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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.

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Giving the Mets Their Historical Do-Over

I’m tempted to label this is a limited-time offer, SO ACT NOW, but actually, it’s an offer not limited by time. If it was, then it couldn’t be offered. But I’m gonna offer it.

You get to pick another Mets world championship for your collection. The catch is you have to pick it from the past, and you can choose only from the five seasons when they came close to being world champions — the five seasons when they went to the playoffs but didn’t go all the way.

On your say-so, they do go all the way. On your say-so, the Mets will have three world championships: 1969, 1986 and…

…that’s the question. Which one do you add to the wall, to the trophy case, to the flagpoles, to the media guide, to the family album? Which one, if you had to do it all over again — and by the parameters of this exercise, you do — would you pluck from the dustbin of disappointment and elevate to exalted?

Which retroactive world championship changes the course of Metropolitan events for not just the better but the best by your reckoning? Which one changes your life as a Mets fan for the best? What’s the one you’ve always wanted inverted? And why that one as opposed to the other ones?

Just to be clear, none of this dislodges 1969 or 1986. Everything you know about those two championship seasons stays exactly as is. It’s just that they now have a brother. And none of this necessarily affects 2014 and beyond. You don’t get to apply the third world championship to a future date. The Mets can still win another as soon as possible, but when they do, it will be their fourth.

Can’t help you with when that will be. I don’t do future.

You’re welcome to your ripple effect in that you can speculate as to how the Mets winning in this other year altered history, that perhaps winning that one time led to a string of successes…or somehow backfired and brought on dark times. Or you could decide that everything is as it’s always been…except now instead of the franchise narrative reading, “The Mets won the World Series twice,” it will be thrice.

The other rule is we deal in the relatively knowable. Everything that brought the Mets to the postseason series in question is as it was. If the Mets played a specific team in a particular World Series, that’s the team they retroactively defeat now. If the Mets played a specific team in a particular NLCS, that’s the team they retroactively defeat now — and then they go on to defeat the American League team that would’ve been waiting for them in the World Series that followed.

And to be clear, you have to choose. You can have only ONE historical do-over of this nature. Call it a Soler’s Choice.

Here are your Metropolitan candidates for cosmic reconstructive surgery.

1973
Instead of the Mets losing to the A’s in seven games, the Mets beat the A’s in the 1973 World Series. It could’ve very easily happened. In reality, all the Mets needed was one more win.

Maybe the ninth-inning rally that produced one run in Game Seven kept going and the Mets stormed from behind to upset the defending champions. Maybe Willie Mays came off the bench to hit for Wayne Garrett, tied the game with a three-run homer, it went to extras and Tug McGraw finished off the A’s one final time. Maybe the Mets led the whole way and Jon Matlack came out of the bullpen to relieve a tiring Tom Seaver in the bottom of the ninth after George Stone couldn’t quite close the deal the day before. Or maybe George Stone got the ball in Game Six and lived up to his 12-3 success of the regular season. Maybe Felix Millan got his glove down in Game One and Don Hahn found the warning track in Game Three and the Mets swept.

Doesn’t matter how they did it. The point is the Mets did it. The Mets won the 1973 World Series. What does it mean?

It means there is no “George Stone” decision to regret for 40 years and counting. It means Willie Mays went out on top and nobody much remembers that he fell down in center field in Game Two. It means a pair of World Series rings for Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Ed Kranepool and a whole bunch of 1969 & 1973 Mets. It means a championship for Rusty Staub, possibly (based on existing evidence) the World Series MVP award, maybe enough of a rise in his historical profile to merit him receiving serious Hall of Fame consideration.

It means 1969 and 1973 are a fully accredited tandem. It means nobody outside Metsopotamia doesn’t know “You Gotta Believe” isn’t a Mets thing. It means that whatever Tug does or doesn’t do for the Phillies down the road, he is primarily associated with the Mets, the team for whom he won two world championships. It means that when 2013 rolls around, the Mets don’t think about not reconvening the World Champion 1973 Mets so the fans give them the standing ovation they deserve.

