Seaver, Reggie and the Mets Land in First Place in NL East After Spoiling Montreal Expos’ Franchise Debut
OPENING DAY – April 8, 1969
NEW YORK, NY – Tom Seaver allowed only 2 earned runs over 6 2/3 innings and Reggie Jackson homered in his first plate appearance of the season as the New York Mets toppled the expansion Expos of Montreal in the first game of the 1969 baseball season.
For the New York Mets, this marks the first time in franchise history the team has won on Opening Day. Consequently, with a record on the season of 1-0, this also marks the first time in franchise history the team has ever held a share of first place.
“The Mets are in first place. Let it never be said that miracles don’t happen,” said manager Gil Hodges.
Les Expos, as Major League Baseball’s first Canadian franchise is known to its Quebecois fans, began their own franchise history inauspiciously when the first batter of the season, former NL MVP shortstop Maury Wills, struck out against the 24-year-old fireballer from Fresno, Tom Seaver. Their fortune quickly turned however, when second basemen Gary Sutherland reached on an Ed Kranepool error. After Rusty Staub singled and Mack Jones popped up behind home plate the Expos were staked to a 3-0 lead when Seaver hung a breaking ball to Montreal first baseman Bob Bailey who promptly deposited it over the Shea Stadium centerfield wall.
Not to be outdone, in the bottom of the first Cleon Jones singled to start the Mets’ half of the inning. Jones was erased on a 6-4 fielder’s choice, but with Tommie Agee on first base and Reggie Jackson at the plate Mudcat Grant grooved a fastball that Reggie’s powerful left-handed swing didn’t miss. The resultant home run was measured at 465 feet, one of the longest Shea stadium has ever seen.
The Expos held the Mets to a 3-2 score until the bottom of the 4th. That’s when the Mets plated three more runs on a series of walks and base hits that sent Grant to the showers. Seaver helped his own cause with a single that added two more runs in the bottom of the 5th against Expos reliever Dan McGinn.
A seventh inning rally brought Montreal within two, but Cal Koonce and Ron Taylor shut the door on Les Expos. Reggie Jackson narrowly missed a second home run of the night when he hit a long fly ball in the 8th inning that would have cleared the fences in most other stadiums.
“It was a good day for Reggie,” said Jackson. “And when it’s a good day for Reggie, it’s a good day for the fans.”
This game was played with Strat-O-Matic Advanced rules and charts, including clutch, weather and ballpark effects.
In recent months I’ve been adding links to the ol’ sidebar, but haven’t had the opportunity to mention most of them. Here are a few of the newest additions to the Roll, Blog(roll):
- Fireblossom’s APBA Baseball Blog: Though there are a few prominent female tabletop-sports gamers in the blogosphere (Diane Firstman of Value over Replacement Grit and Laurie Berry of somworld.com may be the two most widely known), as far as I know, Fireblossom’s APBA Baseball Blog is the only tabletop-sports-specific blog wholly written and operated by a woman. Is seeing the hobby from a “Goddess” (as she calls herself) perspective enough of a reason to read Fireblossom’s blog? Maybe or maybe not, but if, like me, you enjoy following replays that are presented with enthusiasm, wit, and an obvious love of the subject, then you are in for a treat with Fireblossom’s presentation of her 1967 AL replay. Her players come to life in her game recaps. I wholly endorse this new blog and hope that it gets the audience it deserves.
- 368 To The Gaps: Mike Patterson is a Strat-O-Matic gamer who also designs and builds custom wooden tabletop-stadiums. His work is really amazing and inspiring for those of us who enjoy rolling dice in tiny little tabletop cathedrals.
- Archrivals Baseball: APBA-Compatible card sets, available via PDF for reasonable prices. I have the “Great Teams of the Pacific Coast League 1” set, and it’s really a treat to see Joe DiMaggio of the 1935 San Francisco Seals going up against Ted “The Kid” Williams of the 1937 San Diego Padres. Card sets are well-researched and handsomely presented. A go-to site for anyone who is both a fan of APBA Baseball and great minor league teams of the past. Also available, a card set of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
- House of Oglethorpe: Casey Brough is a librarian and Strat-O-Fanatic with a decent set of graphic design skills. He’s used said skills to design a very nice blog in which he presents his 1953 Strat-O-Matic Baseball replay. He’s also the world’s foremost collector of Marty Barrett memorabilia. Seriously.
