Art Shamsky played Major League Baseball from 1965 through 1972.  He played predominantly for the Cincinnati Reds (1965-1967) and the New York Mets (1968-1971).  He once hit four home runs in consecutive at-bats, tying a Major League record.  He is the only such player, however, to hit the first three of those home runs in a game in which he was not in the starting lineup.  After hitting three consecutive home runs, he was on the bench the following game.  The game after that he was a pinch hitter and homered in that at-bat.  

Shamsky played, most notably, for the 1969 Miracle Mets.  As part of Gil Hodges’ left-handed platoon, alongside Ed Kranepool, Ken Boswell and Wayne Garrett, he had an “amazing” season.  In 349 plate appearances he hit 11 HR’s on 91 hits with 49 RBI’s.  His OPS was .863.  

Since ending his playing career, cut short by a bad back, he has been an awesome Mets’ ambassador, drafting two great books: one about the 1969 Mets, Jets and Knicks championship seasons.  The other is titled “After the Miracle,” a 2019 book in which he updates fans on the lives of the 1969 New York Mets 50 years after the greatest underdog season in the history of sports.  

I write this article, not on my usual cycle, because I was fortunate to meet him at LaGuardia Airport recently.  He was humble and generous with his time.  He looks great and I was thrilled to meet him.  I informed him that I am a writer for this site and mentioned that in my next article (which I had begun writing), I told of my personal memories of Game 5 of the 1969 World Series.  He was gracious enough to say that I remembered the game better than he did – which is absolutely not true.

One piece of the magic that is the 1969 Mets is that most of the players were much like us.  Regular guys, they played for the love of the game that we all follow.  They played their hearts out and were an uplifting story in a difficult period in world history. Meeting Mr. Shamsky is a pleasant reminder of the great memories of that wonderful team.

7 comments on “A chance meeting with Art Shamsky

  • Footballhead

    I just finished reading his book “After the Miracle” between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It was a sweet and touching read and am glad to have done so.

  • TexasGusCC

    Denis, great to hear about your good fortune and that he’s a great guy, but want to share? What were his memories and his opinions about the catches, the series as a whole, anything?

    • Denis Engel

      I didn’t want to descend on the guy and make it an interview. He was with a companion and I said to her that it wasn’t every day that you run into a guy who hit four consecutive HRs over two games. That’s when he told me that the first three were in a game he didn’t start.

      • TexasGusCC

        I see. Sorry.

  • Hobie

    I think JC Martin was in that LH platoon too (although Grote played more often the other RH guys (Swaboda, Clendennon, Weiss & Charles).
    Art is a gem.

    • Denis Engel

      Martin was a 3rd string catcher for the 1969 Mets. Duffy Dyer was the backup who spelled Grote occasionally. But the basically everyday catcher was Jerry Grote, as tough a player as ever played the game. He had the total respect of every pitcher on the team.

  • JimO

    Interestingly enough at the NY Mets team store in New York City, you can buy Art Shamsky band-aids.

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