It means there is no Oakland A’s dynasty as such. It means, perhaps, that Reggie Jackson enters free agentry as a less transcendent figure and perhaps doesn’t attract quite as much attention on the open market. Perhaps because he is not so glittering a star he signs with San Diego or Montreal (two teams with whom he negotiated in the fall of 1976). It means, maybe, that Catfish Hunter is a slightly less desirable commodity in 1974 when he suddenly becomes a free agent. It means, one could suppose, that the Yankees don’t necessarily sign either Jackson or Hunter and their position in New York in the late 1970s is altered.

Does it mean the Mets, winners of two world championships in five years, are differently positioned for the seasons after 1973? Do the defending world champion Mets upgrade for 1974 instead of proceeding with essentially the same cast of characters? Is Yogi Berra given more slack in 1975 because he managed the Mets to a world championship in 1973? Is Yogi still the manager by 1977? Does winning those two World Series change Seaver’s attitude toward remaining a Met? Are the Mets bigger spenders by then because they’ve continued their tradition of success?

And you — if you were around in 1973, would erasing the loss and replacing it with a win have meant everything? Would it have continued to mean everything? Would your life as a Mets fan be substantially better if you could point back to the 1973 world champion Mets? The pain you knew and have carried around with you from coming so close would be, now and forever, unadulterated pleasure. And if you weren’t around, based on everything you know, you’ve read and you’ve thought about, would you love more than anything to have the Mets have been world champions in 1969, 1973 and 1986?

How great would it be to have that one back and have it turn out right this time?

1988
Instead of the Mets losing to the Dodgers in seven games, the Mets beat the Dodgers in the 1988 National League Championship Series and then went on to defeat the A’s in the 1988 World Series. It could’ve very easily happened. In reality, all the Mets needed were five more wins.

Maybe the Mets get the best of Orel Hershiser while Ron Darling pitches a gem in Game Seven. Or buoyed by Dwight Gooden’s first career relief appearance, the Mets begin to peck away at Hershiser en route to pulling off a dramatic 7-6 comeback victory that sends them to the pennant. Or maybe it never goes seven. Maybe David Cone doesn’t sign up for a ghosted column in the Daily News and Bob Klapisch doesn’t attribute quotes about Jay Howell looking like a high school pitcher to him and Tommy Lasorda doesn’t fire up his players with such bulletin board material and the Mets leave Dodger Stadium with a 2-0 series lead. Maybe Gregg Jefferies doesn’t get hit by a batted ball while on the basepaths in Game Five.

Maybe Gooden doesn’t walk John Shelby to lead off the ninth inning of Game Four. Maybe when he does, Davey Johnson emerges from the dugout and signals with his left arm to the right field bullpen to bring in Randy Myers, whom Johnson had the foresight to have warming up entering the ninth. Or Myers started the ninth, retired Shelby and then the next batter, Mike Scioscia. Maybe Myers gets one more out besides and the Mets are on their way to dismantling the Dodgers, setting up the clash of the titans everybody anticipates against the A’s.

Doesn’t matter how they did it. The point is the Mets did it. The Mets won the 1988 World Series. What does it mean?

It means there is no “Mike Scioscia” in the Mets vernacular. It means there is no blanket dismissal of the late-’80s Mets as a dynasty that never happened. It means there are two world championships in three seasons. It means a pair of World Series rings for Gary Carter, Sid Fernandez, Mookie Wilson and a whole bunch of 1986 & 1988 Mets. It means Mackey Sasser and Kevin McReynolds, among others, are forever world champion Mets. It means Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling have an entirely different set of stories to tell as Met announcers two decades hence.

It means a comparison and contrast between 1986 and 1988 for years to come — which world championship team was better? Which ticker-tape parade was attended by more people? It means a reflexive roar goes up at Shea and later Citi when 1988 highlights are shown on the video screen. It means that in 2008, a day would’ve been set aside for the 20th anniversary celebration of the 1988 world champion Mets. It means that nearly every reference to the Mets of this era is accompanied by the phrase, “the team of the ’80s”.

