Year In Review : 1969 National League

O

Apollo 11 astronaut, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to walk on the moon after landing the lunar module, known as the "Eagle" at Tranquility Base on July 16 th . Armstrong made his historic descent to the surface live on television making the now historic statement: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Twenty-one hours and thirty-six minutes later (after conducting several experiments and planting the U.S. flag) the Eagle returned safe and sound to the Columbia for its return flight to Earth on July 24 th .

On the night of August 9 th , several members of a hippie cult led by self-proclaimed messiah Charles Manson brutally murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others in her Beverly Hills mansion. The next evening Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, wealthy owners of a grocery chain, were also brutally attacked in their Los Angeles home. Initially the crimes were not connected even though victims in both cases had suffered from multiple stab wounds and the words "pig" and "Helter Skelter" were written in blood all over both crime scenes.

The Woodstock Music and Art Festival was held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York representing the culmination of the counterculture of the 1960's and the high point of the "hippie era." Although 10,000 to 20,000 people were expected, well over 400,000 showed up and crashed the gate as music's biggest names including Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Joe Crocker, The Who and the Grateful Dead came together for three days of "music, peace and love".

I n the American League

On March 1 st , "The Commerce Comet" also known as Mickey Mantle announced his retirement after eighteen years in professional baseball. During his Hall of Fame tenure with the New York Yankees, "The Mick" batted .298, hit five-hundred thirty-six home runs and appeared in an amazing sixty-five World Series games in which he tallied a record eighteen home runs and forty RBIs.

As Major League Baseball celebrated its Centennial season, two New York Yankees topped the commemorative list of the games greatest. "Babe" Ruth was unanimously crowned as the "Greatest Player Ever" and Joe DiMaggio was christened as the "Greatest Living Player".

Reggie Jackson hit two home runs and drove in a whopping ten runs as the Oakland Athletics regained first place in the American League West with a 21-7 romp over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 14 th . Jackson doubled home a run in the first, homered in the third and fifth, singled in two in the seventh and drove in three more with a single in the eighth. The whopping twenty-one run total set a team record that wouldn't be matched until the 2000 season.

I n the National League

In the first regular season Major League Baseball game ever to be played outside of the borders of the United States, the Montreal Expos defeated the visiting St. Louis Cardinals 8-7. Both teams were introduced to the capacity crowd of 29,184 in both English and French Canadian.

St. Louis Cardinals ace Bob Gibson set a National League record on August 16 th (reaching two-hundred strikeouts for the seventh season) after an 8-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

On May 13 th , Ernie Banks, of the Chicago Cubs, hit seven RBIs (including his one-thousand five-hundredth) with two, three-run home runs and a double during a 19-0 massacre over the San Diego Padres. The blowout tied the mark for the largest shutout margin in the history of the modern National League.

A round the league

Ted Williams was named Jim Lemon's replacement as manager of the Washington Senators after the Capital's franchise finished in last place with a miserable 65-96 record. "Teddy Baseball" was reported to have signed a five-year contract for $75,000 a season and ten percent in the team's stock.

Both leagues agreed to try the new "designated pinch hitter" rule during spring training, but under two different variations. The American League allowed the optional use of a DPH only for the home team while the National League required home managers to obtain the visiting skipper's approval for the experimental substitution.

Bowie Kuhn, a forty-two year old lawyer whose firm had handled all of the National League's legal affairs was unanimously elected as the new Commissioner of Baseball. Two other top candidates; Mike Burke of the New York Yankees and Charles Feeney of the San Francisco Giants had been previously deadlocked resulting in Kuhn's nomination.

In an effort to prevent an impending strike, Major League Baseball and the Players Association finally settled on a new revised pension plan. The tenure for qualifying was shortened from five years to four and the minimum age requirement was also lowered from fifty to forty-five. The players also agreed to get $5.45 million per year (retroactive to 1959) as well as a percentage of all televised game revenues.

"It was the best stuff I ever had (on September 15, 1969 when he struck out a National League record 19 batters). When I had 9 strikeouts I decided to go all the way, but it cost me the game because I started to challenge every batter." - Steve Carlton
1969 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Houston

148

Batting Average

Cincinnati

.348

Doubles

Pittsburgh

41

Hits

Pittsburgh

231

Home Runs

San Francisco

45

On Base Percentage

San Francisco

.458

RBI

San Francisco

126

Runs

San Francisco

120

Cincinnati

Slugging Average

San Francisco

.656

Stolen Bases

St. Louis

53

Total Bases

Atlanta

332

Triples

Pittsburgh

12

1969 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

St. Louis

28

ERA

San Francisco

2.10

Games

Cincinnati

90

Saves

Houston

29

Shutouts

San Francisco

8

Strikeouts

Chicago

273

Winning Percentage

New York

.781

Wins

New York

25

1969 National League

Team Standings

New York Mets

100 62 .617 0

Chicago Cubs

92 70 .568 8

Pittsburgh Pirates

88 74 .543 12

St. Louis Cardinals

87 75 .537 13

Philadelphia Phillies

63 99 .389 37

Montreal Expos

52 110 .321 48

Atlanta Braves

93 69 .574 0

San Francisco Giants

90 72 .556 3

Cincinnati Reds

89 73 .549 4

Los Angeles Dodgers

85 77 .525 8

Houston Astros

81 81 .500 12

San Diego Padres

52 110 .321 41

1969 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

San Francisco

711

Batting Average

Pittsburgh

.277

Doubles

St. Louis

228

Hits

Cincinnati

1,558

Home Runs

Cincinnati

171

On Base Percentage

Cincinnati

.338

Runs

Cincinnati

798

Slugging Average

Cincinnati

.422

Stolen Bases

Houston

101

Triples

Los Angeles

52

Pittsburgh

1969 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

San Francisco

71

ERA

St. Louis

2.94

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,217

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Pittsburgh

96

Fewest Walks Allowed

Los Angeles

420

Saves

Cincinnati

44

Shutouts

New York

28

Strikeouts

Houston

1,221



Did you know that the first regular season Major League baseball game played outside the United States of America occurred on April 14, 1969? It took place in front of 29,184 fans at Parc Jarry in Montreal where the Expos defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-to-7.

On April 17, 1969, Bill Stoneman was pitching for the inaugural Montreal Expos and tossed the franchises first no-hit game. Stoneman struck out 8 Phillies, walked 5, and won 7-0 at Connie Mack Stadium.

On September 22, 1969, rookie pitcher Mike Corkins asked his manager Preston Gomez , "Why'd it have to be me?" Gomez replied, "Son, there've been 599 before you." The item in question was none other than the 600th career home run hit by slugger extraordinaire Willie Mays .

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