The 1969 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five match-up between the East Division champion New York Mets and the West Division champion Atlanta Braves. The Mets defeated the Braves three games to none. They did not sweep a playoff series again until 2006 as they swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series in three games.
At that time, the New York Mets became the fastest expansion team to win a National League Pennant with only eight years of existence. Twenty-eight years later, in 1997, the Florida Marlins would break that record by reaching and winning the World Series with only five years of existence. Four years after the Marlins, the Arizona Diamondbacks would break that by reaching and winning the World Series in just their fourth year.
Nolan Ryan played for the Mets at the time, but he did not play until Game 3, which was the first playoff victory of his career.
|1969 National League Championship Series|
|Umpires||Al Barlick, Augie Donatelli, Ed Sudol, Ed Vargo, Chris Pelekoudas, Mel Steiner|
|Television||NBC (national broadcast)|
WSB-TV (Braves' broadcast)
WOR-TV (Mets' broadacast)
|TV announcers||NBC: Jim Simpson and Sandy Koufax (Game 1); Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek (Games 2–3)|
WSB-TV: Milo Hamilton and Ernie Johnson, Sr.
WOR-TV: Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, and Lindsey Nelson
This was the first year of the two-division format in Major League Baseball, after 99 consecutive years of straight non-divisional play.
This was the year of the "Miracle" Mets. The team had finished only one game better than last the year before, had never finished better than ninth in their seven-year history, were generally picked for third or fourth in the new six-team National League East Division, and were a 100-to-1 longshot to win the World Series. In third place and 10 games behind the division-leading Cubs on August 13, the Mets rallied to win the East Division title by eight games, winning exactly 100 games.
The Braves, led by Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda and Phil Niekro, won a tough five-team race in the West Division, and were favored over the Mets as the playoff began, despite the Mets having won seven more games than the Braves. In what was expected to be a pitching-rich series, the teams combined for 42 runs, batted .292, hit eleven home runs, and posted a combined 5.94 ERA in the three games. Hank Aaron hit three home runs for the Braves, while Tommy Agee and Ken Boswell hit two each for the Mets.
It was the first of five NL pennants for the Mets. The first two came in the only two NL series between 1969 and 1980 that did not feature a Pennsylvania team (the other being 1973.). The Braves would not reach the NLCS again until 1982, and would not win a game in the NLCS until they won the Pennant in 1991. It would be another four years before the Braves captured their only World Series championship as an Atlanta team.
New York won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 4||New York Mets – 9, Atlanta Braves – 5||Atlanta Stadium||2:37||50,122|
|2||October 5||New York Mets – 11, Atlanta Braves – 6||Atlanta Stadium||3:10||50,270|
|3||October 6||Atlanta Braves – 4, New York Mets – 7||Shea Stadium||2:24||54,195|
|WP: Tom Seaver (1–0) LP: Phil Niekro (0–1)|
ATL: Tony González (1), Hank Aaron (1)
The Mets struck first in the second off Phil Niekro when Jerry Grote singled in a run with two on and Ken Boswell scored on a passed ball by Braves catcher Bob Didier. The Braves cut the lead in half in their half on a sacrifice fly by Clete Boyer with runners on second and third off of Tom Seaver.
The Braves took a 3–2 lead in the third, scoring twice on three consecutive one-out doubles by Felix Millán, Tony González, and Hank Aaron. The Mets immediately re-took the lead in the fourth on a two-run triple by Bud Harrelson after a two-out single and walk.
Gonzalez then tied the game at 4–4 in the fifth with the first home run ever in NLCS play. Hank Aaron gave the Braves the lead with a home run in the seventh.
