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Moon Shots

For today's other anniversary-related entry, click here

http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2008/07/shades-of-grey.html

July 29 also marks the 50th anniversary of NASA, which is pertinent to me because I know I have a regular reader logging on from that organization.

My knowledge of astronomy is limited to a few visits to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, and a failed attempt many years ago to spot Halley's Comet. But as the subject relates to the Mets, I have a little more knowledge.

One of the Mets more entertaining wins in 1969 came on July 20, the day that man landed on the moon for the first time.

The Mets were in the midst of a little bit of a letdown, having just beaten the first-place Cubs two of three, but couldn't take advantage of the expansion Expos. Montreal beat them in the first two games of that series, including the opener of a doubleheader. To avoid a sweep, the Mets needed to win the second contest.

While the folks at NASA were in the midst of their final preparations, the Mets were in the midst of a rather entertaining game. They carried a 2-1 lead into the eighth, but former Met Kevin Collins tied the score with an RBI double. They'd go ahead again in the ninth without even posting a hit, as Cleon Jones walked in the go-ahead run with the bases loaded. Potential victory was negated however by a home run from Coco Laboy leading off the bottom of the ninth.

It wasn't a moon shot that beat the Expos that day, but instead rather smart play. With two outs, Ron Swoboda doubled, and advanced to third base on an error on the play by centerfielder Adolfo Phillips. Bobby Pfeil then dropped a squeeze bunt down the third base line, good enough to beat out for a hit and chase Swoboda home with the go-ahead run. The Mets would set the side down in the home 10th to pick up the victory.

This seems like a good time to mention that I interviewed Bobby Pfeil for a book coming out next year about the 1969 Mets. He remembered this game, and while I won't tell you what he said (buy the book!), it was something to the effect that he was feeling rather spaced out afterwards. Hopefully my NASA reader will pardon that rather dreadful pun and send me a note (metswalkoffs@aol.com) sharing his/her story of Mets fandom.

True Metstronomers know...Wally Moon hit four of his 142 career home runs against the Mets, but none were walk-offs. All four came in New York. Bill 'Spaceman' Lee went 4-3 in 14 career appearances against the Mets, but did not pitch in any Mets walk-off wins.

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