Donn Clendenon

Football’s Cleveland Browns, basketball’s Harlem Globetrotters, and baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates all offered contracts to the 6’4″ Donn Clendenon. He chose the Pirates, and batted .302 for them in 80 games his rookie season (1962). In 1966 he hit 28 homers and drove in 98 runs, both career highs while hitting .299. Clendenon twice topped NL batters in strikeouts. He led NL first basemen in errors three times, but he also paced them in double plays five times, and three times each in putouts and assists.

The Expos took Clendenon in the October 1968 NL expansion draft, but dealt him to the Mets in June of 1969. Platooned with Ed Kranepool, Clendenon provided power that was critical to the team’s surprising surge to the pennant. His home runs in Games Two, Four, and Five of the 1969 World Series meant the difference in each contest, and earned Clendenon the Series MVP award. He might never have played for the Mets had he not vetoed his trade from Montreal to Houston the previous January.