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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Mets Yearbook: 1976

The program guide function on my TV indicates that tonight at 7:30, SNY resumes the best series in the history of the medium, Mets Yearbook, with the highlight-film spotlight shining on what would turn out to be the last good Met year for a very long time, 1976. Those Mets muddled through the first four months of their season, fell completely out of contention early, but then revved themselves up for a faaan-tastic finish.

Technically speaking, the finish was a rather tepid third, but there was an encouraging stretch of baseball in August and September (34-21) — not enough to give you hope for an N.L. East title run, but plenty to make you forget how quickly things in the post-Payson era were deteriorating. We’d figure that out come 1977, but never mind that right now. Tune in cheerfully and discover just how willingly we deceived ourselves back in the day when we had Jerry Koosman going for 20, Dave Kingman going for 56, John Milner going for grand slams, Lee Mazzilli going to the plate for the first time ever and Mickey Lolich going as quickly as he came. I’m guessing, if not necessarily hoping, that there will be a Pepe Mangual sighting as well.

Stay tuned afterwards for an encore presentation of Mets Yearbook: 1984, marking what would turn out to be the first Met good year in a very long time…first good Met year since 1976, actually.

Sigh.

Image courtesy of kcmets.com.

6 comments to Mets Yearbook: 1976

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    As we know, their 52-55 mark before making that run was more indicative of the plight of the team than the 34-21 which began in mid-August and flourished during September – not exactly the most competitive time when the Phillies began running away with the division.

    I remember a Friday night game in mid-season when one tv sportscaster was stunned because there were only 19,000 in attendance to see Tom Seaver pitch. Just shows how the Franchise couldn’t even save the franchise.

  • Mark Mariniello

    Hi Greg.

    The summer of 76′ was when I fell in love with baseball and the Mets. My favorite baseball memory of that summer didn’t involve going to a game!I completed my 1976 topps baseball card set when I traded Johnny Bench,Hank Aaron,and Steve Garvey for Ron Hodges and Biff Pocoroba! Hey I was eight and loved my Mets and my cards.

    Looking back at those Mets teams of my youth always puts a smile on my face. I’m not going to let Omar and the Wilpons ruin my love of those mid-70’s teams. I tell people now that I am a Mets fan that hates the Mets.This currant regime can lose 162 games and I would’nt care. The way they piss on Mets history is mind boggling. The only reason they are building the so called Mets HOF is to appease the fans who wanted to cancel their tickets. Typical Wilpon money grab.

    • Bench, Aaron and Garvey for Ron Hodges would be enough. But you got Biff Pocoroba as a throw-in — that’s what impresses me. Unless Hodges was the throw-in. Then the deal’s off.

  • Dave

    I watched it last night…you got your Pepe Mangual sighting, all right. Seemed that every batter they showed except for Kong was shown hitting a triple, including Pepe.

    • They really laid it on about the youth and the speed. The ’76 Mets finished seventh in runs scored, eighth in triples and last in stolen bases in the National League. Their average age was 28.6, more than a year older than the eventual world champion Reds, who were not in the midst of a youth movement.

      Of course I loved watching it but I could just feel the exhaustion of the Mets seeping through the television as the late ’70s approached. Notice that a big chunk was given over to Kranepool and Seaver recalling better times. Perhaps that was in honor of the 15th season celebration (which I don’t recall being a big deal at the time) or because after years of middling performances based on very good pitching and not much hitting, there was only so much to say about another season of it. Even Helmet Day was given short shrift.

  • Mark Mariniello

    Hey Greg,

    I love watching the Mets yearbook movies and seeing clips from that seasons Old-Timer’s day.Thats something they should bring back.I don’t know about you but I yearn for seeing the heroes of my youth.Geez, I just got more depressed!