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1969 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1969 throughout the world.
Four expansion teams joined Major League Baseball for this season: the San Diego Padres, the Kansas City Royals, the Seattle Pilots, and the first MLB team in Canada, the Montreal Expos. To accommodate the additional teams, the two leagues were split into two divisions of East and West. For the first time, extra post-season playoff series were added prior to the World Series, at this juncture best-of-five series between the East and West division leaders in each league.
Major League Baseball
The most notable part of the 1969 season were the Miracle Mets
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
The save is introduced as an official statistic this year. Ron Perranoski leads the majors with 31.
Major league baseball final standings
- January 2 - In response to major-league owners' continued refusal to increase their contributions to the players' pension fund commensurately with their television broadcast revenues, the Major League Baseball Players Association urges players not to sign any new contracts.
- January 21 - Stan Musial and Roy Campanella are voted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA members.
- January 22 - The Expos trade Donn Clendenon and Jesús Alou to the Houston Astros for Rusty Staub. The Astros had recently hired Clendenon's former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Harry Walker, with whom Clendenon had a personality clash, to steer their club and Clendenon refused to report to his new team. The Expos and Astros worked out a new deal, and Clendenon joined the Expos on April 19.
- February 2 - Pitchers Stan Coveleski and Waite Hoyt are voted into the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee.
- February 17 - Spring training opens without 400 players who have decided to boycott it over the pension-fund impasse.
- February 26 - The boycott ends when owners accept most of the players' terms.
- March 1 - Mickey Mantle announces his retirement.
- March 16 - A plane crash in Maracaibo, Venezuela kills 155 people including first baseman Carlos Santeliz, the Venezuelan League Rookie of the Year, on his way to the Braves' spring training camp. Another fatality is pitcher Látigo Chávez, en route to the Giants' camp. Chávez (1-0) was 12-5 with Double-A Waterbury in the Eastern League (1967), including seven shutouts. Pitcher Pablo Torrealba was also scheduled to take the flight, but missed it and took a later one.
- April 8
- At Shea Stadium, Dan McGinn hits the first home run in Montréal Expos history, a solo shot against Tom Seaver.
- At Anaheim Stadium, Mike Hegan hits the first home run in Seattle Pilots history, a two-run shot against Jim McGlothlin.
- At San Diego Stadium, Ed Spiezio hits the first home run in San Diego Padres history, a solo shot against Don Wilson of the Houston Astros.
- At Municipal Stadium, the Kansas City Royals, in their inaugural game, defeat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 in 12 innings. Two pitching stars on the Baltimore Orioles team that won the 1966 World Series pitch for the Royals in this game: Wally Bunker throws the very first pitch, and Moe Drabowsky wins the game in relief. The Royals' first batter, Lou Piniella, gets the first hit for the franchise, leading off the game with a double, and scoring their first run on Jerry Adair's single one batter later.
- At Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs opened their wild 1969 season in dramatic fashion, as Willie Smith hit a pinch-hit, two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-6.
- April 9 - Billy Williams hits 4 consecutive doubles to tie the Major League record during an 11-3 win over the Phillies at Wrigley Field. The Cubs scored seven runs in the seventh inning.
- April 10 - At Shea Stadium, Tommie Agee hits a tremendous home run halfway up in the left field upper deck, a feat that was never matched.
- April 11 - Seattle successfully inaugurates Major League Baseball at Sick's Stadium, as pitcher Gary Bell defeats the Chicago White Sox 7-0. The Seattle Pilots attract 17,850 today and will draw just 678,000 for the season. U.S. Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson throws out the first ball and will do the same in the Seattle Mariners opener, in 1977.
- April 12 - At Detroit, the Yankees' Mel Stottlemyre allows just one hit, a 4th-inning double to Jim Northrup, and beats Denny McLain and the Detroit Tigers 4-0. For the 3rd time in two years, Northrup saves the Tigers from being the victims of a no-hitter.
- April 13 - At the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Mike Fiore hits the first home run in Kansas City Royals history, a solo shot against Blue Moon Odom.
- April 14 - The Montréal Expos open at home with an 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Parc Jarry.
- April 17 - At Connie Mack Stadium, Bill Stoneman of the Montréal Expos no-hits the Philadelphia Phillies 7-0. The game is only the ninth in Expos history, and only the fifth start in Stoneman's Major League career.
