Ed Charles, member of the Miracle Mets and baseball poet, dead at 84

Ed Charles was a strong veteran presence on the 1969 Miracle Mets. (Getty Images)
Ed Charles was a strong veteran presence on the 1969 Miracle Mets. (Getty Images)

Ed Charles, a key member of the 1969 Miracle Mets who would also gain notoriety for his poetry, has died. He was 84.

Charles spent eight seasons in the majors, the first six of which came with the Kansas City Athletics. He was traded to the Mets in 1967, and remained on the club through 1969, winning a World Series during his final season in baseball.

During the 1969 season, a 36-year-old Charles emerged as a veteran presence in the clubhouse for a Mets team that shocked the baseball world. The Mets had won just 73 in 1968, but put everything together and won 92 games in 1969.

He wasn’t as productive with the bat that season, hitting .207 over 189 plate appearances, but teammates relied on him, as Ron Swoboda told the New York Times.

Charles was released shortly after the 1969 World Series win and decided to retire as a champion.

He was also known to write poetry. Charles recited a poem during the team’s World Series celebration. He was also asked to read a poem at a festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. That earned him the nickname the “Poet Laureate.” He was also known as “Glider” after impressing Jerry Koosman with a defensive stop at third.

The Mets mentioned both nicknames in a statement announcing Charles’ death. They also paid tribute to Charles with a post on Twitter.

The SABR website has a comprehensive biography of Charles, which covers his contributions on and off the field. His life is a reminder that baseball players are more than the numbers they produced during their playing career.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik