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

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The Happiest Recap: 136-138

Welcome to The Happiest Recap, a solid gold slate of New York Mets games culled from every schedule the Mets have ever played en route to this, their fiftieth year in baseball. We’ve created a dream season that includes the “best” 136th game in any Mets season, the “best” 137th game in any Mets season, the “best” 138th game in any Mets season…and we keep going from there until we have a completed schedule worthy of Bob Murphy coming back with the Happy Recap after this word from our sponsor on the WFAN Mets Radio Network.

GAME 136: September 1, 1975 — METS 3 Pirates 0
(Mets All-Time Game 136 Record: 23-25; Mets 1975 Record: 72-64)

Long before the Mets marketed their late-1980s consistency as “Excellence Again and Again,” they simply displayed it year after year, every fifth day. Once in a while, just in case you needed a statistic of some sort to confirm that what you were watching was indeed routinely excellent, such a number would be presented.

Really, the only number you needed was “41,” but Tom Seaver had another one he showed off annually.

Every year, starting with his second year in the majors, Tom Seaver would strike out at least 200 batters. He mowed down the opposition with such 1-2-3 regularity that you might not have realized you witnessing history being made. But you were. It came into focus at the end of the 1974 season when Seaver, enduring his least rewarding campaign to date (11-11, 3.20), went out in a blaze of glory, striking out 14 in his final start. That gave him 201 strikeouts for the year, the seventh consecutive year Tom could say that. It was also the first time any National League pitcher could make such a claim; only Walter Johnson had done it in the American League.

Thus, what had been routine was on everybody’s radar as Seaver’s personal comeback season of 1975 unfurled. Barring the unforeseen, Tom Terrific was going to strike out a 200th batter before the year was over, earning him sole possession of a major league record — a barometer as much as it would be an achievement.

The stage couldn’t have been set much more perfectly than it was on Labor Day at Shea. Seaver and the Mets were coming home from a California trip that featured a five-game winning streak in San Diego and Los Angeles, pulling them to within five games of first-place Pittsburgh, who just happened to be their opponent this Monday afternoon in front of a nearly packed house. Tom had 194 strikeouts and 19 wins, so one standard Seaver performance would be all that it would take to notch a couple of trademark round numbers.

And of course, Seaver’s standard was excellence.

The Pirates were reminded of that as their matinee got underway. Three Bucs stepped up in the first and three Bucs grounded out to Felix Millan at second. No strikeouts yet for Seaver, but no baserunners. And after Mike Vail launched the first home run of his big league career, off John Candelaria (giving him a nine-game hitting streak), Seaver returned to stifling the Pirates: grounding Willie Stargell to Bud Harrelson — playing his first game since May 25; striking out Dave Parker for No. 195 on the season; and grounding Richie Hebner to Dave Kingman at first. Kingman flipped the ball to Seaver covering the bag to complete the second.

Manny Sanguillen drew a walk to open the visitors’ third, but the Pirates would do no further damage. Candelaria would go down looking for Seaver’s second K of the day, his 196th of 1975.

In the fourth, still ahead 1-0, Seaver marched inexorably toward his plateau. Ed Kirkpatrick struck out for No. 197. With two out, after Stargell singled for the first Pittsburgh hit of the day, Parker fanned again. That made it 198 strikeouts on the year for Seaver.

The fifth included a Pirate hit, by Sanguillen, but no other Pirate offense. No strikeouts, either. But the top of the sixth ended with Stargell looking at Seaver’s 199th.

The bottom of the sixth gave Seaver some additional cushion just in case he’d need it, with Rusty Staub and Joe Torre each driving in runs. The Mets led 3-0 going to the seventh, which is when Tom went for history.

There was one on and one out when the odometer prepared to turn. Lindsey Nelson had the call on WNEW-AM:

Manny Sanguillen is coming up. Walked and had a base hit.

Swing and a miss, it’s strike one.

Sanguillen is hitting Three Twenty-Four. He’s a tough man at the plate.

Seaver now sets, checks back over his shoulder, deals the strike-one pitch, swung on and missed. In with the fastball, it’s oh and two.

And the crowd here’s riding with Seaver on every pitch. They’re very knowledgeable, they know exactly what the circumstances are with regards to records and everything else.

Two-strike count do Sanguillen. Seaver sets up now, he checks back over his shoulder, here’s the pitch…swung on and missed! Struck him out! An ovation for Seaver, who has struck out two-hundred batters!

[Jerry] Grote turns and tosses the ball over to the dugout. That’ll be placed among Seaver’s souvenirs. He is the only pitcher in the history of major league baseball to strike out two-hundred or more batters in eight successive seasons. He’s getting a standing ovation at Shea!

Tom Seaver, the only pitcher in all the long history of major league baseball to strike out two-hundred or more batters in eight consecutive seasons.

Seaver was so overwhelmed by his accomplishment that he followed it up by striking out pinch-hitter Bob Robertson for strikeout 201.

When the day was over, Seaver had 204 strikeouts for the year, ten for the game. He also had a 20th win for the fourth time in his career. The 20-7 Seaver had led his Mets to a 3-0, four-hit, 95-pitch complete game victory over the Pirates (whom he’d mysteriously failed to beat since 1973), moving them to within four of the N.L. East lead.

“Considering everything,” Seaver allowed, “this might be my biggest day: the twentieth game, the 200 strikeouts and shutting out the Pirates in a pennant race.”

Everybody was in awe of the pitcher who had been awing baseball for close to a decade.

“I’ve never seen him better,” his catcher Grote swore.

“I kind of felt sorry for Sanguillen,” Torre said of Seaver’s 200th victim. “He didn’t have a chance up there.”

“That’s the best I’ve seen him in a couple of years,” marveled Pirate skipper Danny Murtaugh. “He brought some heat to the plate. You can’t feel bad about losing that one.”

“He’s never thrown that well since I’ve been in the majors,” Parker attested after striking out three times.

“If you think he looked good from upstairs,” advised sidelined Pirate outfielder Richie Zisk, who watched from the third base dugout, “you should have seen him from ground level. He threw one fastball in the eighth that St. Peter couldn’t have hit.”

“He’s probably a better pitcher right now than he’s ever been in his life,” observed Seaver’s own manager, Roy McMillan. “He’s spotting the ball better than ever, and he’s mixing his pitches beautifully. It’s a sign of maturity.”

Seaver being Seaver, he didn’t spend a lot of time praising himself afterwards. He described himself as having been “terrible in the bullpen” and “struggling” even as he was setting down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the first. As for the rest of the game, he acknowledged, “It was an emotional experience. You have to divorce yourself from it and appreciate it,” but at the same time, “We’re in a pennant race and that’s the club we have to beat. We’ve got to get off on the right foot. It’s almost demanded.”

The race was real enough on Labor Day so that when a bottle of champagne was uncorked in the clubhouse to celebrate Seaver’s record (one he’d extend to nine straight seasons with 200 strikeouts a year later), Seaver’s toast to Grote reflected his Terrifically competitive nature:

“To Cincinnati, in October.”

It turned out to be wishful thinking. The 1975 Mets, though they rose from 71-91 the year before to 82-80, never got any closer than four games out, yet Seaver’s excellence never dimmed. He was rewarded for his 22-9, 2.38 ERA (243 SO) comeback campaign with his third National League Cy Young Award. When it was all over, Jack Lang posed a pertinent question in the Sporting News:

“Were the Mets eleven games better or was it just that Tom Seaver was eleven games better?”

When Seaver was on, it was hard to imagine that any team could be better than his.

ALSO QUITE HAPPY: On September 10, 1985, the first round of the most hotly anticipated heavyweight bout to hit Flushing in a dozen years went to the Mets, 5-4 over the Cardinals. The opening flurries turned out to tell most of the story.

Down 1-0 after Ron Darling surrendered a home run to Tommy Herr in the top of the first, the Mets regrouped in the bottom of the inning. Mookie Wilson, starting his home first game since June 28, singled. One out later, Keith Hernandez stepped up. It was Mex’s first plate appearance since he was compelled to testify in court in Pittsburgh the week before that he had used cocaine when he was with St. Louis between 1980 and 1982.

How would the Shea fans react? In the middle of a pennant race, with their team tied for first and Hernandez recognized as the primary reason the franchise had turned around over the past two years?

They greeted him with a standing ovation.

“I don’t believe the fans are saying with their greeting, ‘Well done, Keith, we approve,’” Keith wrote in If At First. “They’re saying, I hope, ‘You made a mistake It’s done. Some of us have made that mistake, and worse, and we’re not subjected to this public scrutiny. We’re OK, you’re OK. Play ball.’”

Collecting himself (taking Danny Cox’s first pitch while doing so), Hernandez inserted his head back into the game and punched a single to left-center that allowed Mookie to score all after Vince Coleman slipped on the outfield grass.

The score was tied but the action was just beginning. Keith stood on second with two out as Whitey Herzog ordered Cox to walk Darryl Strawberry. The next batter, George Foster, took his sweet time being the next batter. He stepped in and out of the box enough to raise Cox’s ire. The Cards’ pitcher reacted by hitting Foster right in the rear. George wasn’t too happy, and neither were the Mets. Benches emptied, but no further hostilities were exchanged.

That is unless you count Howard Johnson’s bat taking a powerful swing at the fourth pitch he saw from Cox. It was a fastball that was next seen competing with incoming flights to LaGuardia for airspace. The grand slam put the Mets up, 5-1. Some nifty relief pitching from Roger McDowell put down a later Cardinal threat and the Mets held on, 5-4, to take a one-game lead over their archrivals

GAME 137: September 1, 1996 — METS 6 Giants 5 (10)
(Mets All-Time Game 137 Record: 20-28; Mets 1996 Record: 61-76)

Mets fans knew there was only one Mookie Wilson. Now there was evidence at least one post-Mookie Mets player knew it, too.

The club was honoring Wilson by inducting him into its Hall of Fame, and he may have been given no greater honor than that which Lance Johnson bestowed on him in pregame ceremonies. The current center fielder who regularly wore No. 1 paid homage to his predecessor in position and numerology by taking the field wearing No. 51. On this Sunday at Shea, Johnson told Mookie and the crowd of 40,000, there can only be No. 1 in the house.

The man known as One Dog in tribute to his dog track speed took to 51 just fine once the bell rang for the game against the Giants. In his first year in Flushing, Johnson had already taken (from Mookie) the single-season Met record for triples and was well on his way to displacing Felix Millan (191) as the hitter with the most hits. It became a typical One Dog day in the sixth when, at 1-1, Lance’s 18th triple and 184th hit of the season drove in Alvaro Espinoza and Rey Ordoñez to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Johnson came home a batter later on Edgardo Alfonzo’s sac fly. One Dog had already doubled in the fourth and he would single in the ninth, giving him a 3-for-5 game and a .321 average.

Eventually, though the Giants retied the score against Bobby Jones and Paul Byrd, and the game went to the tenth inning. With a runner on second and two out, John Franco gave up a go-ahead double to Rick Wilkins. As tended to be the case with Franco in close games, there was a borderline call he didn’t care for, one pitch before he gave up the big hit. Once he got out of the inning, Franco was still peeved and let home plate ump Larry Poncino know about it.

Poncino, in turn, let Franco know he was ejected from the game. Words grew harsher and tempers more heated from there. “I had to get my money’s worth after that,” Johnny said.

The Mets’ new manager, Bobby Valentine, in office less than a week at that point, agreed: “I couldn’t have said it any better than John.”

