Swoboda On '69 Mets Weekend: 'This Was Special'

July 01, 2019 - 4:43 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The 1969 “Miracle Mets” stepped back into the limelight this weekend when thousands gathered at Citi Field to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team’s astounding World Series win.

Jerry Koosman, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, Cleon Jones, Art Shamsky, Ron Swoboda, Ed Kranepool and other members of the championship team reunited on the field where they were honored with a special ceremony, emceed by Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose.

Swoboda, in an interview with WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell, notes that it was more than just the ceremony. It was perhaps the last time all of them would be together again and they used the weekend as an opportunity to remember the good times they had together.

“The warmth is palpable, because you know it's 50 years, and these guys – a lot of them aren't going to see one another ever again – and I think everyone understood that and knew this was special,” the former right fielder said.

The former outfielder noted that the celebration was especially memorable for him as he just released a book on his famous, diving catch during Game 4 of the World Series.

"To be known for the best thing you ever did on a baseball diamond is a lot better than being known for the five times I struck out against the Cardinals earlier in 1969," Swoboda told Joey Wahler last month. "So I'll take the catch and the World Series, if you please."

His memoir, “Here’s the Catch,” highlights the defining moment of his career and follows his career from baseball to broadcasting.

Though, the now 75-year old Swoboda was appreciative of the love and support he felt at Citi Field and appreciated being back on the green. But he noted there was some sadness knowing certain players couldn't make it. 

PHOTOS: 1969 Miracle Mets Celebration At Citi Field

One of them was Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who retired from public life following his dementia diagnosis.

To honor the former pitcher, often referred to as “Terrific Tom,” Citi Field and New York City renamed the stadium’s street to Seaver Way.

Swoboda said it was only fitting since the then 24-year-old was the star of the 1969 season.

“When Seaver showed up, he was Hall of Fame from day one. His stuff, his attitude, his confidence,” he said.

The team also announced they have commissioned an eight-foot statue of Seaver to be built in front of the ballpark in the near future.

Swoboda said he enjoyed honoring the players who couldn’t be there and said they will always be bonded together from that season.