Oh man, if you ever needed proof that Gil Hodges is not the right man for the job, this was it. Even in the Mets finest most amazing hour there has to be some controversy.
I am sure I will catch crap for being “too negative” for speaking the truth about the shoe polish thing, but I am hearing through the back channels that Koosman is saying “Hodges had instructed him to rub the ball on his shoe, which he did, and after that Hodges showed the ball to the umpire. Koosman’s claim doesn’t necessarily mean that the ball didn’t strike Jones on the foot, nor does it even mean that the polish on the ball seen by the umpire was put there by Koosman—it’s certainly conceivable that there was already a genuine spot of polish on the ball, which easily could have escaped Koosman’s notice as he hastily created the fraudulent one. In any case, Koosman’s allegation at the very least adds an intriguing layer of uncertainty and possible chicanery to an already legendary event” (Wikipedia)
Meanwhile, Swoboda is telling a different story “that when the ball came bounding into the Mets dugout, it hit an open ball bag under the bench, and several batting / infield practice balls came spilling out on the dugout floor. According to Swoboda, you couldn’t distinguish the actual game ball from any of the ones that spilled out of the bag. Hodges quickly looked down, grabbed a ball that had a black streak on it, and walked it out to the home plate umpire, who then awarded first base to Jones.” (wikipedia)
So while the Baseball Mafia has their head in the sand, there are at least two versions of the story, neither of which is that the ball hit Cleon.
Is this really how the Mets want to be winners? By blatant cheating.
Anyway, congratulations to the Mets, and it was great to have Koosman, the One True Ace, on the hill.