Quick recap of what we’re looking at here… The cards in this post come from a 1994 box set of 32 postcards which commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1969 “Miracle Mets”. The postcards feature paintings by Ron Lewis.
Joe Pignatano was a backup catcher in the Majors for 8 years, and was the Mets’ bullpen coach from 1968 to 1981. He was one of the coaches who was under Gil Hodges with the Washington Senators and follow him to the Mets in 1968.
“Piggy” caught the last pitches thrown at Ebbetts Field, and was well-known in Mets circles for having a tomato garden in the bullpen. He’s also the second cousin of former pitcher Pete Falcone.
The 1969 Mets picked up Donn Clendenon down the stretch, and he made the deal worthwhile by batting .357 with three homers in the World Series and being named the MVP.
Jerry Grote was a long-time Mets catcher, playing 12 seasons for the Mets. He played a significant part in the Mets’ run during the last third of the season, although he didn’t have a huge offensive impact in the postseason.
Grote was a two-time All-Star and would also appear in the 1973 World Series with the Mets, and the 1977 and 1978 World Series with the Dodgers.
J.C. Martin was a utility player with the Mets, backing up Jerry Grote and playing at 1st base. In game 1 of the NLCS against the Braves, he pinch-hit for Tom Seaver and drove in two runs.
His one appearance in the World Series resulted in a 10th inning win for the Mets. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Martin came in to pinch hit for Tom Seaver (who had pitched 10 6-hit, 1-run innings) and bunted to move the runners; however, Orioles pitcher Pete Richert, who had just come into the game, hit Martin with the throw to first. The ball went into right and Rod Gaspar scored the winning run.
Art Shamsky appeared in 100 games in 1969, despite not having a starting job, and batted .300 during the regular season. He went 7-for-13 during the NLCS, but was 0-for-6 in three World Series games.
During the 1966 season, while with the Reds, Shamsky homered on four consecutive at-bats across two games, including two game-tying homers in the same extra-inning game. In both games, he came in late in the game as a substitute and he was the first Major Leaguer to hit three homers in a game that he didn’t start.
Trivia: On the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert’s dog was named “Shamsky”.