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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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The Happiest 163

Could ya use an extraordinary Met season right about now? Try this one, courtesy of The Happiest Recap, the Faith and Fear series that ran from April to November, capturing the “best” wins from across the first fifty years of New York Mets baseball, numbered from 001 to 163 to correspond to where they fell into the schedules from whence they came. Click on the links and enjoy the entire essay for any game number as well as an alternate choice (since “best” can’t help but be subjective).

Below you’ll find one sentence apiece from each of the “best” games, all of them offered here medley-style to make the remainder of the old year feel a little more Happy, and provide a little reassurance that the new year will surely include its own Recaps worth recalling.

001-003

Gary Carter loomed as a game changer. (April 9, 1985)

And in what would become known as the Year of the Pitcher, Jerry Koosman stepping up and joining Tom Seaver atop the Mets’ rotation assured us we’d be able to use the plural — “pitchers” — for many years to come. (April 11, 1968)

Tommie Agee had struck the first fair home run to ever land in the Upper Deck of Shea Stadium — and the first of two home runs on the day as the Mets captured their first series of the year. (April 10, 1969)

004-006

Gooden definitely had enough so that his very first big league batter knew it right away. (April 7, 1984)

It fell to “Little Al Jackson,” as Murph was fond of calling him, to make the Mets winners in their new home for the very first time. (April 19, 1964)

Martinez’s first Met win, too, of course, and it was exactly the kind of gem GM Omar Minaya had in mind when he signed him to a four-year contract: a complete game two-hitter; one walk; nine strikeouts; plus the biggest sigh of relief any April Met starter ever generated. (April 10, 2005)

007-009

It was the first of 198 Terrific Mets wins and the first of 311 in what was quickly revealing itself as a Hall of Fame career. (April 20, 1967)

When the 7-2 victory went final, Citi Field still had a long way to go toward feeling like the home of the Mets, but unpacking a first win in the new place certainly made those unfamiliar surroundings seem just a tad cozier. (April 15, 2009)

If you’re wondering when precisely the 1986 Mets became the 1986 Mets, you could do worse for a legitimate starting point to their ultimate world domination than one of the less auspicious nights of the year. (April 21, 1986)

010-012

Jay went the distance, stopping the Pirates’ winning streak at ten and, of more cosmic significance, introducing the Mets to the sensation of not losing. (April 23, 1962)

On and on the festivities unfurled from Busch Stadium, from a duel in the sun between two sharp southpaw starters — Johan Santana for the Mets, rookie Jaime Garcia for the Cardinals — to a twilight struggle between obstinate bullpens to, as the shadows gave way to utter darkness, desperation farce. (April 17, 2010)

You can’t clinch the N.L. East with 150 games remaining, but you can sure make a statement, and with this 4-3 win, the Mets did. (April 17, 2006)

013-015

And the consecutive strikeout feat of 10 straight…never before touched, never again — not for forty years, at any rate — seriously challenged. (April 22, 1970)

The Mets won 8-6, for the first time delighting their home fans not just by existing but by excelling. (April 28, 1962)

All that mattered was on a Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, two weeks into the campaign, the Mets were making a bid to lead the N.L. East. (April 22, 1978)

016-018

Discovering that the ball landed between his jersey and his undershirt, he pulled out the white sphere from behind his white shirt, handed it to home plate ump Mike Winters and proceeded to first as McCray trotted home with the only run of the game. (April 23, 1992)

Rusty’s red hair, however, was in ample evidence as was all of his frame as he took off, tracked down and nabbed the ball in a half-dive, ending Gorman’s seventh scoreless inning of relief and stranding the 14th Pirate baserunner of the day. (April 28, 1985)

The Mets’ left fielder kept sizzling, belting Nye’s 1-0 pitch over the fence for a 3-0 Mets win, their first walkoff triumph of the year. (April 27, 1969)

019-021

Keith Hernandez led off the bottom of the fourth and, with one swing, eviscerated Kryptonite. (April 29, 1987)