- April 25 - The Cubs trade Joe Niekro, Gary Ross, and Francisco Libran to the San Diego Padres for Dick Selma.
- May 1 - The Houston Astros, no-hit the day before by Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds, answer back as Don Wilson pitches a 4-0 no-hitter, with 13 strikeouts over the Reds. Houston ties a National League record with just one assist. In Wilson's previous start against Cincinnati, on April 22, he gave up six runs in five innings in a 14-0 loss. The back-to-back no-hitters are only the second in Major League history, the feat having been accomplished just the year before by Gaylord Perry and Ray Washburn.
- May 4 - At Anaheim Stadium, in only the 25th game in Kansas City Royals history, Bob Oliver goes 6-for-6 with a home run and a double in the Royals' 15-1 drubbing of the California Angels. Oliver becomes the first player to collect six hits in one game since Jesús Alou did so for the San Francisco Giants on July 10, 1964, and the first American League player to do so since Floyd Robinson with the Chicago White Sox on July 22, 1962.
- May 12 - Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals becomes the seventh pitcher in National League history to strike out the side on nine pitches, his victims being Len Gabrielson, Paul Popovich and John Miller in the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gibson enjoys his feat as part of a 6-2 victory for St. Louis.
- May 13 - Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs reaches the 1,500 runs batted in milestone while driving in seven runs in a 19-0 shellacking of the expansion San Diego Padres. Hard-throwing right-hander Dick Selma earns the victory as the Cubs tie a modern-day record for the most one-sided shutout in National League history.
- May 18 - Tying a major league record, the Minnesota Twins steal five bases in the third inning against the Detroit battery of Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan. Four of the steals occur during a single Harmon Killebrew at-bat, and two of the steals, by César Tovar and Rod Carew, are of home plate.
- June 15 - The Montreal Expos deal Donn Clendenon to the New York Mets in exchange for Steve Renko, Kevin Collins and two minor leaguers.
- June 19 - Chicago Cubs manager Leo Durocher, 63, marries 40-year-old Lynne Walker Goldblatt.
- June 21 - The Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics enter the tenth inning tied 3-3. Tying a 1928 New York Yankees record, the Twins score eleven runs in the top of the inning, and beat Oakland 14-4.
- June 22 - The Cubs score four runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Montreal Expos 7-6 in the first game of a double-header at Wrigley Field. Jim Hickman hit a 2-run walk-off homer.
- June 26 - Jim Hickman's home run in the 10th inning defeats the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 at Wrigley Field. On the spur of the moment Ron Santo leaped in the air and clicked his heels 3 times on the way to the clubhouse. The victory dance became a hit with euphoric Cub fans.
- July 8 - With three runs in the 9th inning, the New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3, cutting Chicago's lead in the National League East to four games. Chicago's Ron Santo rips into center fielder Don Young for two misplays in the outfield; Santo apologizes the next day for criticizing Young, who had left early and didn't take the team bus. Santo is later booed in his first game back at Wrigley Field.
- July 9 - With one out in the ninth inning, the Chicago Cubs' Jim Qualls lines a single to left center to break up Tom Seaver's perfect game bid. The New York Mets' 4-0 victory over the Cubs at Shea Stadium would go down in history as "Tom Seaver's Imperfect Game."
- July 13 - In the third meeting between the two brothers, the San Diego Padres' Joe Niekro defeats his younger brother Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves 1-0; Joe is 2-1 over Phil.
- July 23 - At R.F.K. Memorial Stadium, Willie McCovey hits two home runs as the National League beats the American League 9-3, for its seventh straight All-Star Game win. McCovey is named MVP, with his two homers tying an All-Star Game record set earlier by Arky Vaughan (1941), Ted Williams (1946) and Al Rosen (1954). The game was postponed by one day after heavy rains in the Washington, D.C. area. When the AL's Don Mincher pinch-hit in the fourth inning, he became a trivia answer: the only Seattle Pilot to appear in an All-Star game.
- July 26 - Randy Hundley drives in all three Cub runs, including a walk-off single in the 11th inning, to lead the Cubs to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field.
