More from 1969, Shea Stadium and the Bobster:
Baseball fans love to argue, but there's no denying that this catch by Ron Swoboda in the 4th game of the 1969 World Series ranks as one of the greatest catches ever. Ron wasn't known as a great fielder, but this play is almost beyond belief. It might have kept the Mets from losing the game and the World Series, as well.
This and the Agee catch are two of the greatest postseason plays ever, not just because of the athleticism involved but because of what they meant for the game. Sorry Endy. Try again next year.
And Nancy Seaver’s smart printed dress and hat ensemble may be one of the best player’s wives’ outfits ever!
Earlier we posted some video of the great Agee catch during Game 3 of the 1969 World Series. With Game 3 of the less than thrilling 2007 WS tonight, lets look backwards again.
The Bobster sent along these gems:
Donn Clendenon was the MVP of the 1969 World Series, but he didn't even begin the season with the Mets. They acquired him from Montreal in June, and his big bat was vital in giving the Mets some offensive punch. Here he slams his second homer of the World Series, the victim being Baltimore's Mike Cuellar. The final score of this game was 2-1, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead in games.
By the way, notice how fast the game moved back then. Four pitches were delivered in just 57 seconds! Today the batter takes a little stroll around home plate after every pitch, and the pitcher takes a little stroll around the mound. No wonder games always take 3 hours these days!
True, Bobster. I don’t think the networks go 57 seconds without some kind of commercial, either.
With the World Series upon us, lets dwell for a minute on Met October highlights from years past.
Here is one of the greatest, courtesy of Bobster: The Tommie Agee catch in Game 3 of the 1969 World Series. And doesn’t our beloved Shea Stadium look splendid?
Who was the greatest center fielder in Mets history?
My vote goes to Tommie Agee, even though he only played a few years for them in the late '60s and early '70s.
This clip from Game 3 of the 1969 World Series shows why......it came at a crucial moment, with the Mets leading 4-0 but the bases loaded for the Baltimore Orioles in the 7th inning. If this wasn't caught by Agee, the score probably would have been 4-3 and the whole momentum of the game and the series could have shifted to the Orioles. What made this catch so phenomenal wasn't just the distance Agee covered to make it, but the fact that this was Agee's SECOND circus catch of the game! The Mets went on to win this game 5-0, and two days later they were World Series champs.
A promising young fireballer named Nolan Ryan is pitching in relief for the Mets.
We documented our trip up to the Tommie Agee monument this summer. Lets hope the Mets doe something smart with that marker.
And this is a catch the Mets should show on DiamondVision more often. Ron Hunt and I were grousing this summer about the Endy Chavez catch. That play from game 7 of the 2006 NLCS was shown repeatedly all season long and always elicited cheers.
Was it a great catch? No. It was a great play, when considered in a vacuum. It would have been a great CATCH if the Mets had then gone up to the plate, scored a dozen runs and won the freakin’ game. Instead we lost the NLCS to the Cardinals. So give it a rest.
Few people would talk about the Agee catch (which is at least an equal athletic achievement as Chavez’s grab) if the Mets had lost in 1969.
Hmm, seems I have some lingering bitterness from the 2007 season. This will pass. Go Matsui.
Missed this item a few days ago…
Billy Berroa, New York Mets Spanish Broadcaster on Radio WADO 1280 AM, passed away yesterday in his native country of the Dominican Republic following a long illness. He was 79.
Berroa, who was in his second tour as an announcer for Mets Spanish broadcasts, began announcing Major League Baseball games in 1963.
In 2007, Berroa, along with fellow WADO announcer and Mets Hispanic Broadcast Coordinator Juan Alicea, had been scheduled to broadcast 25 television simulcasts on Cablevision's Spanish language tier. Unfortunately, early in the year an illness forced him to return to his home in Santo Domingo to be with his wife.
Recognized as one of the most important Spanish voices in both broadcasting and the Mets organization, Berroa was inducted into the Dominican Republic's Sports Hall of Fame on October 17, 1998.
"All of us here at the Mets -- Fred, Saul and every one of our colleagues at Shea Stadium -- were deeply saddened to hear last night's news regarding Billy's passing," said Jeff Wilpon, COO, New York Mets. "Billy was a pioneer in our sport and we were privileged to have an association with him that spanned the course of 20 years. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his loved ones."
An update on the Iron Triangle fights, courtesy of the Queens Tribune:
Everyone always forgets about the little guy.
Or at least that is how Willets Point business owners feel as the city continues down a path of redeveloping the exact plots of land their businesses currently sit on.
In retaliation, 10 businesses have taken a stand and formed the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association, intent on fighting tooth and nail for their rights.
The City plans to relocate all the businesses from the area adjacent to Shea Stadium and start fresh with 5,500 residential units, 1.7 million square feet of retail and entertainment space, nearly 1 million square feet of office and convention center space, a 650-pupil school, a hotel, a park and eight acres of green space.
This is the last thing Dan Feinstein, of Feinstein Steel Works, wants to see happen.
"We'll use every means under the law to protect ourselves," he said. "We'll do whatever we have to, to make sure the city doesn't screw us."
This City has said on record that it is looking out for the Willets Point businesses and is in negotiations to relocate them. However, Daniel Sambucci Jr., of Sambucci Bros. Salvage Yards, said this is misleading.
"We've had meetings and they've shown me properties for $40 million," he said. "But the city doesn't own the property and they don't know how they're going to get it."
Sambucci said he is worried there is not enough property in the city zoned for heavy industrial to accommodate all the businesses.
"They don't have a final development plan, a developer - they don't know how much it's going to cost and they don't know where they can move us," he said.
The 10 businesses in WPIRA own 50 percent of the 60 acres that make up Willets Point. Most of them have been in business for two or three generations.
This is the third time a group like this has been formed in Willets Point by most of the same businesses. In the 1980s, the group battled against Donald Trump and his plans to build a stadium for the New Jersey Generals as part of the now defunct United States Football League. The group also banded together in the 1960s to fight Robert Moses' plan to use the area for the 1964 World's Fair.
Willets Point is notorious throughout the city as one of the few places not hooked up to a sewer system. The roads are deplorable and the auto shops pollute the air, but the business owners believe the degraded conditions are the city's fault.
"What is neglected is the city's portion," Feinstein said. "The streets, sewers and municipal services every tax paying business has a right to expect from the City."
Feinstein argued many of the jobs in Willets are good middle income jobs - union jobs with good benefits - and what would replace them are minimum wage retail and service jobs.
Feinstein said WPIRA is not trying to "stick it" to the City but is only fighting for what any business would ask for in the same situation.
"We're not looking for money and we're not looking for any guarantees," he said. "We just want them to pave our roads and hook us up to the sewers."
In 1991, a study conducted by the City's Economic Development Corporation found Willets Point would flourish once sewers and basic services were provided, however, this has yet to happen.
"This place would look completely different by now if they had done what the study suggested," Dan Scully, of Tully Environmental, said. "But [former Borough President] Claire Shulman ignored it."
Anthony J. Fodera, president Fodera Foods, said the problems of Willets Point is a story of purposeful neglect.
"We call the police or 311 and once we tell them were we are they say 'oh you're in that area,' and never come," he said.
Feinstein said the business owners are not so stubborn that they would impede the public good but the redevelopment plans do not serve the public good more than his company does.
"If they were planning on building an airport or needed a state highway here, we're not happy but we understand," he said. "But don't say you don't like my house and your friend's going to build another one."