September 18, 2005


Donn Clendenon, 70, M.V.P For the 1969 'Miracle Mets,' Dies (RICHARD GOLDSTEIN, 9/18/05, NY Times)

Donn Clendenon, the most valuable player in the 1969 World Series, when he hit three home runs to help propel the team known as the Miracle Mets to a five-game triumph over the Baltimore Orioles, died yesterday in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 70.

His death was announced by the George Boom Funeral Home in Sioux Falls. He had had leukemia for many years.

When the Mets stunned the baseball world in 1969, winning the National League pennant by overtaking the Cubs after a ninth-place finish in a 10-team league in 1968, the bizarre seemed almost commonplace.

One of the strangest moments came at Shea Stadium in the sixth inning of Game 5 in the World Series, with the Orioles ahead by 3-0.

Cleon Jones, leading off, was allowed to take first base when Mets Manager Gil Hodges proved to the home-plate umpire, Lou DiMuro, that Jones had been hit by a low curveball. Hodges did it by showing how the pitch delivered by Dave McNally was smudged with polish from Jones's shoe.

Clendenon, the Mets' first baseman and the next hitter, hit a home run off the auxiliary scoreboard of the left-field loge seats to make it 3-2. The Mets tied it in the seventh inning on a homer by Al Weis, a little-noticed infielder, and scored two in the ninth for a 5-3 victory and the World Series championship.

Clendenon had hit home runs in Games 2 and 4, and he finished the Series with 5 hits in 14 at-bats for a .357 batting average, 4 runs batted in and 4 runs scored. His three home runs and 15 total bases set records for a five-game World Series.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 18, 2005 10:58 PM

Clendenon was one of the rare players who threw left and batted right. Another was Rickey Henderson.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2005 11:47 PM

Clendenon was also the first of a long, long, long line of players traded by the Montreal Expos who would become eventual mainstays of their new teams -- though at least in his case, money wasn't the reason the Expos shipped him south to New York.

Posted by: John at September 19, 2005 8:21 AM


No, that was Cleon Jones because they had a short porch in right when he and Agee were growing up so it didn't count as a HR if you hit it over the fence.

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2005 9:30 AM

Jerry Koosman was also a T-L, B-R guy (as am I've always followed those guys).

The '69 Mets were the first team I ever loved....I can still name the entire 25-man roster and watch whenever ESPN Classic shows the World Series highlight film (featuring shots of Jackie Kennedy, Louis Armstrong and others flocking into Shea).

Hodges, Agee, Ed Charles, Tug McGraw and now Clendenon are gone...but the last time I saw Nolan Ryan on TV, he looked like he could still bring it in there at at least 90 mph.

Posted by: Foos at September 19, 2005 5:58 PM

It's especially unusual to allow a pitcher to hit the opposite way because it exposes his money arm--the Mets wouldn't let Gooden hit lefty for example.

On a somewhat related note, I think Mike Squires was the last lefty thrower to catch a game.

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2005 6:03 PM

OJ: I appologize. You are correct that it was Cleon who was the B-R, T-L. On Cleon it was funny. On Rickey it was tragic.

P.S. Agee who, Tommie Agee?

Clendenon actually was a Pirate for most of his career, prior to 69
. In the winter 68/69 he drafted by Montreal in their expansion draft. They tried to trade him to Houston and he refused to report. He played in 38 games for the expansion Expos in 69 and they traded him to NY. He played for the Mets for the rest of 69 and in 70 and 71. The Mets released him at the end of 71 and he singned with the Cardinals where he played his last year.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 19, 2005 9:26 PM


I still have a Cleon Jones bat somewhere that I won in a contest in 1970.

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2005 11:07 PM