1969: We Have Liftoff in Queens

The scoreboard at Shea Stadium showed no hits for Chicago as Tom Seaver pitched to Ernie Banks of the Cubs on July 9. Seaver came within two outs of a perfect game.

“The season began with a loss to the brand-new Montreal Expos, the Mets’ eighth straight opening-day defeat. And the situation grew only worse. At the end of April, the Mets were 9-11. On May 27, they were 18-23, in fourth place in the National League East. Off in the distance were the first-place Chicago Cubs. But the next day, the Mets beat San Diego, 1-0, in a game in which Jerry Koosman struck out 15 batters. That began an 11-game winning streak that left the Mets — yeah, the Mets — with a record of 29-23. The revolution was on. In early July, the Mets had their first showdown with the Cubs, and Tom Seaver came within two outs of a perfect game. A week later, the Mets took two out of three at Wrigley Field. The Mets were now in second place, just four games out of first. At which point, the Mets flattened out. On July 30, Manager Gil Hodges even went out to left field to pull Cleon Jones from the game. Jones, he felt, was not hustling. Hodges was sending a message, but the Mets kept struggling. By mid-August, they were 10 games out. And then, with Woodstock being staged in the background, the Mets took off. They swept the Padres at Shea in two weekend doubleheaders and began a run in which they would win 38 of their last 49 games of the season, sometimes in stupefying fashion. There was, for instance, the delirious Aug. 30 game in San Francisco in which the Mets threw out runners at home in the eighth and ninth innings along with another runner at third and then won in the 10th on a home run. A week later, Manager Leo Durocher and his swooning Cubs arrived at Shea, and the Mets beat them twice, with fans sarcastically serenading Durocher and with a black cat running in front of the Chicago dugout. The next day, the Mets moved into first. Two days later, they won a 1-0, 1-0 doubleheader in Pittsburgh. The starting pitchers drove in both runs. Three days later, the Mets struck out a record 19 times against Steve Carlton in St. Louis. But so what? They won, anyway, with Ron Swoboda hitting two two-run homers. The Mets were now pulling away with 15 games to go. The impossible had become the inevitable. …”
NY Times

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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