Okay so far in this countdown of the top 50 Mets off all time – you fans have chosen pretty much players that represented players whose Mets careers had spanned the ’70′s until this past decade. Well that all changes today because at number 46 is one of the most iconic player from the ’69 World Series Championship Team. That’s right, it is right fielder Ron Swoboda ! I personally would have had Ron in my top 20 but I was not the one who voted .
Swoboda was signed by the Mets on September 5, 1963 . In 1964 he was assigned to the Mets’ AA farm team at Williamsport, PA , and made the parent team out of Spring Training in 1965. By the time the All -Star break , Ron had 15 home runs . This the most by a Mets rookie ever in the first half. Not even Darryl Strawberry or Ike Davis came close.
During his early years with the Mets, Ron was nicknamed ” Rocky” due to his result of his shaky fielding. He possessed a strong, accurate throwing arm, to complement his power bat. 1968 was possibly Ron’s best season offensively. He batted .281 with thirteen home runs drove in 53 RBIs. He also had a career high fourteen outfield assists.
Swoboda didn’t appear in the ’69 LCS, where the Mets swept the Atlanta Braves in three games. But he made up for that omission in the ’69 World Series.
During game four , Swoboda, would make possibly the best defensive play ever in a World Series game when he made a diving shoe string catch during the ninth inning - in which even though a run scored , he stopped the Orioles from scoring more on that would be Orioles rally. The Mets won the game 2–1 in ten innings, and the Mets would end up winning the world series in four games. Swoboda batted .400 in the World Series, he only had one RBI , which was the game winner of the final game.
Sadly by ’71 Swoboda’s play had faded and the Mets traded him to the Montreal Expos for outfielder Don Hahn. He would finish his career with the New York Yankees in ’73 although he did sign a contract with Atlanta in ’74 but was promptly released that March. He once again tried a comeback with the Mets in ’76. But that too proved to be unsuccessful. His career totals as a Mets are a .242 batting average with 69 home runs and 304 RBIs
I had the pleasure of interviewing him back in the summer of ’09 , and he was one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
Tomorrow we will reveal which member of the ’86 team will be named number 45.
And with that said … HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!
Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes :
Mets reserve outfielder from the ’98 season, Wayne Kirby is 47 (1964) .
Sadly on this date in 2001 , we lost a true Mets legend when Mets outfielder,Tommie Agee passed away. I had the honor to meet Tommie on a number of occasions as a teenager, and he was always warm and friendly. There was no air of entitlement with Tommie, just a down to earth man who loved baseball and took time out to help the children of New York as an good will ambassador of the the New York Mets. He is missed.
New York Mets traded reserve outfielder, Mark Carreon and pitcher, Tony Castillo to the Detroit Tigers for middle reliever, Paul Gibson and minor league pitcher,Randy Marshall on January 22, 1992.
New York Mets traded minor league pitching prospects,Yudith Ozario , Eric Ludwick and minor league outfielder, Erik Hiljus to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder, Bernard Gilkey on January 22, 1996. This was a great move in my opinion. Too bad Bernard was on a crappy team at that point .
New York Mets signed free agent utility infielder,Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox on January 22, 2009. Okay I can understand Omar signing Cora – he was a good clubhouse presence, but to give him two million dollars when there were better ( and cheaper) alternatives on the market ?!?!!?
New York Mets traded middle reliever, Brian Stokes to the Los Angeles Angels for washed up outfielder, Gary Matthews on January 22, 2010. Oh Omar , I still wonder how you could trade a decent middle reliever who possess a blazing fastball for that schlub – It would have been better if you had re-signed Garry Sheffield instead !
And while you are at home trying to keep warm while contemplating moving to Arizona, just remember that there are just 69 ( fine number!) more days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami and only 76 more days until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn has contemplating taking up cross country skiing, but then he changed his mind when he found out that it was required a high level of exertion !!