ST. LOUIS, MO- Around these parts of Cardinals territory, certain seasons justifiably stick out in franchise lore. 2011, 1982, and 1968 are just three of them. In 2018, the team marked the 50th anniversary of the club that, backed by the amazing arm of Bob Gibson, won the National League pennant and reached the World Series.
The Cardinals were succeeded as NL champs the following year by the unlikely “Miracle Mets” who also won the World Series over Baltimore. Art Shamsky, a University City native who was an outfielder/infielder on the club has just released “After the Mircale: The Lasting Brotherhood of the ’69 Mets. Published by Simon & Schuster, Shamsky and co-author Erik Sherman tell stories from that championship season through a group of reminiscing teammates who gathered in California to visit ailing Hall of Famer and Mets icon Tom Seaver, who has lived with Lyme Disease and dealt with memory issues for years to the point where he no longer traveled far from home. Last month, the Seaver family announced that the Mets legend had dementia and would retire from public life, including celebrations planned this season to mark the 50th anniversary of the Mets World Series Championship.
“‘After the Mircale’ is about planning the trip out to see him, and the time we got to spend with him,” Shamsky wrote in an email to FOX2. “The book is really about the long-lasting friendships, reminiscing about an iconic team and to some degree aging.”
Fifty years later, Shamsky says the seeds for 1969’s success were growing the year before, when Gil Hodges took over as Manager, and when the team acquired Neosho, MO native Donn Clendenon.
“We had good young pitching and very good defense and as we got into the middle of the season you could tell that we were a much better team then the year before,” Shamsky wrote. “However, we were still 9 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the beginning of August in the National League East. Around the middle of August, we started winning every close game and almost every series we played in. By the end of August we became just about unbeatable. It was a matter of everyone on that team contributing to us winning and everything came together, pitching, hitting and defense.”
Shamsky hit .300 with 14 HR and 47 RBI in 1969. He played two more full seasons with the Mets before he was traded to the Cardinals and released prior to the 1972 season. He split his final year with the Cubs and Oakland.