Thursday, April 30, 2009

1969-2009 40 Years 24hours Celebrates the 1969 Mets Pitcher Don Cardwell

The Mets had many young players with the 69 club and also some crafty veterans. One of those veterans was a 34 year old right named Don Cardwell.

Don Cardwell was born in December 1935 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Don Cardwell was signed by the Phillies in 1954 and made his first major league start in his career in 1957 with the Philadelphia Club and moved on to the Chicago Cubs in 1960. With the Cubs in 1960 he threw a no hitter in his first game after being traded. He is the only pitcher in history that had a no hitter in his first start after being traded. That along with the Mets winning the World Series was the highlight of his career. He was a very good hitting pitcher amassing 15 home runs in his career.

He was traded to the Mets from the Pirates on the eve of the 1967 season with Don Bosch in exchange for Dennis Ribant and Gary Kolb. Cardy was a throw in with the Mets really interested in Bosch.

He became an elder statesmen to rookies like Mcgraw and Seaver and actually was the opening day pitcher for the Mets in 1967. Wes Westrum did not want the rookie Seaver to have to deal with the pressure.

Don Cardwell was 5 and 9 in ‘67 and 7 and 13 in’ 68. In 1969 he went 8 and 10 with a 3.01 Era in 30 starts. The Mets record though in games Don Cardwell started was 12-9.

Some highlights for Cardwell in 1969 included

In May pitched a complete game win 8-1 and also hit a home run.
Pitching a 1-0 shutout against the Pirates and drive in the only run of the game in the 2nd game of a double header.
While the Mets battled the Cubs that summer Cardwell had a stretch of 5 consecutive wins to help the Mets over take the Cubs.
Pitched 1 inning in the 1969 World Series and let up no hits or runs.

The Mets traded him in July 1970 to the Braves and he finished his career with a 102 wins and 138 loses.

After his retired from baseball he went back to his home town of Winston Salem NC and worked in the car business. He passed away at the age of 72 in Jan 2008. It was mentioned that his 2 favorite possessions were a picture of him when he pitched a no hitter and his NY Mets 1969 championship ring.

Sources: Ultimate Mets data base and the knoxville news sentinel