1969 National League Championship Series
The 1969 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five match-up between the East Division champion New York Mets and the West Division champion Atlanta Braves. The Mets defeated the Braves three games to none. They did not sweep a playoff series again until 2006 as they swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series in three games.
|1969 National League Championship Series|
|Umpires||Al Barlick, Augie Donatelli, Ed Sudol, Ed Vargo, Chris Pelekoudas, Mel Steiner|
|TV announcers||Jim Simpson and Sandy Koufax (Game 1)|
Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek (Games 2–3)
At that time, the New York Mets became the fastest expansion team to win a National League Pennant with only eight years of existence. 28 years later in 1997, the Florida Marlins would break that record by reaching and winning the World Series with only five years of existence. Four years after the Marlins, the Arizona Diamondbacks would break that by reaching and winning the World Series in just their fourth year.
Nolan Ryan played for the Mets at the time, but he did not play until Game 3, which was the first playoff victory of his career.
This was the first year of the two-division format in Major League Baseball, after 99 consecutive years of straight non-divisional play.
This was the year of the "Miracle" Mets. The team had finished only one game better than last the year before, had never finished better than ninth in their seven-year history, were generally picked for third or fourth in the new six-team National League East Division, and were a 100-to-1 longshot to win the World Series. In third place and 10 games behind the division-leading Cubs on August 13, the Mets rallied to win the East Division title by eight games, winning exactly 100 games.
The Braves, led by Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda and Phil Niekro, won a tough five-team race in the West Division, and were favored over the Mets as the playoff began, despite the Mets having won seven more games than the Braves. In what was expected to be a pitching-rich series, the teams combined for 42 runs, batted .292, hit eleven home runs, and posted a combined 5.94 ERA in the three games. Hank Aaron hit three home runs for the Braves, while Tommy Agee and Ken Boswell hit two each for the Mets.
It was the first of five NL pennants for the Mets. The first two came in the only two NL series between 1969 and 1980 that did not feature a Pennsylvania team (the other being 1973.). The Braves would not reach the NLCS again until 1982, and would not win a game in the NLCS until they won the Pennant in 1991. It would be another four years before the Braves captured their only World Series championship as an Atlanta team.
New York Mets vs. Atlanta BravesEdit
New York won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 4||New York Mets – 9, Atlanta Braves – 5||Atlanta Stadium||2:37||50,122|
|2||October 5||New York Mets – 11, Atlanta Braves – 6||Atlanta Stadium||3:10||50,270|
|3||October 6||Atlanta Braves – 4, New York Mets – 7||Shea Stadium||2:24||54,195|
|WP: Tom Seaver (1–0) LP: Phil Niekro (0–1)|
ATL: Tony González (1), Hank Aaron (1)
The Mets struck first in the second off Phil Niekro when Jerry Grote singled in a run with two on and Ken Boswell scored on a passed ball by Braves catcher Bob Didier. The Braves cut the lead in half in their half on a sacrifice fly by Clete Boyer with runners on second and third off of Tom Seaver.
The Braves took a 3–2 lead in the third, scoring twice on three consecutive one-out doubles by Felix Millán, Tony González, and Hank Aaron. The Mets immediately re-took the lead in the fourth on a two-run triple by Bud Harrelson after a two-out single and walk.
Gonzalez then tied the game at 4–4 in the fifth with the first home run ever in NLCS play.Hank Aaron gave the Braves the lead with a home run in the seventh.
In the eighth, however, things fell apart for the Braves. Wayne Garrett led off with a double and was singled home by Cleon Jones. Art Shamsky singled and Jones stole third. Ken Boswell then grounded to first, but Braves first baseman Orlando Cepeda threw wildly home in an attempt to retire Jones. Boswell reached first and Al Weis, running for Shamsky, went to second. Ed Kranepool forced Weis at third, and Grote grounded out to first, putting runners on second and third. Harrelson was walked intentionally to load the bases. Then, J.C. Martin, batting for Tom Seaver, drove in two runs with a single to right center. Harrelson came around to score from first when González misplayed the hit. Martin reached second, but was cut down in a rundown. Ron Taylor pitched two shutout innings to close it out as the Mets won the first NLCS game in history.
|WP: Ron Taylor (1–0) LP: Ron Reed (0–1) Sv: Tug McGraw (1)|
NYM: Tommie Agee (1), Ken Boswell (1), Cleon Jones (1)
ATL: Hank Aaron (2)
The Mets scored early and often in this one, pounding six Braves pitchers for thirteen hits and eleven runs. Ed Kranepool brought in the first run in the top of the first with a bases-loaded single. Tommie Agee's two-run home run after a walk next inning extended the Mets' lead to 3–0. Cleon Jones doubled with two outs and scored on Art Shamsky's single to knock starter Ron Reed out of the game. Next inning off of Paul Doyle, Jerry Grote reached on an error before scoring on Bud Harrelson's double. After a two-out intentional walk, Wayne Garrett's RBI single made it 6–0 Mets. Ken Boswell's two-run home run off of Milt Pappas made it 8–0 Mets. The Braves got on the board in the bottom half off of starter Jerry Koosman when Rico Carty doubled with one out and scored on Orlando Cepeda's single. In the top of the fifth, Garrett doubled and scored on Jones's single. In the bottom half, Koosman got two outs before allowing a single and walk, then Hank Aaron's three-run home run cut the Mets' lead to 9–4. After a walk and double, Clete Boyer's two-run single brought the Braves within three. However, Ron Taylor, who earned the win, and Tug McGraw held them scoreless for the rest of the game while Jones's two-run home run in the seventh off of Cecil Upshaw extended the Mets' lead to 11–6. They took a 2–0 series lead heading to New York.
This game at Atlanta Stadium forced the NFL's Atlanta Falcons to move their home game that day against the Baltimore Colts to Grant Field on the campus of Georgia Tech. That same day, the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers had to be moved to the University of Minnesota's Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis, in order to enable Metropolitan Stadium to be ready the following day for Game 3 of the ALCS between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles.
|WP: Nolan Ryan (1–0) LP: Pat Jarvis (0–1)|
ATL: Hank Aaron (3), Orlando Cepeda (1)
NYM: Tommie Agee (2), Ken Boswell (2), Wayne Garrett (1)
Once again, the downfall of the Braves was their inability to stave off the hot Met hitters. Tommie Agee homered in the third, and Ken Boswell hit a two-run home run in the fourth to put the Mets on top 3–2 off of starter Pat Jarvis.
Orlando Cepeda gave Braves fans a glimmer of hope by hitting a two-run home run off Nolan Ryan in the fifth after a two-out walk to put the Braves back on top, 4–3. But, in the bottom of the inning Ryan singled with one out and Wayne Garrett then homered to give the Mets a 5–4 lead, which they would not lose. Cleon Jones's double knocked Jarvis out of the game. Boswell added an RBI single off of George Stone, and next inning, Jerry Grote hit a leadoff double off of Stone and Agee singled him home off of Cecil Upshaw. Ryan pitched seven innings in relief of Gentry for the win as the Mets advanced to their first World Series.
|New York Mets||1||5||3||6||4||1||2||5||0||27||37||2|
|Total attendance: 154,587 Average attendance: 51,529|
- Von Benko, George (July 7, 2005). "Notes: Phils–Pirates rivalry fading". Phillies.MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
- "Pirates perform rare three-peat feat 4–2". USA Today. September 28, 1992. p. 5C.
- "1969 NLCS Game 1 – New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1969 NLCS Game 2 – New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1969 NLCS Game 3 – Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- Baseball-Reference.com – 1969 NLCS