I had no idea that pitchers used to warm up at Shea from a circle near home plate, throwing to a catcher near the dugout.
I learned this watching Game Four of the 1969 World Series, which is included in a new DVD set called “Essential Games of Shea Stadium.”
The folks at A&E passed along a copy for me to review and another to share with a lucky Mets Guy reader.
At the risk of sounding like a total shill, I’m really enjoying watching these games.
I have a highlight DVD from the 1969 Series, but I’ve never been able to see one of these games from start to finish. That’s how I learned about things like pitchers warming up near the plate, as Mike Cuellar was doing as the starting lineups were introduced.
Actually there were all kinds of neat things in these broadcasts. I liked how Orioles slugger Boog Powell was introduced by the Shea PA announcer as “John Powell.” That’s how all the primitive on-screen graphics showed him, too. Made me wonder if we would have seen “William Wilson” instead of Mookie had he played back then.
At first I was surprised that Game 4 would be included and not Game 5, where the Mets won the series. But it’s a pretty sweet game, with Seaver going the all the way into extra innings, Ron Swoboda’s legendary dive and J.C. Martin getting drilled in the back as he ran to first allowing the winning run to score.
Other games included are the 1986 NLCS Game Three against the Astros where Dykstra hit the walk-off homer and, naturally, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series with the Mookie, Buckner, Schiarldi and the rest of the friends.
We also get Robin Ventura’s “grand slam single” game from the 1999 NLCS and the Sept. 21, 2001 game, the first after the terrorist attacks. Plus, David Wright’s walk-off hit against the vile Yankees in 2006.
It’s hard to grumble, but I would have liked to have seen a game from the 1970s. The Pete Rose-Buddy Harrelson dust-up in the 1973 playoffs would have been fun. Tom Seaver’s return in 1983 would have been a treat.
One of the discs has special features that fill in the gaps, including the final inning of the 1969 Series, Gary Carter’s Opening Day walk-off, the last inning of the 1986 division clincher, the last inning of the 1986 Series, Matt Franco’s 1999 game-winning RBI against the Evil Empire, and several others right through Endy Chavez’s amazing leap.
I always enjoy watching the Mets clinch the 2000 pennant against the Cardinals, with Timo Perez jumping for joy before he even catches the final out. And it ends with a short interview with Bill Shea, a very nice touch.
One thing that jumped out at me while watching the highlights march though history is how cluttered the stadiums and broadcasts have become. Shea in 1969 had those scoreboard ads, but little else. You see more and more slipping in through the years until the most recent clips, where ads are everywhere, like dugout railings. It became distracting when I started to think about it.
Hail to the Chief
I get to give one of these sets away, so I figured I’d combine my two areas of interest, the Mets and presidents. There have been 23 Mets over the years to share a last name with an American president.
And I know this stuff, so don’t try to tell me there was a President Mientkiewicz back in the 1800s.
First person to post in the comments the names of all 23 gets the DVDs, which sell on Amazon for $42. Good luck!