- July 27 - In the most dominant shutout in Orioles history, the Baltimore Orioles defeat the Chicago White Sox, 17-0 at Memorial Stadium. Jim Hardin pitches a 2-hit shutout, walking none and hits a 3-run home run in the bottom of the fourth off of Gary Bell to make it 13-0, the Orioles would plate 4 more runs and belt out 20 hits, all Oriole starters hit safely. In Baltimore's 100th game of the season, they stand at 69-31 and have a 12.5-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the newly formed American League East.
- July 29 - Willie McCovey hits his 300th career home run helping the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-2.
- July 30 - After losing the first game of a doubleheader with the Houston Astros 16-3, the New York Mets were down 7-0 in the third inning when Johnny Edwards hit a double to Cleon Jones in left field to make the score 8-0. Mets manager Gil Hodges emerged from the dugout, walked past Nolan Ryan on the mound, and walked all the way out to left field. A few minutes later, Hodges walked back to the dugout, with Jones a few paces behind him, and replaced Jones in left with Ron Swoboda. According to Jones, he pointed down to the water filled turf. Hodges then said that something must be wrong with Jones's ankle and pulled him for that reason (Jones was kept out of the line-up for the next two games, and used only as a pinch hitter in the two after that). Newspapers report that Jones was removed for failure to hustle, and Hodges decided to do so publicly to show that he would not tolerate lack of effort on his team, even from its star player.
- August 1 - Willie Davis of the Los Angeles Dodgers began his 31-game hit streak this day. Coming into this game Willie was batting .260 - by the time the streak ended on September 4 Willie was batting .318 - during the streak Willie hit .459 and broke the Dodgers franchise record of 29 games set by Zack Wheat. Willie Davis' 31-game hit streak was the 3rd longest in N.L. history and as of 2017 is still the Dodgers record.
- August 5 - The Pittsburgh Pirates' Willie Stargell hits the first home run hit completely out of Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles pitcher Alan Foster surrenders the 506-foot blast--to date, the longest home run in Dodger Stadium history. (Stargell will hit another homer out of Dodger Stadium, off Andy Messersmith in 1973.) The mammoth home run comes in the seventh inning and breaks a 3-3 tie, a three-run home run by Andy Kosco having tied the game for the Dodgers in the bottom of the sixth; Pittsburgh scores seven more runs in the ninth inning and defeats Los Angeles 11-3.
- August 10
- August 13
- August 14 - In the National League Eastern Division, the Chicago Cubs lead the St. Louis Cardinals by 8.5 games and the New York Mets by 9.5 games.
- August 19 - At Wrigley Field, Ken Holtzman of the Chicago Cubs no-hits the Atlanta Braves 3-0 without striking out a single batter the entire game. Only one other pitcher in Major League history, Sad Sam Jones in 1923, has hurled a no-hitter without the benefit of a strikeout. Holtzman survives a scare in the seventh as Hank Aaron's fly ball to deep left field leading off the inning appears to be going over the wall for a home run; however, a stiff wind cuts into the ball and enables Billy Williams to catch it at the warning track. Aaron will ground out to Cubs' second baseman Glenn Beckert for the game's final out.
- September 8 - The Chicago Cubs open a crucial two game series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. Cubs starter Bill Hands knocks down the Mets' leadoff batter Tommie Agee in the first inning. Jerry Koosman hits the next Cubs batter he faces, Ron Santo, in the hand, breaking it. Agee hits a two-run home run in the third, and the Mets win 3-2.
- September 9 - During the Mets' 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Shea, a black cat jumps on the field and runs past Ron Santo in the on-deck circle.
- September 10 - A loss by the Chicago Cubs, and a double header sweep by the New York Mets, gives the Mets their first lead of the National League East Division. The Mets will not relinquish their lead from this point, as the Cubs suffer through a legendary collapse.
- September 15 - The St. Louis Cardinals' Steve Carlton strikes out a record 19 New York Mets in a losing effort, as the Mets defeat the Cards 4-3 at Busch Stadium.
- September 20 - At Shea Stadium, Bob Moose of the Pittsburgh Pirates no-hits the New York Mets 4-0.
- September 21 - At Candlestick Park, the San Francisco Giants defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 in 10 innings as Maury Wills commits an error on Jim Davenport's ground ball, allowing Willie McCovey to score the winning run. Ironically, this game marks Dodger Bill Buckner's Major League debut; Buckner, who grounds out to second baseman Ron Hunt while pinch-hitting for pitcher Jim Brewer in the ninth inning, will become well known for Mookie Wilson's ground ball going through his legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
- September 22 - Willie Mays hits his 600th career home run helping the San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres 4-2.
