New York Mets
1959-1960: Two years after the Dodgers and Giants departed New York, attorney William Shea announces the formation of a third major league, the Continental League, to begin play in 1961. One of the charter teams for the league would be placed in New York. The American and National Leagues saw a real threat in third league, and made a deal to expand for the first time in 60 years in exchange for the Continental League’s folding. The AL and NL each took two of the League’s charter franchises including the New York franchise which would become the Mets. Many people credit Shea for the new era of expansion and he is eventual rewarded by having the Mets stadium named in his honor.
1962: The Mets inaugural season is nothing to write home about. It took them ten games just to get their first win. The Mets would not win much that first year losing 120 games the most in the 20th Century. However the Mets would be very popular despite the losing as they would be referred to as the “Lovable Losers”, as the players and Manager Casey Stengel went out of their way to entertain the fans.
1963: The Mets introduced the first Major League Mascot Mr. Met. Two career milestone Home Runs for two totally different players highlight the final season of baseball at the Polo Grounds. First there was Hall of Famer Duke Snider who hit a walk off HR for the 400th round tripper of his career. The second was the 100th by the eccentric Jimmy Piersall. Piersall would shock everyone by circling the bases backwards after hitting the career century mark off Dallas Green of the Philadelphia Phillies. The move would earn Piersall a one-way ticket out of New York, as Manger Casey Stengel remarked there was “room for only one clown on the Mets”. However the Mets were not much better on the field as they again finished with a league worst 51-111 record.
1964: The Mets move to Queens, in the new state of the art Shea Stadium in Flushing Queens, where for the first two seasons the Mets would be a side attraction to the World’s Fair which was going on across the street from the new ballpark. The Mets would continue to play poor baseball with a 53-109 record, but they played in packed houses. The Mets would also host that years All-Star Game that was won by the NL on homer by the Phillies Johnny Callison in the ninth Inning.
1965: The long managerial career of Casey Stengel comes to an end after a slip in the shower, caused an injury that required hip replacement surgery. The Mets would once again lose more then 100 games, with a record of 50-112, as one time New York Giants catcher Wes Westrum took over for Casey as Manager.
1966: The Mets win a lottery for USC star pitcher Tom Seaver, while another future Hall of Fame pitcher would make his debut Nolan Ryan who earns his first career strikeout on his way to his over 5,000 K record. The Mets also escape the cellar for the first time finishing in ninth place with a 66-95 record.
1967: While the Mets took a step backward losing 101 games and returning to last place signs of a bright future were not hard to miss as Tom Seaver had a successful debut season earning the National League Rookie of the Year.
1968: Under new Manager Gil Hodges the Mets show flashes of a winning team, as they finish in ninth place with a 73-89 record. Rookie Pitchers Jerry Koosman, and Nolan Ryan give the Mets a solid young rotation to build around, while the acquisition of Tommie Agee does not look good at first, but the young outfielder would have a solid second half to build off after struggling most of the season.
1969: The Mets who never finished higher than ninth, would enter the era of divisional play in spectacular fashion by actually contending for the top spot in the NL East. However the season will get off to a shaky start as the Mets lost the first game of the season to the expansion Montreal Expos. The signs this was a magic year first came in June when Tom Seaver pitched eight and one-third innings of Perfect Baseball before a base hit by Pinch Hitter Jimmy Quals of the Chicago Cubs broke up the gem. However, the Mets would make their presence felt that series by gaining ground on the first place Cubs. Shortly after the series the Mets would acquire 1B Donn Clendenon from the Expos to boost the offense. The Mets would stay close to the Cubs throughout the summer, as all of baseball expected them to wilt in the Dog Days. As September began it was the Cubs who would begin to wilt, as the Mets entered a key two game series at Shea with Cubs in early September. The Mets who trailed by two and half games would need a sweep to realistically stay in the race, and with a dash of black magic, and good baseball the Mets would sweep the Cubs. At one point during the sweep a black cat appeared and walking past the Cubs dugout out before darting down the visitors’ clubhouse ramp. The Mets would go on to win 100 games while finishing eight games better then the deflated Cubs. The Mets would go on to face the Atlanta Braves in the very first NLCS; surprisingly it was no contest as the Mets swept the Braves to claim their first ever National League Pennant. The Mets who were not even supposed to be in the World Series are not given a chance against the powerful Baltimore Orioles. After losing Game 1, wit Cy Young winner Tom Seaver on the mound, Jerry Koosman outdueled Dave McNally 2-1 to even the series at a game apiece heading to Shea. The first game in Shea would quickly become the Tommie Agee show as the Mets won 5-0 thanks to a lead off homer, and two amazing catches by their Center Fielder. Both catches saved extra base hits with runners on base, as Nolan Ryan got the save in his only World Series appearance during his long illustrious career. Game 4 would be another pitchers duel as Tom Seaver battled Mike Cuellear again. The Mets would take a 1-0 lead on a Donn Clendenon Home Run, but the Orioles would tie the game in the ninth. However, it could have been allot worse had it not been for Right Fielder Ron Swaboda, who made a diving catch that allowed only one run to score, instead of a two. The game would go into extra innings when J.C. Martin’s sacrifice bunt was thrown away allowing the winning run to score giving the Mets a 3-1 series lead. In Game 5 the Orioles would score three quick runs off Jerry Koosman, but the young lefty, would not allow another as the Mets crept back into the game on Home Runs by Donn Clendenon, which came on the heels of another crazy play that saw Cleon Jones awarded first base, after Manager Gil Hodges presented a baseball to umpire Shag Crawford that had had shoe polish on it in the sixth inning. An inning later an unlikely homer from Al Weis would tie the game, as the Mets would go on to win the game 5-3 to complete the biggest upset in World Series history. Donn Clendenon who hit three key Home Runs in the series was named World Series MVP, as the city embraced its Amazin’ Mets. In a strange side not Mayor John Lindsay, was reelected largely thanks to the good feelings around the surprise World Champions.
1970: The Mets finish with an 83-79 record, as the magic that surrounded them in 1969 does not carry over. The pitching would continue to be strong as Tom Seaver ties a Major League record with 19 strikeouts in a game on April 22nd against the San Diego Padres.
1971: After another 83-79 season the Mets make one of the worst trades in baseball history dealing Nolan Ryan and three minor leaguers to the California Angels for a washed up Jim Fregosi.
1972: Tragedy strikes the Mets on April 2nd as Gil Hodges, who playing golf during a short player’s strike suffers a massive heart attack and dies. He would replaced by Yogi Berra as manger. The Mets would also make news they acquire Willie Mays from San Francisco Giants, who returns to New York to finish out his career. The move would help more at the gate then in the field as Mays’ best playing days are well behind him. Again the Mets would be surrounded by mediocrity as they again finish in third place with an 83-73 record.
1973: Through out most of the season the Mets suffered through injuries, and languished in last place. However in a bad National League East they were not out of the race. In August, M. Donald Grant, the Mets Vice President who was involved with most of the day to day running of the Mets called for a team meeting to say that management still believed in the team. At that moment Mets reliever Tug McGraw stood up and shouted “You Gotta Believe!” That would be the Mets rallying cry the rest of the season, as the Mets began to gel. There were even flashbacks to the 1969 magic as Cleon Jones nailed a runner out at the plate on ball that bounced of the top of the fence. The Mets would go onto to claim the top spot in the NL East despite finishing with a mediocre 82-79 record. The Mets would stun baseball again in the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds. The upstart Mets frustrated the Big Red Machine by splitting the first two games in Riverfront Stadium, while keeping their powerful lineup off balance with superb pitching. This frustration would boil over in Game 3 as Pete Rose and Mets SS Buddy Harrelson got tangled up in an ugly brawl. After the fight Rose was forced to wear a helmet in the Outfiel from fans who were throwing objects his way. The Mets would go on to win the series in five games as Tug McGraw recorded the final out on a shovel from 1B John Milner. The Mets would face the powerful Oakland A’s in the World Series, and were big underdogs again. However, the Mets would prove to a pesky challenge to the defending World Champions by getting 3 games to 2 lead heading back to Oakland for Game 6. However, the miracle would end there, as the A’s would shut down the Mets in the final two games to claim their second straight World Championship.
1974: The Mets would struggle mightily, as they would finish in fifth Place with a 71-91 record; things were so bad even Tom Seaver struggled with injuries finishing with only a 13-13 record.
1975: While the Mets struggled to finish 82-80, Tom Seaver bounced back nicely off a poor 1974, to win his third career Cy Young while winning 22 games. The year would end on a sad note as both Mets owner Joan Payson, and Casey Stengel, the club’s first manager pass away shortly after the season, within a few days of each other.
1976: The Mets finish in third place again with an 86-76 record, while long time fan favorite Jerry Koosman wins 20 games for the first time in his career, Also putting up big numbers was Dave Kingman who launched homers into the deepest parts of Shea on the way to a league leading 37 round trippers.
1977: The Mets get off to a terrible start and find themselves floundering in last place from the start of the season. However, the situation off the field may have been worse as the bad blood between ace pitcher Tom Seaver, and Mets Chairman M. Donald Grant began to boil over. As the struggling continued the desperate Mets fired manager Joe Frazier, and named 1B Joe Torre Player-Manager. Meanwhile the troubles between Seaver and Grant got worse and talk of a trade began to creep up. On June 15th the unthinkable happened Seaver was trade to the Cincinnati Reds for four mediocre players (Pat Zachary, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman) that same day the popular Dave Kingman was also traded to the San Diego Padres for Bobby Valentine. The moves were called the “Midnight Massacre”, and singled trouble times for the Mets, who would finish in last place with a 64-98 record.
1978: The Mets continue to languish in last place with a 66-96 record, playing in front of an empty Shea Stadium, that gets the nickname “Grant’s Tomb” with a team made up of players that belonged in the minor leagues.
1979: In the midst of a third straight last place season, attendance hits rock bottom the Mets on the way to an awful 63-99 record were put for sale by Lorrinda deRoulette, the daughter of Joan Payson. Shea Stadium became a virtual ghost town among an awful season, in which the lone bright spot was Lee Mazilli’s All-Star Game heroics. The sale would finally come at the end of the season when Publishing Magnate Nelson Doubleday, a distant relative to fabled baseball inventor Abner Doubleday, brought the team, and pledging to turn things around.
1980: One of Doubleday’s first moves as owner was to hire Frank Cashen to be the club’s General Manager. Cashen had past success in building the powerful Baltimore Orioles teams of the 60’s and 70’s. One of the first moves Cashen made was drafting Los Angeles High School star Darryl Strawberry with the first overall pick. While the move was for the future, the Mets played solid baseball for most of the season hanging around .500, before fading in the final two months to finish with a 67-95 record.
