October 16, 1969: Game Five of World Series

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Date: October 16, 1969
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 5
Orioles: 3
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Donn Clendenon, Al Weis, Ron Swoboda
Key play: "Shoe polish play", Clendenon's & Weis's home runs, Swoboda's double

The Mets and Orioles faced each other in the fifth game of the World Series on a Thursday afternoon. As the Mets tried to close out the Series, a Shea Stadium crowd of 57,397 looked on. Jerry Koosman pitched a complete game and the Mets came from behind for a 5-3 victory over Baltimore for their first ever World Championship.

Koosman and Orioles’ starter Dave McNally each pitched two scoreless innings to begin the game. In the top of the third, Mark Belanger led off with a single to right field. McNally followed with a home run to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Koosman retired the next two batters and Frank Robinson homered for the third Baltimore run. Jerry struck out Boog Powell to end the inning and doubled to begin the bottom half. Tommie Agee flied out to center fielder Paul Blair and a strikeout of Bud Harrelson ensued. McNally then retired Cleon Jones on a pop-up to first baseman Powell for the third out.

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings, Koosman held the Birds to a single by Powell in the top of the sixth. Jones came up to bat to start the bottom half. Cleon was awarded first base after manager Gil Hodges showed umpire Lou DiMuro a spot of shoe polish on the ball to prove he was hit by a pitch. Donn Clendenon hit a home run to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. McNally set down the next three Mets batters and Koosman hurled a perfect top of the seventh. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Al Weis homered to tie the game. McNally struck out Koosman and got Agee to fly out to right fielder Frank Robinson. Harrelson lined out to third baseman Brooks Robinson to end the inning. Koosman then set down the Orioles 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth.

Jones doubled off Baltimore reliever Eddie Watt to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. Clendenon grounded out to Brooks Robinson and a double by Ron Swoboda drove home Jones to put the Mets ahead, 4-3. Ed Charles lined out to left fielder Don Buford and a ground ball by Jerry Grote was misplayed by Powell. Watt mishandled Powell’s throw to first base, allowing Swoboda to score. Weis then took a called third strike to end the inning.

Frank Robinson drew a walk to start the top of the ninth. Powell hit a force play grounder to second baseman Weis and a fly ball by Brooks Robinson was caught by right fielder Swoboda. Koosman then got Davey Johnson to fly out to left fielder Jones and end the game. The Series was over and the Mets were World Champions.