Start spreadin’ the news, the New York
Daniel Murphys Mets are headed to the 2015 World Series. After knocking off the Chicago Cubs in a clean sweep Wednesday night behind a “Beltranian” run by NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, the Metropolitans are headed to their first championship since 2000.
Born in 1962, New York’s “other” baseball team has played in four World Series, winning two and dropping a pair in their appearances. If you’re a baseball fan who believes in patterns, you have to like the Mets’ chances regardless of their opponent. The team won the 1969 World Series in five games, lost the 1973 series in seven games, defeated the Boston Red Sox in the epic 1986 championship in seven games and lost to the New York Yankees in five contests 15 years ago.
While the ALCS between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays has yet to be decided, the Mets are rightfully getting loads of national attention. It’s going to be nearly impossible to go the next five days without hearing or reading the names of Murphy, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Jeurys Familia among others.
While we wait to see who the Mets’ opponent will be for the series beginning Tuesday night on FOX, let’s dig deeper into the Amazin’s four previous trips to the fall classic.
1. 1969 World Series (defeated Baltimore Orioles 4-1)
While the 1969 “Miracle Mets” were led by hall-of-famer Tom Seaver in the rotation, the team also had a budding, flame-throwing superstar named Nolan Ryan (pictured above) close out the Baltimore Orioles in game three to take a 2-1 series lead. And while this shocking group of ballplayers did feature Seaver and Ryan on the same pitching staff, they were more defined by their ability to come together as one.
The first seven seasons of existence were not kind to the Mets. They failed to reach .500 and finally made it over 70 wins for the first time in 1968. After finishing no higher than ninth place in the National League, New York stunned the baseball world the following season with a first-place, 100-62 regular season record. With a 25-7 mark, Seaver won his first of three Cy Young awards and his manager — the legendary Gil Hodges — finished his finest season in his managerial career. After knocking off the Atlanta Braves 3-0 in the NLCS, New York was set to face the major league-best Baltimore Orioles who finished 109-53 in 1969.
Despite starting the series in Baltimore, the Mets headed home for game three in a 1-1 tie. In that contest, Gary Gentry hurled 6 2/3 shutout innings, out-dueling Jim Palmer, and the Mets won 5-0. Reverting back to game two form, game four was a barn burner. After the Orioles tied it 1-1 in the top of the ninth, the game headed for extras. Following Seaver’s unfathomable 10th inning of work, the Mets walked-off on an error in the bottom half. After trailing 3-0 early in game five, the Mets capped off a series-winning comeback with two runs in the bottom of the eighth and won 5-3. Donn Clendenon went 5-for-14 with three home runs, earning World Series MVP honors.
2. 1973 World Series (lost to Oakland Athletics 4-3)
Though he is much more well-known for his New York Yankees hall-of-fame playing career, the late Yogi Berra (pictured above) also managed the crosstown rivals for four seasons in the 1970s. Without a doubt his most memorable (and successful) campaign at the helm was in 1973.
During the regular season the Mets finished a pedestrian 82-79, but luckily for them, that record was barely good enough to take home the NL East crown. The team now had a certifiable ace with Seaver — who was entering the prime of his career — yet lacked depth in the rotation and barely had enough offense to compete. Remarkably, the Mets dropped the heavily-favored “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds in five games in the NLCS and next had a date with the Oakland Athletics.
Again with the home field advantage going to their opponent, the Mets secured game two and returned to Shea Stadium at a game apiece. For the second time in a row, game three went to extras and this time the A’s came out on top 3-2. After a dominating 6-1 victory in game four for New York, it became a best-of-three series. Behind stellar pitching from Jerry Koosman in game five, the Mets won 2-0 and traveled back to California one win away from another title. They couldn’t close the deal this time though as the A’s came back with two close victories at home. Reggie Jackson went 9-for-29 with a homer and six runs batted in, taking home the series MVP award.
3. 1986 World Series (defeated Boston Red Sox 4-3)
The 2015 NLCS wasn’t the first time that the Mets franchise crushed a desperate fan base’s dream at relinquishing decades worth of demons and an infamous curse. No, just 18 years before the Boston Red Sox historic 2004 World Series championship, they fell to New York in one of the most dramatic series in baseball history.
Both the Mets and Red Sox were chock-full of stars for the 1986 season. The eventual champs were carried by Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, and Lenny Dykstra on offense and featured a startling rotation of youngsters — each who won at least 10 games — including the electric Dwight “Doc” Gooden. Boston was looking to break their then-68-year title drought with the likes of Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans. The teams combined for 203 regular season wins and beat the Houston Astros and California Angels in their respective league championship matches.
For time’s sake, let’s just fast-forward to the late goings of game six, where the Red Sox had a 3-2 series advantage. After going ahead 5-3 in the top of the 10th, Boston was three outs away from capturing the trophy. After two fly outs to begin the frame, Champagne was literally on ice. Then three consecutive singles off of Calvin Schiraldi later and all of a sudden it was 5-4 with runners at the corners. In came Bob Stanley, and you know the rest. A wild pitch tied it and the most famous “slow roller” in baseball history went through Bill Buckner’s legs, pushing us to game seven.
Though game six gets all of the hype, game seven was a dandy too. Boston took an early 3-0 lead, New York stormed back with six runs in the sixth and seventh and ultimately held off the Red Sox, 8-5. Ray Knight went 9-for-23 with a home run and five driven in to secure the MVP hardware.
4. 2000 World Series (lost to New York Yankees 4-1)
15 seasons ago the New York Yankees were in the middle of their most recent dynasty. Captained by Derek Jeter (although he hadn’t been given the title quite yet) and surrounding him with the bats of Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill, the Yankees offense was lethal. The bats combined with the rotation arms of Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Orlando Hernandez to propel the Bronx Bombers to an AL East title.
The Mets meanwhile had to settle for a wild card after finishing 94-68. They were led by Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Robin Ventura on offense and two southpaws at the top of their rotation with Mike Hampton and Al Leiter. The Mets dispatched the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals in the division and league championship rounds respectively, while the Yankees powered their way past the A’s and Seattle Mariners. For the first time since the Mets’ inception 31 years prior, there would be a “Subway Series” in October.
Game one was a classic at Yankee Stadium. After a pitcher’s duel between Leiter and Pettitte gave way to the bullpen, the Yanks tied it off with Armando Benitez in the bottom of the ninth. Going into bonus baseball at 3-3, the Yankees finally ended it on a Jose Vizcaino walk-off single. Despite a five-run ninth in game two, the Mets fell 6-5, putting them in an unprecedented 0-2 hole going back home.
Solid bullpen work and a late comeback gave the Mets a victory in game three, getting them back in it. Spurred by a lead-off homer by Jeter in game four, the Bombers took a commanding 3-1 advantage and closed the door 4-2 the next night. Though the 4-1 series defeat looks lopsided on the surface, the five games were decided by a total of seven runs, making for a dramatic conclusion to the baseball season. Jeter won the 2000 World Series MVP after going 9-of-22 with two solo home runs.
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