1981: In a season cut in two halves from a player’s strike the Mets continue to struggle not challenging for first place in either half of the split season while finishing with an overall record of 41-62.
1982: The Mets would make wholesale changes heading into the season, first manager Joe Torre, was fired, and replaced by George Bamberger, The Mets than went out and acquired star OF George Foster from the Reds, which led to the trade of Lee Mazzilli at the end of spring training. The trade was blasted at first, but in the deal the Mets acquire two minor leaguers (Ron Darling and Walt Terrell), would benefit the Mets in the future. Despite the changes the Mets continued to play poor baseball finishing in last place with a 65-97 record, which was only made worse with a midseason 15-game losing streak.
1983: The season began with optimism as Tom Seaver is reacquired from the Reds, and pitches in front of a sold out Shea Stadium on Opening Day. Darryl Strawberry made a big splash in his first season by smacking 26 Home Runs, to earn him Rookie of the Year honors. While the Mets continued to struggle, finishing in last palace with a 68-94 record, while going through two managers, attempts were made to improve the team in the middle of the season with the acquisition of steady-handed 1B Keith Hernandez from the St. Louis Cardinals. Hernandez at first rejected to the trade, not wanting to join a downtrodden team, but he would come to accept the move, as he was sold on the Mets future. That future would show itself bright as the Tidewater Tides (AAA) took the International League championship.
1984: The future that appeared so bright in Tidewater, would find itself in Shea Stadium, as Tides manager Davey Johnson, who ironically made the last out for the Orioles in the 1969 World Series took over the reigns of the young Mets. The Mets would suffer an early publicity hit as Tom Seaver is allowed to walk away and sign with Chicago White Sox. However, it only cleared the way for some for the young arms to make their way up to New York. While Ron Darling, the key pitcher in the Lee Mazzilli trade had a strong first full season; he was over shadowed by a 19-year old phenom Dwight Gooden. Gooden, who earned the name Dr. K, made big splash winning the Rookie of the Year while setting a new rookie strikeout record. This proved the catalyst as the Mets challenge the Chicago Cubs all season for the National League East title before finishing in second place with a 90-72 record.
1985: Not satisfied with second, the Mets would make a big splash acquiring the best catcher in baseball Gary Carter in a blockbuster trade with the Montreal Expos. Carter would pay immediate dividends hitting a walk off extra inning HR on opening day. The Mets would get off to a flying start and were in 1st place most of the fist six weeks of the season. However, the Mets would hit a bump in the road as RF Darryl Strawberry tore thumb ligaments making a diving catch. The injury put Strawberry on the DL for six weeks, and was among a number of key injuries the Mets suffered, as they fell in out of first and down in the standings. By the time Strawberry and the Mets returned the St. Louis Cardinals had taken over the top spot, and the Mets had a big climb ahead of them. With the Straw back in the mix the Mets would go back to the first place ball they played in April, and would make a charge. The Mets would battle the Cards tooth and nail to the last week of the season heading into a three game series in St, Louis in which the Mets need a sweep to stay alive. The Mets would take the first game on a majestic Strawberry Home Run, and the second with the suburb pitching of Dwight Gooden who won the pitchers triple Crown on the way to becoming the youngest Cy Young winner of all-time. However, the Mets would lose the 3rd game and would wind up a few games short of first place with a 98-64 record.
1986: Coming off their solid 98-win season the Mets added Bob Ojeda to give them another solid lefty starter, something they lacked down the stretch, as they entered the season with a clear swagger that was shown in Spring Training when Manager Davey Johnson proclaimed, “We are not going to just win, we are going to dominate.” Meanwhile, several players took time out to record a rap song “Get Metsmerized.” However, the Mets would have a shaky first week losing 3 of their first 5 games, but the struggles would not last long as the Mets closed out April with an 11-game winning streak. The winning streak was highlighted by a 4-game sweep of the Cardinals in St. Louis. The sweep was trigged by a dramatic game tying three-run Home Run by Howard Johnson in the first game of the series. The sweep would serve to deflate the Cards, and spurred the Mets on to a dominating season. The Mets would run away and hide from the National League East competition getting contributions from everyone winning a club record 108 games. On the way to their 108-54 record the Mets developed a reputation of arrogance, which came from their Home Run curtain calls at Shea Stadium. The reputation was only fortified by four bench-clearing brawls that involved the hard-nosed team. The season would also see the return of one time fan favorite Lee Mazzilli, who replaced George Foster who was released after four and half largely unproductive. Mazzilli would allow both Lenny Dykstra and Mookie Wilson to play at the same time and gave the Mets a valuable bat off the bench heading into the postseason. Perhaps the roughest stretch of the regular seasons was a three game post all-star break losing streak to the Astros in Houston. The three losses were only made worse, when four Mets (Tim Teufel, Ron Darling, Rick Aguilera and Bob Ojeda) were arrested for drinking outside a Houston nightclub. The Mets would return to Houston for the NLCS. In Game 1 Dwight Gooden only made one mistake giving up a Home Run to Glen Davis. However, it was enough as Astros pitcher Mike Scott, a one-time Met shut down the Mets to give the Astros the opener. The Mets would bounce back behind the stellar pitching of Bob Ojeda in Game 2. As the series shifted to Shea, the Astros jumped out on the Mets quickly in Game 3 grabbing a 4-0 lead. A three-run HR by Darryl Strawberry would tie it, but the Astros take a 5-4 lead into the ninth Inning. Wally Backman would lead the ninth off by reaching first Base on a drag bunt. He would then be moved over to second on a sac bunt, which set up Len Dykstra with a chance to tie the game with a hit. However, the man they call Nails did them one better by hitting a dramatic two-run HR to give the Mets a 6-5 win. After Mike Scott dominated the Mets again in Game 4, the Mets were in the middle of another pitchers duel in Game 5 between Nolan Ryan, and Dwight Gooden. Neither would factor into the decision as the game went into extra innings, where Gary Carter who suffered through a miserable 1-for-20 slump knocked home Backman with a 12-inning single. The win gave the Mets a 3-2 series lead heading back to Houston. For the Mets Game 6 of the NLCS might as well been Game 7, as a loss would see the Mets face Mike Scott again. Scott who had dominated the Mets twice already in the series, was in the Mets heads as the team suspected him of scuffing the ball. However, the Mets had a tough enough time hitting Bob Knepper in Game 6 as he held them to just one hit, as the Astros held a 3-0 lead heading into the ninth Inning. However, the Mets would rally to send the game to extra innings knotted at three. From here the game would become a marathon as nether managed to dent the scoreboard until the 14th Inning. The Mets would score in the top of the 14th, and set up Jessie Orosco to close the deal, but Billy Hatcher hit a HR of the foul pole to tie the game up and send it to a 15th Inning. The Mets would take the lead again in the 16th inning, but Orosco now in his third inning of work began to tire. The Astros scored twice, and had the tie and winning runs on base with two outs as Orosco labored. Exhausted and pitching on fumes Orosco some how mustered up enough strength to strikeout Kevin Bass, to send the Mets on to the World Series.
1986 World Series: The Mets would go on to face the Boston Red Sox, who had won a dramatic ALCS of their own in the World Series. The Mets would get off to a bad start losing the first two Games at Shea Stadium. Desperately needing a wake up call Lenny Dykstra led off Game 3 with a Home Run sparking a four-run 1st inning, which was enough cushion for Bob Ojeda who beat his former team 7-1. The Mets would then even the series in Game 4 as Gary Carter took advantage of the Green Monster nailing two Home Runs, and a double. However, the Red Sox would win Game 5 as Bruce Hurst shut the Mets down for a second time while Dwight Gooden was shelled for a second time. Down three games to two, Game 6 was a must win for the Mets, but to do so they had to beat Roger Clemens, who dominated AL hitters all season long. The Mets would fall behind early only to catch up and tie the game at two in the 6th inning. The Sox would retake the lead in the seventh Inning on a Ray Knight error, but once again the Mets rallied. The game would go to extra innings where Sox OF Dave Henderson hit a lead off tenth Inning Home Run of Rick Aguilera. The Red Sox would pad their lead with another run, as the Mets look all but dead. The Sox quickly recorded the first two outs, as the trophy, and champagne were ready in the clubhouse, as the Shea Stadium’s scoreboard congratulated them for winning the World Series. However, the Mets had not given up and Gary Carter singled to keep the Mets hopes alive. Kevin Mitchell who had to hurry up to the plate after he started to get undressed followed Carter with a single of his own. Ray Knight would keep the rally alive with a single of his own driving in Carter, and sending Mitchell to third with the tying run. The Red Sox would bring in Bob Stanley to face Mookie Wilson. Stanley, would promptly throw a pitch in the dirt to bring home Mitchell with tying run, and moved Ray Knight to second with winning run. Only seconds ago the Mets were given up for dead, but the ghost of “You Gotta Believe” came back. However, with a chance to win the game Mookie Wilson hit a slow roller down the first baseline that Bill Buckner bent down for, but the ball went through his legs allowing Ray Knight to score the wining run to set up a seventh and deciding game. After a one-day rain delay Bruce Hurst had the Mets hitters scratching their head again as the Red Sox grabbed a 3-0 lead. However, the Mets would rally with a three run sixth inning rally, which was sparked by a key pinch-hit from Lee Mazzilli. The Mets would then take the lead for good on a seventh inning Home Run by Ray Knight who was named Series MVP, as the Mets won their second World Championship with an 8-5 victory.
1987: The Mets chances of a repeat are hurt from the start as Dwight Gooden misses the first two months while sitting in Drug Rehab. The Mets would play good baseball for the most part, but not the type that won the World Series. Helping to lead the offense was Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson, who became the first teammates to have 30 HRs and 30 SBs in the same season. Once again the Mets would battle the Cardinals for the division title, but when Terry Pendleton hit a HR in a key game at Shea Stadium in September the Mets chances for a repeat were finished as they ended up in second place with a 92-70 record.
1988: The Mets would get off to a flying start on opening day as Darryl Strawberry hits the rim of Olympic Stadium in Montreal. The Mets were in first from the start of the season, and would fend easily fend off a challenge from the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the Division with a record of 100-62, as pitcher David Cone came of age winning 20 games. However, as the Mets celebrated the Division Title a problem began to develop, as Bob Ojeda was lost for the season after nearly slicing off his finger with a hedge trimmer. In the NLCS the Mets would face the Los Angeles Dodgers, and would grab a quick two games to one series lead. The Mets would enter the ninth Inning of Game 4 with a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. However, a two-run Home Run by Mike Scioscia off a tiring Dwight Gooden sent the game to extra innings where Kirk Gibson won it with a Home Run. the Dodgers would go on to take the series in seven games on the way to an improbable World Championship.
