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All-Time Mets Teams
Since their inception in 1962, the New York Mets have given their fans some Amazin’ teams to root for, beginning with the “Lovable Losers” in the early 1960’s and the world championship teams of 1969 and 1986. Here are the most memorable teams in Mets history:
National League baseball returned to New York in 1962 with the Mets, who were led by Hall of Fame Manager Casey Stengel. Despite setting a major league record for most losses in a season with a record of 40-120, this team established a love affair with their fans that continues to this day. Among the players on the ’62 Mets were Gil Hodges, Roger Craig, Richie Ashburn and “Marvelous” Marv Throneberry, who hit 16 home runs and immediately became a fan favorite. Throneberry, however, like many of the ’62 Mets, was known far more for his mistakes than he was for his stellar play. He once tripled in two runs but was ruled out for failing to touch first base. When a livid Stengel came out to argue the call, first base coach Cookie Lavagetto stopped him, saying, “Don’t argue too much, Case, I think he missed second base, too.”
The Miracle Mets of 1969 won the organization’s first championship, upsetting the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games in the World Series. 9½ games back of first place on August 13, the Mets won 38 of their last 49 games to finish with a record of 100-62 and a division title. After sweeping Henry Aaron’s Atlanta Braves team 3 games to none, the Mets entered the World Series as heavy underdogs to an Orioles team led by Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. Despite the long odds, the Mets won the Series four games to one behind the strong pitching of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan, the clutch hitting of Cleon Jones and Donn Clendenon, key defensive plays from Tommie Agee and Ron Swoboda, and the managing of Gil Hodges. To this day, the 1969 Mets’ championship season is considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history.
“You Gotta Believe” was first uttered by relief ace Tug McGraw and ultimately became the Mets’ rallying cry in 1973. In late July, they were in last place, and on August 1, the Mets were still 10½ games back. However, led by the strong starting pitching of Seaver, Koosman, George Stone and Jon Matlack, stellar relief from McGraw, the hitting of Rusty Staub and the return to New York of Willie Mays, the Mets rallied to capture the National League East. The Mets went on to shock Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine in the NLCS to win the pennant and then took the American League champion Oakland Athletics to a seventh game before finally losing.
The 1986 Mets were a team full of stars, including Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling. Manager Davey Johnson declared in early spring of 1986 that he expected the Mets to dominate. And dominate they did, winning 20 of their first 24 games and finishing the year with a record of 108-54, the third most wins in National League history. After clinching the division on September 17, the Mets won a 6 game series over the Houston Astros, clinching the pennant with a thrilling 16-inning victory. In the World Series, the Mets faced the Boston Red Sox, who quickly jumped out to a 2-0 series lead after taking the first two games at Shea Stadium. With their backs literally against the wall (that is, the Green Monster), the Mets took the next two games in Boston before losing Game 5 to return to New York down 3-2, setting the stage for what is perhaps the greatest game in baseball history. Game 6 was tied 3-3 entering the 10th inning when the Red Sox struck for two runs. With two outs in the bottom half of the 10th and twice down to their final strike, the Mets rallied in front of a delirious Shea crowd to win the game 6-5. The game ended when Mookie Wilson hit a slow roller up the first base line that snuck through the legs of a hobbling Bill Buckner, allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run. The Mets then took Game 7 by a score of 8-5, again coming from behind, to win their first World Series since 1969.
The Mets won the National League Wild Card in 2000. They went on to defeat the Barry Bonds-led San Francisco Giants in the NLDS and the Central champion St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS to win the pennant and advance to New York’s first “Subway Series” since the New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956. Led by future Hall of Fame catcher, Mike Piazza, the Mets lost in five games to the Yankees, who won their third straight World Series and fourth in five years.