January 15, 2008
Don Cardwell, RIP
Don Cardwell, best known here as a member of the 1969 New York Mets Championship team, has died at the age of 72.
That team was known as the "Miracle Mets", but that's not really accurate. Miracle implies that the good performance was the result mainly of good luck. But the extremely rapid improvement in the 1969 Mets came from a strong manager in Gil Hodges, some really good trades, and 25 young and old players of varying talents, all with a professional attitude.
Some of that attitude, that leadership, came from Don Cardwell. He was near the end of his career by the time he got to the Mets. But he did whatever they asked him to do, which was to be a spot starter, and occasionally to pitch in relief.
“He was a tremendous mentor to the young guys on our staff,” Seaver, a Hall of Famer who won 25 games for the 1969 Mets, said in a statement Monday. “When he said something, you listened. He was the ultimate professional.”
In 1960, Cardwell was traded to the Chicago Cubs. In his first start with them, he pitched a no hitter ( Press the in Wrigley Field! It was the second game of a doubleheader. Press the link for a WGN film of the bottom of the ninth. Check out the two good catches. Blow the image up to full screen, and you'll really enjoy it.
Don Cardwell, World Series champion and respected member of a pitching staff that included Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, Nolan Ryan, and Tug McGraw. Not half bad.