1989: The Mets struggled from the start of the season as Rookie Greg Jeffries, who had been labeled can’t miss was struggling mightily, while rubbing his teammates the wrong way. In attempt to shake things up Lenny Dykstra is traded to the Phillies for Juan Samuel, who spends a miserable half season in New York. In another unexplained move longtime Mets hero Mookie Wilson is traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. With the Mets struggling but still in the race, a panic move was made as Frank Viola was acquired from the Twins for five young pitchers. The Mets would go on to finish in second Place with an 87-75 record. Howard Johnson would be the biggest bright spot, as he once again became a member of the 30-30 club.
1990: The Mets get off to a shaky start, and sit below .500 after 41 games, when Manager Davey Johnson is fired, and replaced by longtime Met Buddy Harrelson. The move served as a wake up call as the Mets began to play solid baseball led by a strong pitching staff that had four of the top five strike out leaders in the National League. The strikeouts were almost necessary as the Mets led the majors in errors. The Mets would challenge the Pittsburgh Pirates all season, before fading in September to finish in second with a 91-71 record. After the season the Mets would take a hit as Darryl Strawberry, who had feuded with GM Frank Cashen all season signed with Los Angeles Dodgers.
1991: Just five years after the World Champions the Mets looked quite differently as most of the stars from the team were departed, ripping the heart out of the franchise. To replace Strawberry the Mets decided to go in a different direction singing Free Agent speedster Vince Coleman. The Mets would play solid baseball most of the first half staying close to the first place Pirates, as HoJo was well on his way to his third 30-30 season. However, the Mets problems would catch up to them all at once, as Dwight Gooden was sidelined with a rotator cuff injury. The Mets would suffer through a miserable second half finishing in fifth place with a 77-84 record. The lone highlight at the end of the season came in the final game of the season when David Cone tied the National League record by striking out 19 Phillies
1992: The Mets completely overhaul the team signing switch hitting Legend Eddie Murray, who hits his 400th career Home Run, trading for pitcher Bret Saberhagen, hiring manager Jeff Torborg, and signing Pirates star slugger Bobby Bonillia, a New York native. Bonillia in signing his big money deal would say there was no way you could wipe the smile off my face. The press saw this as challenge, and despite two Home Runs on opening Day in St. Louis the smile was gone pretty quickly as he became one of the biggest free agent busts in baseball history. The Mets struggled throughout the season, as the Mets were never in the Eastern Division race finishing in fifth place with a record of 72-92. The Mets would then stun their fans further by trading away ace pitcher David Cone to the Toronto Blue Jays for two unproven commodities (Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent). Cone would go on to be a key contributor to the Blue Jays World Championship run.
1993: In a nightmarish 59-103 season which featured the Mets wearing gaudy uniforms with traditional Mets script now featuring an underscore. The Mets would be an embarrassment on and off the field from the start when Bobby Bonillia challenged reporter Bob Klapish to a tour of the Bronx. Meanwhile on the field Anthony Young continued to lose, continuing a personal losing streak he started after winning his first two and losing his last 14 decisions in 1992. It would get worse Outfielder Vince Coleman who was a Mets killer with the Cardinals stays a Mets killer in his third season with Mets. Coleman whose three Mets season were marked by injury and squabbles with coaches would give the Mets organization a black eye one day after a game in Los Angeles. Coleman, who always hated the fans, showed his disdain for autograph seekers by throwing a pack of firecrackers into a crowd causing a few fans to receive minor injuries, and nearly causing permanent hearing loss to a five-year-old. Coleman would never play with the Mets again, while Anthony Young and the Mets kept losing. Things continued to get ugly in the Mets clubhouse, as Pitcher Bret Saberhagen decided to lighten the mood by loading a Super Soaker with bleach. Saberhagen would then do his best Rambo impersonation soaking half of the press core following the Mets in bleach. Anthony Young meanwhile would go see his losing streak extend to a Major League all-time worse 27 games before a dramatic 9th inning rally saved him from loss number 28, and gave him his first win of the year.
1994: Dwight Gooden’s Mets career comes to embarrassing end as he is suspended for testing positive to drugs. Despite the loss of Gooden the Mets would play respectable baseball, and were only a few games below .500 at 55-58 on August 12th when the seasons ended prematurely due to a player’s strike. In the surprise bounce back season 1B Rico Brogna became a fan favorite.
1995: The Mets get off to a bad start dooming any chances for the postseason. However, Rookie pitchers Bill Pulsipher, and Jason Isringhausen make there debuts and help lead the Mets to a good second half that took the Mets form the dregs of last place 20 games below .500, to finish 69-75.
1996: Labeled Generation K: Pulsipher, and Isringhausen, are joined by Rookie Paul Wilson, as Mets fans have hopes again. The Mets would get off to a promising start as Rey Ordonez threw a runner out at home from his knees down the OF foul line. However Generation K, fizzled like New Coke, as all three suffered season ending arm injuries that would adversely affect their entire careers. Manager Dallas Green would be the fail guy as he is replaced by Bobby Valentine in late August. The Mets would go on to finish with a 71-91 record. The highlight if the disappointing season had to be Todd Hundley who became the first catcher to hit 41 Home Runs in a season, and Lance Johnson who found the Rightfiel corner to his liking collecting 17 triples.
1997: On April 15th after a 3-9 start the Mets play host to Jackie Robinson night as number 42 is retired throughout all of baseball. The Mets would win the game, and would start to play solid baseball as Bobby Valentine’s sometimes-unorthodox managing style seemed to work. The Mets would rise form the ashes to climb above .500, and challenge for the National League Wild Card. The Mets would fall short but with a record of 88-74 snapped a span of six consecutive losing seasons.
1998: The Mets start the season short handed as Catcher Todd Hundley is out recovering from elbow surgery. The Mets entered the season with a solid pitching staff led by the newly acquired Al Leiter, but without Hundley had no offensive leader. Opening Day would be a preview of the early season as the Mets and Phillies battled 15 innings without scoring a run on unusually warm early spring day. The Mets would eventually win the game 1-0, but the offensive struggles would not end there. For most of the first six weeks the Mets played .500 baseball as they struggled to score runs, and draw fans. While the Yankees were on the way to a record-breaking season the Mets seemed doomed for mediocrity again. While the Mets struggled many questions began to surround the future of Todd Hundley, and if he would ever be the same. While Hundley recovered, an opportunity came to the Mets when Mike Piazza, was dealt to the Florida Marlins for the Los Angels Dodgers. The Marlins were just a weigh station for Piazza, who was clearly going to be traded again. Owner Nelson Doubleday seeing an opportunity urged General Manager Steve Phillips to acquire the star catcher, and on May 21st the deal was made, as Piazza became the Mets first superstar in years. The acquisition of Piazza would anger Hundley who tried to convert to Leftfield, but failed miserably. However, that would be the only negative as the Mets were in the thick of the NL Wild Card race until the very end of the season. However in the end the club just ran out of gas losing their final five games to finish 88-74, which kept them only one game out of the playoffs.
1999: Spurred by the strong season the bolster their offense by signing 3B Robin Ventura. Ventura would make an early highlight when he belts a grand slam in both games of a May 20th Double Header against the Milwaukee Brewers. However, for most of the first two months the Mets struggled and after losing seven games they would fall below .500. In an attempt to shake things up three coaches are fired, the move would work as the Mets would start playing the type of baseball that was expected. Over the next six weeks the Mets moved into first place, heading into the All-Star break. However, the Mets stay in 1st would be short lived as they had trouble beating the Braves. With a chance for a Division title the Mets entered a key three game series with the Braves in Atlanta. The Mets were swept triggering a seven game losing streak knocking them out of the Wild card Spot in the final week of the season. Faced with their 2nd straight September collapse the Mets found themselves two games out of the wild card with three games to go. The Mets would win two straight games over the Pirates and with some help form the Milwaukee Brewers would tie the Cincinnati Reds going into the last game of the season. The Mets would win that last game on a Brad Clontz wild pitch to earn a one game playoff for the Wild Card in Cincinnati. The Mets would never trail in the one-game playoff, as a first inning two run Home Run by Edgardo Alfonzo, and a complete game 5-0 shutout by Al Leiter spurred the Mets on to the postseason for the first time in 11 years. In the NLDS the Mets would face the Arizona Diamondbacks. In Game 1 they would face the unenviable task of facing Randy Johnson. However, first Innings Home Runs by Edgardo Alfonzo, and John Olerud gave the Mets an early lead. The D-Back would comeback to tie it, but Alfonzo played the hero again belting a 9th inning Grand Slam. The Mets would eventual win the series in Game 4 when Todd Pratt playing for an injured Mike Piazza defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks with a dramatic tenth inning walk off homer. In the NLCS the Mets would fall behind three games to none to the Atlanta Braves. However, the Mets refused to give up winning Game 4 with 2 runs in the 8th. The Mets would also win Game 5 in 15 innings on a “Grand Slam Single” by Robin Ventura. The Mets would fall behind quickly 5-0 in Game 6, but battled back to take a brief lead before falling on a bases loaded walk in the 11th Inning.
2000: The Mets open their season in of all places Tokyo, Japan playing a two-game series with the Chicago Cubs. After losing the first game the Mets earn the split on a ninth inning Grand Slam by Benny Agbayani. The Mets would find themselves in another interesting two game series on July 8th when they played a Day/Night Double Header against the Yankees with Day game at Shea and night game on the road at Yankee Stadium. The first game was won by the Yankees as Dwight Gooden made his Shea Stadium return to shut down his old team. The nightcap, which was also won by the Yanks, was plagued with controversy as Mike Piazza was beaned by Roger Clemens, when he aimed a 90-mph fastball at the Mets star catcher’s head. Piazza and the Mets would recover as the Mets gained the Wild Card spot for the second year in a row. After losing Game 1 of the NLDS to the Giants in San Francisco, the Mets saw their playoff lives pass before them, as J.T. Snow hit a dramatic three run Home Run to send the game to extra innings. The Mets would bounce back to send the series tied one game apiece to She Stadium. The Mets would win Game 3 on a dramatic 12th Inning Home Run, by Benny Agbayani, that served to deflate the Giants. The Mets would finish them off the next day as Bobby J. Jones pitches a one hitter to advance the Mets to the NLCS. The Mets would go on to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. Surprisingly it would be no contest as Mets lefty Mike Hampton pitches two complete shutouts earning the NLCS MVP, and sending the Mets on to their fourth World Series. The World Series would see a rematch with Yankees in the first Subway Series in 44 years. The Mets would let several opportunities slip out of their fingers in Game 1, as Armando Benitez was unable to hold a one run lead in the ninth. The Yankees would go on to win that key game in 12 innings. The Yankees held off a late Mets charge in a Game 2, which was marred when Roger Clemens threw the barrel of a bat at Mike Piazza. As the series moved to Shea Stadium Yankees pitching kept the Mets off balance, but a eighth inning rally off a tiring Orlando Hernandez kept the Mets in the series with a 4-2 win. The Yankees would jump out quickly in Game 4 on a leadoff Home Run by Derek Jeter, the Yankees would take a 3-0 lead, before Mike Piazza hit a Home Run to get the Mets within a run. However, the Yanks pen kept the Mets off the scoreboard, and gave the Yankees an insurmountable 3-1 series lead. The Yankees would go on to beat the Mets in 5 Games, as the winning runs scored on a ninth Inning single off the bat of Luis Sojo.
