23 August 2009


EDITORS NOTE---Today's scheduled doubleheader postponed due to an attack of melancholy

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the year of Seaver, it was the year of Womack; it was the apex of miracles, it was the nadir of misery; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the autumn of victory, it was the summer of despair; they had everything before them, we had nothing before us; all Mets fans were going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."

Yesterday, the Met's paid tribute to what is easily the most storied team in their history, the '69 team of Seaver and Koosman and Agee and Swoboda.
Great.....where can I find a copy of Richard Nixon's inaugural speech to relive?

It was no fun being a declared Yankee fan in the Summer of '69 (especially as a 14 year old).
And I emphasize "declared" because, New Yorkers being New Yorkers, I knew a lot of "frontrunning huckleberries" (props to Phil Rizzuto and apologies to my dog, Huck) who magically became Met's fans that summer. And while I almost forgive them for their spineless, chickenshit, traitorous, backstabbing, shallow dedication to what was and still is the Greatest Sport's Franchise in the galaxy, I can't say that I really blame them for going Benedict.
Cuz the Yankees really sucked that year.

What the hippies and Hendrix and acid did for the legacy of Woodstock, so too did the '69 Yankees and Len Boehmer and Frank Tepedino do for the legacy of Charlie Brown.
While America found a way to put a Man on The Moon in 1969 without any gizmos like Neverlost or GPS, barely a million people found their way to Yankee Stadium. And it took a lot of bat days, ball days, fat girls get in free day and "we'll provide a personal guard to watch your car day" to draw that million.

Mickey Mantle had retired in 1968, and so too had the Yankee Mystique as well as a lot of fans. But don't get me wrong....the '69 Yankees had a lot of players who left their mark on the game of baseball. Mind you, not like Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle, et.al...more like the way my dog leaves his mark on soccer fields.

Yes, believe it or not you adorers of Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, Grote, Harrelson, Jones and Swoboda, some members of that despaired '69 Yankee team have their place in baseball history as well.

Ron Blomberg has the distinction of becoming the first Designated Hitter in Baseball. (The WORST thing to ever happen to baseball besides the construction of Fenway Park).
Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson went on to fame and glory by closing the deal on the most notorious trade in baseball history (their wives).
Joe Pepitone was a man ahead of his time and will always be known as the forerunner of metrosexuality in America. He sold far more hair blowers in his time than he had hits, indeed, if he was still carefully and gingerly placing his cap on today, he would probably PAY to play in the largest hair blower on earth, the Minnesota Metrosexualdome.
And where would the legacy of Michael Jackson be without Horace Clarke? The Yankee second baseman who singlehandedly made televised crotch adjustments acceptable in America. It was the only thing we Yankee fans had to look forward to when "Hoss" (It wasn't til I was much older that I understood the significance of that nickname) stepped into the batter's box.
Al Downing will forever be known as the guy who gave up Henry Aaron's 715th Home Run. (Ray Charles could have hit that pitch).
And who can forget Steve Hamilton's contribution to the Hallowed Circus of Baseball?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFvp7kMraAw
Not to go unnoticed is Yank's reliever Lindy McDaniel, a pitcher who's goose-stepping mechanics probably traumatized a large NY demographic away from Yankee Stadium that year.

Oh yeah, the Yankees record in 1969 was 80-81. It was a 162 game season in 1969. The 162nd game was cancelled due to lack of interest.

The Yankees were falling off the radar, not just in New York, but all around baseball as well.
The suits at CBS, who owned The Yanks, had run the franchise into the ground. (Damn You Walter Cronkite)
As 1969 is arguably the apex of The Mets franchise, just as arguably was it the lowest point in Yankee history.
There was even talk for awhile, as CBS was starting to look for a buyer of the franchise, that the Yankees would leave New York. And from what I remember? Nobody really cared that much.
It was no fun fighting off the pubescent travails of acne and being a Yankee fan back then.

But at least I didn't follow the lead of Madame Defarge and take up knitting.


  1. Blomberg had exactly seven plate appearance in September 1969 (two outfield starts). He would not really make a splash until 1971.

    It was Bobby Murcer's first full season, and he was promising. A young catcher came up in August ... name of Munson ... and he could hit and run (people forget Thurman could once run the bases fairly well). Then there were guys who fizzled out, like John Ellis, a catcher/first baseman who hit an inside the park HR in his first game (I know, I was there ... May 17).

    The Yankees/Mets division was not nearly as hard and fast then as it is now.

  2. Geez Brooks, thanks for allowing me a little
    "poetic license" here?

    I am well aware of the advent of Murcer and Munson in '69, I saw no reason to "sully" their reps., which is why I left them out.
    And of the Yanks I chose, most of their dubious accomplishments came well after 1969.
    Which I kinda noted.
    Can't deny that most Yankees from that squad had marginal accomplishments (in some cases DUBIOUS) in Baseball.

    Which hardly falls in line with Yankee tradition.
    Which is the point of my rant.

    Maybe the "Yanks/Mets division" wasn't as hard and fast in your neighborhood, but it was in mine. It was me and Pete Dooley for the Yanks Vs everybody else.
    We would go to Shea (sadly moreso than Yankee Stadium) and while the crowd chanted
    "Let's Go Mets", we would entertain ourselves by yelling "Drop Dead Mets".

    Perhaps, you were a Mets fan in '69?

  3. Oh, out where we were, with a mother who had been a Dodgers fan, we didn't mind the Mets. After all, we didn't like the Orioles. What's interesting to me is that between 1971 and 1974 the Yankees were competitive and then collapsed, whereas in the "best" season of 1970, they were never really a threat, but finished second.

    Murcer was the heart and the hope of that 1969 team: big picture in SI, hot start, move to the outfield ... and the stable vets were Roy White and Mel Stottlemyre.

    I happen to believe that the worst time to root for the Yankees was in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The worst teams were 1965-67. Of course, many of today's front-runners don't remember Danny Tarabull and Steve Sax. Or Jake Gibbs and Frank Fernandez.

    You're the poet. I'm the historian. :)

  4. LOL...fair enough.

    I choose '69 to be the "worst season" to be a Yankee fan because:
    A/I was 14 years old.
    B/The "hated" (moreso than even the Sox at that time in my life) Mets were winning and in doing so making insecure pubescent life even more difficult.
    C/At times I found myself second guessing my hatred of the Mets because of the love envelopping the metro area. Which was as damaging to all things held true in life for this 14 year old as finding out that Mickey Mantle cheated on Merlyn.

    The only baseball season that's comes close to as bad a memory as '69 for me was '86, when I was rooting for rain during the World Series.
    But I was older then, and so much wiser. (But just as stupid).

  5. so you say nobody cared much about the yankees in 1969/////do you think anyone cares about them now

  6. Thanks for the retrospective, 505. Can always count on you to write about '69 as if it was yesterday ... do you know what you had for lunch yesterday???

  7. Thanks for enjoying.

    I stopped having lunches when Campbells fired Mama McNabb from the Chunky Soup commercials.
    Although now that the Eagles have hired Michael Vick, I may start checking out the Chinese restaurants in 505land.