New York Mets: Donn Clendenon the unsung hero of the Amazins

On a New York Mets team stripe with big-name pitchers, it was hitter Donn Clendenon who brought the 1969 World Series title to the Big Apple.

Much to the chagrin and surprise of all of major league baseball, the New York Mets won the 1969 World Series. The Mets cruised through the regular season on the strength of their pitching staff and carried away the World Series from the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles on the shoulders of Donn Clendenon.

Yeah, Donn Clendenon.

Clendenon wouldn’t have even been a Met had he not refused to report to the Houston Astros, a team he was traded to prior to the 1969 season. Eager to get rid of him the Montreal Expos finally found a team he’d play for, the Mets, and boy were both Donny and the Amazins happy about that.

Pitching is what prevailed in getting the Mets to the playoffs and helped get them a ring. Tom Seaver won 25 regular-season games. Jerry Koosman 17. Ron Taylor and Tug McGraw each 9 in relief. A young Nolan Ryan pitched in three. The team earned run average was 2.99, For the season.

Clendenon hit .252 in a platoon role with fan-favorite Ed Kranepool and popped twelve home runs in the seventy-plus games he played. Clendenon saved his power surge for the biggest stage though as he hit three home runs in fourteen at-bats in the World Series.

His solo shots in Games 2 and 4 staked the New York Mets with leads and helped them to one run wins in each. His two-run home run in Game 5 helped trim a three-run deficit to one, and the Mets would later take the lead to secure the series.

The pitching for the Mets was amazing no doubt, as they finished with a 1.80 ERA with Koosman and Seaver each pitching complete games. Though all said and told Donn Clendenon led the team in runs, home runs runs batted in and OPS. He provided all the run support those pitchers needed.