2001: Coming of the National League Championship the Mets do little to improve the team, while suffering the free agent loss of pitcher Mike Hampton. The Mets get off to a terrible start, with the worst offense in baseball. Not even Mike Piazza is immune as his Average dips to .250 in May. While Mike Piazza began to get his numbers near normal the Mets offense continued to struggle, and the Mets toiled below .500. Out of the race the Mets began dumping players, to get ready to retool for next year. The Mets just could never get it going as they fell 14 games below .500 on August 17th. However the Mets would find something within themselves to turn the season around, and on September 9th were only two games below the break-even mark. On the morning of September 11th the world changed forever, as terrorist took down the World Trade Center. No team took the attacks, as personal as the team that has the New York Skyline in its logo. While all of sports took a week hiatus, the Mets landed a hand to rescue workers who were using Shea Stadium, as a parking lot. The Mets would even agree to donate one game’s salary to the victim’s families. When play resumed the Mets took off their regular caps, and wore those of Emergency Service Personal, who were involved in rescue efforts, after losing many of their brothers in the Towers, collapse. The Mets would play inspired baseball rising above .500 for the first time since early April heading into a September 21st game at Shea against the Braves. The game which came ten days after the attacks, was the first official sporting event in New York since that terrible morning, had the feeling of USO show as Rescue Workers were honored. Before the Game Diana Ross sung a stirring rendition of God Bless America, as the game took on a World Series feeling. The seventh Inning stretch would see more entertainment as Liza Minnelli sung New York, New York surrounded by New York’s finest and bravest. However, the biggest roars of the night were saved by Mike Piazza whose mammoth two run eighth inning Home Run, which had Fireman and Police jumping out of their seats. The win would keep the Mets on a role, but most importantly it gave a moment of joy to a city that had gone through much sorrow. The Mets hot streak would last another, before a heartbreaking loss in Atlanta a week later ended any chances for a miracle comeback. The Mets would go on to finish with an 82-80 record.
2002: After struggling offensively the Mets made several key off season moves, signing Free Agent Roger Cedeno, while trading for slugging 1B Mo Vaughn, OF Jeromy Burnitz and Roberto Alomar, the best all around 2B in baseball. However, what would end up happening would be a repeat of 1992 as the Mets sputtered from the start of the season, while playing through off the field distractions that included ridiculous rumors that star catcher Mike Piazza was gay. The season would slowly snowball down hill hitting rock bottom in August as the team went winless at home while losing 13-straight overall. In September the Mets would finally crash into last place finishing with a disappointing 75-86 record, as rumors of rampant Marijuana use surrounded the team. After such an embarrassing year the Mets had no choice but to fire Manager Bobby Valentine replacing him with Art Howe.
2003: Hoping to rebound off a disappointing last season the Mets started Free Agent Acquisition Tom Glavine on Opening Day hoping to get the season started off on the right foot. However, the Mets were slammed by the Chicago Cubs 15-2, and it will just be the start of another terrible season. Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn continued to struggle, as things went from bad to worse in May when Mike Piazza suffered a serious groin injury. The Mets would settle into last place and pile up the losses as the franchise decided to shift direction, and go for a youth movement. Vaughn was sent to the sidelines with a degenerative knee condition that ended his career, while Alomar was traded for prospects, as were Armando Benitez, and Jeremy Burnitz in separate deals. While the old was going out the door Jose Reyes the Mets top prospect would arrive and bring some excitement to a dreary summer batting over .300, and becoming an instant fan favorite with his enthusiasm and hustle. Also earning fan support was Cliff Floyd who played through pain most of the season and gave the Mets everything he had before going for surgery in August. September would bring more gloom for the Mets as Reyes was lost to an ankle injury and Piazza who returned from injury struggled badly to regain his form, as the Mets finished in last place with a record of 66-95. The end of the season would also mark the end of an era as longtime Mets announcer Bob Murphy retired after 41 seasons; sadly Murphy would pass away less then a year later.
2004: The Mets began the season with Mike Piazza splitting time between 1B and Catcher as he perused the all-time record for Home Runs as a Catcher, Piazza would finally get the record on June 5th, as the Mets played close to .500 baseball most of the first half. The solid play would continue into July where they swept the New York Yankees in a 3-game series over the July 4th weekend winning the season series against their cross-town rivals for the first time. However it would all go downhill from there. Piazza would struggle as he was uncomfortable at first while hitting a .266 and only driving in 54 RBI, as the Mets started the second half with losing 5-of-17. With their playoff hopes all but gone the Mets started to retool trading Ty Wiggington to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kris Benson, who they hoped to build their future rotation around. Meanwhile, David Wright a slugging 3B was called up from Norfolk and made an impressive debut hitting 14 homers in 69 games while batting a solid .293. However, the Mets would play terrible baseball in August and September posting a 21-35 record on the way to finishing in 4th place with a 71-91 record. After the season the Mets would undergo a complete transformation as they said good bye to long time reliever John Franco and Al Leiter who left through free agency, as Manager Art Howe was fired. Left to rebuild the Mets was new GM Omar Minaya, who made an immediate splash by signing the two top free agents in the market Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez, while naming Willie Randolph, as the Mets new Manager.
2005: With all the new additions there was a new buzz around the Mets who in promos were called the “New Mets.” That buzz looked good through most of Opening Day as Pedro Martinez had a solid game and Carlos Beltran hit a Home Run as the Mets led the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 going to the ninth Inning. However, Closer Braden Looper struggled giving up hits to all three batters he faced including back-to-back homers as the Reds won the game 7-6. The stunning loss would have the Mets reeling right away as they dropped their first 5 games. In danger of starting 0-6, the Mets would rely on Beltran and Martinez again as Pedro held the Braves to one run, as Beltran sparked a late inning rally for a 6-1 win. The spark would carry over into their first homestand as the Mets swept Houston Astros and took the first two games of a series against the Florida Marlins to climb above .500. It would be this type of play that would symbolize the Mets Helter Skelter season, as a long losing streak would be followed by a long winning and vise versa. Through most of the season the Mets were within 3 games of .500, either above or below, actually hitting the .500 mark 27 different times during the season never being more the five games under or eight games above. Some individual highlights included Mike Piazza returning to Catcher and finally passing Carlton Fisk for the most home runs hit in a career as a catcher, while Pedro Martinez became an instant fan favorite with a 15-8 record with a solid 2.82 ERA, as the bullpen blew several of Pedro’s leads led by Looper who by the end of the season was booed every time he entered the game at home. The hitting was supplied by Cliff Floyd in the first half and David Wright in the second half, as Floyd led the team in Homers with 34 while driving in 98 RBI, as Wright in his first full year drove in a team high 102 RBI with 27 homers. While Piazza was setting milestones his time with the Mets was clearly in his final days as gone was the buzz when he came up to the plate as he just 19 homers while hitting a career low .251. Also struggling was Carlos Beltran who never quite lived up to expectations hitting .266 with just 16 homers. Despite the struggles of Beltran the Mets were in the race as September began as they were on a hot streak at the end of August, but as they did all season it was followed by perhaps their biggest slump of the year as they were in a scramble just to avoid last place in a competitive National League East in which all five teams were .500 or better. In the end they would wind up in third place at 83-79.
2006: The Mets began the season celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the 1986 Mets, with a buzz as with the addition of players like Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner the Mets had a deep line up and a proven closer that seemed capable of doing great things. From the start they would not disappoint winning eight of their first nine games as they grabbed first place right from the very start of the season. The Mets would go on to finish April with a 16-8 record winning two of three against the Atlanta Braves on the road to hold a six game lead. Along the way Julio Franco became the oldest player to hit a Home Run at the age of 47. May would have some bumps in the road as injuries to the pitching staff forced the Mets to start piecing together the back end of the rotation, something they would be forced to do the rest of the season. None the less the Mets stayed in first and in June pulled further away from the pack with a 9-1 road trip. The Mets could win in many ways they could jump on a team early thanks to dynamic leadoff hitter Jose Reyes who continued to bud into the most exciting player in baseball. Reyes with greater plate discipline would hit .300 while leading the league in stolen bases at 64, and triples with 17 as he scored 122 runs. The Mets even had the ability to win games late as they had one of the best bullpens in baseball allowing them to win 31 come from behind games. The Mets would continue to hold a comfortable lead through out the summer putting the Braves away once and for all with a three game sweep at the end of July. August would see some personal milestones achieved as Carlos Delgado became the first player to hit a Grand Slam for his 400th career home run igniting an 8-7 comeback win capped by a walk off home run from Carlos Beltran on August 22nd against the St. Louis Cardinals. As the Mets came down the stretch some problems would arise as injuries ended Pedro Martinez season, forcing him to undergo rotator cuff surgery. Meanwhile the line up was exposed as being vulnerable to left handed pitchers. The Mets would post a losing record in September at 14-15, but their lead was so large it did not matter as they won the NL Eastern Division with a solid 97-65 record.