It means Mike Scioscia is a vaguely recalled catcher from way back when. It means Kirk Gibson was that guy from the Tigers, wasn’t he? It means that for all of Tommy Lasorda’s bluster, he only won one World Series. It means Orel Hershiser had that sensational scoreless innings streak at the end of the 1988 regular season, but remember how he couldn’t stop the Mets when it mattered? (He was asked in 1999 about what it was like to join the team that broke his heart eleven Octobers earlier and he didn’t want to talk about it.)

Does it mean the Dodgers don’t hold quite the same attraction for free agent Darryl Strawberry in 1990 and the two-time world champion thus realizes he’s better off staying put in New York? Does it mean the Mets are more patient in 1989 and don’t trade Lenny Dykstra? Does Davey Johnson’s masterful managerial job from October 1988, when he outfoxed both Lasorda and Tony LaRussa, convince Frank Cashen once and for all that Davey deserves every benefit of the doubt going forward, even if there’s a rocky stretch now and then? Is Cone, who was such a big part of the world championship pitching staff of 1988, considered too valuable to deal away at the 1992 trading deadline? Do the Mets of 1989 and beyond, perhaps righted toward perennial contention, present Gooden with a more stable professional setting and curb his addictive tendencies? Do Gooden, Strawberry and Cone play out their careers as Mets and thus never wind up Yankees who, in turn, never quite put together all the pieces in 1996? Do Gooden and Cone pitch their no-hitters for the Mets?

And you — if you were around in 1988, would erasing the loss and replacing it with a win have meant everything? Would it have continued to mean everything? Would your life as a Mets fan be substantially better if you could point back to the 1988 world champion Mets? The pain you knew and have carried around with you from coming so close would be, now and forever, unadulterated pleasure. And if you weren’t around, based on everything you know, you’ve read and you’ve thought about, would you love more than anything to have the Mets have been world champions in 1969, 1986 and 1988?

How great would it be to have that one back and have it turn out right this time?

1999
Instead of the Mets losing to the Braves in six games, the Mets beat the Braves in the 1999 National League Championship Series and then went on to defeat the Yankees in the 1999 World Series. It could’ve very easily happened. In reality, all the Mets needed were six more wins.

Maybe Al Leiter pitches another game of his life on three days rest in Game Six, setting up Rick Reed for a triumph in Game Seven. Or after the Mets have fought valiantly back in Game Six, John Franco holds an 8-7 lead in the eighth, setting up Armando Benitez to save it in the ninth. Or Benitez preserves a 9-8 lead in the tenth to ensure Game Seven. Or Kenny Rogers works out of trouble in the eleventh, leading to a twelfth-inning or later Met victory. Then comes a Mets win in the seventh game, the National League pennant and a truckload of momentum that the Mets take back to Shea to start the 1999 World Series, momentum that carries through to a third world championship, the Mets’ first since 1986. Or the Mets won one, some, or all of the close games that started the NLCS and had an easy time with the Braves before taking care of the Yanks.

Doesn’t matter how they did it. The point is the Mets did it. The Mets won the 1999 World Series. What does it mean?

It means “Kenny Rogers” is that pitcher we picked up down the stretch drive who really solidified the staff. It means the Grand Slam Single isn’t a piece of team trivia but a hit that is instantly recognized by all baseball fans. It means Robin Ventura and Todd Pratt go on the MLB Network to recall their exploits in what are automatically considered two of the greatest games ever played…there’s probably an entire evening set aside to explore the 1999 Mets postseason. It means the game of hearts in which Rickey Henderson and Bobby Bonilla engaged during the sixth game at Turner Field becomes a charming anecdote in the tapestry of “it was just meant to be” 1999 recollections. It means Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo and John Franco have World Series rings. It means a career-defining achievement for someone like Turk Wendell, who becomes a transcendent Met folk hero on the order of Al Weis and Lenny Dykstra. It means Bobby Valentine joins Gil Hodges and Davey Johnson as Mets managers who won the World Series.

