THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE GAMES - VOL 3 - SWOBODA STRIKES AGAIN - TWICE - by Tom Brennan
As a Met fan, what are the memorable games that sunk deep down into our core and, despite our kvetching, hav kept us inextricably linked to this team?
I’m writing about a handful of my favorite games. Games like the one I wrote about the other day, where Ron Swoboda hit a Ruthian shot in Forbes Field on September 13, 1969 that sealed a win for the Mets, putting them up by 3 ½ games, and finally having me believing that they would continue their improbable surge to a place never before attained – above 9th place – but not only above 9th place, but surging towards a pennant!Rocky’s homer in that Pittsburgh contest was only his 7th of the season. In fact, he had dismal #’s through July that year, with just 3 homers, 22 RBIs, and a .213 average in 176 at bats. After July, it was an improved story, as Rockie knocked in 30 runs in 178 at bats, and hit 6 HRs, 3 in August and 3 in September. But timing is everything – those 3 in September were of monumental importance.
One of them was the incredible grand slam I mentioned above. Then, on September 15, just 2 days later, another seismic shift in the cosmos occurred, courtesy of Rockie Swoboda.
The Mets faced a cream puff lefty named Steve Carlton – maybe you’ve heard of him – won a few career games (329), struck out a few guys (4,136). Anyway, he decides he’s gonna strike out the most batters in history that night, 19. What a nerve to try to rain on the Mets’ surge to the pennant. But then Carlton never counted on the troubles he might encounter facing miracle man Swoboda.
Rockie, who again was unable to reach double digits in homers that year, had an amazing answer for Big Steve – two 2 run homers to shock the baseball world once again! This upstart team had the temerity to have this lowly slugger mess up one of the greatest games ever pitched!
Rockie hit them off Carlton in the 4th and 8th, in a game with 4 Met errors. I was stunned and again wondering just what the heck was going on with this team that had a different miracle every night.
Just another sign they were unstoppable in 1969, and that the miracle winds were at their backs!