2006: Before the playoffs even started the Mets thinning pitching staff was dealt another blow as Orlando Hernandez strained a calf muscle prior to starting Game 1 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Starting the opener instead was John Maine, who was originally the throw in to the deal that sent Kris Benson to the Baltimore Orioles for Jorge Julio. Maine who was a spot starter early became one of the Mets most reliable arms by the end of the season. Maine would get in early trouble as the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. However, it could have been worse as Paul LoDuca tagged out two Dodgers at home on one play to keep the inning from getting out of control. Led by Delgado four hits and David Wrights three RBI the Mets would win the game 6-5. Game 2 would be won by the Mets pitching as Tom Glavine allowed just four hits over six innings in a 4-1 win. Going for the sweep in Los Angeles the Mets jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in Game 3 only to see the Dodgers battle back to take a 5-4 lead against an ineffective Steve Trachsel. However, the Mets would grab the lead right back led by former Dodgers Paul LoDuca and Shawn Green, as they completed the sweep with a 9-5 win. In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, Glavine was the star of Game 1 as he allowed just four hits over seven innings as Carlos Beltran hit a two run homer, in a 2-0 win. The Mets appeared to be on the way to a 2-0 series lead in Game 2, but their usually reliable bullpen faltered as the Cardinals rallied for a 9-6 win. The Mets would also falter in Game 3 as Trachsel was roughed up in a 5-0 loss. Needing a win in Game 4 the Mets offense provided the thunder as Delgado drove in five runs, while Beltran hit two home runs to back up the Mets latest fill in pitcher Oliver Perez who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline as a throw in for the deal that sent Roberto Hernandez back to the Mets for Xavier Nady. Perez who had a 3-13 record in the regular season would get the win as the Mets won 12-5. The Cardinals would bounce back to win Game 5, putting the Mets on the brink again. However, with John Maine on the mound allowing just two hits the Mets would force a seventh game with a 4-2 win. Game 7 would see a pitching match up that was not in the Mets favor as they turned back to Oliver Perez to face Jeff Suppan who blanked the Mets in Game 3. The Mets and Cards would trade early runs, but the rest of the way it was nothing but zeroes as the Mets and Cardinals battled late into Game 7 tied 1-1. The Mets had kept the tie thanks to an amazing catch by Endy Chavez robbing Scott Rolen of a two run homer in the sixth Inning. However, in the bottom of the inning with Shea still buzzing the Mets blew an opportunity with the bases loaded and one out as Jose Valentin struck out, and Chavez popped out. The Cardinals would take the lead in the ninth on a two run homer by Yadier Molina, once again the Mets would have an opportunity with the bases loaded, but Carlos Beltran would be struck out to end the game as the Cards went to the World Series with a 3-1 win.
2007: Coming off their heart breaking loss in the NLCS, the Mets fully expected to just as strong despite entering the season without Pedro Martinez who was still recovering from rotator cuff surgery. However, with John Maine and Oliver Perez playoff performances the Mets still felt they had a solid pitching staff. When the season started the Mets looked poised to take the East again as they swept the St. Louis Cardinals on the road to start the season get a measure of revenge from the NLCS. After battling the Atlanta Braves through most of April, the Mets took control of the division in May, as they held a 34-18 record, with the highlight coming on May 29th, when the fans at Shea Stadium rattled former Met Armando Benitez now pitching with the San Francisco Giants, as he gave up a walk off home run to Carlos Delgado in a 5-4 win in extra innings. However, the Mets would suffer a June swoon, as they were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies at home losing all three games in the late innings after holding a lead, as the Mets went through a stretch where they won just 4-of-18 games. Despite the troubles the Mets remained in first, as they closed the month winning eight of nine games. However, the Mets started July struggling again as they were swept by the Colorado Rockies on the road losing six of eight before the All-Star Break. This would be a pattern that would repeat through out the summer as the Mets would play poorly for a week or two, but recover before losing the top spot in the Eastern Division. One highlight of the up and down summer was Tom Glavine’s 300th career win, which he earned on a Sunday Night National Telecast against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, with Mets 8-3 win. As August came to a close, a new threat emerged in the Phillies, as the Mets were swept in a four game series in Philadelphia, turning the NL East into a three team race. However, with the return of Pedro Martinez on Labor Day, the Mets appeared to be arming themselves nicely for the playoffs, as they again recovered from a rough patch by building a seven game lead in the NL Eastern Division with 15 games left. Then without warning the bottom fell out as the Mets were swept by the Phillies at Shea Stadium again, with Jimmy Rollins, playing the villain with the big hit all weekend long. This time there would be no recovery from the Mets as their tailspin continued in their next series against the lowly Washington Nationals. After a shaky weekend in which they took three of four against the Florida Marlins on the road, the Mets returned to Shea Stadium for the final week of the season holding a three game lead in the loss column. However, the struggles continued as the Mets imploded against the Nationals again, losing three straight, blowing a 5-0 lead in the finale. Meanwhile the Phillies kept winning and by the time the weekend began the Mets lead was gone. After dropping out of first place with 7-4 loss in the opener of a three game series against the Marlins, the Mets got the performance they desperately needed, as John Maine delivered one of the best individual pitching performances in Mets history allowing just one hit in 7.2 innings, while striking out 14 in a 13-0 win as the Mets entered game 162 in a first place tie. However, the following day Tom Glavine, delivered perhaps the worst most gutless pitching performance in Mets history as he allowed seven earned runs and retired just one batter before exiting the game, and destroying the Mets chances before they even got a chance to hit as the Marlins won 8-1, as the Phillies won the division, with the Mets finishing as they lost 12-of-their-last-17 games to finish with an 88-74 record, blowing a seven game lead with in the process. Following the worst collapse in baseball history Glavine, seemed almost relieved as he left the Mets and returned to the Atlanta Braves, as the Mets began a winter of discontent.
2008: Following the Mets collapse there was a feeling the team need to make a blockbuster move to win back fans that were furthered angered when the team sent out a hollow e-mail apology. However, the only deal the Mets made was to send Lanstings Milledge to the Nationals to get OF Ryan Church and C Brian Schneider. Milledge was unquestionably talented but his questionable character had grown tiresome for the Mets. As spring training approached the Mets finally got the blockbuster fans been waiting for as they acquired two time Cy Young winner Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins for OF Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey, they then signed Santana to a six year contract worth $137.5 Million. However, despite the addition of a reliable ace the Mets struggled early, as rumors began to swirl over the head of Manager Willie Randolph. Entering Memorial Day the Mets gave Randolph a vote of confidence, despite being below .500 following a disastrous road trip that saw them lose four straight to the Atlanta Braves, while losing two of three to the Colorado Rockies. After the vote of confidence for Randolph the Mets started to play better as they beat the Florida Marlins in dramatic fashion on May 28th, as Fernando Tatis delivered a pinch hit double in the 12th inning. Tatis would be a genuine find for the Mets as the player who returned to baseball after sitting out a year to build a church in his hometown in the Dominican Republic. Tatis who just played 28 games in the majors since 2003 become a revelation as he batted .297 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI as he was named Comeback Player of the Year. The reprieve for Willie would be short lived as the Mets went back on the road and struggled again, suffering a four game sweep at the hands of the San Diego Padres. With the fans at Shea Stadium getting increasingly hostile it only became a matter of time before a change had to be made, and following a 9-6 win in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels, Willie Randolph and two coaches were fired. Under new Manager Jerry Manuel the Mets still played mediocre baseball the first few weeks, as they ended June in third place with a 40-42 record. However, there were signs the Mets were about to break out as Carlos Delgado who struggled most of 2007 and the first half of 2008 started to find his stroke, beginning with a nine RBI game against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium, where the Mets won all three times. Heading into the All-Star Break the Mets finally got going as they won nine straight and climbed above .500. In their first game after the break the Mets climbed into first place as they won their tenth straight, as they posted an 18-8 record in July. The Mets continued to play well in August, but there was a gathering storm that would ultimately doom their season, as Closer Billy Wagner suffered a season ending elbow injury. At first the Mets were able to withstand the loss of Wagner as they entered September in first place, as they swept the Milwaukee Brewers in a key three game series. However, as the final month dragged on the Mets bullpen became exposed, as every game became an adventure with the pen blowing 29 saves, as their relief core posted an awful 5.30 ERA over the final six weeks of the season. The Mets lineup also took a beating as Tatis was lost with a knee injury in the final two weeks of the season. Tatis was an important right handed hitter for the Mets, who became vulnerable to left handed pitching in his absence. Much like 2007 the Mets would go in a late season tail spin, as the division slipped through their fingers. Despite the struggles Johan Santana was delivering everything the Mets expected and more as he did not lose a game after the All-Star Break while posting a 16-7 record with a league leading 2.53 ERA, with the bullpen blowing seven games, costing a him a chance at the Cy Young. Facing the Florida Marlins on the final weekend of the season for the second straight season, Santana delivered perhaps his best performance blanking the Marlins 2-0 in a complete game three hitter with nine strike outs. With Santana’s performance, the Mets entered the final game of the season tied for the Wild Card with the Brewers. However, with the game tied 2-2, the Mets bullpen failed once again allowing back to back homers to Wes Helms and Dan Uggla as the Mets were eliminated on the final day of the season again with a record of 89-73. Following the game Shea Stadium become a funeral home as Mets heroes of the past touched home plate one last time, with Tom Seaver delivering one last pitch to Mike Piazza. Seaver and Piazza would then exit out the Centerfield gate, as 45 years of baseball at Shea Stadium came to an end.
2009: After a starting the season with a 3-3 road trip, the Mets opened their brand new state of the art ballpark Citi Field on April 13th against the San Diego Padres. It would not take long before the first home run, as the Padres Jody Gerut went deep off Mike Pelfrey on just the third pitch of the game. Despite an improved bullpen that now featured proven closers J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets would lose their Citi debut as Pedro Feliciano balked home the winning run in the sixth inning of 6-5 loss. A few days later the new park would see its first milestone, as Gary Sheffield, acquired off waivers at the end of spring training became the first player to hit his 500th career Home Run as a pinch hitter, as the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4. After struggling in April with a 9-12 record, the Mets began to show signs of life in May, as they won 11 of 14 games, and slipped into first place. However, as the streak was wraping up the Mets began showing cracks as a hip injury ended the season for Carlos Delgado, while a mysterious leg ailment shelved Jose Reyes. At first the injury was not thought of as serious, but the star Shortstop would not heal and would eventually miss the rest of the season when he popped his hamstring during a minor league rehab. Signs of the coming collapse were easy to be seen as the Mets were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road, in a series that will be best remembered for Ryan Church failing to touch 3rd base when he was trying to score the winning run in the 11th Inning. The Dodgers would instead win the game 3-2 in 11 innings as the Mets defense unraveled. The Mets would stay competitive in May, as they took two of three against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park, rallying to win a game 3-2 on May 23rd as Catcher Omir Santos hit a two run homer off Sox Closer Jonathan Paplebon. The homer which was initially ruled a double was aided by instant replay which showed it off the seats above the Green Monster before coming back on the field. As May ended the Mets were only a half game out of first with a record of 28-21, but June would see the roof cave in. Adding to the Mets growing injuries woes was a knee injury to Carlos Beltran, which would sideline the All-Star Centerfielder for the next three months. With three of their most important offensive weapons on the disabled list the Mets began to go into a tailspin that would last the remainder of the season. Making things more painful was the way the Mets seemed to invent ways to lose, which included a June 12th loss to the New York Yankees in the Bronx when Luis Castillo dropped what would have been the final out allowing the Yankees to score the tying and winning runs in a 9-8 win. The Mets also would suffer a team wide power outage, as the usually reliable David Wright suffered through his worst season with just 10 Home Runs and 72 RBI, as the Mets hit just 95 homers playing in the spacious Citi Field. As the losses mounted, the injuries continued to pile up as Johan Santana was shutdown in July after elbow surgery. The Mets would go on to finish in fourth place with a terrible 70-92 record.
