The New York Mets’ recent announcement that they are bringing back Old Timers’ Day for the first time in nearly 30 years on August 27 was met with significant approval from their fan base. The team also will retire the number 17 of Keith Hernandez on July 9.
The Mets are embracing their history more in recent seasons, which is important to their fans from all eras and age groups.
The older set of fans will enjoy seeing their favorite players honored, while younger supporters will learn more or be reminded about the franchise’s best players and seasons. Highlighting the most noteworthy players and seasons in team history is healthy for a fan base that often gets caught up in a “doom and gloom” mentality.
The New York Mets may not have close to the Yankees’ number of overall championships, though you still can place plenty of futures bets on them at the NY online sportsbooks, as well as their nearby residents in the Bronx. But as longtime and original Met Ed Kranepool once said, while giving a guided tour of Shea Stadium, the Mets themselves have a decorated history to look back on with much pride.
The New York Mets: Much History To Highlight
Shedding The Inferiority Narrative
Mets fans have long been ranked by the Yankees fans in their life, who constantly remind them of their franchise’s plethora of accomplishments over the last century. They refer to the Mets as the “little brother,” with nowhere near as much to highlight.
The Mets are not truly the Yankees’ “little brother,” however. The Mets were birthed out of the departure of the National League’s Dodgers and Giants from New York. They took on the color schemes and designs of those two teams. Even Citi Field is a tribute to Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds, the former ballparks of the departed clubs. So, while the Yankees are the Mets’ neighbor, they are not related to them.
Just because the Yankees have such a monumental number of achievements as a franchise, though, does not mean the Mets do not have much to be proud of. The Mets have many prominent and memorable players and moments that stand on their own in New York baseball lore. Their past is very full of thrills and heroics without a need to compare it to that of any other team, local or otherwise.
New York Mets Seasons That Rise Above the Rest
As the Mets mark their 60th anniversary, the team will celebrate the two greatest teams in franchise history, the 1986 and 1969 World Championship teams. Longtime baseball fans know the storylines and accomplishments of both very well. But it is also time to put their places in New York sports history in proper perspectives.
You could make a compelling case that the 1998 Yankees were the best New York baseball team we have ever seen in the modern era, or overall. But no single-season team has ever owned New York City as the Mets did in 1986. Their combination of dominance in the regular season, drama in the playoffs, and larger-than-life personalities turned them into a collection of rock stars on the diamond. The ’86 Mets may indeed be the most memorable and impactful single-season team in New York sports history.
No single baseball player in the modern era has ever gripped the city like Derek Jeter. But no single-season team has ever gripped the city like the ’86 Mets.
The 1969 Mets continue to endure as one of the greatest underdog stories of all time. For the first seven seasons of their existence, the Mets were lovable losers. Their identity changed in 1969 when they blew through the postseason and knocked off the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series in five games. That season cemented players such as Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Tommie Agee, Cleon Jones, and Ron Swoboda as legends in franchise history.
The ’69 Mets were one of the most beloved single-season teams in New York sports annals. New Yorkers adore an underdog story, and the “Miracle Mets” wrote the most everlasting one in local baseball lore.
Four years later, Tug McGraw coined the phrase “Ya Gotta Believe” (sorry Phillies fans, it originated in Queens), as the Mets overcame expectations in a big way again, winning the National League East at 82-79 and taking the mighty Oakland A’s to seven games in the World Series. Their .509 winning percentage is the lowest of any pennant winner in MLB history., yet they took out the favored Reds in the NLCS and hung tough with an A’s team that was one of the best of the 70s.
Many Mets fans don’t want to go back and revisit the 2000 and 2015 teams because the former lost in the Subway Series and the latter did not win the World Series, either. But taking a National League pennant is no easy feat. Both teams exceeded expectations and had impressive playoff runs to the National League Championship.
Great Players And Moments
The Mets have sent several of the best pitchers in New York baseball history to the mound. Tom Seaver may indeed be the greatest pitcher the city has ever seen. Dwight Gooden’s first two seasons were nearly incomparable for his dominance and the electricity he generated in Shea Stadium. Jacob deGrom is on his way to joining Seaver on the team’s Mount Rushmore.
The Mets have a rich all-time roster of pitchers that also includes Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, Koosman, Ron Darling, Al Leiter, Johan Santana, Jon Matlack, John Franco, and McGraw, plus many others who shined at times, such as Matt Harvey and Bob Ojeda.
Mike Piazza and Gary Carter are two of the greatest catchers of all time. You could field an all-time Mets lineup that would include. Keith Hernandez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Jones, Carlos Beltran, Darryl Strawberry, and Piazza while leaving many all-time outstanding players out.
There have also been impressive seasons in recent years from players such as Pete Alonso, Daniel Murphy, and Yoenis Cespedes. The latter two were postseason heroes in 2015.
Among the franchise’s most memorable moments are the sixth games of the 1986 World Series and NLCS, Agee and Swoboda’s catches in the 1969 World Series, Santana’s no-hitter, Robin Ventura’s Grand Slam Single in 1999, playoff heroics from Endy Chavez and Todd Pratt, and Piazza’s home run in the first game in New York after 9/11.
The New York Mets Have Many Outstanding Memories
There are Mets fans who get swept up in negativity when the team has not met expectations and have endured through some down stretches. But we served a reminder here that there is plenty to be proud of, including seasons, players, and moments that will live forever as being among the most enduring in New York sports history.
The franchise has significantly increased its acknowledgments to its past in recent years, and we will see even more salutes this season, as the Tom Seaver statue will finally be unveiled in front of Citi Field. It will serve as an ultimate representation of the major impact of New York Mets baseball in New York City lore.
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