Everybody felt good and vindicated, except the Mets still trailed, 5-4, going to the bottom of the tenth. But some aggressive baserunning would take care of that. Tim Bogar walked to lead off the inning and Andy Tomberlin’s one-out pinch-double sent him around third, heading for home. Wilkins was in Bogar’s way, but not for long. Tim bowled over the San Francisco catcher and pulled the Mets even; perhaps he was fired up by Franco having tossed a water cooler in Poncino’s general direction along with a steady stream of invective.

“[Wilkins] wasn’t giving up the plate,” Bogar said, “and I wasn’t going in there without a fight.”

The Mets may have appeared beaten through most of the season, thus necessitating the August 26 change of managers from Dallas Green to Valentine — “We needed to change the dynamics,” according to co-owner Fred Wilpon — but now they were fired up. Tomberlin, who had taken third on the throw home, showed he wasn’t coming down the line for a spot of tea on Carl Everett’s ensuing grounder to second. Here came Andy…here came the throw home from Steve Scarsone…and there went the ball, dropped by Wilkins. Tomberlin was safe and the Mets won, 6-5. The winning pitcher was Franco — someone thrown out of the game before the rally and after he threw the top half of the inning’s final pitch.

Johnny was getting good at this. He himself noted that he’d gotten himself ejected for arguing on Mookie Wilson’s big day just as he was booted for fighting on his own day back in May.

Just another exciting afternoon at Big Shea for Bobby V, who was refamiliarizing himself with his old surroundings. “If you don’t like that game,” the former Met player and coach declared afterwards, “you don’t like baseball, apple pie and all that other stuff.”

ALSO QUITE HAPPY: On September 5, 2010, the Mets carried on a great franchise tradition of keeping the Wrigley Field scoreboard operator busy. In the same place where they scored 23 runs in 1987, 19 runs in 1964 and 43 runs across three games over two days in 1990, the 2010 Mets — no offensive juggernaut — put 18 hand-placed numbers on the board to whip the home team, 18-5. The aesthetic highlight of this Sunday assault was Ruben Tejada’s first major league home run, one of five RBIs for Jose Reyes’s fill-in at shortstop. Tejada, a 20-year-old infielder of slight stature and even slighter batting average (.185 at day’s beginning), lifted a fly ball to deep left, which was going, going…

Hard to tell exactly how far it had gone. Tejada, a conscientious rookie, wasn’t taking any chances and hustled his way around the bases, sliding into third for a triple. But the umpires caucused and decided (correctly) that the ball landed in the basket that fronts the left field bleachers. Thus, the kid was told to get up and keep going.

In other words…gone! Ruben trotted home with the Mets’ seventh run of the game. A pair of five-run innings followed to make it a traditional Wrigley rout.

GAME 138: September 12, 1985 — METS 7 Cardinals 6
(Mets All-Time Game 138 Record: 26-22; Mets 1985 Record: 84-54)

Two teams tied with two-dozen games remaining can’t really be expected to settle their affairs so far from the end of their respective seasons, but there was definitely a High Noon feel to this Thursday afternoon at Shea. The Mets and Cardinals, in a tango at the top of the N.L. East across the summer, found themselves on the same field with the same record with nine innings in front of them. When they ended, only one could possibly lead the other.

Who would it be?

It was close enough to demand a coin flip at the beginning of the day’s business. The Mets and Cards were tied now. They’d been tied six times since August 10. Who was to say they wouldn’t be tied after 162 games? Given that possibility, National League president Chub Feeney gathered the clubs’ GMs, Frank Cashen of the Mets and Dal Maxvill of the Cardinals, before the first pitch to decide home-field advantage for a potential one-game playoff. As the visitor, Maxvill was asked to call it. Dal went with heads; it was tails.

“I’ll play at home,” Cashen announced with little fanfare.