2010: As the Mets season began, rumors surrounding the finances of Owner Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff, hung a dark cloud over Citi Field, as their involvement with Bernie Madoff was becoming clearer as they became the targets of a class action lawsuit from victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The Mets started the season with a 7-1 win at home, beating Josh Johnson, as Johan Santana got the win in his return from elbow surgery. However, in the first two weeks wins were hard to come by as the Mets lineup struggled, with Jose Reyes slow to return from a thyroid problem and Carlos Beltran recovering from off-season knee surgery, as they got off to a 4-8 start. One of the wins illustrated the Mets hitting problems as they battled the St. Louis Cardinal scoreless deep into extra innings, before winning 2-1 in 20 innings, scoring their runs off position players. Looking to spark the team, the Mets called up top hitting prospect Ike Davis. The move worked as Davis was brilliant with his glove and bat, as the Mets 10 of 11 games, to finish April in first place with a 14-9 record. However, they could not sustain in April as they posting a poor 12-17 record in May. Through the first two months, most of the Mets struggles came on the road, as they were unable to win a road series. In June that would change as the Mets played solid baseball winning 12 of 13 games, highlighted by sweeps of the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians on the road. Helping to spur the Mets in June was the call up of pitching prospect Jonathon Niese and journey man R.A. Dickey who helped boost the starting staff after the Mets shutdown the underachieving Oliver Perez, who pitched poorly every time he took the mound. As June ended the Mets were 44-34, and a game and half out of the Wild Card. Heading into the All-Star Break the Mets began to stumble, losing four of six to the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves at home. After the break things only got worse, as the return of Carlos Beltran failed to provide the spark the Mets needed, as they suffered a 2-9 Western Road Trip. As July ended the Mets playoff hopes were fading away, after posting a 9-17 record during the month. Things would get worse in August as the Mets began the month with a humiliating 14-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on the day they honored Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson and Frank Cashen. The Mets would slip below .500 on August 11th, a closer Francisco Rodriguez broken his hand was arrested after a fight with his girlfriend’s father. As September began the Mets were out of the race, and looking for a change as they went on to finish in fourth place with a record of 79-83. Following the season the Mets would fire General Manager Omar Minaya and replace him with Sandy Alderson, while Manager Jerry Manuel was replaced by Terry Collins.
2011: The Mets new management had to work with a reduced payroll, as a lawsuit from the Bernie Madoff trust fund had handcuffed Mets ownership, who were seeking minority investors to help pay off some of the team’s debts. Among the first moves for new General Manager Sandy Alderson was to rid the Mets of bad contracts, as both Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez were released in spring training. The Mets began the season, with a 6-2 loss to the Florida Marlins. The Mets would rebound to win their next three games, as they came into their home opener against the Washington Nationals with a 3-3 record. The Mets struggled through most of April, with a record of 11-16, as they had difficulty replacing Johan Santana who missed the entire season after shoulder surgery. The Mets would play better in May, thanks in part to the pitching of Dillon Gee, who won his first five decisions. The Mets played well despite injuries to Ike Davis and David Wright, as players like Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner carried the offense, while Carlos Beltran who was finally healthy again looked like an All-Star as the Mets hoped to deal the pending free agent for prospects at the trade deadline, if they were not in the pennant chase. Jose Reyes who was also a free agent at season end also had a big season, becoming the first Mets player to lead the league in hitting at .337. Wright would return from his back injury, while Davis would miss the rest of the season hitting seven home runs with 25 RBI in just 36 games. A solid showing in June would see the Mets climb above .500, as their offense clicked as they took four out of six games against the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers on the road. The two teams would later meet in the ALCS. The Mets would stay above .500 up to the All-Star Break as they held a record of 46-45. However, another nagging injury from Jose Reyes would rob him of his speed in the second half, as the Mets continued to question if it was worth signing him to a big extension. As July came to an end the Mets would deal away Closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers, they would also deal Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. In the final two months the Mets would struggle, as they finished in fourth place with a record of 77-85.
2012: The Mets celebrated their 50th Anniversary as a team in transition. The move to get younger and rebuild the farm system was in its second season, as Jose Reyes was the latest departure. Hoping to get more offense, the Mets moved in the fences at Citi Field, as many players felt the ballpark played too deep. The Mets also went with a traditional blue wall, as they continued to phase out their black alternates. The Mets would start the season off on a solid note, as Johan Santana making his first start in more than a year had a strong opening day start as the Mets blanked the Atlanta Braves 1-0. The Mets would go on to sweep the Braves in that first series at Citi Field, as they started the year by winning six of their first eight games on the way to posting a solid April record of 13-10. Pitching was a key for the Mets solid start, as Johan Santana pitched well despite hard luck in April, while Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee showed signs of developing into fine starting pitchers, as Niese posted a solid 13-9 record with an ERA of 3.40, while Gee posted a record of 6-7 and had an ERA of 4.10 before his season was ended by a blood clot in his right arm. Offensively the Mets were led early by David Wright who hit .400 through much of April as he had a solid season with 21 home runs, 93 RBI and an average of .306. Scott Hairston also had a strong season, hitting 20 home runs, while hitting for the cycle during an April game on the road against the Colorado Rockies. Kirk Nieuwenhuis when called up in April, also provided an early spark to the Mets offense. The Mets continued to play through May, as Santana continued to deliver quality starts, while R.A. Dickey who spent the off-season climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and wrote a bestselling autobiography about his life struggling with sexual abuse as a child, struggling through more than a decade in the minors as a journey man and becoming a knuckle ball pitcher. Through the first half Dickey dominated other batters as he had a 12-1 record at the All-Star Break, highlighted by back to back one hitters and a stretch of 44.1 innings without allowing an earned run in June. However, the best pitching performance of the first half came on June 1st, when Johan Santana ended over 50 years of frustration, pitching the first No Hitter in the history of the New York Mets, blanking the St. Louis Cardinals 8-0, while striking out eight. Santana was aided in his attempt at history by a missed call at third base, as a ball ripped down the line by Carlos Beltran was mistakenly called foul in the 6th inning. While Mike Baxter sacrificed his body and was injured running into the Leftfield fence making a No Hitter saving catch in the 7th inning. Baxter was not the only player that made a sacrifice that day as Johan Santana threw a career high 134 pitches. As the season wore on it was clear that the effort took its toll, and he was forced to shut it down, after struggling in the second half and finishing the season with a record of 6-9 and an ERA of 4.85. After posting a 46-40 in the first half the Mets went into a deep slump after the All-Star Break, as they lost 12 of 14 games, and slipped under .500. There would be few bright spots during the season’s second half other than the continued strong pitching of R.A. Dickey who went on to become the first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young, as he finished the season with a record of 20-6, with an ERA of 2.73 and a NL Best 230 strikeouts. Another second half bright spot came, when the Mets recalled Matt Harvey, one of their bright young prospects who earned a win in his major league debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 26th, posting a record of 3-5 and a solid ERA of 2.73 in ten starts. While most of the Mets struggled in the second half, Ike Davis who had a horrible first half and was nearly sent to AAA, had a strong second half finishing the season with a team high 32 home runs and 90 RBI, as he finished the season with a .227 average, after spending most of the season well under .200. The Mets would finish the season in the fourth place with a record of 74-88. After the season the Mets continued to build toward the future, as they secured David Wright as the team’s foundation with a seven year contract extension worth $138 million. Meanwhile taking the philosophy of buy low sell high, the Mets decided to trade R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas in exchange for Wuilmer Becerra, John Buck, Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud, who is considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
2013: For the first time in 50 years the Mets were hosting the All-Star Game as they hoped their farm system could start developing their own All-Stars, as they were still constrained by a tight budget due to bad contract lingering on their payroll. The Mets also were without Johan Santana, as he needed a second surgery on his shoulder that would end his Mets career. One prospect that shined early as Matt Harvey; who in his first full season in the majors became the Mets ace pitcher and an instant fan favorite. Harvey dominated in April, winning Pitcher of the Month honors with a 4-0 record and a 1.56 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 40.1 innings. However, the Mets did not get much hitting, had some injuries to other starters and had struggles in the bullpen and ended April with a poor record of 10-15. Matt Harvey continued to dominate in May, as he flirted with a No Hitter against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field on May 7th, but got a no decision as the Mets needed ten innings to win the game 1-0. Harvey would get just one win in May as he pitched in hard luck, but remained perfect at 5-0. He would even get national attention as Sports Illustrated compared him to Batman. As May came to an end the Mets finally showed some life in the Subway Series, sweeping the New York Yankees in four straight as they finished the month with a record of 22-30. June would see big changes for the Mets as they finally demoted struggling 1B Ike Davis to AAA Las Vegas. For the second straight season, Davis was mired in a terrible early season slump and batting under .200. The Mets also picked up a leadoff hitter as they Eric Young Jr. from the Colorado Rockies for Pitcher Colin McHugh on June 18th. EYJr. Would prove quite the spark for the Mets and would help increase their run output, improve their outfield dense and improve their base running, as Young would lead the NL in Stolen Bases with 46. Harvey would suffer his first loss in June, but the more young arms would arrive to help. On June 18th in a double header against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, Harvey would win the opener 4-3, as Zach Wheeler debuted and won the nightcap 6-1. Despite their lackluster record the Mets were a gritty teams at times losing a 20 inning game to the Miami Marlins 2-1 on June 8th, and losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 15 innings 5-4, as they twice rallied to tie the game in extra innings. The Mets would go into the All-Star Break with a record of 41-50, as David Wright and Matt Harvey started for the National League. Harvey pitched two innings allowing just one hit and striking out three batters, as the American League won 2-0. The Mets would post a winning record in July, as another young arm Jenrry Mejia came up and pitched well. However, as Agust arrived cracks would begin to appear, as Jeremy Hefner was lost to Tommy John surgery. Though not as flashy as Harvey, Wheeler and Mejia, Hefner showed some potential posting a record of 4-8 with an ERA of 4.34. The Mets lost closer Bobby Parnell who saved 22 games to a neck injury. The Mets would also lose David Wright to a hamstring injury. Wright would miss much of the last two months of the season, finishing with 18 homers, 58 RBI and a team high .307 average. Than the Mets would get the biggest gut punch since their back to back September collapses as Matt Harvey the star of the future shreaded his elbow and was lost until 2015, after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Harvey finished the season with a record of 9-5 with an ERA of 2.27 with 191 strikeouts. With nothing left in 2013, the Mets in a move for the future would than trade their top home run hitter Marlon Byrd and along with Catcher John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates infield prospect Dilson Herrera and reliever Vic Black. The Mets would go on to limp their way to a record of 74-88, finishing third in the National League East.
