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Albert John Weis (born April 2, 1938) is a former Major League Baseball player. A light-hitting infielder with only seven career home runs, he is best remembered for a dramatic home run hit in game five of the 1969 World Series.[1] He was a switch hitter until the end of the 1968 season, after which he batted exclusively right-handed.

Al Weis
Second baseman / Shortstop
Born: (1938-04-02) April 2, 1938 (age 81)
Franklin Square, New York
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 15, 1962, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
June 23, 1971, for the New York Mets
MLB statistics
Batting average.219
Home runs7
Runs batted in115
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early yearsEdit

Weis grew up in Bethpage, New York, and graduated from Farmingdale High School in 1955.[2] He was a high school teammate of pitcher Jack Lamabe, with whom he was teammates on the Chicago White Sox in 1966 and 1967.

Weis joined the United States Navy after high school. It was playing baseball at Naval Station Norfolk where Weis caught the eye of the White Sox, with whom he signed as an amateur free agent in 1959. After four years in their farm system, in which he batted .266 with fifteen home runs and 159 runs batted in, Weis received a September call-up in 1962, batting only .083 in seven games.

Chicago White SoxEdit

Weis played 99 games as a utility infielder in his rookie season of 1963, with 48 of those games at second base and 27 at shortstop. Following the trade of Nellie Fox during the off-season, Weis became more of a second baseman in 1964, although he still made nine appearances at shortstop, including 4 starts. He batted .247 and established career highs with 81 hits and 22 stolen bases, second in the American League to Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. That year, the White Sox finished second in a tight American League pennant race, one game behind the New York Yankees and one game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.

Don Buford was named the everyday White Sox second baseman for the 1965 season, with Weis returning to utility infield duties. He remained in that role for the remainder of his tenure with the White Sox, which ended on June 27, 1967 when the Baltimore OriolesFrank Robinson broke Weis' leg while sliding into second to break up a double play.[3] After the season, he and former Rookie of the Year center fielder Tommie Agee were traded to the New York Mets for Tommy Davis, Jack Fisher, Buddy Booker and Billy Wynne.[4]

New York MetsEdit

Though Mets manager Gil Hodges acquired Weis primarily for his glove, he earned the dubious distinction of being the player whose error ended the longest game by time in Major League Baseball history on April 15, 1968 in his Mets debut.[5] In the bottom of the 24th inning against the Houston Astros in the Astrodome, Weis allowed Bob Aspromonte's bases-loaded ground ball to go through his legs, scoring Norm Miller with the lone run of the game.[6] For the season, Weis batted .172 with one home run and twelve RBIs, backing up Bud Harrelson and Ken Boswell at the middle infield positions.

Weis developed the flair for the dramatic home run during the 1969 season. On July 15, facing the first place Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, he hit a three run home run off former Met Dick Selma to lead the second place Mets to a 5-4 victory.[7] Weis hit his second of two home runs for the season the following day, and the Mets won again to close the gap to just four games in the National League East.[8]

The Cubs widened that gap back up to ten games before the Mets began the improbable surge that saw them take first place on September 10, and win the division by eight games to face the Atlanta Braves in the first ever National League Championship Series.[9] Ken Boswell was the star of the 1969 National League Championship Series, hitting two home runs, and leading his team with five RBIs. Weis, meanwhile, only logged one at bat, reaching first on a Clete Boyer error in the ninth inning of game two.[10] However, he received far more playing time in the World Series.

The National League and American League's Cy Young Award winners faced off in game one of the World Series. The Orioles scored four runs in five innings off Tom Seaver. Meanwhile, Mike Cuellar pitched a complete game, with Weis' sacrifice fly in the seventh inning accounting for the only Mets run.[11] The Mets' slim chances of beating the heavily favored Orioles seemed even slimmer when Jerry Koosman and Dave McNally took the mound for game two of the series. Both pitchers were at their best, and the score was tied at one when Weis came to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning. With runners on first and third, Weis singled to left field to drive in the game winning run.[12]

Koosman and McNally faced each other again in game five, with the Mets holding a commanding three to one game lead. McNally got his team on the board first with a two run home run in the third. Three batters later, Frank Robinson hit a solo home run to bring the Orioles' lead to 3-0. Donn Clendenon's two run shot in the sixth brought the score to 3-2. Leading off the seventh, Weis took McNally deep to left field to tie the game. The Mets scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to seal their improbable World Series win.[1]

For the series, the career .219 hitter batted .455 with three RBIs.[13] Clendenon was named World Series MVP, while Weis received the Series' Babe Ruth Award.

Weis' playing time in the second half of the 1970 season diminished substantially when former first overall draft pick Tim Foli was brought up to the majors. He was released by the Mets midway through the 1971 season, having appeared in just eleven games that year.

Career statisticsEdit

Games PA AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB HBP SO Avg. OBP Slg. Fld%
800 1761 1578 195 346 45 11 7 115 55 117 14 299 .219 .278 .275 .965

As the weather got hot, so did Weis. He batted .260 with two home runs and 25 RBIs in the month of July for his career, far better than any other month. Weis fared far better against lefties than righties, having hit five of his seven career home runs with a .235 average against southpaws. All seven of his regular season home runs were hit as a visiting player. The only home run he ever hit in a home stadium was the World Series home run off McNally at Shea Stadium.[14] McNally is also the only pitcher Weis has hit two home runs against, serving up his second career home run on June 18, 1964.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "1969 World Series, Game 5". Baseball-Reference.com. October 16, 1969.
  2. ^ "1969 Mets World Series Hero: Al Weis (1968-1971)". Centerfield Maz. April 2, 2017.
  3. ^ Dick Couch (June 28, 1967). "Collision Sidelines F. Robinson, Weis". The Free Lance–Star.
  4. ^ "Mets, White Sox in Six Player Trade Deal". The Virgin Islands Daily News. December 16, 1967.
  5. ^ "After 24 Innings Astros Beat Mets 1-0". Virgin Islands Daily News. April 17, 1968.
  6. ^ "Houston Astros 1, New York Mets 0". Baseball-Reference.com. April 15, 1968.
  7. ^ "New York Mets 5, Chicago Cubs 4". Baseball-Reference.com. July 15, 1969.
  8. ^ "New York Mets 9, Chicago Cubs 5". Baseball-Reference.com. July 16, 1969.
  9. ^ "1969 National League Championship Series". Baseball-Reference.com. October 4–6, 1969.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  10. ^ "1969 National League Championship Series, Game 2". Baseball-Reference.com. October 5, 1969.
  11. ^ "1969 World Series, Game 1". Baseball-Reference.com. October 11, 1969.
  12. ^ "1969 World Series, Game 2". Baseball-Reference.com. October 12, 1969.
  13. ^ "1969 World Series". Baseball-Reference.com. October 11–16, 1969.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  14. ^ "Al Weis Career Splits". Baseball-Reference.com.
  15. ^ "Chicago White Sox 2, Baltimore Orioles 0". Baseball-Reference.com. June 18, 1964.

External linksEdit