Then the Mets went out and did what they could to ensure no divisional playoff would be necessary. Three consecutive two-out doubles — from Darryl Strawberry, Danny Heep and Howard Johnson — built a 4-0 first-inning lead off putative Cardinal ace Joaquin Andujar, the volatile righty who had lately ceded the role of St. Louis stopper to John Tudor (the southpaw who outlasted Doc Gooden in a ten-inning 1-0 duel that retied the East). The Mets got the best of Joaquin again in the second, as Wally Backman doubled in Mookie Wilson to make it 5-0. Whitey Herzog’s patience ran out as Mookie crossed the plate; the White Rat replaced Andujar with Ricky Horton. But that didn’t pay immediate dividends, as two walks (only one intentional) and a hit by pitch plated Wally with the sixth Met run.

Ed Lynch couldn’t have had a better setup: Big lead, demoralized opponent, just throw strikes and…it was a decent strategy on paper, but Lynch wasn’t right five days after his dust-up with Mariano Duncan in L.A. He allowed the Cardinals three runs in the third and another two in the fourth. Lynch left after five in favor of the usually unreliable Doug Sisk, but Sisk kept the Cardinals grounded for two frames. Meanwhile, Herzog had inserted rookie Pat Perry to calm the Mets’ bats and he lulled them into a near-catatonic state. By the time Ken Dayley replaced Perry in the seventh (and continued to leave Met hitters drowsy), it remained 6-5.

The Cardinals went on the attack in the eighth inning, and anybody who’s ever walked the streets of New York with winged creatures flying around knows that can be dangerous. With one out, ex-Met Mike Jorgensen dropped a double on Roger McDowell, and Ozzie Smith followed with a single that moved pinch-runner Tom Lawless to third. McDowell exited and Jesse Orosco entered. The Wizard of Oz stole second as Tito Landrum worked out a walk. Now there was one out, the bases were full of Birds and righthanded batter Brian Harper stepped to the plate to take on the lefty Orosco.

Jesse came up huge, drawing a ground ball to Rafael Santana. The shortstop stepped on second and threw to Keith Hernandez at first for the inning-ending double play. It was still 6-5, Mets. The home team didn’t increase its lead in the eighth — they had accumulated all of two hits and one walk since they last scored — but Orosco had an edge to protect heading to the ninth.

The first St. Louis batter was the pesky Vince Coleman, the catalyst for the Cardinals. It was Coleman getting on base and running that had transformed these Redbirds into a contender in 1985. Walking him here would have been lethal to Orosco. Good thing, then, that Jesse grounded Vince to HoJo at third. The speedy Coleman couldn’t beat Johnson’s throw to Hernandez, and there was one out.

Then Willie McGee crossed everybody up by homering.

It was a most unCardinal-like thing to do. They manufactured runs on foot. But not this time. McGee’s big blow had finally erased a Met lead that had seemed impenetrable in the second inning and then too imperiled for too long. The game was tied at six.

Jesse — who had surrendered the game-losing home run to Cesar Cedeño the night before in the tenth after Gooden had gone nine — bore down and escaped further damage. The score stayed 6-6 heading to the bottom of the inning. The day that had begun with a tie at the top of the standings would now reach for its climax with a deadlock on the board.

Appropriately, the Mets one-, two- and three-batters were due up in the bottom of the ninth. As if a fresh start was in their grasp, Wilson led off against Dayley and he chopped a ball toward short that Smith gloved but threw in the dirt to Harper at first. Mookie’s speed took care of the rest and the Mets had their first hitter. Their second, Backman, did what second-place hitters ideally do. He bunted successfully. Wilson sped to second with one out.

That brought up Keith, who was the focal point of attention when the series began, coming back to New York after his drug trial testimony and driving in a run in his first at-bat Tuesday night. But that had been his last hit. Mex was 0-for-11 since then, and it wasn’t exaggeration to suggest a city’s hopes was resting on his shoulders. See, this wasn’t just any Thursday. This was dubbed Baseball Thursday, the day when by serendipity of scheduling the Mets were home in the afternoon playing a crucial pennant race showdown versus their closest rivals and the Yankees would be home at night playing a crucial pennant race showdown versus their closest rivals, another avian team, no less (the Blue Jays). The Mets — tied for first — and Yankees — 2½ out — had never been in the thick of the chase this late in the season simultaneously. Talk of the first Subway Series in 29 years permeated the entire Metropolitan Area.