Mags had made one of the several Met defensive gems earlier that contributed to the sense that TONIGHT COULD BE IT!, but this infield roller was immune to that kind of magic. (April 28, 1992)

The Mets won 8-7 and gave Bob L. Miller the first W of his second Met tenure mercifully quickly. (April 20, 1974)

022-024

But against the Reds — with a mighty assist from Davis — Fisher accomplished something no Met pitcher had done before: win an eleven-inning start. (May 9, 1967)

For now, we’re thinking about southpaw Shawn Estes and what, if one were to judge by results, should have gone down as his signature Met start. (April 26, 2002)

On a 3-2 pitch, Mays swung and not so much turned the clock back but set atlases everywhere straight. (May 14, 1972)

025-027

The game had a little something for every Mets fan left in the unusual position of wanting to witness a Mets win and a Strawberry home run while realizing they were not mutually beneficial. (May 7, 1991)

Dibble may not have received the scouting report on Johnson. (May 4, 1989)

Whatever made or didn’t make sense in terms of defensive alignment, Mets fans mostly wanted what made Mike Piazza happy after all he had done in seven seasons to plaster smiles on their faces. (May 5, 2004)

028-030

Now, a decade later, coincidence or something had the Mets on a baseball field when the engineer of those evil attacks had been at last eliminated. (May 1, 2011)

The Mets took their first lead of the night, 8-7, at one minute before midnight. (May 5, 2006)

It was as if the Mets had played Friday night for all the marbles only to discover a fresh set of marbles had been placed before them about, oh, ten minutes later. (May 6, 2006)

031-033

But then, in the top of the fifth, a star was born. (May 16, 1983)

Gentry would have to sate himself with the one-hitter and a whitewashing of one of the National League’s fiercest lineups. (May 13, 1970)

Teaching old dogs new tricks may present interspecies challenges, but new first basemen can apparently pick up on incredible acrobatic feats very fast. (May 11, 2010)

034-036

In the bottom of the inning, what had been John Franco Day and then Saturday Afternoon at the Fights became a standout moment in the Met career of Rico Brogna. (May 11, 1996)

Infamy of sorts for John Cangelosi, but at least it emanated from a rousing 11-4 Mets win, albeit one that went unreported in SI. (May 14, 1994)

What didn’t figure into the calculation was the people least excited by the “achievement” were the New York Mets themselves. (May 21, 1969)

037-039

For Mets fans who pried their eyes open clear to the end as Friday dawned, that morning’s last or perhaps first cup of coffee tasted anything but bitter. (May 24, 1973)

They cheered that new apple in the Mets Magic top hat that rose with every Mets home run. (May 25, 1981)

To watch the reaction to the stunning climax of this Sunday afternoon at Shea would be to believe you had been invited to the cast party that marked the end of what some would call a forgettable five-year run. (September 20, 1981)

040-042

And, most enduringly, like that uttered by the eternally quoted caller to the sports department of the Waterbury Republican, a Connecticut gentleman who sincerely wanted to know if what he thought he’d heard was true…that the cellar-dwelling Mets had actually scored 19 runs that afternoon. (May 26, 1964)

Robin Ventura, in two very different games, had accomplished the same unusual feat: a grand slam in the first inning of the first game; a grand slam in the fourth inning of the second game. (May 20, 1999)

Perhaps because the depleted Mets had been so close to defeat — and probably because the video delay heightened the drama — Santos’s teammates poured out of the dugout to greet him as if he had just beaten Papelbon on the final swing of the night. (May 23, 2009)

043-045

That’s how fast young Ryan was as a rule…and make no mistake: in this game, Nolan Ryan ruled. (May 29, 1971)

Olerud, in turn, stuck it to Schilling. (May 23, 1999)

Mike Piazza was immediately the center of the action in the Mets’ world as soon as he arrived in Flushing, and there was no mistaking he was the reason there was any action. (May 23, 1998)

046-048

It wouldn’t last, and Torre’s relationship with his discontented stars didn’t make much difference even in the short-term, but when the man who would go on to win 2,326 regular-season games and four World Series titles enters the Hall of Fame as a manager, it will have to be recalled how it all began for Joe Torre: cleaning up Joe Frazier’s mess and attempting to set the Mets on course in what was rapidly becoming their most wayward season ever.
 (May 31, 1977)