In the eighth, however, things fell apart for the Braves. Wayne Garrett led off with a double and was singled home by Cleon Jones. Art Shamsky singled and Jones stole third. Ken Boswell then grounded to first, but Braves first baseman Orlando Cepeda threw wildly home in an attempt to retire Jones. Boswell reached first and Al Weis, running for Shamsky, went to second. Ed Kranepool forced Weis at third, and Grote grounded out to first, putting runners on second and third. Harrelson was walked intentionally to load the bases. Then, J.C. Martin, batting for Tom Seaver, drove in two runs with a single to right center. Harrelson came around to score from first when González misplayed the hit. Martin reached second, but was cut down in a rundown. Ron Taylor pitched two shutout innings to close it out as the Mets won the first NLCS game in history.
|WP: Ron Taylor (1–0) LP: Ron Reed (0–1) Sv: Tug McGraw (1)|
NYM: Tommie Agee (1), Ken Boswell (1), Cleon Jones (1)
ATL: Hank Aaron (2)
The Mets scored early and often in this one, pounding six Braves pitchers for thirteen hits and eleven runs. Ed Kranepool brought in the first run in the top of the first with a bases-loaded single. Tommie Agee's two-run home run after a walk next inning extended the Mets' lead to 3–0. Cleon Jones doubled with two outs and scored on Art Shamsky's single to knock starter Ron Reed out of the game. Next inning off of Paul Doyle, Jerry Grote reached on an error before scoring on Bud Harrelson's double. After a two-out intentional walk, Wayne Garrett's RBI single made it 6–0 Mets. Ken Boswell's two-run home run off of Milt Pappas made it 8–0 Mets. The Braves got on the board in the bottom half off of starter Jerry Koosman when Rico Carty doubled with one out and scored on Orlando Cepeda's single. In the top of the fifth, Garrett doubled and scored on Jones's single. In the bottom half, Koosman got two outs before allowing a single and walk, then Hank Aaron's three-run home run cut the Mets' lead to 9–4. After a walk and double, Clete Boyer's two-run single brought the Braves within three. However, Ron Taylor, who earned the win, and Tug McGraw held them scoreless for the rest of the game while Jones's two-run home run in the seventh off of Cecil Upshaw extended the Mets' lead to 11–6. They took a 2–0 series lead heading to New York.
This game at Atlanta Stadium forced the NFL's Atlanta Falcons to move their home game that day against the Baltimore Colts to Grant Field on the campus of Georgia Tech. That same day, the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers had to be moved to the University of Minnesota's Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis, in order to enable Metropolitan Stadium to be ready the following day for Game 3 of the ALCS between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles.
|WP: Nolan Ryan (1–0) LP: Pat Jarvis (0–1)|
ATL: Hank Aaron (3), Orlando Cepeda (1)
NYM: Tommie Agee (2), Ken Boswell (2), Wayne Garrett (1)
Once again, the downfall of the Braves was their inability to stave off the hot Met hitters. Tommie Agee homered in the third, and Ken Boswell hit a two-run home run in the fourth to put the Mets on top 3–2 off of starter Pat Jarvis.
Orlando Cepeda gave Braves fans a glimmer of hope by hitting a two-run home run off Nolan Ryan in the fifth after a two-out walk to put the Braves back on top, 4–3. But, in the bottom of the inning Ryan singled with one out and Wayne Garrett then homered to give the Mets a 5–4 lead, which they would not lose. Cleon Jones's double knocked Jarvis out of the game. Boswell added an RBI single off of George Stone, and next inning, Jerry Grote hit a leadoff double off of Stone and Agee singled him home off of Cecil Upshaw. Ryan pitched seven innings in relief of Gentry for the win as the Mets advanced to their first World Series.
