— Days Without Shea —

by Kingman on August 22 at 2:23AM

Loge13 is on a brief summer sojourn. As part of our "Beach reading" series, here is another installment of "Images of Shea."

If this doesn't look familiar to you, take a trip up to Shea Stadium's Upper Deck, Section 48.

062807_TommyAgee

This painting commemorates one of the great feats of strength in Shea Stadium history.

On April 10, 1969 Tommie Agee hit a tremendous home run halfway up in the left field upper deck at Shea Stadium. That hit is still the highest hit ball in Shea Stadium history. This painting was installed to recognize the feat.

Only 8,608 fans were in attendance to witness the home run and see the Mets beat the Expos 4-2. Agee actually hit two home runs that day, off the starting -- and losing -- pitcher Larry Jaster. Gary Gentry got the win, giving up 7 hits and striking out 4 over 8.2 innings of work. 

In 1969, Agee scored 97 runs and won a second Gold Glove. In the 1969 World Series, he was instrumental in the Mets' victory in Game 3, in which he hit a home run and made two incredible catches that saved five runs.

Tommie_agee_autographMore on Agee's career, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Tommie Lee Agee (August 9, 1942 in Magnolia, Alabama - January 22, 2001 in New York City) was a center fielder most noted for making what were arguably two of the greatest catches in World Series history. Agee was the 1966Rookie of the Year, a two-time All-Star, and a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, and he was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2002. His major league career spanned five teams: Cleveland Indians (1962-64), Chicago White Sox(1965-67), New York Mets (1968-72), Houston Astros (1973) and St. Louis Cardinals (1973).

Tommie Agee was a star at Grambling State University and was signed by the Indians for a $60,000 bonus. He made only a few token appearances for the team over the next few years before being traded to the White Sox before the 1966season. That year, a solid season in which he had 98 runs, 84 runs batted in, and 44 stolen bases, earned him the Rookie of the Year award, a Gold Glove, and a trip to the 1966 All-Star game.

His follow-up performance the next year was not nearly as impressive, despite another all-star selection: on a team loaded with pitching and short on offense (no regular batted over .250), he batted .234 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs. The team's lack of offense possibly cost the White Sox the American League pennant; they had battled with the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox (the eventual AL champions) until the final week of the season. At the end of the season, Agee and Al Weis were traded to the New York Mets in a six-player deal, with four players (one of whom was Tommy Davis) going to the White Sox. The trade re-united Agee with childhood friend Cleon Jones.

Agee's first season in New York (1968) was also a disaster: he was beaned by the very first pitch he saw in spring training and went 0-34 at the beginning of the season on his way to a .217 batting average and only 17 RBIs.

Agee was traded by the Mets in 1972 and retired a year later. Sadly, Agee died suddenly, dropping dead of a heart attack on the streets of New York in January 2001.

But Shea still bears the mark of one of Tommie's greatest accomplishments. Moving the Home Run Apple is a nice idea, but it would be great if the Agee marker could somehow find a home before the wrecking ball levels Shea. But that's just as unlikely.



[August 22, 2007 9:48 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Tommy Agee Trivia;

Who was the pitcher who beaned Agee in his first spring training at bat?

[August 23, 2007 12:29 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Bob R said

Bob Gibson, if I'm not mistaken.

I remember watching Agee hit that monster home run. The cameraman had a problem tracking the flight of the ball. Whoever was calling the game on TV - Bob Murphy - was practically sputtering about the shot. Again, if I'm not mistaken, this game came right after the wild opening game with the Expos which the Mets lost 11-10. Seaver started but didn't pitch very well. Duffy Dyer hit a home run in the 9th inning to make it close, but once again the Mets lost their opening game, making it eight in a row. Same old Mets, huh? Well, maybe they'll get better before the end of the year....

Anyway, they finally won their opener the following season.

[August 23, 2007 9:30 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Correct! Nicely done, Bob R.

[August 23, 2007 2:58 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Anonymous said

You know you're getting old when you can recall something that happened 38 years ago better than what you did yesterday!

Bob Gibson was a great pitcher, and also mean as a junkyard dog. He was telling Agee "welcome to the National League." If a batter dug in too much, Gibson would throw him some chin music. The whiners and wimps who play the game these days would never survive against Gibson.

[July 3, 2011 10:33 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Joseph said

The Met's of the 70's, 80's and late 90's are my teams....I was HUGE Seaver fan and was so disgusted when we traded him to the HATED Reds..(I just now have come to like a little the Reds..but I hated that team of the 70's) Bob Gibson was one of the biggest JERKS of All Time....He would purposedly throw at peoples head without the thought of the Irreparable damaged he could have done...sicko!


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