It means a ticker-tape parade that honors the Mets for the first time in thirteen years. It means Piazza is on the cover of every magazine from the last out of the World Series to the beginning of the new millennium. It means that when the Mets open the season in Japan in 2000, they are an international sensation. It means the New York Mets are the flagship team of baseball. It means the rush from behind in the Wild Card race to the championship of the world guarantees the 1999 Mets is embroidered securely into the Met narrative for eternity, that when 2009 rolls around, the Mets have to figure out how to best schedule their commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the 1969 world champion Mets and the 10th anniversary of the 1999 world champion Mets. It means, given the vagaries of how we view numbers, that the 1969 and 1999 Mets come up in conversation together all the time.

It means Turner Field is hallowed Met ground, because that’s where the Mets conquered the Braves in 1999. It means the Braves never made it back to a World Series after 1996. It means that the second team to win the World Series as a Wild Card reduced the long-term historical status of the Braves as perennial division champions even further. It means there was no late-’90s Yankee dynasty as such. It means the Yankees’ championships in 1996 and 1998 were overshadowed immediately, It means the Mets won the first Subway Series since 1956.

Does it mean the 1999 Mets were the beginning of a dynasty? Does it mean John Olerud couldn’t bear to leave, having been part of such a great team that was only going to get better? Does it mean that Ken Griffey couldn’t resist the trade the Mets had tentatively made to get him in the ensuing offseason and enthusiastically gave his approval? Does it mean the Mets boasted a lineup that included Piazza, Olerud and Griffey in the early 2000s? Does it mean the Mets didn’t trade for Mike Hampton and never attempted to replace Hampton with Kevin Appier and therefore couldn’t have traded Appier for Vaughn and there was no panicky winter devoted to securing big names who wouldn’t quite fit at Shea? Does it mean that Valentine, having beaten both the Braves and Yankees, earned the upper hand in his internal battles with Steve Phillips and wasn’t going anywhere for a very long time? Does it mean that the Mets, flush with World Series riches and a slew of new season-ticket subscribers, don’t care that they have to eat Bobby Bo’s contract and after giving him his World Series ring, they pay him what he is owed and never have to think about him again?

And you — if you were around in 1999, would erasing the loss and replacing it with a win have meant everything? Would it have continued to mean everything? Would your life as a Mets fan be substantially better if you could point back to the 1999 world champion Mets? The pain you knew and have carried around with you from coming so close would be, now and forever unadulterated pleasure. And if you weren’t around, based on everything you know, you’ve read and you’ve thought about, would you love more than anything to have the Mets have been world champions in 1969, 1986 and 1999?

How great would it be to have that one back and have it turn out right this time?

2000
Instead of the Mets losing to the Yankees in five games, the Mets beat the Yankees in the 2000 World Series. It could’ve very easily happened. In reality, all the Mets needed were three more wins.

Maybe Todd Zeile’s double to left in the sixth inning of Game One travels a few inches farther. Maybe Timo Perez runs hard all the way from first base. Maybe Todd Pratt breaks from third in the top of the ninth. Maybe Armando Benitez strikes out Paul O’Neill in the bottom of the ninth. Maybe Jose Vizcaino grounds out to end the twelfth. Maybe Roger Clemens is ejected in top of the first of Game Two. Maybe the Mets come all the way back on Mariano Rivera in that ninth inning. Maybe Mike Piazza gets to David Cone in Game Four. Maybe Al Leiter, who’s pitched like a Series MVP, comes out before his 142nd pitch of Game Five. Maybe Luis Sojo gets hit by a bus. Or maybe the 94-win Mets maintain their blistering pace of 12 wins in 14 games covering the end of the regular season and their playoff dismantling of the Giants and Cardinals and annihilate the 87-win Yankees who looked like no great shakes getting past the A’s in the ALDS and were in trouble early in the ALCS against the Mariners.