- September 23 - Carl Yastrzemski hits his 200th career home run helping the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 8-3.
- September 24 - After 7 uninspired losing seasons, the New York Mets clinch the National League East Division title as Donn Clendenon hit 2 home runs in a 6-0 Mets win over Steve Carlton and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets have won 38 out of their 49 games dating from August 14. The Cubs will finish the season 8 games behind the Mets, and not win the division until exactly fifteen years from this day.
- October 2 - The Seattle Pilots finish what would be their only season in the Emerald City with a 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Sick's Stadium. The city of Seattle would not host another MLB team until the birth of the Mariners in 1977.
- October 4 - The American League and National League Championship Series begin, the first such series to feature the respective leagues' division champions. The Baltimore Orioles would sweep the Minnesota Twins in 3 games for the A.L. pennant; the New York Mets would do the same against the Atlanta Braves for the N.L. crown.
- October 7 - The St. Louis Cardinals trade Curt Flood to the Philadelphia Phillies in a seven-player deal that also sends Tim McCarver, Byron Browne and Joe Hoerner to the Phillies and Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas and Jerry Johnson to the Cardinals. Flood, however, refuses to report to the Phillies and instead challenges baseball's reserve clause in a lawsuit that will eventually reach the Supreme Court. He will sit out the entire 1970 season.
- October 8 - After firing Dave Bristol as manager despite an 89-73 season, the Cincinnati Reds hire Sparky Anderson to replace him. Over the next seven seasons, Anderson, who will be making his Major League managerial debut in 1970, will guide the team known as the "Big Red Machine" to five National League West titles, four National League pennants, and back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.
- October 9 - The Pittsburgh Pirates re-hire Danny Murtaugh as their manager for what will be his third of four stints as Pirate skipper. This stint will see the Pirates win the 1970 National League East title for their first post-season berth since winning the 1960 World Series (with Murtaugh at the helm), as well as winning the 1971 World Series.
- October 15 - Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver is warned during Game 4 of the 1969 World Series by umpire Shag Crawford not to argue balls and strikes. After receiving this warning, Weaver follows Crawford to home plate, and is immediately ejected from the game. The Mets would go on to win the game 2-1 in 10 innings to take a 3-1 lead in the World Series.
- October 16 - The Baltimore Orioles are ahead 3-0 in Game five of the 1969 World Series at Shea Stadium when Dave McNally strikes New York Mets batter Cleon Jones in the foot with a pitch. However, home plate umpire Lou DiMuro ruled that the ball missed Jones. Mets manager Gil Hodges emerges from the dugout to argue, and showed DiMuro the shoe-polish smudged ball. DiMuro reversed his call, and awarded Jones first base. The following batter, Donn Clendenon, hit a two-run home run to pull the Mets within a run of Baltimore (his third home run of the Series). Following an Al Weis solo home run in the seventh to tie the game, the Mets score two in the eighth to take a 5-3 lead. Jerry Koosman pitches a complete game for the Mets, who win the World Series in five games. Clendenon is named World Series MVP.
- November 12 - Harmon Killebrew of the Minnesota Twins is voted Most Valuable Player by the BBWAA, after he led the American League with 49 home runs, 140 RBI, and a .430 on-base percentage.
- November 25 - Outfielder Lou Piniella, who hit .282 with 11 home runs and 68 RBI, is named American League Rookie of the Year over pitcher Mike Nagy (12-2, 3.11 ERA), outfielder Carlos May (.281, 18, 62) and pitcher Ken Tatum (7-2, 1.36).
- November 28 - Second baseman Ted Sizemore becomes the seventh Dodgers player to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Sizemore joins Jackie Robinson (1947), Don Newcombe (1949), Joe Black (1952), Junior Gilliam (1953), Frank Howard (1960) and Jim Lefebvre (1965).
- January 6 - Hank Olmsted, 89, pitcher for the 1905 Boston Americans.
- January 18 - Ray Kennedy, 73, second baseman turned executive; general manager of Pittsburgh Pirates (1946); farm system director of Pirates (1947-1948) and Detroit Tigers (1949-51), and player personnel director of Kansas City Athletics (1955); appeared in one MLB game as a player for the St. Louis Browns (1916).