THE REGGIE! PROJECT: 1969
The Reggie! Project is my multi-season project, wherein I’m playing full season (single-team) replays from different stages of Reggie Jackson’s career. I’ve completed Reggie’s 1977 Yankees season and his 1982 California Angels season. In the coming months I’ll be posting results of Reggie’s 1969 season. Though the ’77 and ’82 seasons were recreated using mostly as-played lineups for all teams, the 1969 season will be different. In this season, Reggie will be the starting right fielder for the 1969 New York “Miracle” Mets.
PART 1: THE DRAFT
The New York Mets had a choice to make early in the morning on June 7, 1966. In anticipation of the first overall pick in baseball’s amateur draft, the Mets had reviewed the thousands of eligible ballplayers in America and whittled the candidates down to two.
On the one hand, there was a 17-year-old catcher with a smooth left-handed swing from Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, California. Steve Chilcott had been scouted by the Ol’ Perfesser himself, Casey Stengel, and had won the legend’s endorsement in the Mets front office. Chilcott was young and raw, but his athletic talent was unquestionable. Besides being an all-American ballplayer behind the dish, he had quarterbacked his school to a league championship, too. With an easy demeanor and a strong work ethic to boot, Chilcott was as sure a thing as a 17-year-old catching prospect could be.
His competition for that number 1 overall pick was a centerfielder from Arizona State University, Reginald Martinez Jackson. Reggie, as he was known, was also a two-sport star. An All-American Halfback and Outfielder, he swung his bat with tremendous power, threw with a plus-arm, and walked with the kind of swagger, charisma, and confidence in athletic competition that simply can’t be taught. But while Reggie had everything on the field going for him, the Mets had concerns about off-the-field issues with Reggie.
Reggie had already announced in the press that his signing demands would be, “sky high – up there where the air is rare.” This might conceivably make the Mets balk, but as they had already prepared a $75,000 contract should they choose Chilcott, Reggie’s requested $85,000 bonus wasn’t too far out of the realm of possibility.
No, it wasn’t his contract demands or his talent on the field that the Mets front office couldn’t deal with, it was something far more pedestrian and far more sinister. According to Reggie, Arizona State head coach Bobby Winkles told him that the New York Mets didn’t like that the flamboyant and charismatic young man of Puerto Rican and Afro-American descent was dating a white girl.
To be fair, Winkles later denied making this statement, so it’s his word versus Reggie’s. Reggie’s claim isn’t far-fetched, however, when you consider that NY Mets President at the time was George Weiss, a noted racist who while running the New York Yankees in the 1950’s once proclaimed that “no black man would ever wear the Yankee pinstripes.”
So who would it be, come decision time? Would the Mets take the safe, easy, All-American boy from Southern California? Or would they go against their personal bias and take the budding superstar with out-of-this-world talent from Arizona State?
Why is it that the first actual pictures we’ve seen of Strat Daily are on an obscure website called “Sport Techie”?
These sure look like what we’d imagine the Strat-O-Matic Daily cards to look like, though these are clearly from the “Baseball 365” edition. Hopefully these cards will have the same or similar aesthetic look in the Windows PC version of the game. See below:
These cards are, apparently, the daily cards of Yoenis Cespedes as they evolved from September 15 – 17th of 2015. Here are his lines those days:
Sept 14 vs. Miami he went 1-for-3 with a home run and a strikeout versus lefty Justin Niccolino, and he drew an intentional walk against right-hander Kyle Barraclough.
Sept 15 vs Miami he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a hit-by-pitch versus righthanders Tom Koehler and Brian Ellington. It’s interesting that on his Sept 16 card he has a slightly lower home run and doubles chances versus rightys compared to his card the day before, but HBP and strikeouts remain unchanged.
Sept 16 vs Miami, Cespedes again had an 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and didn’t manage to get on base at all. Three of those outs were against the lefty Adam Conley, and his last at-bat was a groundout against the right-handed Barraclough.
Notice the change in his Sept 17th card, though? He has more home run chances versus lefties on the Sept 17th card than he did the day before? How did that happen? Weird. September 17th was an off-day for the Mets, and Cespedes came back with another oh-fer on the 18th.
Am I missing something or do these cards defy logic?
UPDATE: In a post on StratFanForum, a Baseball Daily Beta Tester stated the following:
“The card image for Baseball Daily is exactly what it is in the computer game. I can’t remember whether there were any changes in what is shown–there might be something involved with clutch situations--but the card viewed during the computer game has essentially the same format that we’ve always had.” (emphasis mine)
So there goes any hope of seeing an updated graphic element in the 2016 version of Strat for Windows.
Now just days away from completion, you’re looking at the BACK cover of the Spring 2016 Print Edition of OneForFive.com Magazine. It’s time to get excited, my friends.