In the fall of 1969, shortly after the Miracle Mets won the World Series over the highly favored Baltimore Orioles, there was an editorial cartoon in one of the New York papers that proclaimed “The Moon and Mets In the Same Year — Incredible! ,” that sums up pretty well that summer 50 years ago
In the fall of 1969, shortly after the Miracle Mets won the World Series over the highly favored Baltimore Orioles, there was an editorial cartoon in one of the New York papers that proclaimed “The Moon and Mets In the Same Year — Incredible! ,” that sums up pretty well that summer 50 years ago in 1969.
Locally that summer, Richard J. Carey was mayor of the City of Williamsport and would play a vital role in the city buying the Williamsport Bus Company that summer and having the city operate this mass transit entity for the city. City Councilman T. F. Meconi was agitating for the removal of fluoridation from the city’s water supply. In the west end of the city, the unbelievable Newberry Little League All-Stars vied for a berth in the Little League World Series. We will be dealing with that in more detail in a later issue closer to this year’s LLWS.
Raymond Shafer was governor of Pennsylvania, and Richard Nixon was in his first year as President of the United States.
That year we were still deeply embroiled in the highly divisive war in Vietnam. On July 8, Nixon announced the first troop withdrawals and the beginning of what would be known as “Vietnamization.”
The ultimate event of that summer of 1969 was the Apollo 11 moon landing mission. When the astronauts landed and walked on the moon on July 20-21, it brought the entire globe to a stop and united the entire world in rooting for the astronauts and their mission, if even for a brief time. It is considered the most notable and important event of the year of 1969.
On a less lofty note on the same weekend of the moon landing, Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy was involved in an automobile accident that claimed the life of Mary Jo Kopechne. This accident clouded the reputation of Kennedy for the rest of his life and most probably denied him his chance to become President of the United States.
The youth culture was in full bloom that summer, highlighted with the Woodstock Rock Festival in upstate New York from August 15 to 18. More than 400,000 attended this “happening.” Such notable and legendary rock acts as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane and Crosby Stills, Nash and Young appeared at this unforgettable and legendary event.
Ironically, it took place the week after a more tragic and seedier aspect to the youth culture took place, the murders of actress Sharon Tate and seven others by Charles Manson and his “Family.” These brutal murders shocked the nation.
In entertainment, the last first-run episode of “Star Trek” aired on June 3. That summer such movie classics as “True Grit,” “Midnight Cowboy,” and “Easy Rider” were released.
On the radio some of the big songs were “Aquarius” by the Fifth Dimension, “Spinning Wheel” by Blood Sweat and Tears, “In the Year 2525” by Zagar and Evans and “One Is the Loneliest Number” by Three Dog Night.
As mentioned previously, “destiny’s darlings,” the New York Mets made for an exciting baseball summer by battling from a nine-game deficit behind the Chicago Cubs on August 14 to make the playoffs and beat the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series, the first scheduled championship series ever held. They went on to shock the Baltimore Orioles in five games in the World Series. What made the Mets so interesting to me that year was that we were able to watch most of their games on Channel 9, WOR, New York, featuring Lindsay Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner. It was a fun summer watching those games, particularly since seven members of that “Miracle Mets” team played for the Williamsport Mets between 1964 and 1967.
The summer of 1969 was certainly a fun and interesting summer for a lot of people, including me, and it can never be said that it was dull.
- August 14, 2019
- August 14, 2019