Golden Baseball Magazine

Post-Season Surprises

This feature discusses players who unexpectedly played key roles in the World Series or other post-season play .

Ken Boswell

Boswell greeted after homering in 1969 NLCS Game 2

Art Shamsky

Yogi Berra

Ken Boswell - 1969 and 1973 World Series
The New York Mets made the World Series in both 1969 and 1973, and Ken Boswell played a key role in both postseasons.
  • Boswell spent eight years with the Mets, starting in 1967. He posted a composite average of .250 with 31 home runs.
  • He served as a utility player, used mostly at 2B but sometimes at 3B.

The '69 Mets had to win the first NL Championship Series after the league was split into East and West divisions with the addition of two expansion clubs, the Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres.

  • Starting in all three games of the Mets' sweep of the heavily-favored NL West Champion Atlanta Braves, Boswell batted .333 (4-for-12), clouted 2 HRs, and drove in five runs.
  • A left-handed batter, Ken started Game One against the Braves' righthanded knuckleballer Phil Niekro. Although he didn't get a hit, Boswell did draw a walk and scored two runs in the 9-5 victory.
  • In Game Two, he got only one hit but it was a big one - a two-run HR off Milt Pappas. New York outlasted the Braves in another slugfest, 11-6.
  • Ken saved his best performance for Game Three at Shea Stadium. He came up in the bottom of the 4th with Art Shamsky on 1st and clouted a Pat Jarvis pitch out of the park to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Then he smacked a single off George Stone in the 5th to score Cleon Jones to increase the Mets' lead to 6-4 on their way to a 7-4 victory.
  • His five RBIs led the Mets, and his two roundtrippers tied him with Tommie Agee for tops on the club in the NLCS.

Despite his impressive performance in the NLCS, Boswell played in only one game of the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

  • Manager Gil Hodges benched Ken in favor of Al Weis against southpaws Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally, each of whom started two of the five games.
  • But Ken contributed in Game Three against righthander Jim Palmer. He led off the bottom of the 6th by beating out an infield hit and later scored on Jerry Grote's double to extend the Mets' lead to 4-0.
  • The Miracle Mets astounded the baseball world by capturing the Fall Classic in five games.

Four years later, the Mets won the NL pennant again, this time under Manager Yogi Berra.

  • Throughout the season, Yogi played Felix Millan, a better fielder than Boswell, at 2B. Ken appeared in 76 games, batting just .227 with two HRs and 14 RBIs.
  • In the Mets' seven-game upset of the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS, Ken pinch-hit once.
  • But in the World Series against Oakland, which also lasted seven games, Boswell batted 1.000 in three pinch-hit appearances.
  • In Game One, a 2-1 A's victory, Ken hit for P Jon Matlack to open the top of the 7th against Rollie Fingers and singled to RF. However, he was erased when the next batter, Wayne Garrett, bounced into a DP.
  • Ken "rode the pine" for Game 2 and all three games at Shea Stadium as the Mets took a three games-to-two lead back to Oakland. However, Yogi sent him up as a pinch hitter again in Game 6. The Mets trailed 2-0 to Catfish Hunter in the top of the 8th when Ken stepped in for P Tom Seaver with one out and no one on base. He rapped a single to RF and scored on singles by Wayne Garrett and Millan off reliever Darold Knowles to cut the lead to 2-1. However, the A's held on, scoring an insurance run in the 8th to force a Game 7.
  • The next day, the Athletics jumped on Jon Matlack early and led 5-1 in the top of the 7th when Boswell hit for P Ray Sadecki against Fingers with two outs. Once again, Ken singled, this time to CF, but was stranded when Wayne Garrett looked at strike three. The A's won 5-2 to win the second of their three consecutive World Series titles.

So Boswell's postseason log looks like this.

8 games, 8-for-19, .421, six runs scored, five RBIs, two HRs.

Not bad for a journeyman infielder.