Because baseball is baseball, and baseball is rarely predictable and only occasionally fair, Dick Rusteck’s debut shutout was his last win in the majors and 1966 was his only season in the bigs. (June 10, 1966)

With one increasingly characteristic thrilling victory, they reached all kinds of new peaks and didn’t appear intent on stopping their climb anytime soon. (June 4, 1969)

049-051

But Elster spun his good-field/no-hit reputation on its ear when he walloped Peña’s first pitch into the left field bullpen to give the Mets a 5-4, 11-inning win. (May 31, 1988)

On this particular Tuesday night, the Mets and the San Francisco Giants — for whom Benitez had registered 45 saves since 2005 — hooked up over a dozen innings that were fairly fascinating long before the ghost of blown saves past stuck his fingerprints on the storyline. (May 29, 2007)

His out-of-town tryouts deemed successful, Doc was scheduled to reopen off Broadway, and uppermost in many minds was the critical reception he’d elicit. (June 5, 1987)

052-054

Just like that, on three first pitches, Dave Kingman homered three times and drove in eight runs. (June 4, 1976)

Larry Bearnarth’s ten innings of relief in one game established a Mets record that has never been matched. (June 9, 1964)

Ask for a fly ball, receive a fly ball that clears the right field wall to win yet another game, this one 8-4 in eleven innings. (June 10, 1986)

055-057

Mets Magic, after that 7-6 startler, was contagious. (June 14, 1980)

Sergio Ferrer would finish 1979 batting .000 in seven at-bats and the New York Mets would finish 1979 seventeen games out of fifth place, but the ten-run sixth they posted en route to a 12-6 win over the Reds proved enduring. (June 12, 1979)

Wrigley Field isn’t Gold’s Gym, but the Mets flexed their muscles and gave their bats the most thorough of workouts during an extended iron-pumping session on the North Side of Chicago, one that encompassed two days, three games and 25 sets of bulging biceps. (June 13, 1990)

058-060

But if you listened to Lindsey and willfully ignored everything else you had heard in the preceding weeks and months about a star player and a front office engaging in an intractable feud, you would have sworn it was just another typically terrific fifth day, courtesy of Tom Seaver. (June 12, 1977)

Valentine, against all rules and regulations, poked his head into the Mets’ dugout. (June 9, 1999)

Mike took one ball and then took Roger Clemens clear over the Yankee Stadium wall for a grand slam home run. (June 9, 2000)

061-063

He’d recover to strike out Swoboda for his 18th K of the game and two batters later, after allowing a single to McMillan, get a double play ball out of Gonder, but the spell was broken. (June 14, 1965)

In the annals of New York National League inside-the-parkers, it may have been the most dramatic of the genre since 33-year-old Casey Stengel sped as best he could around the bases to give the Giants a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth in the opening game of the 1923 World Series at Yankee Stadium. (June 11, 2005)

The Mets leapfrogged the Phillies to take a half-game lead in the N.L. East on the first day of summer. (June 21, 1984)

064-066

It was the third consecutive save versus the Mets that Sutter had blown, dating back to the previous September, dating back to that fateful encounter with Mookie. (June 20, 1982)

They looked, at the end of a 9-1 road trip — the road trip from heaven, if you will — like a team that had no genuine competition in its division. (June 15, 2006)

Summer was here and the time was right for the 1990 Mets to assert themselves in ways few clubs in the franchise’s history ever had. (June 25, 1990)

067-069

It was a game that belonged to every Mets fan, every descendant of every Giants fan and Dodgers fan, maybe. (June 16, 1997)

The Mets held on 8-3 and swept the five-game series to go up a game-and-a-half on the Cubs, two on the surging Pirates and five on the fading Cardinals. (June 25, 1970)

That added up to a 5-0 Mets win and 27 up, 27 down: the perfectly minimum number of batters a team can face in a nine-inning contest. (June 17, 2003)

