Three members of the 1969 World Champion Miracle Mets made a guest appearance at this year’s 39th annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner hosted by the beloved Yankee widow Diana Munson.
The annual event honors past and present New York sports figures to raise funds for the AHRC NYC Foundation, a charity that Munson adopted while he was still in Pinstripes.
Since the event’s inception, some $16 million has been raised for services to children and young adults with developmental disabilities.
Kicking off the 50th anniversary tour for the 1969 Mets were teammates Ed Kranepool, Ron Swoboda and Art Shamsky who have since appeared at Mets Spring Training Camp and are scheduled to appear this summer at a Citi Field commemoration ceremony.
Out of the three old timers, Swoboda is best remembered in Mets’ lore for making “The Catch” in game four of the 1969 World Series that robbed Brooks Robinson of an extra-base hit, allowing the Mets to win the game and go on to take the championship in five games.
“We were very relevant to New York back then,” said Shamsky. “I can’t believe how fast 50 years have passed,” said the clutch hitter regarding the fledgling expansion team that had finally reached over .500 for the first time in the club’s eighth’s season.
Commenting on the “Miracle” team that beat the heavily favored Orioles, original 1962 Met Kranepool, a Munson Award winner, noted that there were two major individuals responsible for the team’s success. He cited the pitching of Tom Seaver and the leadership and management style of Gil Hodges being instrumental in a season in which the 1969 Mets soared to a 100-62 first-place record.
“He brought a winning culture here in 1968 and insisted that we play the right way,” said Kranepool regarding Hodges. “If you didn’t play the game his way, you just didn’t play.”