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Donn Clendenon
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Donn Clendenon
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Game Log Memories of
Donn Clendenon
Donn Clendenon
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 93 of 1043 players
Donn Alvin Clendenon
Born: July 15, 1935 at Neosho, Mo.
Died: September 17, 2005 at Sioux Falls, S.D.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.04 Weight: 210

Donn Clendenon has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 12 times, most recently on June 11, 2017.

1b of

First Mets game: June 17, 1969
Last Mets game: September 28, 1971

Share your memories of Donn Clendenon


Willie (tvoman)
When you play for a team, with the reputation the NY Mets had before he joined the team, the way Clendenon did you have conclude that he did it with a true heart for the game and team. Nothing didn't matter.

Mr. Sparkle
Arguably one of the top two or three trades of all time. Without the clutch play of the "Klinker" the Mets may have never won in '69. I saw a TV show back in 86 when they compared the 86 team to 69 in a fantasy World Series. Ed Kranepool had the cahones to start himself over Clendenon. Come on Ed, get real!

January 20, 2001
i remember when I was about 9 I was visiting relitives in brooklyn and the Mets and phillies played a 15 inning game at Shea and donn hit a game winning homer in the bottom of the 15th to win it for the Mets.

March 18, 2001
Was a little too young for 1969, but in reading back on it, this guy had huge hits in the regular season.

And to think he was seriously considering retirement earlier that year.

Joyce Russaw
September 18, 2001
Donn was an exceptional talent. Baseball was his passion and he loved the attention the game brought him. Donn had a strong right arm and when he hit the ball, you could see the strength radiating from his body to the bat and then the ball. On a personal note, Donn was a friend...strong willed, and charmingly cocky.

Jim Snedeker
November 19, 2001
As a kid in the early 70s, I always thought that Clendenon looked so huge standing up at the plate. He would take those slow, deliberate huge warm-up swings, and then get set as the pitcher wound up.

I just thought that he was capable of hitting a HR every time he came up.

December 20, 2001
One of the few real Mets heroes. He raised his game during the 1969 W.S. to another level. An exceptional original Met.

December 28, 2001
When I was a teenager my dad managed to "convince" the ticket booth attendant into selling us two real good seats on the rail behind first base. As a rule in my house our family watched every Mets game at night as a family. This was 1969 and going to a game was a major treat. I had watched ever since Donn had come to New York and had noticed that he had a habit before every game of unwrapping a "Juicy Fruit" gum and popping it into his mouth. At this game I happened to be lucky to be only a few feet away from him, while he retrieved a stray ball. I asked him for a piece of gum and with a big grin he handed me a piece. I knew his little gum secret! I'll never forget that smile and that moment.

January 31, 2002
Man, was I ecstatic (!) when the Mets got him. You see, he used to tear the Mets up when he was a Pittsburgh Pirate; so it was good to have him on OUR team. And boy, did he deliver!!!! One of several good, NL first basemen in an era loaded with 'em!

March 18, 2002
In 1970 a bunch of us went to see the Mets. Afterward when we were driving home Donn passed us on the Major Degan in his MVP Challenger, I believe. We all went nuts waving at him, showing him our scorebooks and hats. He had a big grin and waved to us.

DJ Johnny M.
May 10, 2002
I will never forget Donn showing up on Kiner's Korner in 1971 after a game against Pittsburgh where he drove in a game winning double. Usually players would show up in the team uniform all sweaty and disheveled (Seaver, Agee and Swaboda come to mind). But not this night. Donn showed up in a pimp suit-- I mean a PIMP SUIT! Stripes and swrills set off stylishly with a wide-brimmed fedora to match-- and you should have seen those white platform shoes! Pee-wee Herman take note. This was a Kiner's Korner first. I thought I would have to adjust the old Quasar color TV. I think Lindsey Nelson was jealous (remember his suits?) Anyway, Donn had a happy demeanor and Ralph was visibly floored but took it all in stride. Hey, it was the 70's, it was New York, it was Shea and it was the Mets. Would you expect anything less?

Larry B
June 20, 2002
Though his tenure with the Mets was short Donn Clendenon will always be one of my favorite players. He may be the real key to why the Mets won in 1969.

Ray Reilly
June 28, 2002
One of my favorite Mets of all time. He was, without a doubt, the final piece of the puzzle when they got him in '69. I was 12 years old and went to games 3 and 4 of the World Series. After one of the games I waited outside the Diamond Club entrance for autographs. There were a lot of fans and Clendenon popped his head outside the door and somebody yelled, "Who stole the Right Guard?" Everyone laughed and Donn flashed a wide grin. (Sorry, if you're not as old as I am you wouldn't understand.)

Bob R.
January 6, 2003
No question, trading for Donn made the Mets win the Series in '69. He gave then a real home run threat. He hit three in the Series and won the MVP too! He had a damn good year in '70 too. Donn was also really good at scooping low throws out of the dirt. I hear that he's seriously ill and I hope he recovers. Thanks for the memories, Donn.