070-072

For Seaver, for the Mets, it was their ninth one-hitter in eleven seasons of franchise history. (July 4, 1972)

He continued his trot facing the wrong way, until he arrived at home plate, the number 34 on his back greeting the next hitter, Tim Harkness. (June 23, 1963)

The Mets would have to “settle” for eight runs in one inning, six of them charged to Spahn, all of them plenty for Stallard, who cruised to an 8-4 complete game victory. (June 26, 1964)

073-075

This one — one of the farthest-traveling Shea had ever seen — carried, much as Darryl was known to carry the Mets on his back. (July 3, 1990)

In case it wasn’t enough that the Mets had just beaten the Astros 6-5 in ten innings, Tim alluded to the undeniable fact that the Mets (now 12½ up on their nearest Canadian rival) had the best record in all of baseball, 4½ games better than that of the best the American League had to offer, the Boston Red Sox. (July 3, 1986)

Six wins in a row for the unfathomable, indefatigable, contending Mets, and only four behind the heretofore impregnable Braves, not to mention a tiny game-and-a-half off the Marlins’ Wild Card pace. (June 24, 1997)

076-078

And six minutes after it was over, a crowd estimated at between 8,000 and 10,000 got the rest of what they came to Fulton County Stadium for: the Fourth of July fireworks show. (July 4, 1985)

Nevertheless, an almost airtight case can be made that on a Friday night at Shea, when the Mets didn’t overcome their biggest in-game deficit ever and didn’t post their highest one-inning run total ever, they still forged the most magnificent comeback in franchise history, doing so on the strength of the most monumental inning in franchise history. (June 30, 2000)

When the cheerily meandering contest (a plodding 3:54) went final, the Mets had a 15-6 win and the series sweep that had eluded them in ten previous Bronx engagements, even if this series happened to start on May 17 and end on June 27, and even if this Delgado day of days was compelled to continue back at Shea for a (less scintillating) nightcap. (June 27, 2008)

079-081

But the Mets kept clawing as if something more than a modern-day Mayor’s Trophy was at stake. (July 3, 2004)

The Mets were reborn and rebranded as an honest-to-goodness baseball team that was likely to beat any other baseball team any day of the week. (July 8, 1969)

It’s known as the Imperfect Game, which is ironic in that it may be the most perfect regular-season game the New York Mets have ever played. (July 9, 1969)

082-084

Seaver then got fly balls out of Callison and Tony Taylor to preserve the 4-2 victory, giving Frisella his second win of the season, dealing Larry Jackson his second loss ever against the Mets (he’d finish his career versus New York at 21-2) and earning for himself the first save of his career. (July 8, 1968)

What a night: five times up and five hits for the five-tool player of Met dreams, including one of each kind of hit. (July 3, 1996)

Further, the Mets not only stood at .500 but stood tall and proud at having stood up for one another. (July 15, 1980)

085-087

Denny Neagle had pitched seven shutout innings himself, but now the Mets had a 1-0 lead, and all Green had to do was hand it for safe keeping to his closer and Sabes’s buddy, John Franco. (July 29, 1995)

Once he divined the lay of the land, he pulled in Scott’s would-be game-winning RBI with two hands, tumbling to Tal’s grass in the process. (July 7, 2007)

Thus, the final victory of Jerry Koosman’s Met career was accomplished by defeating Tom Seaver. (July 13, 1978)

088-090

All of it jumbled together and coalesced into an extended outburst of pure, ecstatic joy on behalf of the home team, peppered by a hearty sprinkling of Sheadenfreude as regarded the overbearing visitors (and their twenty-some-odd-thousand acolytes) from one borough away. (July 10, 1999)

In the final game in which Willie Mays and Hank Aaron both appeared, the Mets went ahead, 8-7. (July 17, 1973)

Seriously, the only thing that would have made Johnson moving his nine pieces around more perfect would have been Roger and Jesse high-fiving as they literally passed in the night. (July 22, 1986)

