Considering man walked on the moon for the first time in 1969, we had to figure anything could happen that year. And it did later that baseball season. The Mets, hapless and helpless for all those years, won the World Series. Just like the moonwalk, it was amazin'.
A check of our area major league teams on July 20, 1969, brought back memories, for those older than 50, anyway. Any younger and it simply might be a history lesson, but one filled with great baseball names.
•The Mets played a doubleheader that day, typical of the game back then, splitting with the Expos in Montreal. The Expos won 3-2 in the first game as Gary Waslewski went nine innings and allowed five hits. Waslewski, out of Berlin High, played for the Red Sox in 1967 when they won the American League pennant but lost the World Series to the Cardinals. By the way, time of game — 2:17, unheard of today, just like Sunday twinbills.
•The Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 with Ray Culp raising his record to 14-6. Sparky Lyle got the save, his 10th. Lyle, of course, would end up with the Yankees in one of the worst trades the Red Sox ever made (Lyle for Danny Cater). Carl Yastrzemski drove in his 70th run of the season. Boston was 11 games behind first-place Baltimore.
•The Yankees defeated the Washington Senators 3-2 in 11 innings. Old reliable Roy White had three hits as did shortstop Gene Michael, still with the Yankees all these years later. But the Yankees were 46-52, 20 games out of first place.
The managers in those games represent some of best managers or players of all time: Ralph Houk of the Yankees, Ted Williams of the Senators, Earl Weaver of the Orioles, Dick Williams of the Red Sox, Gil Hodges of the Mets and Gene Mauch of the Expos.
The day of the moon landing, readers woke up to a column in The Courant by sports editor Bill Lee on the controversy surrounding Jets quarterback Joe Namath and his ownership stake in Bachelors III, a New York City club. Namath, as famous an athlete as there was back then, was forced by commissioner Pete Rozelle to give it up. Knowing Namath, he probably mooned the commish when he heard the verdict.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun