New York Mets – September 24, 1969


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An evening pause: This pause was first posted by me back in 2011. As tonight is the fiftieth anniversary of that grand moment, I post it again, if only to remind the jaded and pessimistic youth of today that miracles really can happen. As I wrote then,

In 1969 the lowly New York Mets, doormats in the National League from the moment the team was created in 1962, came out of nowhere to win the pennant and the World Championship of baseball. … I and my friend Lloyd attended the game in which the Mets clinched first place in the National League Eastern Division. Below is video showing highlights of the game plus the final out, with the crowd pouring onto the field. Though you can’t see me, I am in that crowd, jumping for joy at this most unlikely sports miracle. There was no rioting, only happy fans chanting “We’re number one!” in exuberant disbelief.

And I still have that small piece of turf from Shea Stadium, collected on that night, proof that the unexpected and improbable is always possible.

The unlikeliness of the Mets championship in 1969 cannot be overstated. Before 1969, the team had never finished higher than next to last, each season losing more games than they won. Then, in 1969 they posted a 100-62 record, while coming from far back to overtake the favored Chicago Cubs for the pennant. Moreover, during that 1969 season all kinds of unusual things kept happening. To give just one example, they won a double header by scores of 1-0, with the pitcher in both games driving in the winning run.

As their first manager and Hall-of-Famer Casey Stengel would say, “You could look it up!”

In 1973 the Mets won the pennant again, following the motto “You gotta believe!” pushed by their relief pitcher Tug McGraw. McGraw was so right. Combine talent, dedication, hard work, and an unwavering belief that all things are possible, humans can sometimes do amazing things.

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6 comments

  • wayne

    Game 7, 9th Inning,
    1968 World Series- Tigers V. Cardinals
    https://youtu.be/cyhY7A9pXuI
    13:15

  • Peter Francis

    Thanks Bob for that wonderful window into baseball past. The locker room interviews were the best. Also, maybe this was one of the few 1969 spontaneous crowds that wasn’t destructive (turf aside). Their joy was palpable, even on film.

  • Tom Laskowski

    And the Cubs commemorate the epic collapse of 50 years ago by having another one.

  • Tom Laskowski: I haven’t followed sports very closely since the 1994 strikes, but I seem to remember that the Cubs did finally get that championship at some point in the last decade or so. This would take some of the sting out of any collapse this year.

  • Gary M.

    I remember growing up on the farm 1960s hearing my Mom listen to the St. Louis Cardinals on the AM radio. She would let out a cheer when Lou Brock would steel 2nd base or Bob Gibson pitch a complete game shutout. Those were great days in baseball. My Mom taught me the game. To this day I listen to the Kansas City Royals on 610AM because that is how I like baseball.

  • wayne

    Gary M.
    Great story.

    I still listen to the Detroit Tiger’s on a 1972 era radio in my garage.

    Ernie Harwell’s farewell speech
    11-16-2009
    https://youtu.be/-4rCyVbzpVk
    2:30

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