Summer still had more than a week to go on the calendar, but this was autumnal baseball, replete with “a nip in the air,” as the Times put it, to go with the shadows that September would bring to Shea. The playoff weather coincided with the frenzied atmosphere, as more than 46,000 New Yorkers beseeched Keith to do a little more for them on top of all he’d done on their behalf since coming over to their side from the Cardinals’ side in June of 1983.

“I stand more erect in the box than usual,” Hernandez described in his season diary, If At First. “When I’m having a bad day, I do this to help release some muscle tension and slow things down. Relax, relax, relax. Crouching has the opposite effect.”

Keith swings at strike one from Dayley. He’s relaxed enough to think along with Dayley, who “throw the fastball right where he wants, but right where I’m looking, too. I hit it through the gaping hole on the left side…”

Tim McCarver picks up the action on SportsChannel:

“Base hit left field! Here comes Wilson! Coleman can’t come up with it, Mets win, seven to six! The Mets are in first place by a game!”

It was the 22nd game-winning RBI of the season for Hernandez, a National League record for a statistic that hadn’t been around for very long but seemed indicative of what Keith was born to deliver. He came up, got a hit and the Mets won. They took two of three from the now totally hated Cardinals and, yes, they took first place. They even had that coin flip in their back pockets.

With any luck, 1985 wouldn’t come down to that, but September wasn’t nearly over for either team — and even when it ran out, the season would still have a week to go, including three more Mets-Cardinals games, in St. Louis. But a one-game lead with 24 to play was a one-game lead with 24 to play.

ALSO QUITE HAPPY: On September 8, 1969, the first-place Chicago Cubs were ready to take a historic fall. All they needed was a little nudge.

The New York Mets were more than happy to provide it.

While the Mets were gaining steam in the second half of August and the first week of September, the Cubs juggernaut had begun to take on water. Every hint of righting the ship was negated by an undeniably wrong turn. The latest evidence that the 1969 Cubs weren’t quite what they were cracked up to be came via the four-game losing streak with which they were saddled as they made their way to New York for a two-game showdown with the Mets. There was never supposed to be a showdown with the Mets. As recently as September 2, the Cubs had won their fifth in a row, allowing them to reopen a five-game lead on the Flushing upstarts. It may not have been the nine by which they led the back as late as August 16, but it was still pretty formidable.

Besides, who was chasing them? The Mets. The same team manager Leo Durocher derided when, after salvaging the third game of their series the last time they came to Shea, he was asked if those were the real Cubs out there today.

“No,” Leo retorted. “Those were the real Mets.”

Durocher wasn’t afraid to speak his mind or incite an opponent. Almost two months to the day, Durocher returned to have his words fed back to him on a blue-and-orange platter. Chicago’s nine-game lead that became a five-game lead was now down to 2½. The real Mets were proving unstoppable of late, winning 18 of 24. Leo might have thought he had the answer to their relentless upward trajectory.

Knock them down.

That was what Cub starter Bill Hands attempted to do to Mets leadoff hitter Tommie Agee in the bottom of the first this cool, rainy Monday night. Hands came up, high and tight chin music aimed at Agee’s coconut (a head that had absorbed a pitch from Bob Gibson to commence his first Spring Training as a Met in 1968). Agee was dusted. Hands was pleased. “I was not told to do it,” Bill insisted to Rick Talley, author of The Cubs of ’69, nearly two decades later. “I just did it.”

If Hands was trying to send the Mets a message, the wires got crossed en route to home plate. True, Agee grounded out in that first plate appearance, but the Mets weren’t scared off. If anything, they were ready to retaliate. The first batter Jerry Koosman saw in the top of the second was Ron Santo, he who irked Mets and Mets fans alike earlier in the year with his post-victory heel-clicking. No heel-clicking here. Maybe just some furtive wrist-rubbing after Kooz let Hands know that just doing it would come with payback.

