Below are more headlines from the 1969 baseball season, including Ted Williams' rookie season as a manager, and the Mets stormy path to World Series victory.
Jerry Koos Wins 17
At the close of the 1969 season, rival clubs coveted Mets southpaw Jerry Koosman even more than they did Tom Seaver, his right-handed counterpart. That year, Koosman went 17-9. His stats for his first two full seasons included 13 shutouts and a combined 2.18 ERA. In the remaining 16 years of his career, he collected just 20 additional shutouts.
Ted Williams Takes Nats to 86 Wins
Rookie manager Ted Williams piloted the expansion Senators to 86 wins in 1969, easily the club's highest number of triumphs while in the nation's capital. Williams not only seemed able to teach hitting, he turned around a pitching staff that had been the worst in the majors the previous year.Mets Outfield Fuels Club
The Mets regular outfield in 1969 included Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, and Ron Swoboda. Jones spearheaded the club in hitting, posting a .340 average, 164 hits, and 92 runs scored. Agee led the team in homers with 26 and RBI with 76. Swoboda, for his part, topped the crew in unrealized talent. Swoboda, who hit .235 in 1969, platooned with Art Shamsky, who hit .300. In the 1969 World Series that fall, however, Swoboda rapped .400 and Shamsky hit .000. Jones and Agee also had abysmal World Series showings. Jones hit .158 and Agee batted .167.
Denny McLain Wins 24
Just age 25 in 1969, Denny McLain already had 114 career victories to his credit, winning 108 games over a five-year period. In 1969, he won 24 games, tops in the American League. If any active pitcher seemed a lock to win 200 games by the time he was 30 years old, it was McLain. Three years later he was gone, his total number of career victories frozen at 131.
Frank Robinson and Mates Can't Hit Mets
Frank Robinson hit .333 for Baltimore in the 1969 American League Championship Series and just .188 against the Mets in the 1969 World Series. As a team, the Orioles had a meager .146 batting average off New York pitching in the fall classic that year. Four Baltimore regulars -- Brooks Robinson, Dave Johnson, Don Buford, and Paul Blair -- hit a combined .080.
Willie Davis Hits .311, a Rarity in Los Angeles
Willie Davis topped the Dodgers with a .311 batting average in 1969 to become the club's first .300 hitter since 1963. Los Angeles was the National League team with the weakest punch during the late 1960s. In 1968, catcher Tom Haller spearheaded the Dodgers with 53 RBI and substitute outfielder Len Gabrielson was the lone Dodger to hit as many as ten home runs.
Phil Niekro Wins 23 at 30
Phil Niekro had accumulated 31 career victories going into the 1969 season. That year, at age 30, he collected a personal-best 23 wins. Niekro posted 20 or more triumphs on just two additional occasions -- the year he turned 35 and the year he turned 40. He finished his 24-year career with a total of 318 wins.Check out the next page for more highlights from the 1969 baseball season.
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