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.
Image courtesy of kcmets.com.