As the New York Mets continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team’s first World Series title, one special event just occurred in Syosset.
Ron Swoboda, an outfielder on the 1969 championship-winning Mets, was given a special honor for a day. Morris Court in Syosset, where he once lived, was renamed Swoboda Drive for a day.
“Ron was a player who reminded me of Whitey Ford and Roy Campenella (who lived in Glen Cove),” Rich Marschean, who still lives in Syosset, said. “He was approachable and didn’t disappear behind the gates of his driveway.”
Swoboda resided in Syosset for quite some time with his wife Cecilia and sons Brian and Ron Jr. While the street sign might not be permanent, it is still a special honor for the former major leaguer, who spent six seasons with the Mets and three with the New York Yankees.
Swoboda, now 75, discussed the 1969 World Series with Anton Media Group’s Long Island Weekly earlier this year.
“I think we felt like, if we were being completely rational, we felt like we would be better,” Swoboda said. “We had won 73 games the year before so that didn’t presage a World Series or division win. Major League Baseball had expanded the leagues in 1969 and now there were divisions—east and west—in both leagues. Gil Hodges said to us during spring training, ‘I think this team can win 85 games,’ and I think we looked around at each other and went, ‘Us?’ We thought we would be better, but I don’t think anybody envisioned a run towards 100 wins in any way, shape or form.”
Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan joined local residents in recognizing Swoboda’s contributions to not just the Mets, but to the Syosset community. At one point, the Syosset Little League invited Swoboda to attend the annual awards dinner.
Swoboda, as generous as he always was, attended the dinner pro bono, according to Bill and Doug Petersen. The brothers said Swoboda, throughout the dinner, took the time to sign autographs for each person, whether it was a child or an adult.
Throughout Swoboda’s nine-year career as a major leaguer, he hit 73 home runs with a .242 batting average. Overall, he played in 928 games.
In the late 1960s, he was known as one of the best defensive outfielders in the majors, with 17 assists in 1967, along with 14 a year later.