091-093

He’d retire in 1985, with exactly that one stolen base to his credit, one of nineteen swiped by Mets pitchers in the fifty years there have been Mets pitchers. (July 22, 1975)

Delgado doubled and Wright homered — not a grand slam, but quite good enough to provide the Mets their tenth and eleventh runs of the inning, the most ever generated by any Mets club. (July 16, 2006)

What everybody remembers is Murphy and the night the forever upbeat voice of the team since its founding in 1962 uttered a four-letter word on the air that wasn’t “Mets”. (July 25, 1990)

094-096

Given opportunity after opportunity to remind Whitey Herzog who got the best of the Keith Hernandez deal, Keith Hernandez just kept delivering. (July 24, 1984)

The Mets won 2-1 on Tommie Agee’s second steal of the inning, his second steal of home of the season, the first and only time a Met has ended a game by stealing home. (July 24, 1970)

If a relatively obscure baseball rule was involved, however, there was no way Valentine was not going to a) know it and b) work it. (July 18, 2001)

097-099

Fast-forward, then, to a Saturday at Shea against the Dodgers, when Jose Reyes truly takes flight. (July 23, 2005)

In the long, dark emotional winter that set in amid the heat of summer, however, Rico Brogna left Mets fans who tuned into Channel 7 that Monday night with a lingering memory of a baseball game to cherish…and the kind of ballplayer (7 HR, 20 RBI, .351 BA in 39 games) they could look forward to once the sport came to its senses and back to its diamonds. (July 25, 1994)

The score, as generally expressed by Bob Murphy, was Expos nothing, the Mets coming to bat, but a three-up, three-down fanning of such decisive nature was enough to make anyone watching think Montreal was already trailing. (July 30, 1985)

100-102

Nothing lasts forever, and there’s an individual who will drink to that…though you couldn’t have blamed Anthony Young had he started drinking long before it was confirmed eternity isn’t always what it appears to be. (July 28, 1993)

Ojeda’s and Smiley’s particular type of scintillating duel — in which each man threw a complete game while allowing no more than three hits — became only the second 1-0 win in Mets history to meet such stringent standards. (July 29, 1988)

He grounded it to Wright at third, who forced Coste at second and, with a 3-1 victory sealed on Wagner’s final Shea Stadium save, the Mets were in first. (July 24, 2008)

103-105

While Seaver was basking in history, Gooden was making ever more of it. (August 4, 1985)

This, you might say, is where the Mets began to become the Mets, at least the Mets as they were on the verge of being understood. (July 31, 1983)

All the Mets could offer to counter the publicity blitz around Nomo — 10-3, with a 2.08 ERA entering the game — was a homegrown pitcher whom their loyalists were watching closely even if the rest of the world wasn’t. (August 20, 1995)

106-108

Ron Swoboda came on, all right, and didn’t the visitors from the West know it? (August 4, 1966)

Seeing as how Bob G. Miller was at least keeping it in the proverbial family, it’s doubtful Bob L. Miller minded all that much that he couldn’t be the first Miller on the 1962 Mets to notch that elusive W. (August 4, 1962)

But hadn’t Keith Hernandez made a career of foiling the Dave Ruckers of the National League? (August 5, 1988)

109-111

Terrell’s fame was instantly slugging but his cause, like that of all baseball players who conducted their business sixty feet and sixty inches from home plate, was pitching. (August 6, 1983)

If he didn’t come through against Mesa here, there’d be an eleventh inning, but, honestly, if he didn’t come through against Mesa here, it would mean the Mets blew the most golden opportunity this side of “plastics” in The Graduate. (August 4, 1998)

The 20-6 win went into the Mets record book and, like Neil Armstrong’s American flag, stayed planted there long after NASA stopped scheduling lunar excursions. (August 7, 1971)

112-114

Now that we mention it, Gooden vs. Koosman does sound a little Twilight Zone-esque, offering as it does a blurring of noncontiguous Mets eras. (August 15, 1985)

Ellis Valentine’s arm was just one tool, but it had a brilliant evening. (August 13, 1982)

