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September 18, 2005

Donn Clendenon, R.I.P.

Donn Clendenon, the Mets' first baseman in their miracle season in 1969, has died of leukemia at the age of 70. The New York Times obit is here.

The obit mentions his most memorable game, Game 5 of the 1969 World Series, against the Orioles:

One of the strangest moments came at Shea Stadium in the sixth inning of Game 5 in the World Series, with the Orioles ahead by 3-0.

Cleon Jones, leading off, was allowed to take first base when Mets Manager Gil Hodges proved to the home-plate umpire, Lou DiMuro, that Jones had been hit by a low curveball. Hodges did it by showing how the pitch delivered by Dave McNally was smudged with polish from Jones's shoe.

Clendenon, the Mets' first baseman and the next hitter, hit a home run off the auxiliary scoreboard of the left-field loge seats to make it 3-2. The Mets tied it in the seventh inning on a homer by Al Weis, a little-noticed infielder, and scored two in the ninth [actually, the eighth] for a 5-3 victory and the World Series championship.
I remember. Because I was there. My mother managed to snag two upper deck seats, right behind home plate, last row, and I skipped ninth grade with a friend to attend. Definitely the highlight of my life as a Mets fan.