While some nations might honor 2019 as the Year of some small animal, here in New York, it is truly the Year of the Miracle Mets, as the celebrations and honors commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Miracle Mets World Championship have already commenced with several recent events.
At the annual Baseball Writers Dinner in January, Ron Swoboda, Cleon Jones, Ed Kranepool, and Art Shamsky were bestowed their Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award. Last week, the still-good-friends contingent was feted at the annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner. And earlier this week, Kranepool and Shamsky appeared at the first-ever Newsday Live event held at the newspaper’s headquarters in Melville, a mini fan-fest hosted by the daily’s baseball columnist, David Lennon, where the golden memories were once again resurrected with great passion.
Shamsky will soon be releasing a book about not only the miraculous 1969 season but also the subsequent years and a reunion held at Tom Seaver’s vineyard in California about a year or so ago, “After the Miracle,” (Simon & Shuster, out about March 19th). And this summer will see a roster of events, including baseball card shows, book signings (Swoboda also is finishing up a book), appearances at the Cradle of Aviation in Uniondale, a big weekend of celebrations at Citi Field in June, and a gathering at the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in Cooperstown at the end of July.
All for a team that was the Little Engine That Could, the team no one gave any inclination towards, who shocked the baseball world and became one of the four biggest stories of the year on a monumental scale – Joe Namath’s “guaranteed” win over the NFL’s champion Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl; landing on the Moon that July; Woodstock in August; and the Mets playing the supreme underdog card by shocking the Baltimore Orioles in five games that October.
Yes, you can imagine Baltimore sports fans don’t recall the year quite as fondly.
Kranepool was asked about his health at the Newsday event. The 74-year-old former first baseman is in need of a kidney, and has been waiting for the proper medical match. A candidate volunteered recently, but an exam in the final prep stages revealed the donor has a prostate problem and the surgery was scratched.
If you’d like to see if you are a match and are willing to donate a kidney to Kranepool, you can make the connection through Newsday, which has been helping Kranepool in his search wherever possible.
Newsday subscribers can still watch the Live event streaming online.