September 1, 2004
My first favorite Met was "Big Train" Clendenon! Went on to become a lawyer, not sure what happened once he was caught up doing cocaine. Wanted to be the Mets GM at one time, that was before his troubles with drugs.

September 12, 2004
What is this about Donn Clendenon and involvement with drugs? I never heard anything of the sort, and I just tried to find evidence on line too (nothing that I can see, I'm glad to report).

I've heard that he is in fragile health in recent years, battling cancer with periodic remissions. Stay well, Donn!

My favorite memory of him as a player was what my mom said upon viewing his stance at the plate: "You could rest a cup of coffee on his butt!"

September 17, 2004
Sorry VIBaseball but it is true about Donn and drugs, he has turned his life around. Buy Clendenon's book "Miracle In NY", he tells the story himself. "I was 49 turning 50; that was kind of like a birthday present for me," he said Thursday night from South Dakota. "I was hooked immediately." Donn is now a certified addiction counselor, I believe he has beaten leukemia. Out of Bad came Good for the "Big Train", he is making a difference.

richie kleink
October 18, 2004
What a great man! The "Donk" was tremendous. He single handledly won the '69 World Series. His swing was like a righty McCovey and in 1970 it seemed like all of his home runs were with 2 men on. A gentlemen in every respect.

Michael W.
September 18, 2005
Just learned that he passed away at the age of 70, after a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was the missing ingredient to the Mets' 1969 World Championship season: a steady veteran presence anchoring first base and the middle of the lineup, and was the Series M.V.P.

What a sweet, smooth swing!

Stu Paul
September 18, 2005
I was deeply saddened by the news today that former Mets first baseman, Donn Clendenon, had passed away after a long bout with leukemia. I knew he was not in the best of health for some time. At least he made it to 70, but of course, we all wished he would have continued to live and live for a long time.

What I will always remember about Clink was the time of Wednesday, September 24, 1969, at Shea Stadium, when the Mets won their first baseball title ever, when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-0, to win the NL East Title. Donn belted a three-run homer off Cardinals' starter Steve Carlton in the first inning and then later in the game against reliever Dave Giusti, Clendenon smacked another homer in the Mets' bullpen in rightfield. I will never forget it and what a job that Gary Gentry did when he pitched a 4-hit shutout that night.

Of course, no one will ever forget Clendenon's 3 homers against the Orioles in the 1969 World Series, which resulted him winning the Series' MVP award.

What a pickup when the Mets traded for him on June 15, 1969, when they acquired him from the Montreal Expos.

Donn, you will be sorely missed. God bless you and may you rest in peace!

You will never be forgotten and neither will the year 1969 ever be forgotten.

Thank you for the memories!

September 18, 2005
A good man, who contributed to society as well as to the Mets. His ex-teammates loved him. Rest in peace.

September 24, 2005
I recall a game, might be 1970 or 1971. The Mets were down 3-0 and Donn came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. He had gone 0 for 3 on the evening, but he slammed a three-run homer to tie the game. The Mets went on to win the game in the bottom of the tenth. The game might have been against the Phillies, but I cannot accurately remember.

Donn Clendenon was a great ballplayer.

I am sorry to hear of his passing.

Joanne Grimes
September 24, 2005
I remember as an adolescent going to Forbes Field (there will NEVER be another park like that) and my grandfather buying my grandmother and me box seats at the first base line, watching Donn with his amazing reach tag out an otherwise sure base hit. Many years later, in my 20's, I had the privilege of meeting him in a social situation and having several dinners with him. He was a class act, a true gentleman. I have often wondered where he went or what became of him and I am sorry to hear of his death. Hopefully, he has hooked up with Bob Prince and they are discussing the many good memories of the 60's and 70's. We will miss you, Donn.

Bob Schwartz
September 24, 2005
Being as how I'm a lawyer, now living in Atlanta, I'm aware that Donn Clendenon was also a lawyer, and a graduate of Atlanta's renowned Morehouse College. I was surprised to learn that he died in South Dakota, because I thought he had a long association with The Coca-Cola Company, so I had assumed he lived in the Atlanta area. I guess not. He was a class act.

September 24, 2005
I am also saddened by Donn’s passing. The first “favorite Met” I had when I started watching baseball. Rest in peace Big Train, we will never forget what you did in a Mets uniform although your after baseball life as a Drug Counselor impacted others in more important ways than on the baseball field.

September 24, 2005
I grew up in Flushing and have always been a diehard Mets fan. Nothing will beat what happened overall in 69 and that great summer and he was one of the key members of that team. While game 6 in the 86 WS, to me, is the most incredible Met game ever, my heart is with that entire 69 team.

Jonathan Stern
September 24, 2005
The MVP of the 1969 World Series also had one of the greatest names in baseball history - right up there with Tug and Turk. His was a turbulent life (post-baseball, in particular), but nothing can possibly take 1969 away from him. RIP, friend.

