1969: Dream year for NY Sports fan

1969. Major stuff happening that year. The tumultuous 60’s ready to give way to the 70’s…. a historic decade in music comes to a close, and the New York sports scene is smoking!

What a year to be a fan in New York and to make it even better , I got to enjoy it with my brother. Despite our six-year age difference, we were both teenagers and very involved with the teams. We could talk about the teams and the players and we watched or listened to many of the games together.

In that eventful 1969-1970 season  we were witnesses to world championships by three, yes three New York teams; the Mets, the Knicks and the Jets. It didn’t get much better than that.

Think about it, a year that saw the release of Honky Tonk Woman by the Stones , Suspicious Minds by Elvis, Bad Moon Rising by Creedence and  A Boy named Sue by Johnny Cash also saw three world championships come to New York.

It started off with the Mets. What a story ! Historic losers in their initial season of 1962, the perennial basement dwellers found themselves in the World Series against the mighty Baltimore Orioles . Simply Amazin’ , as their first manager , Casey Stengel, would have said.

The Series saw miraculous catches by Tommy Agee and Ron Swaboda as well as clutch hitting by Don Clendennon and, before you could say “marvelous”, the lovable losers were world Champions. The City went crazy. We now had Two Baseball teams to talk about, the “in a class by themselves” Yankees, and the new kids

On the block, the New York Mets. Robert and I didn’t come down from that high until, beyond all measure of reason-the brash, upstart New York Jets found themselves in the Super Bowl against the unbeatable Baltimore Colts. Rob and I could barely breathe…. like the rest of the Football world we gave ourselves no chance against the Johnny Unitis lead Colts. Except , someone forgot to tell Broadway Joe, Joe Willie Namath that the Colts were unbeatable. As the clock ticked off the final seconds of Super Bowl Three, Rob and I lost our voices. Broadway Joe jogged off the field with his hand holding up the number one sign, as if to tell the world… “see, I told ya…”

Then, in fine fashion the Knicks closed it out against the Lakers…Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley and Company rocked  Madison Square Garden all season and brought our third championship of the season home.

Talk about two breathless, drained and totally exhilarated brothers? This was a magical year… beyond the wildest expectations of all the experts; hell against OUR wildest expectations. What a year it was and while I’m not trying to speak for Rob, the memories of that year in spots, on Cobblestone streets are still  vivid today.

As a matter of fact, if I am quiet for a moment …pretend the radio is on….I can still hear:

Marv Albert: “Frazier takes the shot from the top of the key…. YESSSSSSSS!!!
Merle Harmon: “Namath drops back! Looks .. he throws! Maynard MAKES THE CATCH!!! FIRST DOWN, JETS!!!! AND YOUR DIAL IS “JET SET”!!
Lindsey Nelson :
“Robinson lines a drive to right .. gonna be trouble… SWABODA Dives and …..MAKES THE CATCH!! HE MADE THE CATCH!! Amazing!!”

Yes, yes it was.

-Don

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