|New York Mets||1||5||3||6||4||1||2||5||0||27||37||2|
|Total attendance: 154,587 Average attendance: 51,529|
Albert John Weis (born April 2, 1938) is a former Major League Baseball player. A light-hitting infielder with only seven career home runs, he is best remembered for a dramatic home run hit in game five of the 1969 World Series. He was a switch hitter until the end of the 1968 season, after which he batted exclusively right-handed.Bud Harrelson
Derrel McKinley "Bud" Harrelson (born June 6, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball shortstop. He is a coach and part-owner for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He played for the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers from 1965 to 1980. After retiring, he served as a coach for the World Champion 1986 Mets, and as manager of the Mets in 1990 and 1991. He was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1986. Harrelson is the only person to take part in both of the Mets' World Series championships; he won in 1969 as a player and in 1986 as a coach.Cleon Jones
Cleon Joseph Jones (born August 4, 1942) is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a left fielder. Jones played most of his career for the New York Mets and in 1969 caught the final out of the "Miracle Mets" World Series Championship over the Baltimore Orioles.Donn Clendenon
Donn Alvin Clendenon (July 15, 1935 – September 17, 2005) was a Major League Baseball first baseman. He is best remembered as the World Series MVP for the 1969 "Amazin' Mets."Gary Gentry
Gary Edward Gentry (born October 6, 1946 in Phoenix, Arizona), is a former right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher.Gary Neibauer
Gary Wayne Neibauer (born October 29, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies from 1969–1973. Appearing primarily as a relief pitcher, Neibauer went 4–8 during his Major League career with a 4.78 earned run average (ERA).Born and raised in Billings, Montana, Neibauer eventually relocated to Nebraska, along with his family. At the University of Nebraska, he earned a varsity letter in four sports. Neibauer was drafted in both the regular and secondary phases of the 1966 Major League Baseball Draft by the Cleveland Indians and Braves, respectively, and he signed with Atlanta after failing to sign a contract with Cleveland. In 1966 and 1967, he pitched for the Austin Braves of the Texas League, before gaining a promotion to the International League's Richmond Braves in the latter year. The Braves promoted Neibauer again in 1969, this time to the Major Leagues; he made his first career appearance on April 12 in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. In his first Major League season, Neibauer pitched in 29 games and had a 1–2 win–loss record and 3.90 ERA in 57⅔ innings pitched. In addition, he threw in one game during the 1969 National League Championship Series.After 21 more appearances over the next three seasons, the Braves traded him to the Phillies as part of a four-player deal; he pitched nine times for Philadelphia before his release in June 1973. Atlanta signed him, and in his last Major League season he posted a 2–1 record and 7.17 ERA in 17 games. Neibauer spent the 1974 season with Richmond, winning seven of ten decisions and recording a 4.26 ERA. Following his playing career, Neibauer became a mortgage broker, after a stint as a Texas Rangers scout. He later joined a committee of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, helping to increase the number of former players who receive pensions.George Stone (pitcher)
George Heard Stone (born July 9, 1946) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He is likely best remembered for his 1973 season with the New York Mets, when he went 12–3 with a 2.80 ERA to help lead the Mets to the 1973 World Series.Larry Maxie
Larry Hans Maxie (born October 10, 1940 in Upland, California) is a retired American professional baseball player and scout. During his on-field career he was a right-handed pitcher who appeared in two games in the Major Leagues for the Atlanta Braves on August 30 and 31, 1969. However, Maxie's pitching career extended for 15 seasons (1958–1972), all in the Braves' organization.
Maxie stood 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall and weighed 220 pounds (100 kg). He signed with the Braves when they were still based in Milwaukee and reached the Triple-A level in 1961. But he would be in his 12th year in the Brave organization when he finally made his MLB debut in 1969, working on successive days as a relief pitcher against the Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. In three full innings pitched, he allowed one earned run on one hit (a double by Don Kessinger). He issued one base on balls and struck out one (Randy Hundley). He threw two wild pitches. He was on Atlanta's postseason roster for the 1969 National League Championship Series versus the New York Mets, but did not play.
