Donn Alvin Clendenon
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Donn Clendenon, the MVP of the 1969 World Series, died on Sept. 17, 2005 in Sioux Falls, S.D. He had been battling leukemia. He was 70.
In 12 seasons in the major leagues, he hit .274 with 159 home runs and 682 RBI.
He made his major league debut in 1961 with Pittsburgh and played for the team through the 1968 season. Two of his best seasons came in 1966 and 1967 when he drove in 96 and 98 runs for the Pirates. In 1966, he hit .299 with a career-high 28 home runs.
The Expos drafted him from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1968 expansion draft.
In January 1969, the Expos traded him to Houston for Rusty Staub, but Clendenon refused to report to Houston in April 1969. The Expos sent two other players and cash to the Astros to complete the deal.
In June 1969, the Expos sent Clendenon to the Mets for Steve Renko, Kevin Collins and two minor league players. He hit 12 home runs and drove in 37 runs for the Mets in 202 at-bats during the regular season. He shined in the 1969 World Series, hitting .357 with three home runs and four RBIs in the Mets' victory over Baltimore.
The Orioles held a 3-0 lead in Game 5 of the series and Mets' manager Gil Hodges came out to argue that New York's Cleon Jones had been hit in the foot by a pitch from the Orioles' Dave McNally. The proof came when Hodges picked up the ball which carried a shoe-polish smudge.
Jones was sent to first base and that set up a dramatic two-run shot by Clendenon. The Mets rallied to win the game 5-3. Clendenon's efforts earned him World Series MVP honors.
In 1970, he hit .288 with 22 home runs and 97 RBIs for New York but his production fell to 11 home runs and 37 RBI with a .247 batting average in 1971.
He was a member of the Mets until Oct. 1971 when the team released him. He played for St. Louis in 1972 -- his last season in the major leagues. He hit just .191 that season in 136 at-bats.
After retiring from baseball, he returned to school and earned a law degree. He worked for law firms in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before moving to Sioux Falls in 1987.
In interviews, he said that he most enjoyed working to help young people.