On August 13, 1969, MLB betting fans might remember how the New York Mets fell 8-2 to Houston. This slid them down into third place into the National League East, which was a novelty as the leagues had never been split into divisions before. They sat 10 games behind the Chicago Cubs, at 62-51. Of course, no one thought the Mets would be doing even that well.
MLB Betting: The 1969 Mets…and the 2015 Mets
— Harry T. Frezza Jr. (@thefrez56) April 24, 2015
The team was only seven years old and had never had a winning season. So far, their 73-89 record in 1968 had been their best – by far. During 1969, the team was never in first place up to this point, and this 10-game deficit was the biggest of the season.
No one expected what would come next. The next day, the Mets came home and beat the San Francisco Giants 1-0 in 14 innings, with the run coming on a walk-off blast by Tommie Agee, who victimized Juan Marichal (who had pitched all 14 innings). The Mets had used a four-man outfield in the 13th inning when Willie McCovey came to the plate for the Giants. His drive to left center was caught by Cleon Jones – who wouldn’t have been there in a three-man alignment. This was part of a 9-1 streak that drove New York City crazy.
The Mets won 10 straight from September 6-13 (they played more doubleheaders back then). They would have another nine-game winning streak before they finished the season with a loss, but they still finished an amazing 100-62, eight games ahead of those same Cubs. They finished the season 39-11 after that loss in Houston.
They swept the Braves in the first NLCS and then beat the Orioles in five games to carry home the World Series trophy. These were the Miracle Mets, left for dead with 50 games to go in the regular season, and then amazingly atop the entire baseball world
The most incredible part of that team was its youthful age. The oldest position player was 26. The pitching rotation had no one over the age of 26, and the two best relievers, Tug McGraw and Nolan Ryan, were both under 25.
On August 13, 2015, the Mets sat at 62-52 – almost the same record. Their pitching staff is almost the same in composition – a group of young fireballers. Both teams only get just enough offense. Yoenis Cespedes has a penchant for hitting last-minute walkoff home runs. David Wright is expected to return from the disabled list soon and provide some mentoring in the dugout.
The 2015 team keeps jousting with the Washington Nationals for the lead in the National League East. They don’t have a Dwight Gooden, like the 1986 team that would dribble that ball through Bill Buckner’s legs and take the World Series away from a demoralized Boston Red Sox team. This is a team that doesn’t seem to know quite how it’s winning, much like no one could understand the winning ways of that 1969 team.
And that genie did not get back in the bottle, as the team struggled again in 1970. What blew through the air in 1969 in Queens has whistled through other ports of call without any real explanation – it sailed through Minneapolis in 1991, Cincinnati in 1990, Philadelphia in 2008, Texas in 2010 and 2011 and may also be swirling through Kansas City now. As Crash Davis observed, you never mess with a streak, because they’re impossible to predict or create. It’s time to hold on for the ride in Queens once again.