In the minors, Maxie won 125 games. He continued his baseball career as a longtime scout for the Braves and other MLB teams.Mel Steiner
Melvin James Steiner (November 29, 1916 – May 6, 1997) was a professional baseball umpire who worked in the National League from 1961 to 1972. Steiner umpired 1,917 major league games in his 12-year career. He umpired in two World Series (1966 and 1972), two All-Star Games (1962 and 1968) and the 1969 National League Championship Series. Steiner was a Minor league baseball outfielder from 1940 to 1950.New York Mets award winners and league leaders
This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the New York Mets professional baseball team.Pat Jarvis (baseball)
Robert Patrick Jarvis (born March 18, 1941) is an American former professional baseball player. He was a Major League Baseball starting pitcher who played eight seasons for the Atlanta Braves and the Montreal Expos from 1966 to 1973 in the National League.Rico Carty
Ricardo Adolfo Jacobo Carty (born September 1, 1939) is a Dominican former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as an outfielder in a career that spanned from 1963 to 1979. Nicknamed "Beeg Boy", he was the 1970 National League (NL) batting champion with a .366 average and made his only All-Star appearance that season.Carty was one of the earliest Dominicans to play in MLB. However, his career was marked by battles with injuries, illnesses (tuberculosis) and with teammates. In his 15 seasons, he played for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs of the National League, and the Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers in the American League. He represented the Dominican Republic at the 1959 Pan American Games.Ron Reed
Ronald Lee Reed (born November 2, 1942) is a former two sport star who spent two seasons as a forward in the National Basketball Association before spending nearly two decades as a Major League Baseball pitcher.Ron Swoboda
Ronald Alan Swoboda (born June 30, 1944) is an American former professional baseball player. He played as an outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB), most notably as a member of the 1969 "Miracle Mets".Ron Taylor (baseball)
Ronald Wesley Taylor (December 13, 1937) is a former professional baseball player. He was a pitcher over parts of 11 seasons (1962–1972) with the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, New York Mets and San Diego Padres.Tommie Agee
Tommie Lee Agee (August 9, 1942 – January 22, 2001) was a Major League Baseball center fielder. He is noted for making two of the greatest catches in World Series history, both of which took place in game three of the 1969 World Series.Tony González (baseball)
Andrés Antonio "Tony" González (born August 28, 1936) is a Cuban former professional baseball outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cincinnati Reds (1960), Philadelphia Phillies (1960–1968), San Diego Padres (1969), Atlanta Braves (1969–1970) and California Angels (1970–1971).
A fine center fielder, González spent his best years with the Phillies. He had an average, though accurate, arm with excellent range. As a hitter, González batted for average with occasional power, drew a significant number of walks, was a good bunter, and had enough power to collect an above-average number of doubles and triples. He hit a career-high 20 home runs in 1962, and in 1963, he had career-highs in doubles (36) and triples (12), to place third and second in the league, respectively. In 1967, his career-high .339 average was second only to Roberto Clemente’s .357 for the National League (NL) batting crown, which also stood as second in MLB.
In his twelve-season career, González hit .286 (1485-for-5195), with 103 home runs, 615 RBI, 690 runs, 238 doubles, 57 triples, and 79 stolen bases, in 1559 games. Defensively, he recorded a .987 fielding percentage at all three outfield positions.
In the 1969 National League Championship Series against the Mets, González hit .357, with two RBI, one double, four runs, and one homer (off Tom Seaver). Following his MLB career, he played part of the 1972 season for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
In total, González made about 5,800 trips to the plate over his big league career (about 4,600 — or 80% — of them against right-handed pitchers and the other 1,200 — or 20% — against lefties); so for his 12-season career, he averaged about 400 plate appearances per year against righties and 100 plate appearances against lefties. In total, González hit .286, with a .350 on-base percentage, and a .413 slugging percentage. But what is striking about him is that he exhibited a rather extreme platoon split during his career — that is, being a left-handed batter, he hit right-handed pitchers much better than he hit left-handed ones. For his career against righties, Gonzalez hit .303, with a .366 on-base percentage, and a .442 slugging percentage; against left-handers, these numbers were only .219, .288, and .299. Given that the 1960s were a time of reduced offensive output — due in part to a larger strike zone and 4-man (rather than 5-man) rotations — his performance against righties was exceptional, and if he would have had a right-handed hitting platoon-mate that could have covered his 100 or so plate appearances against southpaws each year, he might merit consideration as one of the best hitters of the decade.
During the 1964 season, González was the first MLB player to wear a batting helmet with a pre-molded ear-flap. He was in the NL top-ten in being hit by pitches, and the special helmet was constructed specifically for his use.Tug McGraw
Frank Edwin "Tug" McGraw, Jr. (August 30, 1944 – January 5, 2004) was an American professional baseball relief pitcher and the father of country music singer and actor Tim McGraw. As a Major League Baseball (MLB) player, Tug McGraw is often remembered for coining the phrase, "Ya Gotta Believe", which became a popular rallying cry for the New York Mets teams of the mid-60s and early 70s, and for recording the final out, via a strikeout of the Kansas City Royals' Willie Wilson, in the 1980 World Series, thereby bringing the Philadelphia Phillies their first world championship. He was the last active big league player to have played under legendary manager Casey Stengel.Wayne Garrett
Ronald Wayne Garrett (born December 3, 1947) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman.