Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shades of Tommie Agee! Angel Pagan's Spectacular Catch Sparks Rain-Shortened, 5-1 Mets Win over Bucs

Tommie Agee at the left-center field wall, making one of his two unforgettable catches in game three of the 1969 World Series, as teammate Cleon Jones backs him up.
By Nicholas Stix
Updated at 10:46 p.m., on Saturday, August 21, 2010.
Last updated at 11:11 p.m., on Saturday, August 21, 2010.

In Pittsburgh's corporate-named park, with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Angel Pagan just went flying towards the center field wall to snag a sure triple, in a catch that reminded me of the first of two incredible plays that the late Tommie Agee made in game three of the 1969 World Series against the Orioles. Agee took over the game, defensively and offensively, leading it off with a home run off Jim Palmer, and saving six runs with two catches for the ages, turning what without him would have been an Orioles rout into a 6-5 Mets win, and giving the overwhelming underdogs a 2-1 series lead. His performance proved to be the turning point of the series, which the Miracle Mets won in five games.

Back at Pittsburgh's corporate-named park, Pagan led off the top of the fifth hitting lefty, and promptly laced a low, inside pitch from skinny, wild, 6'5" Bucs starter James McDonald into the rightfield corner for a double. Carlos Beltran then worked a walk off McDonald, bringing up the Mets' best hitter and RBI man, David Wright.

Angel Pagan. The source where I found this said that he was giving a curtain call on August 1, 2009, after hitting a grand slam against the D-Backs on the road. Since when do fans cheer enemy players? Anyway, that held up to win the game, and was the last time a Met hit a grand slam. Conversely, Mets pitchers are most generous about serving up grand slamis, having given up nine so far this year.

Although McDonald’s fastball has been running about 93 on tonight’s radar gun, velocity without location is of little value, even against Wright’s sometimes laggard bat. Desperate for strikes, McDonald went from wild out of the strike zone, to wild in the strike zone, and threw Wright a thigh-high, 91 MPH fastball right down the middle. That one didn’t come back.

Wright hit it about 420 feet to the deepest part of the park, for a three-run dinger—his 19th home run—and a 5-1 Mets lead, behind rookie Jon Niese.
David Wright making contact.


James McDonald who, until recently, pitched for a Los Angeles team.

Though throwing a lot more fastballs than usual (90-91 mph), Niese has been in complete control so far through five.

Mets rookie southpaw Jon Niese.

At the top of the sixth, with Jose Reyes on first on a leadoff single, the rain, which had been steady for most of the game became a downpour, and at 9:04 p.m. (seconds ago), crew chief Tim McClellan stopped the game for a rain delay. But if the rain doesn’t let up, it’s an official game.

Update: McClellan called the game, so the Mets won. They now have a two-game winning streak, one of the few they've had during the past month, and are riding high at 61-60. Jon Niese is 8-5, but has pitched 11 games in which he's given up only one run wihtout getting a victory. So, with a little run support, he could easily be 13 or 14-5, and a serious rookie of the year contender. Of course, in that case, the Mets would be serious contenders for the wild card and the division chanmpionship. The Mets' win and a Braves loss combined to put the former ten back in the Eastern Division.


A Tommie Agee baseball card pic from his Mets days.

P.S. Beware of the Web site, which has some sports pictures (e.g., a baseball card picture of James McDonald in a Dodgers uniform). It’s a malware pit.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I well remember the 1969 World Series. I was rooting for the Orioles. Tommie Agee seemed to surround the ball, rather than getting a jump and running to the spot for the catch ala Willie Mays.

Do you remember the catch by Ron Swoboda in the 9th inning of the fourth game? It looked like an accident, but it held the Orioles to one run instead of probably three (at least). Swoboda made another running catch for the third out of the inning.

David In TN