Doesn’t matter how they did it. The point is the Mets did it. The Mets won the 2000 World Series. What does it mean?

It means the Mets won the battle of New York. It means that in the long and glorious history of the New York Yankees, they have never beaten the New York Mets when it counted. It means the Mets got a ticker-tape parade in October 2000 and received keys to the city from a grin-and-bear-it Rudy Giuliani. It means that every Yankees fan you knew had to suck up whatever you said in the wake of your team beating their team in the World Series. It means the Yankees may have beaten the Giants and the Dodgers long ago, but they couldn’t overcome the Mets in the only modern Subway Series. It means the Yankee bandwagon of the late ’90s was stopped dead in its tracks and that next sound you heard was the roar of the engine on the Met bandwagon.

It means “Timo Perez” is that sparkplug who sent the Mets on their way to their third world championship and that “Armando Benitez” is synonymous with saving the big games. It means John Franco has much the same historical cachet as Tug McGraw and Jesse Orosco. It means that one slugger like Mike Piazza, one paragon of everyday excellence like Edgardo Alfonzo and a pair of portsiding aces like Mike Hampton and Al Leiter were enough to form the foundation of a world champion. It means Benny Agbayani, Jay Payton and Mike Bordick were part of the plucky corps that captured the Mets their first Series in 14 years. It means that Bobby Valentine outmanaged Dusty Baker, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre all in the same postseason. It means a case can be made that the 2000 world championship was the Mets’ greatest yet because it required three rather than merely two postseason series wins. It means 2010 was brightened immensely when the Mets gathered the 2000 world champion Mets at Citi Field for the first of what figured to be many reunions of that team that remains every bit as beloved as 1969’s and 1986’s…maybe more so given whom they had to beat to prevail.

It means Roger Clemens goes down in Yankee history as something of a dud not really worth trading David Wells for. It means that the Yankees, for all their money, aren’t necessarily the brightest option for free agent Mike Mussina. It means that for all their achievement to date, the Jeters, Williamses and Riveras could never truly own New York — at least not when they faced the Mets in the World Series. It means Torre has to tip his cap to Valentine. It means George Steinbrenner either doesn’t live another 10 years because he physically can’t bear to or he never lives down this defeat at the hands of the Mets in the 2000 World Series.

Does it mean Mike Piazza, world champion, is enough of a presence in baseball history to transcend all doubts and make the Hall of Fame within his first two years on the ballot? Does it mean nobody has to ask what cap Piazza wears on his plaque in Cooperstown when he’s inducted no later than 2014? Does it mean 31 is retired by the Mets? Does it mean Fonzie becomes the best player to have played his entire career as a Met when he retired, never having left the organization? Does their status as defending world champions in 2001 mean Valentine and the Mets throwing themselves into post-9/11 relief efforts was recognized as more than a footnote on that unfortunate page of municipal history? Do the 2001 Mets retain the services of Mike Hampton? Does it mean they and Alex Rodriguez couldn’t resist each other after 2000? And does it mean that the Mets, doing so well on and off the field, signed both A-Rod and Mussina? Does the Mets winning a world championship in black, orange and blue mean a permanent tri-color scheme because so many fans associate it with the franchise’s success? Did the Mets of 2001 dig deep into their winning experience and return to the playoffs? Did that run of success mean a firmer footing for when they were ready to promote young Jose Reyes and David Wright a couple of years later? Does it mean that they were managed in their salad days by Edgardo Alfonzo, who took over the job in a smooth transition of power when Bobby V was promoted to GM?

And you — if you were around in 2000, would erasing the loss and replacing it with a win have meant everything? Would it have continued to mean everything? Would your life as a Mets fan be substantially better if you could point back to the 2000 world champion Mets? The pain you knew and have carried around with you from coming so close would be, now and forever, unadulterated pleasure. And if you weren’t around, based on everything you know, you’ve read and you’ve thought about, would you love more than anything to have the Mets have been world champions in 1969, 1986 and 2000?

