On Oct. 16, 1969 – 39 years ago today – the Baltimore Orioles’ Davey Johnson hit a fly ball to left field caught by the Mets’ Cleon Jones, setting off a Shea Stadium celebration that wouldn’t be duplicated for 27 years (when Johnson was manager of the Mets).
Jerry Koosman went the distance to lead the Mets to a 5-3 win, fueled by homers by Donn Clendenon and Al Weis and eighth-inning doubles by Jones and Ron Swoboda. A fine memory for any Mets fan, even one that was just one year old at the time.
On Oct. 16, 2008, Shea Stadium sits empty, having played its last game weeks ago.
So I continue rooting for the Amazin’ Rays, who can clinch a World Series trip tonight with a win over the Boston Red Sox. And for the record, I’m not a bandwagon-rider as the Rays are my American League team. I lived in Tampa for 17 years and was there for the club’s inaugural season and the subsequent string of losing seasons.