- January 23 - Al Bridwell, 85, shortstop whose apparent game-winning single for the New York Giants in a 1908 contest led to the controversial play in which baserunner Fred Merkle was eventually called out for not touching second base.
- February 19 - Doc White, 89, Chicago White Sox pitcher whose record of five consecutive shutouts was finally broken by Don Drysdale in 1968.
- March 14 - Heinie Zimmerman, 82, third baseman who won the NL triple crown in 1912 but was barred from baseball in 1919 for his role in fixing games.
- March 16 - William Bell, 71, All-Star pitcher of the Negro leagues who posted the highest career winning percentage in black baseball.
- March 16 - Néstor Chávez, 21, pitcher who played for the 1967 San Francisco Giants.
- March 21 - Pinky Higgins, 59, third baseman who held the AL record for career games at that position, a three-time All-Star and later manager and general manager of the Red Sox.
- April 4 - Les Wilson, 83, outfielder who played for the 1911 Boston Red Sox.
- April 7 - Si Rosenthal, 65, outfielder who played from 1925 to 1926 for the Boston Red Sox.
- April 19 - Rip Collins, 59, catcher for the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees in the 1940s.
- April 23 - Freddie Moncewicz, 65, backup shortstop for the 1928 Boston Red Sox.
- April 27 - Harry Taylor, 61, first baseman who played 10 games with the 1932 Chicago Cubs.
- May 1 - Gary Wilson, 90, second baseman for the 1902 Boston Americans.
- May 5 - Eddie Cicotte, 84, pitcher who won 208 games for the Tigers, Red Sox and White Sox, but was thrown out of baseball as one of the eight "Black Sox" involved in fixing the 1919 World Series; he was the first of the eight to come forward, confessing his involvement and testifying before the grand jury.
- May 17 - Pants Rowland, 90, manager of the 1917 World Series champion Chicago White Sox, later president of the Pacific Coast League from 1944 to 1954.
- May 20 - Lee Allen, 54, historian at the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1959, former sportswriter.
- May 25 - Jim Riley, 74, Canadian infielder for the St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators, who also is the only athlete in sports history to play both Major League Baseball and in the National Hockey League.
- June 24 - John Perrin, 71, right fielder for 1921 Boston Red Sox; later a fullback/quarterback for the NFL Hartford Blues.
- July 8 - Bill Carrigan, 85, manager and backup catcher for the Boston Red Sox' world champions in 1915 and 1916.
- August 17 - Frank Shellenback, 70, spitball pitcher who played for 1918-1919 Chicago White Sox and won 295 games in the Pacific Coast League; later a longtime pitching coach.
- September 29 - Tommy Leach, 91, third baseman and center fielder, primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who led the NL in runs twice and home runs once.
- September 30 - Jim Galvin, 62, played briefly for the 1930 Boston Red Sox.
- September 30 - Hank Thompson, 43, third baseman who was the third black player in MLB history and played on the 1954 New York Giants World Series championship team.
- October 2 - Gordon Cobbledick, 70, sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1928 to 1964.
- October 9 - Don Hoak, 41, third baseman who played on 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series championship teams.
- November 1 - George Winn, 72, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (1919) and Cleveland Indians (1922-23).
- November 14 - Curt Roberts, 40, first black player in Pittsburgh Pirates history.
- November 15 - Billy Southworth, 76, manager who won World Series titles in 1942 and 1944 with the St. Louis Cardinals and the 1948 NL pennant with the Boston Braves, posting a .597 career winning percentage.
- November 24 - Pablo Morales, 64, Venezuelan professional baseball executive for more than three decades, and former owner of the Leones del Caracas club.
- November 30 - Eddie Eayrs, 79, outfielder/pitcher who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Braves and Brooklyn Robins in the early 20th century.
- December 3 - Roy Wilson, 83, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox in the 1920s.
- December 7 - Lefty O'Doul, 72, left fielder who batted .349 in his career and won two batting titles after being converted from a pitcher; became the winningest manager in Pacific Coast League history, and earned additional fame as the "father" of professional baseball in Japan.
- December 11 - Ollie Fuhrman, 83, catcher who hit .333 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1922.