How great would it be to have that one back and have it turn out right this time?

2006
Instead of the Mets losing to the Cardinals in seven games, the Mets beat the Cardinals in the 2006 National League Championship Series and then went on to defeat the Tigers in the 2006 World Series. It could’ve very easily happened. In reality, all the Mets needed were five more wins.

Maybe Carlos Beltran fought off Adam Wainwright’s curveball and eventually walked to make it 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth of the seventh game and Carlos Delgado drove in the tying and winning runs. Maybe Aaron Heilman didn’t give up a home run to Yadier Molina in the top of the ninth. Maybe Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez delivered hits with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth. Maybe the Mets put more than one run on the board against Jeff Suppan in the first. Maybe the Game Seven victory over the Cardinals was all the Mets needed to propel them to a beatdown of the Tigers. Or maybe a seventh game was never necessary because Guillermo Mota and Billy Wagner held off the Cardinals in Game Two. Maybe Steve Trachsel didn’t fall apart in his final Met start in Game Three.

Doesn’t matter how they did it. The point is the Mets did it. The Mets won the 2006 World Series. What does it mean?

Adam Rubin shared this just-in-case proof of the back page of the October 20, 2006, edition of the Daily News last week, evidence of how close alternate history came to being actual history.

Adam Rubin shared this just-in-case proof of the back page of the October 20, 2006, edition of the Daily News last week, evidence of how close alternate history came to being actual history.

It means there is no “Beltran taking strike three,” and Carlos’s will to win is never seriously questioned. It means David Wright and Jose Reyes are world champions before either of them is 24 years old. It means Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph are confirmed as saviors and geniuses. It means Fred and Jeff Wilpon have led the Mets to the promised land without Nelson Doubleday. It means Billy Wagner, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado go down in Met history as the best trio of veteran acquisitions the Mets ever made in one offseason. It means there are no emotional qualifiers to apply to Endy Chavez’s catch. It means Oliver Perez and John Maine came out of nowhere to win World Series rings as Mets. It means Julio Franco emerged as a candidate for AARP’s person of the year. It means T#m Gl@v!ne never had to have his name typographically changed.

It means “2006” is in the conversation with “1969” and “1986,” and that 1986 and 2006 can’t help be linked as seasons when the Mets stood head and shoulders above the rest of baseball for seven Amazin’ months. It means that come 2016 you’re expecting some sort of dual celebration, maybe with appropriate pairs of world champion teammates — Delgado and Keith Hernandez, Wagner and Jesse Orosco — being introduced together. It means that a 20-year world championship drought was snapped. It means fans born in the 1980s and 1990s have a championship to savor. It means the dynasty talk heats up in earnest in Flushing. It means the “Jose-Jose-Jose!” song is sung on the steps of City Hall. It means the Mets are held up by Mayor Bloomberg as an example of the best New York can be. It means the Mets own New York as they haven’t for a generation. It means that as of 2014, only Mets fans under the age of 15 haven’t had a reasonable chance of fully experiencing a world championship in their lifetimes. It means that as of this moment, the Mets have gone no more than eight years since winning a World Series.

It means Tony La Russa has lost to the Mets twice in a pair of postseason showdowns. It means Yadier Molina is no more than an impressive defensive catcher. It means beating a team with Albert Pujols in the middle of its lineup wasn’t really that hard. It means baseball’s supposedly model franchise is looking at a quarter-century without having won the big one and that the “best fans in baseball” would have to dig deep to paint a big red smile over their bruised feelings. It means Jim Leyland has been avenged after he triumphed over the Mets as manager of the Pirates and Marlins.  It means sticking it to Kenny Rogers in the World Series seven years after Kenny Rogers threw ball four to Andruw Jones.

