The Secret ’69 World Series (Replay Zone – June 2015)

By Jeff Polman
June ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out, “Mystery Ball ‘58”, my new baseball novel, which was inspired by a replay of the 1958 season.
Most people are probably unaware that back in 1969, an odd stomach virus disabled 22 of the 24 major league teams the first week in October, forcing the first year Montreal Expos to meet the first year Seattle Pilots in the World Series.
Of course this never happened, but with the help of the new ’69 super advanced set from Strat-O-Matic, it sure did on my dining room table! Facing my old Strat friend Keith, who was kind enough to take the Pilots, here’s how this phenomenal secret World Series played out…
GAME ONEJarry Park, Montreal
Before a capacity of crowd of over 29,000, Rusty Staub (Le Grand Orange) provides the ultimate heroics. Diego Segui gets the start for the Pilots against Gary Waszlewski for the Expos, and the first part of the game is all Seattle. The Pilots score on a Pagliaroni sac fly in the 2nd, a Mike Hegan sac fly in the 3rd, followed by a two-out Hegan triple and back-to-back homers by Greg Goosen and Don Mincher in the 5th. After a Tommy Davis pinch single makes it 6-0 Seattle one inning later, the home club finally awakens. Adolfo Phillips bats for the pitcher and hits a leadoff double. Ty Cline walks. Gary Sutherland beats out a bunt single to load the bases and Staub delivers a no-doubt grand slam to put Montreal back in the game. A double and three singles later in the same inning, it’s all tied up. Segui is finally lifted after a leadoff Sutherland double in the 7th, but an error by mike Stanley and Jose Herrera pinch sac fly puts the Expos ahead. With Dan McGinn on for the 9th, Goosen doubles, gets advanced on a John Donaldson grounder, and scores the tying Seattle run a Stanley fly, their third sac fly of the game. No worries, says Staub, who with one gone in the last of the 9th, walks it off with his second blast, this one off Ball Four author Jim Bouton!
SEA 011 031 001 – 7 11 1
MON 000 006 101 – 8 12 1
W-McGinn L-Bouton
HRS: Goosen, Mincher, Staub-2
GAME TWO-Jarry Park
The Expos give it their all, but the Pilots knot the series at a game apiece with another thriller. This time they take a 4-1 lead for John Gelnar against Jerry Robertson, before the Expo pen of Reed, Sembera and Jaster shut them down the next four and two-third innings. Montreal battles back again to tie it in the 8th on a Mack Jones RBI single and two-run John Bateman pinch double off Bob Locker, and Claude Raymond comes on for the 9th. He gives up a single and a walk, Coco Laboy makes a critical error and Tommy Harper, who stole four bases total in his previous two at bats, singles in the winning runs. Bob Bailey gets one run back for Montreal with a pinch homer, but John O’Donoghue shuts the door, getting Staub and Jones with a man on second to end it.
SEA 010 210 002 – 6 10 2
MON 001 000 031 – 5 12 2
W-Locker L-Raymond SV-O’Donoghue
HR: Bailey
GAME THREE-Sicks Stadium, Seattle
The first game out west goes the Expos’ way the first few innings, as a Ron Fairly homer and Staub RBI single gives them a 2-0 lead on George Brunet, but Steve Renko doesn’t have it for the ‘Spos, giving up five Pilot doubles and a homer in the next four innings and putting them behind 7-3. Montreal roars back yet again, this time on a pinch walk by Ron Brand and pinch homer by Jones (one clutch pinch hit after another in this series!), but Locker comes out of the pen for the 9th, gives up two walks and two singles and somehow gets the save thanks to a big DP ball hit by Staub.
W-Marshall L-Renko SV-Locker
HRS: Fairly, Sutherland, Jones, Hegan
GAME FOUR-Jarry Park, Montreal
A typhoon blows through the Pacific Northwest, forcing this game to be played back in Montreal (Actually, Keith and I messed up and accidentally played it in the wrong park, but the typhoon story is better, right?). Regardless, the change in venue doesn’t affect the Pilots at all, who take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with the help of shabby pitching by Bill Stoneman and shabbier fielding, the Expos making two critical errors late to seal the game shut. The go-ahead run scores in the 7th when Goosen doubles past Herrera in center and Jose kicks it away to let Goosen come all the way around the bases (rare play on a fielding chart DO3).
SEA 000 101 102 – 5 9 0
MON 000 200 000 – 2 7 3
W-Locker L-Stoneman SV-O’Donoghue
HR: Laboy
GAME FIVE-Sicks Stadium
Back in Seattle with their backs to the wall, the Expos stay alive with another dramatic rally. The Pilots are down 6-2 early against Waszlewski, but battle back with one in the 6th and four in the 7th off McGinn to take a 7-6 lead, the rally short-circuiting when Donaldson is caught off second with the hidden ball trick! Top of the 9th against Locker, Jim Fairey leads off with a pinch double, scores on a Brand double to tie it, and comes home on Staub’s fifth hit of the game (and fifth RBI) to win it! Howie Reed gets the unlikely Expo save, helped by Ty Cline, who scales the center field wall to snatch a homer away from Tommy Harper.
MON 231 000 002 – 8 13 0
SEA 200 001 400 – 7 10 0
W-McGinn L-Locker SV-Reed
HRS: Staub, Laboy, Mincher, Goosen
GAME SIX-Sicks Stadium
Robertson outpitches Gelnar and Staub collects three more hits, but the hero is Coco Laboy, who bombs a three-run shot with one out in the top of the 8th for the win and sending the series to a seventh game back in Montreal. With Rusty 14-for-28 in the first six games, Keith begins calling him “Unstaubbable.”
MON 000 200 030 – 5 8 1
SEA 000 000 200 – 2 6 0
With a series this evenly matched, how could it not go into extra innings in the final game? It’s Brunet vs. Renko, and the Expos have a 3-1 lead into the 7th thanks to two more homers by the Unstaubbable Rusty. But Mincher homers leading off the Pilots’ 7th, and a two-run, two-out pinch single by Tommy Davis ties the game! A Seattle relief tag team of Locker, Meyer, O’Donoghue and Bouton retire all twelve Expos they face, and in the top of the 10th, Montreal’s world collapses. Four walks, five singles, two stolen bases, a sac bunt and a hit batter are good for seven runs off Wegener, Sembera, Radatz and Face and the SEATTLE PILOTS take the Secret ’69 World Series four games to three. In a losing cause, Rusty Staub wins series MVP with his 16-for-32 performance and five home runs.
This was a huge amount of fun, and proved something I’ve been saying for years: In both Strat and real baseball, two teams don’t have to be great to have a great series; they just need to be evenly matched.