“I don’t mind getting knocked down,” Agee said later. “As long as my pitcher retaliates.”

Nobody ordered Jerry to take out Ron. It was just what needed to be did, and he did it. “Our pitchers,” Gil Hodges advised, “know all about taking care of our people.”

Hands would try to get even by coming inside at Koosman in a later at-bat, but the most effective revenge came a batter later when Agee let Hands know he was just fine. Tommie homered with Bud Harrelson on base to give the Mets a 2-0 lead in the third. The Cubs answered with a pair of runs in the sixth, but once again, Agee’s bat got very talkative in the bottom of the inning. He led off against Hands with a hustle double to left. When Wayne Garrett singled to right, Agee took off for third and just kept going. There was a play at the plate…a very close play. Cubs catcher Randy Hundley applied a swipe tag to the thinnest of air that separated his mitt from Agee’s body.

Tommie was safe. The Mets led three to two…no matter Hundley’s endless objections. They began the instant after Satch Davidson ruled in the Mets’ favor — Randy jumped high enough to match his dudgeon — and they never really stopped. Twenty years later, Hundley was still complaining that Davidson got the call wrong.

“I tagged him so hard I almost dropped the ball,” Hundley swore to Talley. “Right up his bloomin’ side. It wasn’t just a little tag: I swept him right up the uniform. I was really afraid I would drop the bloomin’ ball.”

For all of Randy Hundley’s protestations, the only thing bloomin’ that frenzied night in New York was Koosman’s strikeout total. Jerry had fanned seven through six, and added five over the next three to give him thirteen on the night. When it was over, Koosman had a complete game 3-2 victory and the Mets were within 1½ of the Cubs. The baker’s dozen worth of K’s were dandy, all right, but what meant the most to the Mets was Koosman standing up for Agee — and all the Mets — when he let Leo know that those knockdown tactics of Hands’s were a nonstarter.

“He tried to run us out of the ballpark on the very first pitch,” one Met said of the opposing skipper, “and he found out that he couldn’t do it.”

10 comments to The Happiest Recap: 136-138

  • March'62

    I remember the media saying that the fans were wrong for cheering Mex. I seem to remember Dick Young really going off on this. But Keith got it right. Play ball. If there’s a wild card that year, the Mets win two championships in a row.

    • There was a division title that year. Mets should have won it.

      • March'62

        They won 98 games. Only 2 teams had more. KC won 91 and then won it all.
        And here’s an article from the LA Times dated 10/7/85:

        Ueberroth made his comments in response to urging by newspaper columnist Dick Young to take action against such players as Cincinnati’s Dave Parker and Keith Hernandez of the New York Mets, who recently admitted during a federal trial Pittsburgh that they have used cocaine.

        However, while taking steps against drug-users in major league baseball, Ueberroth indicated he would not be harsh in his judgments. When Young suggested that such players be thrown out of baseball “the first time they take it (drugs),” Ueberroth said, “it’s not practical in society. It wouldn’t work.”

  • Lenny65

    1985 would be my pick for the single most exciting regular season, with 1999 second. That rivalry with the Cards was so intense, like two heavyweights going toe to toe. They were in contention for most of 1984, but ’85 was the first real pennant race I was old enough to fully appreciate. The old pennant races were just so do-or-die, at least that one was.

    In all these years I never thought about the wild card and how it would have come into play back then. A NLCS between the Mets & Cards in ’85 would have been epic. Wonder how ’87 & ’88 would have played out if there had been another playoff round involved?

    • The more I do this project, the more I’m convinced (albeit in my dreams) that there should be a 1985 banner on the left field wall with the seven that represent Mets postseason appearances. It doesn’t have to say “ALMOST” or “SECOND PLACE” or “BEST TEAM NEVER TO MAKE PLAYOFFS”. Just “1985” would suffice. We’d know what it means.

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