Does it mean that the Mets find the wherewithal to repeat in 2007? Does it mean the Mets leave Shea Stadium on an indisputable high note in 2008? Does it mean Minaya and Randolph are forgiven their transient mistakes because these are the guys who won a World Series in just two years’ time? Does it mean Citi Field is the happiest place on earth in 2009 because it’s home of the Mets who are still at or near the top of their sport? Does it mean, somehow, that the entanglement that ensnares the Mets within the web woven by Bernie Madoff is somehow easier to slip out of? Does it mean Jose Reyes endures in a Mets uniform? Does it mean Carlos Beltran never leaves the franchise where he is embraced for having been the best player on the team that won it all? Does it mean that because perhaps there isn’t the same urgency to bolster the rotation after 2007 that the Mets never trade for Johan Santana and that after 52 seasons the Mets still don’t have a no-hitter? Does it mean that though the Mets might’ve been a joke for a couple of years early in the century that for the most part since the late 1990s they’ve been one of the best teams in baseball?

And you — if you were around in 2006, would erasing the loss and replacing it with a win have meant everything? Would it have continued to mean everything? Would your life as a Mets fan be substantially better if you could point back to the 2006 world champion Mets? The pain you knew and have carried around with you from coming so close would be, now and forever, unadulterated pleasure. And if you weren’t around, based on everything you know, you’ve read and you’ve thought about, would you love more than anything to have the Mets have been world champions in 1969, 1986 and 2006?

How great would it be to have that one back and have it turn out right this time?

***

There you have them:

• 1973 World Champion New York Mets
• 1988 World Champion New York Mets
• 1999 World Champion New York Mets
• 2000 World Champion New York Mets
• 2006 World Champion New York Mets

Choose one.

75 comments to Giving the Mets Their Historical Do-Over

  • BobM

    It has to be 1988. Imagine having our own mini dynasty to point to. No matter how amazing 1986 was, that team is now always looked at as a failure because they should have won more. 1985 and 1987 were also disappointing.

    A close second would be 2000 because of beating the Yankees but 2006 is, in reality, #2. We should have fairly easily handled the Cardinals and we were the best team in the league that year. We would have handled the Tigers in the World Series.

    Of course 73 was the closest. Up 3 games to 2 and losing 2 in a row was devastating.

    • JoeW

      Too bad there was no wild-card in 1985 and 1987 could have easily won World Championships during both those years as well, especially 1987.

  • Mike

    I don’t recall the 86 team I was only 8 and really not a baseball fan yet the first mets team that I remember vividly is the 88 team I remember my father waking me up for school and telling me the mets had lost game 7 and feeling sad. The one I would choose is the the 2000 team because it might have lead to the downfall of the Yankees and the mets becoming the talk of New York and winning more than one championship depending on if they brought in the right free agents and developed a good group of home grown players

    • BobM

      Just remember, although the Yankees made it to the WS in 2001 and 2003, they lost them both and did not win again until they bought the 2009 WS with some steroid head named Arod. Also, I take solace that the Evil Empire also won many of those championships and division titles with more steroid induced players than any team. Not even close. Even their first championship in 1996 doesn’t happen if they down have a steroid hopped up POS murderer like Leyritz. And until they pus a salary cap and a salary floor in baseball, the Yankees will only know how to do one thing. Write checks. Their player development is an absolute joke.

  • […] It could’ve very easily happened by simply winning five more games, explains Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing >> Read More […]

  • Adam L

    2006, best year any non-winning team has had.

    • Nah, that would be 1988. The ’88 team won 100 games in a 160-game season (two ultimately meaningless rainouts were never made up), and also had a wider margin of victory in the standings than the 2006 team. Top that off with the Mets having posted a 10-1 record over the Western Division Champion Dodgers in the regular season, and a winning record over every team in the league except San Francisco, who managed an even split.

      This is how good the ’88 Mets were: they were the only team in MLB history to ever (at least to that point) lead their league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed and NOT win a pennant.

