(CBS Local)– It’s been 50 years since the New York Mets shocked the Baltimore Orioles to win the 1969 World Series and people are still asking Ron Swoboda about his famous catch.
Swoboda never made the All-Star team during his nine year career, but he made one of the best plays in World Series history when he robbed Brooks Robinson of hit in the 9th inning of game four of the 1969 World Series. Swoboda talks about the catch, his career, and life after baseball in a new book called “Here’s The Catch.” Winning in 1969 was extra special for the Maryland native.
“I had worked out with the Orioles and wore their uniform as a kid before I signed with the New York Mets,” said Swoboda in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I had been in Memorial Stadium, but when I ran on the field in game one of the World Series, I felt like all of that history just crowded my brain. It was a little daunting and I ran out there nervous as heck.”
The catch of Swoboda’s life can still be seen at Citi Field in the stadium’s museum and he’s watched it there himself a few times. There were many great players on the 1969 Mets, but the former Mets right fielder knew right away that Tom Seaver was going to be an all-time great.
“When he showed up in 1967, we we’re lucky to get him in a lottery draft,” said Swoboda. “He went in the bin and we pulled him. When I saw Tom Seaver in 1967, you saw a guy that was Hall of Fame out of the box. He threw hard with command and I don’t think there was any breaking period for Tom. He pitched with the same kind of confidence and strength from day one. You never saw any breaking period when Tom got roughed up.”
While fans reminisce about the glory days of the 1969 Mets, they are also eagerly anticipating who the next Mets manager will be. Swoboda feels as though former skipper Mickey Callaway got a little bit of a raw deal in Queens.
“I felt bad for [Mickey] Callaway. I know it’s hard when a new general manager comes in and you’re not his guy,” said Swoboda. “I felt bad for him because sometimes when you don’t have all the pieces… when you don’t have a bullpen that can close for you on a regular basis, you make a lot of decisions that don’t work. You look at the number of blown saves. One of the things we did in 1969 that [Gil] Hodges aimed at was we won a majority of our one run games. You win those because you close out. That was not something they were good at last year. If they figure that out, they’ve got some good pieces in the puzzle.”
“Here’s The Catch” is available wherever books are sold.