Oct 16, 1969: It's the shoes

Shine your shoes

batter 3TODAY in BASEBALL - OCTOBER 16, 1969 - NEW YORK, NEW YORK  A good reason to shine your shoes; it could help you win a World Series, as it did on this date in 1969.

It was game 5 between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Mets. The Mets, in only in their 8th year of existence, led the heavily favored Orioles three games to one, but were behind by three runs in this game. Mets left fielder Cleon Jones was at bat. He claimed he was hit in the foot by a pitch and headed toward first base. The home plate umpire didn't share Jones' opinion.

There was a discussion involving Mets manager Gil Hodges. Somebody decided, ‘Let's take a look at the ball.' If it hit Jones' foot there should be a smudge of shoe polish on the ball. There was. Jones was awarded first base.

Later that inning Jones scored on Donn Clendenon's third home run of the Series. Al Weis's home run an inning later tied the game. Ron Swoboda's double and two Baltimore errors in the 8th give New York a 5-3 win and the Series.

Contributing sources:
1969 World Series box score/stats/play-by-play

This baseball history story about the "miracle Mets" is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.

Oct 15, 1986: Mets & Astros go 16

Punch for Punch

ImageTODAY in BASEBALL - OCTOBER 15, 1986 - HOUSTON, TEXAS - On this date in 1986 the National League Championship Series (NLCS) ended with a 16-inning nail-biting marathon between the New York Mets and Houston Astros in game 6. Game 5 went 12 innings. The Mets eventually won the series 4 games to two.

In game 6 the Astros entered the 9th inning up 3-0. The Mets tied the game 3-3. Both teams fought on punch for punch. After neither team scored in the 10th, 11th, 12th or 13th, both scored a run the 14th, so they played on.

The Mets scored 3 in the 16th inning. Houston got a rally going in their half of the 16th (will the game ever end?), and scored 2 to make it 7-6, but Mets reliever Jesse Orosco struck out Kevin Bass with the tying run on second. The Mets advanced.

It would have been hard to top that series, but the Boston Red Sox and California Angels pretty much did in the ALCS that same year (see Oct. 12 story).

The World Series that year was also remarkable. It was won by the Mets with the help of a ball going through Billy Buckner's legs to tie the Series at three games apiece. The Mets won game 7, a game that saw the lead change hands four times.

Contributing sources:
NLCS Mets-Astros Oct. 15 1986

ALCS Red Sox-Angels

1986 World Series game 7

This baseball history story about the 1986 NLCS is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.

Oct 14, 1972: World Series power surge

Must have had his Wheaties

3rd bw effectTODAY in BASEBALL - OCTOBER 14, 1972 - CINCINNATI, OHIO - Oakland A's catcher Gene Tenace picked baseball's biggest stage to breakout as a power hitter on this date in 1972. He hit just 5 home runs during the entire 1972 regular season, but hit 4 in the World Series. Tenace hit 2 home runs on this date, driving in all 3 Oakland runs as the A's beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 in game one. Besides the 4 homers Tenace drove in 9 runs in the seven game series, and was named World Series Most Valuable Player. The A's won that World Series, and the next two ('73 and '74).

He was born Fiore Gino Tennaci in Russellton, Pennsylvania. Up until the '72 World Series, Tenace was Dave Duncan's backup behind the plate. He hit a total of 20 home runs in his first four years with the A's. After his breakout World Series he became an every day player. He played a lot of first base, as Duncan - later Tony LaRussa's pitching coach for several teams - was a pretty good receiver and not a bad hitter himself.

Over the next eight seasons Tenace had home run totals of 24, 26, 29, 22, 15, 16, 20 and 17 playing for the San Diego Padres and the St. Louis Cardinals in addition to the A's. He finished his fifteen year career with 201 home runs.

1972 World Series
Sports Illustrated Greatest Teams, by Tim Crothers, 1998

  • It was also on this date in 1908 that the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series.

This baseball history story about Gene Tenace is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.

Oct 13, 2013 - A time for all seasons

The Halloween Classic

TODAY in BASEBALL - OCTOBER 13 - BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Back "in the day," whatever that means, the World Series was coming to an end around October 13th. This year (2016), the National and American Leagues haven't even begun their respective League Championship Series.

The 2016 World Series is scheduled to start October 25th. The 7th game, if needed, would be November 2nd. The "October Classic" has become a Halloween event. Besides the weather factor in Northeast and Midwest locations, it’s simply a
longer season than it used to be. Let’s compare:

1960 - The Pittsburgh Pirates' Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run to win a spectacular up and down World Series between Pittsburgh and New York Yankees occurred on this date, October 13thBox score & play-by-play.

1929 – The 5th and final game of the 1929
season was October 14th, the Philadelphia A’s beat the Chicago
Cub 3-2 to win the series 4 games to 1.

1949 – The last game played in 1949 was on October 5th when the New York Yankees
beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 10-6 to win the World Series 4 games to 1.

1969 – The miracle season of 1969 came to an end on October 16th with the New
York Mets' stunning victory over the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 to win the series 4
games to 2.

1989 – Even the 1989 World Series ended before November, despite a 10-day delay because of the San Francisco earthquake of that year. The Oakland A’s beat the San
Francisco Giants 9-6 on October 28th
to sweep the Series.

2016 MLB Postseason Calendar 
1989 San Francisco earthquake

This baseball history story is brought to you by Today in Baseball.

Oct 12, 1986: Forgettable year

No Angels in this outfield

catcher batter feetTODAY in BASEBALL - OCTOBER 12, 1986 - ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - On this date in 1986 the California Angels (today's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) were one strike from their first World Series when they suffered a heartbreaking loss that had tragic consequences beyond baseball.

It was game 5 of American League Championship Series (ALCS). California had a three games to one lead over the Boston Red Sox. This game was filled with drama. The Angels were up 5-2 in the ninth. It was the Red Sox' last at bat. Designated hitter Don Baylor hit a two-run homer on a two-strike pitch with one out. The Red Sox were within a run.

After another out Angel's reliever Gary Lucas hit the first batter he faced, catcher Rich Gedman. Donnie Moore, who had bounced around the major leagues for several years, but appeared to have found a home with the Angels, was brought in to pitch to the Red Sox' Dave Henderson. Moore had two strikes on Henderson - the Angels were one strike from their first World Series.

Henderson hit a two-run homer to give the Red Sox the lead.

As dramatic as that was, it wasn't the end. The Angels tied the game in the last of the 9th. Neither team scored in the 10th. The Red Sox scored the go-ahead run in 11th on a sacrifice fly by Dave Henderson. The Angels were held in check in the bottom of the 11th to end the game. The Red Sox were still down three games to two, but were heading back to Boston where they won the final two games.

Sadly, Donnie Moore's life spiraled down after that. He was booed regularly by Angels' fans who couldn't forget that one fateful pitch. Moore was tough on himself too. It's unlikely that baseball failure was his only demon, but he fell into deep depression after being released in 1988. Donnie Moore committed suicide in 1989. He was 35.

Contributing Sources:
Game 5 of ALCS

This baseball history story about the 1986 California Angels is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.

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