November 6, 2005
Without Donn, there would have been no Miracle Mets. Period. He was the only legitimate power hitter in the middle of the lineup (Agee was leading off). Having him hit behind Cleon Jones gave Cleon better pitches to hit. And of course, his three home runs in the World Series were all crucial in games that ended 2-1, 2-1 and 5-3. Also don't forget that he had a terrific year in 1970 too, when the Mets almost managed to win another division title. Maybe the Mets should consider retiring his number 22.

December 1, 2005
Another hero from my youth has left us too early! I became a Met fan when I was 7 years old, racing home on the bus to see a few innings of the '69 World Series. What a time for the Mets and their fans! It might not have come to pass without Donn Clendenons' help! During that magical time, he was the final piece that put us over the top! His 3 W.S. homers made believers out of the Orioles and the rest of the baseball world. First Agee, then McGraw, now Donn! It seems impossible that they could be gone! Fortunately for us, they will live on in our memories, and in our hearts forever! Rest in Peace Donn.

Richard G.
December 21, 2005
I was at game 5 of the '69 series, sitting in the Mezzanine deck in left field, in fair territory. Maybe the worst seats in the house, but for a 13 year old die-hard Mets fan attending his first (and thus far only) World Series game, it was heaven. Clendenon's 2 run homer, after Cleon Jones' shoe polish incident, seemed to be coming right at me, but landed a deck below. I have to thank Donn for givng me the opportunity to be at the game, because he was a major reason for the Mets getting to the Series. I remember that inside/out swing that he developed for the short right field fence in Forbes Field when he played for the Pirates. As a result, he hit several home runs to the opposite field. I'll always remember 1969, and every member of that wonderful team. Rest in peace, Donn.

December 21, 2005
Donn was always a family favorite. I grew up in Brooklyn, but we would visit relatives in Westchester often. Every time we drove past route 22, my brother and I would call it "Donn Clendenon Way"

Joyce Russaw
June 4, 2006
Donn was a high spirited individual. He loved life and he lived it to the fullest. I remember meeting Donn in Atlanta in 1972....very nice guy. His presence on the baseball diamond put him in the history books, but being a good friend will keep him in my heart.

He loved baseball, and baseball loved him. Now.... The game has ended..... the lights have all been turned out. The crowd has left....still talking about the Most Valuable Player.

Good bye-Donn

August 6, 2006
Donn Clendenon was the missing piece to the puzzle of the miracle Mets. I remember going to a game in Cincinati at Riverfront Stadium in 1970. It was about Sept 14 and Gary Gentry was piching against Tony Cloniger. I was sitiing behind 1st base in the second deck and Donn Clendenon hits a foul ball about 8 rows back of me, and it hits a lady in the leg and the ball rolls down the steps where I get up and pick it up. I remember the lady crying and rubbing her leg. Hey I was 13 years old and I wasn't going to give her the ball.

The Clendenon foul ball is now sitting in a case right above my computer.

John Molnar
December 20, 2006
He was a favorite of all my friends growing up. He was so big! I remember my dad taking us to Connie Mack Stadium to see the Mets and Phils and Clendenon hit a monster home run into the empty upper deck in left field. I can still hear that thing bouncing around the seats.

Feat Fan
July 22, 2007
Total package, could hit for average, power, run and throw. Member of '66 Bucs team that had 4 or 5 guys at or near .300...Alou, Mota, Clemente, Stargell, Alley and D.C. Don Sutton once said, some guys like to hit fastballs, others curves, this team loves baseballs. Solidified a bunch of cocky over acheivers in '69 and had a tremendous 1970 season as well.

August 14, 2007
I agree totally, Feat Fan. And I'd like to add this: Donn still holds the record for home runs in a 5-game World Series. And every one of the three blasts he hit in the '69 Classic were crucial to the Mets championship that fall.

Frank the Met
March 12, 2013
Does anyone know why Donn Clendenon was traded after the 1971 season? I have read all the comments here and don't see an answer. I remember that after being the hero in 1969, he had a great year in 1970. He then had a decent year in 1971. I recall that John Milner was thought to be the next first baseman, but Milner didn't really become a regular until 1973. Donn was still a threat at the plate and to my memory was not washed up. The Mets were high on Ken Singleton but then traded him for Rusty Staub just before the 1972 season, so those players could not have been a factor. I understand there was no longer room for Art Shamsky, whom the Mets also traded at that time, but I don't know why Clendenon was traded.

March 19, 2013
Clendenon wasn't traded - he was released. His '71 season was a big drop-off from his great 1970 season; he struck out too much, didn't show as much power; he had a big salary; and the Mets were ready to go with younger players at first (Jorgensen/Singleton/Milner/Kranepool). Simple as that.

Bob P
March 28, 2013
Agee of Aquarius is 100% correct, and I would like to add that Donn's career was basically over at that point.

The Mets did benefit from a year and a half of good numbers from Donn, but by 1971 he was done. In 1972 he signed with the Cardinals but only had 154 plate appearances. His career ended when the Cardinals released him in August 1972.

Michael Nissenfeld
January 18, 2017
I remember one game against the Cards in 1972, Donn not noted for his speed, beat out a bunt which was a run scoring hit which led the Cards to an extra inning victory over the Mets.

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