All that mattered is it left the field of play fair for a grand slam home run — the grand slam home run that gave the Mets the 7-3 victory to make a winner at long last out of Roger Craig. (August 9, 1963)

115-117

So Benny, in a blink, had committed an E-7; was directly responsible for a run; wore pineapple-sized egg on his face; and had acted as what seven-year-olds in less linguistically sensitive times would have called an Indian giver. (August 12, 2000)

The last of the Met runs that crossed home plate — accounting for the 18-5 final — was carried by a young man from Brooklyn in an unusually tight gray polyester uniform. (August 14, 1979)

If it wasn’t exactly the “breakfast in bed for 400,000” Wavy Gravy and his Please Force were passing around, it was revelation enough for the crowd in Queens to chew on. (August 17, 1969)

118-120

Met batters swung in harmony all game long and Met runners converged on home plate at Wrigley Field a franchise record 23 times. (August 16, 1987)

When the chalk dust settled, the Mets scored nine runs in top of the first inning on eight hits and three Giant errors. (August 16, 1988)

He was nine outs away from pitching the first no-hitter any Met had ever thrown. (August 16, 1999)

121-123

Still, it is breathtaking to see Barry Bonds come up six times, see Barry Bonds be pitched to six times and live to tell about it. (August 21, 2004)

The ghosts of 1986 were in perfect alignment with the ongoing runaway of 2006 as Mets management saw fit to bring arguably its two most dominant teams together at Shea for one Saturday night. (August 19, 2006)

It’s a comeback unmatched across a half-century of Met baseball, its phenomenal nature undiminished by its relative obscurity as a Met landmark. (September 2, 1972)

124-126

Who knew it would be so easy to neutralize the worst damage Albert Pujols could inflict? (August 22, 2006)

Much to the delight of the home fans, the Mets raked Hampton for four-first inning runs, with one coming in on a wild pitch and two via a Rey Ordoñez single. (August 21, 2001)

So, yes, after barely avoiding seemingly inevitable demotion, you could definitely say Mike Jacobs was happy to be here. (August 24, 2005)

127-129

Many moving parts had to click to end the game to their satisfaction, but the Mets were nothing if not in sync. (August 27, 1986)

Donn grabbed  the ball and threw it to third baseman Bobby Pfeil who tagged McCovey for…the…uh…7-2-3-5 double play. (August 30, 1969)

And for the first time in the history of the world, Sandy Koufax was the losing pitcher in a game he pitched against the New York Mets. (August 26, 1965)

130-132

Starting at second and again batting second, Jefferies once more stoked Mets fans’ imaginations when they saw him double and score in the first, homer to lead off the third and triple home a run in the sixth. (August 29, 1988)

It may have represented an uneventful goodbye to New York National League baseball for Aaron, but the complete game, five-hit shutout — the first shutout of his career — would turn into an unforeseen milestone for McGraw. (September 1, 1974)

The ultimate second-place hitter established himself as No. 1 in the Met record books when it comes to best game any Met hitter has ever had. (August 30, 1999)

133-135

It was ace vs. ace doing exactly what you paid for if you were fortunate enough to be among the 51,868 in attendance. (September 6, 1985)

That the Mets were bearing down on first-place Chicago was the most accurate barometer of how far the Mets had come in such a short time, but the fact that they possessed a starting pitcher on the precipice of a heretofore unthinkable Met milestone…just chalk it up as another Amazin’ element of a season whose most magical properties were yet to be revealed. (September 5, 1969)

The exhilarating 7-3 trip pulled them to within a half-game of St. Louis…and when the Cardinals dropped a makeup game the next day to the Cubs, it was a dead heat atop the division. (September 8, 1985)

136-138

Everybody was in awe of the pitcher who had been awing baseball for close to a decade. (September 1, 1975)

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. (September 1, 1996)

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. (September 12, 1985)

139-141

On whomever he set his gaze, the black cat was recognized immediately as bad luck for one team, and not the other. (September 9, 1969)

The all-important PCT. was included to let every Sheagoer and the entirety of the free world know the Mets held an advantage of .593 to .592. (September 10, 1969)