  • Tom

    I went back and forth between 99 and 2000. Both end with the Mets beating the Yankees. However, nothing to me could top the storyline of 1999 for this reason. Not only do they beat the Yankees but they beat their nemesis in the most torturous was possible. Imagine that when you heard the phrase “Turner Field Nightmares” you were reminded of the Braves blowing games 6 and 7 in their own building. And not only blowing the final two games in their own building but losing four games in a row after being up 3-0!

    Sad thing is I showed this to both my father and future father in law and both said the same thing: 1973. They both say that 1988 hurt a lot but 1973 was just awful, especially being up 3-2 with Seaver on the mound for game 6. Where they differ is my future father in law says starting Seaver was 100% the right move whereas my father says he would have went with Stone due to the fact that everything broke right for him that year, much like Jeff Suppan in 2006.

  • Eric

    I have to go with 2006!

    While 1999 was a great run for the team and it would have been nice to beat the Yanks in 2000, anything that changes the course of events with Mike Hampton has an effect on David Wright! Because the Mets extended Mike Hampton a qualifying offer, his departure from Flushing entitled the club to a compensatory pick in the 2001 amateur draft. With it, the Mets drafted third baseman David Wright in the first round with the 38th overall selection.

  • Bob

    There’s no way we would have won all of them. If we won in 1973 I doubt we are ever in a position to draft Strawberry or Doc and we wouldn’t have the chips to trade for Carter and Hernandez so 86 never happens.

  • richie

    1973…..All that separated us from the championship was George Stone and a fully rested Tom Seaver. But hindsight is always 20-20….I will always feel like that’s the one that got away!

  • Iluvthemets

    I vote for either the 1988 team or the 2006 team. In those 2 years, the Mets were the best team (on paper) in baseball and they should have won championships.

    Gun to head, I would pick the 2006 team because the Mets would be a very different team today if we won that year. Attendance would be very different today; Jose would probably still be a Met, Beltran has a different spot in Met history and Omar still the GM.

    Outside of those 2 years, we were not the best team in the playoffs and I did not think we had a chance to win.

  • Diane Rowe

    As much as I was devastated in 1988 when the Mets lost to the Dodgers, and as much as I loved the 1999 and 2000 teams, I would pick the 2006 team to win a World Series. It was right there for the taking, the Yankees were out of the picture, the Mets were a better team than the Cardinals, and we would have handled the Tigers and won it all. At the time, I thought we had a great chance of getting back in 2007, but we know how that turned out (sigh). It would have definitely changed the course of recent history.

  • The question remains: Why *wasn’t* Roger Clemens ejected in the top of the first in Game 2?

    MLB ran the 2000 episode of “Baseball’s Seasons” a couple of nights ago, and that sequence of events still makes my blood boil. I’d be good with going back in time and watching Piazza break Clemens’ jaw with a right hook. The Mets may have still lost in 5 games, but I wouldn’t be nearly as mad about it 14 years later knowing at least some justice was done.

    Frankly, I still maintain that Clemens pulling that stunt and getting away with it established the Yankees as the all-powerful bully in that Series and left the Mets intimidated to the point of no return. Maybe if Piazza gets a punch in, Valentine successfully applies the Jay Howell defense and gets Piazza’s suspension reduced to 1 game, and the Mets get energized by the whole episode and make a better showing. At the very worst, the Mets lose in a sweep instead of 5 games in exchange for keeping some of their collective manhood.

  • […] case you were wondering, that’s why I asked the question the other day that apparently struck some sort of chord in the Mets fan soul, because we haven’t had anything […]

  • Adam N.

    Gotta believe it’s ’73. 41 years later, that’s still the one that bugs me the most. If they win that series, maybe they still finish 20 under in ’74, but maybe the rest of the decade does’nt suck quite so bad. Still, losing Tom Seaver TWICE in a career is traumatizing to this day. (Grant trading him was bad enough, but Grant was an incompetent bean-counter; CASHEN was supposed to know what he was doing!) Maybe, the Mets build off their 82-80 ’75 finish; maybe they don’t trade Rusty for a washed up slob; maybe the Mets finish with 90-plus wins in ’76; maybe…maybe…