The New York Mets stunned the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of the world with their 3-2 victory in Game 7 of the 1969 World Series giving the former expansion cellar dwellers the world’s title. The Mets were predicted by some to finish 1969 behind the expansion Montreal Expos, but instead they have finished atop the baseball world.
The Mets wasted no time jumping out to the lead against Mike Cuellar. After Agee and Harrelson flew out to right, Cleon Jones lined a single to right, and Donn Clendenon floated another single over Belanger at short advancing Jones to second. Ron Swoboda cued a screwball down the first base line scoring Jones, but Clendenon was held at third. Ed Charles ended the inning by popping out to Belanger at shortstop.
Swoboda opened the Mets’ fourth with a single between first and second base. After Charles struck out and Swoboda advanced to second on a Jerry Grote slow roller to second, Al Weis ripped the ball down the third base line for a run-scoring double. In the top of the sixth, the Mets added a third run when Donn Clendenon opened with a ringing single to right. On the next pitch, Clendenon stole second base and advanced to third on Swoboda’s grounder to first base. Ed Charles hit a grounder to shortstop, and Clendenon temporarily held at third. But, Mark Belanger uncharacteristically bobbled the ball, Clendenon took off for home and scored. Belanger was left holding the ball and swallowing his pride as Charles reached first on the error. Cuellar struck out Grote and Weis to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Orioles had yet to collect a base hit against Seaver. But with out out in the sixth inning, Paul Blair spoiled the no-hitter and shut out with one swing of the bat. Blair socked a 2-1 fastball deep into the left field bleachers to slice the Met advantage to two runs with three innings of baseball remaining in the 1969 season.
In the seventh and eighth innings, the Orioles got a runner on base via a walk and error respectively, but Seaver and the Mets would get out of the inning before any tension could mount. The game was temporarily stopped in the top of the eighth, but the umpires quickly resumed play when the rain stopped. But after Eddie Watt set the Mets down in order in the top of the ninth, the rain returned forcing another stop in play.
When play resumed nearly an hour and half later, Seaver returned to the mound, and though the rain had subsided, thunder suddenly rang throughout Memorial Stadium. Boog Powell blasted his fourth home run of the Series to trim the Mets’ lead to one run. A cacophony of applause erupted from the restless crowd. New York manager Gil Hodges called for Ron Taylor to relieve Seaver, and after Brooks Robinson grounded out to short for the first out, the showers returned and the thunder from the Oriole fans was subsiding. But then, Davey Johnson drew a walk and was replaced by Chico Salmon on the bases. Baltimore manager Earl Weaver sent his best pinch-hitter Curt Motton to bat for Belanger. Motton batted an incredible .374 in 91 at-bats and had two pinch-hits, including a double, in the championship series against the Twins. But, Taylor induced the slugger to pop up in the infield. Second baseman Al Weis circled under the ball, and squeezed it tightly to secure the Mets’ miracle win.
On the field, the Mets looked awesome and strong. In the locker room, they looked like just what they are – kids. The players embraced and wept unashamedly it finally sunk in that their impossible dream had come true. “Togetherness,” said Cleon Jones, who batted .458 in the Series. “Everybody thought we were a flash in the pan. But we’re 25 guys who stayed in there all year and picked each other up time and again.”
In the other locker room, Baltimore manager Earl Weaver congratulated the Mets. “The Mets aren’t lucky and they don’t need gremlins to win. No other pitching staff contained us as well during the year.”