropped as Boswell scampered into second base with a double. 

Quotes- Cubs Catcher Randy Hundley: "Anyone who has ever played center field in Shea Stadium in a day game, knows the sun is very difficult."

After Tommie Agee flew out, Donn Clendenon pinch hit for Bobby Pfeil. The big man, hit a shot to left center field that once again, outfielder Don Young could not get. The ball popped out of his glove as he slammed into the Shea outfield wall.

Clendenon was credited with a double, but Boswell had to hold up at third.

Cleon Jones one of the top hitters in the league at .352, then doubled down the left field line scoring both runners tying the game. The Shea crowd went wild. 

Jenkins remained in the game & Art Shamsky was intentionally walked. Wayne Garrett then grounded out to second, advancing the runners with two outs.

Ed Kranepool came up and delivered a single to shallow left center field, Cleon Jones raced home with the game winning walk off run.

The Mets had a thrilling 4-3 afternoon win, delighting the big Shea crowd who were absolutely going nuts. The Mets were now just 4.5 games behind the Cubs.

Quotes: Mets Broadcaster Lindsey Nelson- "It's absolute bedlam here at Shea Stadium"!

After the game, the Cubs Ron Santo lectured his teammate Don Young about his two outfield plays that were miscued although no errors were charged to him.

Santo then criticized the rookie Young to the press "He was thinking about himself. He had a bad day at the plate, so he's got his head down. He's worrying about his batting average, not the team." The next day Santo who was totally out of line, apologized.


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