2014: There was a gloomy outlook over Citi Field as the season began for the New York Mets. Matt Harvey, their ace was not going to pitch following Tommy John surgery in September, and the team did little to improve in the off-season. The Mets began the season at home against the Washington Nationals, and held 5-4 lead in the ninth inning. However, Closer Bobby Parnell struggled and the Nats would rally to win the 9-7 in ten innings. Following the game Parnell complained of elbow discomfort and was diagnosed with a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament and underwent season ending Tommy John surgery. The bullpen would be a great source of pain for the Mets early in the season, as they rotated through several closers with none effectively keeping the job. Despite the struggles, the Mets closed April with a winning record of 15-11. The Mets lineup also failed in April, as David Wright all season lost his power stroke, and hit just eight home runs with 63 RBI, while Curtis Granderson signed in the offseason seemed to be the latest player to struggle with the wide gaps in Citi Field, batting below .100 most of April. Granderson never quite found his stroke and had a disappointing season with 20 homers and 66 RBI, with a paltry batting average of .227. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud also struggle and was sent down to AAA Las Vegas in June with an average of .180. d’Arnaud would return a few weeks later and batted much better hitting .270 after his call up with ten home runs. One Mets player who excelled in the lineup was Lucas Duda, who had a breakout season after beating out Ike Davis at first base and led the Mets with 30 home runs and 92 RBI. Daniel Murphy also had a strong season, making his first All-Star team with a team best .289 average. Juan Lagares also had a strong season batting .281, while winning a gold glove in centerfield, by making highlight reel catches and laser like throws on the bases. The Mets struggles would catch up with them in May and June as they began the season’s second month by losing eight of nine. The Mets combined record over those two months was 22-35. One bright spot during the middle part of the season was the emergence of Jacob deGrom. Called up in May, deGrom was impressive from his first start against the New York Yankees on May 15th, when he allowed just one run in seven innings and earned a hard luck loss. Jacob deGrom would lose his first four decisions, but earned his spot in the rotation for the remainder of the season. deGrom would finally get his first win on June 21st by blanking the Miami Marlins 4-0 on the road. Over the season’s second half with the Mets never a factor in the playoff chase, Jacob deGrom became the reason to watch the Mets, on August 2nd he battled Jake Peavy of the San Francisco Giants in a classic pitcher’s duel, with both taking a no hitter into the seventh inning. deGrom would get the win as the Mets scored four in the seventh and held on for a 4-2 win at Citi Field. The win would move deGrom over .500 as he was named Rookie of the Month in July and September. On September 15th in his penultimate start of the season deGrom would start a game against the Miami Marlins by striking out the first eight hitters, tying a Major League record. Jacob deGrom would finish the season with a record of 9-6 record, with a 2.69 ERA and 144 strikeouts, earning the National League’s Rookie of the Year. Despite their many problems the Mets managed a 79-83 record and finished in second place in the National League Eastern Division. Helping the Mets somewhat respectable finish was Jenrry Mejía who took over the closer role in June and saved 28 games.
2015: Coming into the season there was cautious optimism surrounding the New York Mets, as Matt Harvey was returning from Tommy John surgery, while two other hard throwing rookies were close to joining the team to give them the makings of one of the best rotations in baseball. The Mets still would get some bad news as Zack Wheeler would join Harvey on the list of young hurlers to need to have surgery to replace his Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his elbow. The Mets would open the season on the road against the Washington Nationals, and were handcuffed for six innings by Max Scherzer. However, the Mets taking advantage of two errors by Ian Desmond rally to win the game 3-1. After suffering a 2-1 loss in the second game, Matt Harvey made his return a big success allowing just four hits in six innings, while striking out nine as the Mets took two of three in Washington with a 6-3 win. Not all news was good news for the Mets, as Closer Jenrry Mejía received a 50 game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. After losing two straight in Atlanta, the Mets beat the Braves 4-3 to head home with 3-3 record. Coming home the Mets would show just how good they could be winning all ten games, to equal the best start in team history and equal the franchise best winning streak at 11 games. Pitching was the big reason for the Mets strong early start as Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Batrolo Colon were all collecting quality starts, while Jeurys Familia took over the closer role and was nearly flawless. Still with the good came the bad for the Mets as injuries began to take a toll on the already questionable lineup. The Mets would lose David Wright to hamstring injury that later morphed into spinal stenosis, sidelining the captain for four months. They also lost Travis d’Arnud who early in the season was one of their most reliable hitters to a broken hand. Despite the injuries, the Mets would finish April with a solid record of 15-8, holding a four and half game lead in the National League East. May would not go as well for the Mets, as their lack of quality hitting began to catch up to them. The Mets were particularly bad away from home, losing eight of ten games the road. The Mets offensive struggles continued in June as they continued to struggle on the road. Injuries also played a role as Daniel Murphy spent a brief time on the disabled list, while Travis d’Aruad who returned from his broken hand was injured in a collision at home plate. Making matters worse Lucas Duda, their only power hitter went into a prolonged slump. During May and June the Mets pitching would get stronger as both Noah Syndegaard and Steven Matz had successful debuts. In winning his first start against the Cincinnati Reds on June 28th Matz was also the Mets hitting starting star with three hits and four RBI as the Mets won 7-2, with the Long Island Native’s grandfather becoming a Youtube sensation for his reactions in the stands. The Mets continued to sputter at the start of July, as they were swept at Citi Field by the Chicago Cubs, managing just one run in three games before going on a West Coast Road Trip with a record of 40-40. Going into a three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke starting the first two games, the Mets were 11-26 on the road. To say things looked bleak would be an understatement. The Mets would however win two of three as Noah Syndegaard held his own against Kershaw, while Matz earned a second win. The Mets would also win a series at AT&T Park against the San Francisco Giants and went into the All-Star Break with a record of 47-42 after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks at home. Highlight the sweep of Arizona was Kirk Nieuwenhuis who became the first Mets player to have three home runs in a game at home. Nieuwenhuis had recently returned to the Mets after being traded to the Los Angeles Angels in April, with a batting average under .100. At the All-Star Game in Cincinnati Jacob deGrom dazzled striking out the side on ten pitches in his one inning of work. After the break the Mets pattern of strong pitching and weak hitting continued. Often they would have as many as four hitters below the Mendoza Line in the lineup. As July came to a close the Mets clearly needed to make a move to stay in the playoff race. The first move was an internal one as the Mets called up their top hitting prospect Michael Conforto from Las Vegas. The second move came when the Mets added much needed depth on the bench by acquiring Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe from the Atlanta Braves. Both had an immediate impact as the Mets salvaged a split against the Dodgers at Citi Field with Johnson homering in his first game with the Mets while Uribe had a walk off hit in the series finale. Still the Mets looked to do more and were on the verge of acquiring Carlos Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers for Wilmer Flores and Zach Wheeler. As the Mets were suffering a 7-3 loss at the hands of the San Diego Padres Flores was informed of the deal by fans and began to cry in the field. The deal would fall through as the Mets appeared to be stumbling once again. The next day heavy rains led to the Mets blowing a six run lead, as a long delay in the ninth inning created havoc for closer Jerruys Familia. As the trade deadline approached the Mets were at a crossroad, sitting at 52-50 and trailing the Nationals by three games ahead of a three game series at Citi Field. The Mets would make one big deal at the 11th hour landing slugger Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. That night Wilmer Flores cried again, this time they were tears of joy as his 12th inning home run gave the Mets a 2-1 win. The Mets would go on to sweep the series and moved back into first place. As August arrived the Mets lineup which just weeks earlier was the worst in baseball suddenly became the best in baseball. The Mets were also getting healthy as Daniel Murphy returned and was hitting with power, with a career high 14 home runs, while Michael Conforto hit nine home runs in 56 games after making his debut. That would pale in comparison to Yoenis Cespedes who arrived in New York and became an instant sensation posting a .309 batting average, with 17 home runs, 42 RBI, and a .691 slugging percentage in his first 41 games with the Mets. The Mets would not only take over first place they began to pull away from the Nats. As August came to an end the Mets got another boost when David Wright returned and homered in his very first at bat against the Philadelphia Phillies. Following a 20-8 record in August, the Mets would face another test with a three game series in Washington. In the opener on Labor Day, the Mets rally from a 5-2 deficit to win the game 8-5 with David Wright’s two out single giving the Mets the lead for good in the seventh inning. The Mets would rally again in the second game over coming a 7-1 deficit as Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered off Nationals Closer Jonathan Paplebon for an 8-7 win. The Mets would go on to complete the sweep with Kelly Johnson and Yoenis Cespedes homering in the eighth inning to win the game 5-3. The Mets would not be denied the rest of the way as they went on the win the Eastern Division with a record of 90-72.
2015 NLDS: In the Division Series the Mets would take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, with their young pitching staff being put up to the test against the Dodgers pair of aces. In the opener it was Jacob deGrom stealing the spotlight, allowing just five hits in seven innings as he retired the last 11 batters and struck out 13 as the Mets powered by a home run from Daniel Murphy won the game 3-1. In Game 2 it was Noah Syndegaard bringing the hammer as he allowed just one run in the first six innings, while striking out nine as the Mets held a 2-1 lead behind home runs from Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto. Syndeegard tired in the seventh and the Dodgers rallied with four runs to win the game 5-2. The game would be best remembered for Chase Utley’s controversial take out slide on Ruben Tejada. Replays clearly showed the play to be a tackle as he began his slide after Tejada was credited with an out on the neighborhood play. Adding to the Mets ire the neighborhood play itself was reversed as Utley chuckled in the dugout while Tejada was carried off the field with a broken leg. The Mets would take out their frustrations in Game 3 as the series shifted to Citi Field as the Mets scored a postseason record 13 runs, led by Curtis Ganderson’s five RBI as Matt Harvey overcame a shaky second inning to earn his first postseason win. Clayton Kershaw pitching on short rest would handcuff the Mets in Game 4, outdueling Steven Matz 3-1 to send the series back to Los Angeles for a decisive Game 5. The Mets lone run was a fourth inning home run by Daniel Murphy. Jacob deGrom fell behind early, giving up two runs in the first inning. That would be all he would allow as he struck out seven in six inning work. The Mets would take the lead in the seventh inning on a home run from Daniel Murphy off Zack Grienke. Noah Syndegaard would pitching the seventh striking out two, while Jerruys Familia retired all six batters to earn the save as the Mets won the game and the series 3-2.
