As a young Cub Scout in 1969 I recall needing to complete a project to “earn” some Wolf or Bear or Fox badge. Starting in early September I began saving all the articles, pictures, cartoons and miscellany about my already beloved Mets from the NY Daily News that my Dad would bring home from work every day. I even began offering to go to Henry’s Fine Foods (a 1960’s precursor to the convenience store) on Saturdays and Sundays to pick up those editions as well. While gathering all this stuff now known as “memorabilia” and poring over the minutia I began to see that this team may have something special as it made its improbable run from 9 games behind the Cubs to the top of the NL East at the end of that season through a victory over Hank Aaron and the Atlanta Braves in the first ever NL League Championship Series all the way to setting the sporting world on its collective ear in a stunning 5 game World Series win over Jim Palmer, Frank and Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Davey Johnson ( who knew it'd take Davey's managing the Mets to get us another World Championship) , manager Earl Weaver and the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles. From the pictures of Ron Santo of the Cubs “clicking his heels” to the black cat roaming the field through JC Martin being hit by throw on bunt play to Al Weis’ improbable heroics to Gil allegedly rubbing shoe polish on the ball that “hit” Cleon Jones until I watched my first real ticker tape parade as the Mets were cascaded with what I thought were scraps of garbage paper as they were driven down what New York now calls its “Canyon of Heroes.”, I was immersed in what I may have had an inkling at the time would become a lifelong passion for baseball and the New York Mets.
With the help of my Mom, I eventually turned all the clippings into a scrapbook (I still have a good portion of the book) chronicling the Mets improbable run to the World Championship of Baseball in the fall of 1969. After I presented my project at a Pack Meeting, our Cub master, Mr. Beauchamp, asked to borrow the book for a few days. He returned a week later with a letter/invitation from the Daily News and New York Mets inviting me and my parents to some dinner in NYC. The dinner happened to fall on the day before Veterans Day in November so my parents took me to the dinner since my Dad who started his job at 4 AM would be off for the Holiday. I recall the dinner being held at a banquet room somewhere in the vicinity of a Chock Full O Nuts coffee house but little else about the location since we rarely visited the city as we had to take 2 buses just to get to Newark’s Penn station in those days. The dinner was held to honor the World Champs of which I was fortunate enough to meet Gil, Yogi, Eddie Yost, Rube Walker, Jerry Grote, Wayne Garrett, Ed Charles, Ken Boswell, Ron Swoboda, Tommie Agee, Ed Kranepool, Donn Clendenon, Art Shamsky, Duffy Dyer, Jim McAndrew, Gary Gentry, Ron Taylor, Don Cardwell, Bobby Pfeil, Danny Frisella, JC Martin, Tug McGraw, Jack DiLauro (who I got to speak with for a few minutes after he found out that I lived in the same town as his brother in NJ) & Al Weis. I know I met all these Mets since they signed the Daily News World Series T- Shirt I was given in recognition of my “project”. I also had a team picture signed by quite a few of these players including Nolan Ryan and Whitey Herzog (who I believe was a scouting director at the time). Somehow this picture was lost. I also met Mr. Johnny Murphy who I learned was the Mets General Manager who gave me signed photos of Tom Seaver (Which I still have framed), Bud Harrelson and Jerry Koosman. I never had the opportunity to meet Cleon Jones.
That unreal experience fully entrenched me in what has become a major life passion that is the New York Mets.
Hopefully I’ll get around to writing about some of my other World Series’ memories as we real baseball fans sit on the precipice of yet another stage for making lifelong baseball memories as the Texas Rangers with their Mets connections of Hall Of Famer Nolan Ryan and more recently Jeff Francoeur take on the San Francisco Giants with their obvious New York Mets connection.
AS ALWAYS We METS Fans Will Continue to BELIEVE that our franchise will soon return to the Glory days of 1969 …& Of Course
LETS GO METS !