Barry Bonds just won his record seventh MVP award and fourth in a row at the age of 40. I have a problem with it all. He’d like us to believe that his success is the product of hard work and training, and diet. I don’t believe in good-tooth-fairies. I don’t know where his talent ends and the steroids kick in. Bonds and his trainer, Greg Anderson, do, but Bonds refuses to address the topic of his taking performance-enhancing drugs. Interesting that he looked like a jockey when he broke in with Pittsburgh; now he looks like a horse. His head size is a lot larger now than when he first appeared in a Pirates uniform, and an inflated ego apparently is not the only cause of same.
Barry Bonds is only 52 homers behind the career record set by the magnificent Henry Aaron. Bonds will more than likely break that record, and when he does, I will absolutely not be happy about it. If Roger Maris’ 61 homers in 1961 warranted an asterisk when he broke Babe Ruth’s single-season record of 60 set in 1927 (because the schedule was 162 games in 1961 versus 154 games in 1927), then Bonds’ record will warrant an asterisk of steroidal proportions.
Story of the Week
MIRACLE METS OF 1969
The Mets’ inaugural year was 1962. They were terrible for their first seven years. Any resemblance between the Mets and the departed New York National League favorites, the Dodgers and Giants, was 99 44/100% coincidental. The Mets struggled those seven seasons to be "only" a collective 288˝ games out of first place.
But in 1969, the "loveable losers" won 38 of their last 49 games, ending the season with 100 wins and taking the Eastern Division title. The Mets hammered the Atlanta Braves in the NL playoffs, Tom Seaver secured his first Cy Young Award, and the team captured the hearts of hungry New York baseball fans.
What stood between the Mets and World Series rings were the Baltimore Orioles, a team with a great arsenal of pitchers and future Hall-of-Famers ala Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson. The Series opened in Baltimore, and the Orioles won Game One, 4-1, behind the stellar pitching of Mike Cuellar. In Game Two, the Mets broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh with three two-out singles and won the game as Jerry Koosman beat Dave McNally. The Series was tied and heading for Shea Stadium.
In Game Three, center fielder Tommie Agee made two terrific catches, and "reliever" Nolan Ryan earned a save as the Mets shut out the Orioles, 5-0. Tom Seaver pitched a magnificent Game Four, and the Mets won to take a 3-1 game lead. The Mets were one game away from defying incredible pre-season odds.
Still at Shea Stadium, Game Five was a rematch of Game Two’s arms, McNally and Koosman. Behind home runs by McNally and Frank Robinson, Baltimore took a 3-0 lead. In the sixth inning, the Mets’ Cleon Jones claimed he was hit in the foot by a McNally pitch. The ump said no until Mets’ manager, Gil Hodges, showed the umpire the ball and the smudge of black shoe polish. Jones was awarded first base. The next batter, Donn Clendenon, homered, and brought his team to within one run of Baltimore.
Met’s infielder, Al Weis, had hit a total of five career homers in the majors. He made it six in the seventh inning to tie the score. The Mets went ahead by two in the eighth, they held up, and the miracle was complete. Shea Stadium erupted ala the abandoned Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. Fans poured onto the field in celebration of the huge underdogs having won baseball’s greatest team honor.
Let’s put this World Series into proper perspective. The Mets just won the biggest poker game of their eight years by defying the odds and pulling an inside Royal Flush on the river. I’ve never done that, but to the shock of the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles, the New York Mets did it in 1969.
Last Week’s Trivia
Three elderly ladies are at the baseball game with a bottle of Jack Daniels. They drink almost the entire bottle with several innings left. Given the above, what inning is it and how many players are on base? It’s the bottom of the fifth, and the bags are loaded!! (I apologize.)
Trivia Question of the Week
Name the major leaguer who got hits for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. Incredible as it is, it happened. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.