Twenty-three seasons had conditioned Mets fans to recognize a no-hitter as it was getting away from them, and this one shouldn’t have been that. (September 7, 1984)

142-144

There was a curtain call for the starting pitcher…for five innings’ work. (September 9, 2007)

Eras’ ends don’t necessarily arrive with advance notice, but perhaps buried in the fine print of tickets to Shea Stadium on this Thursday night, there was a disclaimer that there might not be another game of this magnitude at this venue again for a very long time. (September 13, 1990)

The Mets sent their fans into winter happy…and not happy because winter was at hand. (October 1, 1995)

145-147

The Mets and their fans had indeed waited an extra several days for this moment, just as they’d waited through two near-misses in 1984 and 1985, just as they’d waited through 13 long years with no playoff berth at the end of any season’s rainbow. (September 17, 1986)

With the last strike safely in John Stearns’s mitt and the 4-1 win complete, Koosman ascended to center stage. (September 16, 1976)

It was the largest ninth-inning comeback the Mets had ever engineered at Shea Stadium. (September 13, 1997)

148-150

The Mets’ overall presence may have been no more than a slight psychological balm for the grieving and the shaken, but it was what a baseball team could give, and the Mets gave it. (September 21, 2001)

Tastes of redemption were evident everywhere as Joe Girardi’s Florida Marlins made the league’s last, unsuccessful stand against inevitability. (September 18, 2006)

Mike Vail, after playing in a total of 26 major league games, had now hit in 23 consecutive contests. (September 15, 1975)

151-153

It’s easy to overlook just how sweet it was when compared to the celebrations of two years earlier and the lack of any more of them in the month ahead. (September 22, 1988)

Stone’s successor was Tug McGraw, Yogi Berra’s favorite reliever in September — everybody’s favorite reliever in September, but it was Berra who wouldn’t or couldn’t wait to use him. (September 19, 1973)

The Mets had won 4-3 in a game that would be forever remembered for the Ball Off the Top of the Wall and how it bounced in the only direction it could. (September 20, 1973)

154-156

The 124th and final home run of Todd’s Met career was easily his biggest. (September 16, 1998)

Quite suddenly, quite shockingly, the moribund Mets had tied the contending Cubs at three apiece. (September 25, 2004)

It was the kind of Mets Magic that had captured two World Championships, and millions of hearts in lesser times. (September 22, 2011)

157

They were the champions of wishing and hoping and praying, if not necessarily thinking, because thinking would have guided any sane person away from this scenario. (September 24, 1969)

158-159

Still, the Mets had done something they had never done before (and something time would prove difficult to do again) by punching their ticket to the postseason twice in a row (September 27, 2000)

And they couldn’t have possibly known that they had experienced the last walkoff win in the life of Shea Stadium. (September 25, 2008)

160-161

Considering all the variables, it surely ranks among the very most impressive one-hitters in Mets history. (October 1, 1982)

They were division champs for the second time in five years, creating a miracle every bit as incomprehensible as the one from 1969. (October 1, 1973)

162-163

Next thing Shea saw, Mora, the pinch-runner who stayed in the game and shifted at Valentine’s will from left to right and back to left, singled to right for the fifth hit of his major league career. (October 3, 1999)

No Mets team ever needed a longer schedule to qualify for at least one more set of baseball games. (October 4, 1999)

2 comments to The Happiest 163

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Took your recap of the happiest recaps and turned it into sort of a FAFIF version of Mets Jeopardy. You gave the answer (i.e., “Gary Carter Loomed As A Game Changer”) and we ask the question (“What was opening day 1985?”) Of course, the trick was to avoid seeing the date posted at the end.

    Happy and Healthy New Year to you, Steph, the kitties and Jason and his family if we don’t touch base before 2012.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Thanks for setting it up this way. Over the year I enjoyed following this “dream” season, now it’s great to have it all on one link.

    I’d still love to see it in some downloadable format. I’d be willing to pay as if it were an E book, of course. I’m sure others would too.

    Thanks again for another great season, both real and virtual.

    –Ken