Those Two Amazin’ Tommie Agee Catches

In Game 3 of the 1969 World Series, Tommie Agee makes two amazing catches. He also homers in his first at-bat. Sports Illustrated called it the greatest single performance by a center fielder in World Series history.

Agee, the Mets’ leadoff batter, had gone hitless in nine at-bats during the first two games of the Series. But in the first inning, he sends a Jim Palmer fastball over the center-field fence for an immediate 1-0 lead, electrifying the Shea Stadium crowd. Agee had led the Mets with 26 homers and 76 RBIs during the regular season.

With the Mets up 3-0 in the fourth inning, the Orioles are threatening. They have two men on and two outs when Baltimore catcher Elrod Hendricks crushes a Gary Gentry fastball. Agee races to deep left-center and makes a backhanded, snow-cone catch!

Later in the seventh inning, the Mets have extended their lead to 4-0. But Gentry tires and walks the bases loaded with two outs. Manager Gil Hodges brings in Nolan Ryan from the bullpen to face Paul Blair. Ryan gets ahead 0-2 when Blair smacks his third pitch to right-center field. With the ball slicing away from him, Agee dives to the ground, making a second incredible catch at the same time!

“I held my breath for a minute. But then I saw him tap his glove and I knew it was all right. Every time he does that, I know he’s going to catch it.”

Nolan Ryan tells Newsday

“If the ball drops, I might have had an inside-the-park [grand-slam] home run. I was just a step away from second base when he [Tommie Agee] caught it.”

Paul Blair on the second of Tommie Agee’s catches to The New York Times

When Agee leads off the Mets’ bottom of the seventh, the crowd gives him a standing ovation.

“Words can’t describe how that made me feel. I felt like I wanted to hit two home runs in that one time at-bat.”

Tommie Agee

Related: The 1969 World Series shoe polish incident.

Tommie Agee’s two catches saved five runs. The Mets won the game 5-0. They would go on to win the World Series 4-1.