When former Major League Baseball outfielder Art Shamsky considers the World Series-winning teams that have had what he considers to be an effect on the game, he lists some of the obvious ones, including the 1927 “Murderer’s Row” New York Yankees and the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers.
He admits to being biased regarding another championship team he feels had an impact on the game: the 1969 New York Mets, also known as the Amazin’ Mets or Miracle Mets. It’s not too surprising, however, considering Shamsky played left field, right field and first base for that team, which rebounded from losing 89 games and finishing in second-to-last place in 1968 to the franchise’s first winning season and a World Series championship in 1969.
“What we did for the game, I really believe it’s one of the most iconic teams – and I say that with respect to all teams who won the World Series,” Shamsky said.
He’s written a book about that Mets team, “After the Miracle,” focusing on the brotherhood of the members of that Mets team. He will discuss the book and his experiences in the game as part of a discussion and book signing July 7 at Oheb Zedek Cedar Sinai Synagogue in Beachwood.
Shamsky said “After the Miracle” the second book he’s written about that Mets team, although his first book, “The Magnificent Seasons” also focused on the New York Jets of the NFL and New York Knicks of the NBA, two teams that also won championships during that time. He said his new book is about how the Mets affected the city of New York in “a positive way during a bad time.”
“This book is really a 50th anniversary reminiscence of how great that team was,” said Shamsky, whose career also included stints with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics. “It’s about how that (Mets) team still resonates 50 years later. ... It really isn’t a day-to-day look at that season. Really, it is about the camaraderie … and it’s about aging, growing older and having relationships. We recognize our lives changed on Oct. 16, 1969 (when the Mets clinched the Series). That year was very special and still is very special. People who weren’t even born then know about that team.”
He said the book does not exclusively focus on that team’s ace pitcher, Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who retired from public life earlier this year due to dementia. However, Shamsky and a couple of his other teammates made a trip to Seaver’s home in California to see him.
“It was bittersweet,” Shamsky said of seeing Seaver. “We rolled the dice and bought the (airplane) tickets not knowing if we’d be able to see him (due to his health).”
The 1969 Mets team, minus Seaver and other members who have since died, will be honored by the Mets organization this weekend, June 28-30, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the World Series win, when the team faces the Atlanta Braves.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I try to maintain some close relationships but there’s still guys I haven’t seen in a long time. Everybody was part of that team, we got everybody involved. Everybody contributed to the success of that team.”