2015 NLCS: In the National League Championship Series the Mets faced the Chicago Cubs who won all seven regular season meetings. Matt Harvey would get the start in the opener and was brilliant pitching seven and two thirds innings while allowing two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts. The Mets would win the game 4-2 as Daniel Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud each hit solo homers while Jerruys Famila got the final four outs for the save. Facing Jake Arrieta the National League Cy Young winner in Game 2, the Mets jumped out early with three runs in the first highlighted by a two run blast from Murphy which followed a David Wright double as the Mets first three batters scored. That was more than enough for Noah Syndegaard who allowed one run on three hits with nine strike outs to earn the win as the Mets won the game 4-1. Daniel Murphy’s unprecedented power surge continued in Game 3 as the series shifted to Wrigley Field. Murphy homered for the fourth straight game in the third inning to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. After the Cubs tied the game in the fourth inning the Mets again took the lead in the sixth as Yoenis Cespedes came home on a wild pitch, when Catcher Miguel Montero was unable to come up with Michael Conforto’s swinging third strike with two outs. The Mets would add two runs in the seventh and took a commanding 3-0 lead by winning the game 5-2. Looking for the sweep the Mets scored four runs in the first inning as Lucas Duda broke out of a slump with a three run bomb that was followed up by a solo shot from d’Arnaud. Duda would add a two run double in the second as the Mets took a 6-0 lead and never looked back. As the Mets were counting down the outs Daniel Murphy struck again homering in a record sixth straight postseason game to give the Mets an 8-3 victory. Daniel Murphy would be named NLCS MVP, hitting .529 with the four home runs, six RBI and a 1.294 slugging percentage for the series.
2015 World Series: In the Fall Classic the Mets would take on the Kansas City Royals in the first World Series meeting of two post 1960 expansion teams. Things got off to a rocky start for Matt Harvey and the Mets when Yoenis Cespedes misplayed a liner from Alcides Escobar into an inside the park home run. The Mets would rebound and were in line to win the game leading 4-3 with Jerruys Famila looking to close the game out. However, Alex Gordon waiting for one of his patented quick pitches deposited the ball over the Centerfield Fence with one out in the ninth. Gordon would later drive in the winning run as the Royals won the game 5-4 in 15 innings, equaling the longest game in the history of the Fall Classic. Unlike the free swinging Dodgers and Cubs, the Royals were a pesky team that waited out pitches and constantly fouled off what would be strike three extending at bats. This would take its toll on Jacob deGrom in Game 2 as the Royals won 7-1. As the series shifted to New York for the first World Series games at Citi Field, Noah Syndegaard sent an early message as the first pitch sailed over the head of Alcides Escobar. Thor went on to hammer home a win for the Mets three runs and seven hits in six innings, as David Wright and Curtis Granderson each hit two run home runs. In Game 4 the Mets served up youth as rookie Michael Conforto hit two long balls, when Steven Matz pitched five solid innings to give the Mets a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning. However, Famila faltered again as Daniel Murphy’s error in the eighth inning led to three runs as the Royals won the 5-3. Facing elimination the Mets had Matt Harvey on the mound in Game 5. The Dark Knight was strong from the start as Granderson’s leadoff homer helped the Mets build a 2-0 lead. Despite throwing over 100 pitches Harvey talked Manager Terry Collins into allowing to pitch the ninth inning. That decision would be questioned the entire off-season, as Harvey walked the leadoff batter. Eric Hosmer followed it up with a double and later scored the tying run when Lucas Duda was unable to make the throw home following a ground out to third by Mike Moustakas. The Royals would go on to win the game and the World Series 7-2 with five runs in the 12th inning as another error by Daniel Murphy played a key role in the Mets demise.
2016: After going to the World Series, the New York Mets looked take the next step. The Mets made history at the start of the season, as for the first time ever, the teams that met in the Fall Classic met on Opening Day as the Mets began the season on the road against the Kansas City Royals. The Mets would split the two-game series, as they once again had a strong start to the season, posting a record of 15-7, this was despite Matt Harvey struggling to find his grove. The Mets continued to play well as May began, on a Western road trip pitchers at the bat became the story as Bartolo Colon at the age of 42 became the oldest player to hit his first home run at the age of 42 in a 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on May 7th. Four days later Noah Syndergaard hit two home runs in a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. However, after that the Mets began to sputter, as Matt Harvey’s struggled worsened. Making matters worse the injury bug began to work its way in the Mets clubhouse. Over the next two months the Mets began to go through a seemingly never ending string of injuries. Among the most devastating losses was to Captain David Wright who was forced to endure a painful spinal fusion surgery for a herniated disk in his neck. At the same time, they lost Lucas Duda for most of the summer do to back injury, Travis d’Arnaud was out with a shoulder injury and the lineup was struggling to find the big hit as it became too reliant on the home run. In July the injuries would begin to affect the Mets starting rotation as Matt Harvey holding a 4-10 record with an ERA of 4.86 was shut down on the 4th of July with thoracic outlet syndrome, which required the removal of a rib bone to relieve the pressure in his shoulder. Within days of Harvey’s surgery Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz were diagnosed with bone spurs. Syndergaard was forced to skip the All-Star Game, but had a strong second half, posting a record of 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA, with 218 strikeouts. Matz meanwhile had his ups and downs and finished with a 9-8 record with a 3.40 ERA before being shut down in August. To help with the string of injuries, the Mets picked up Jose Reyes, who was released by the Colorado Rockies after a domestic violence incident. However, Reyes himself spent time on the disabled list, but as July came to an end it was the loss of Yoenis Cespedes that would be the back breaker for the Mets as they nearly fell out of the playoff race losing 17 of 25 games. Throughout the season, Yoenis Cespedes was the Mets MVP, hitting .280 with a team best 31 home runs and 86 RBI. Hoping to boost their offense the Mets acquired slugger Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds. Despite being among the National League leaders in RBI before the trade, Bruce struggled to adjust to the spotlight in New York, batting .219, with eight home runs and 19 RBI over the last two months. Falling below .500 at 60-62, all seemed lost for the Mets on August 19th. With the return of Cespedes the Mets began to get back on track as they closed August by going 9-2 over their last 11 games, which began with two wins on the road against San Francisco Giants and two out of three wins on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals. The turnaround came despite losing Jacob deGrom to an injury as he needed surgery to fix a pinched nerve in his elbow, finishing with a record of 7-8 with an ERA of 3.08. Despite the loss of deGrom, the Mets were in the middle of the Wild Card chase, as Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman came up from AAA Las Vegas and gave the Mets solid efforts, with Lugo posting a record of 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA, while Gsellman was 4-2 with an ERA of 2.42. Despite the gritty Mets clawing back in the race, the injuries continued for the Mets as Neal Walker who hit .282 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI was forced to undergo back surgery. Replacing Walker, the Mets got a solid performance from September call up T.J. Rivera who had several big hits down the stretch and finished the season with an average of .333 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 27 games. With a roster held together by prayers and chewing gum, the Mets would finish the season with a record of 87-75 good enough to earn one of the National League Wild Card Spots.
2016 Wild Card Game: In the postseason, the key is matchups, for the New York Mets who hosted the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field, that would become clear as Noah Syndergaard opposed Madison Bumgarner. The Mets got a bad break that the Giants did not need to play an extra game and were able to start Bumgarner who had become one of the great postseason pitchers. Thor was up to the challenge and matched Bumgarner allowing two hits over seven innings, while striking out ten. Noah Syndergaard would be lifted after 108 pitches while Madison Bumgarner went the distance allowing four hits with six strikeouts, as Conor Gillaspie gave the Giants all the offense they needed with a three run home run off Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning to win the game 3-0.
2017: After losing the Wild Card Game, the New York Mets hoped to return to World Series, knowing that they needed to avoid the same injury troubles that plagued them in 2016. A late arriving crowd due transportation issues were thrilled on opening day by Noah Syndergaard as the Mets started the season with a 6-0 win over the Atlanta Braves. The Mets looked good for the first week, winning seven of their first ten games, but needed to put a lot of stress on their bullpen, especially in a 9-8 win in 16 innings over the Miami Marlins on the road. Instead of an uplifting win, the Mets seemed to run out of gas over the next two weeks, losing 10 of 11, which included a 1-8 homestand. As the homestand ended, the injury bug returned with a Yoenis Cespedes suffering a strained hamstring legging out a double against the Atlanta Braves. Cespedes would be hampered by the hamstring the rest of the season, playing just 81 games, while hitting .292 with 17 home runs and 42 RBI. Three days later in Washington, Syndergaard suffered a torn lat muscle. Thor would miss nearly the rest of the season, making just seven starts with a 1-2 record. The Mets ended April at 10-14, as they already were falling victim to the injury bug. The Mets scratched and clawed their way to .500 at 16-16, but more trouble was on the horizon. On May 7th, Matt Harvey was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. It would be just the latest trouble for the Dark Knight, who turned into Harvey two face as he had a poor season, at 5-7 with a 6.70 ERA. After reaching .500, the Mets lost Closer Jeurys Familia after surgery to repair a blood clot in his shoulder and proceeded to suffer through a seven-game losing streak and never reached .500 again. Familia meanwhile made just 26 appearances with only six saves on the season. The Mets tried fighting their way through the injuries as they went 13-14 in May and 14-14 in June, but not getting back to .500 meant they were falling out of the race for the playoffs. With several key players in the final year of their contract, the Mets decided to begin focusing on the future and became sellers at the trade deadline. Lucas Duda was traded the Tampa Bay Rays on July 27th for minor league pitcher Drew Smith. Addison Reed, who had taken over as closer in Familia’s absence, was traded to the Boston Red Sox for three minor league pitchers, Jamie Callahan, Stephen Nogosek, and Gerson Bautista on July 31st. The deals continued after the deadline, as Jay Bruce who led the team with 29 home runs and 75 RBI was sent to the Cleveland Indians, with the Mets only getting Ryder Ryan a low-level minor league reliever in return. Neil Walker was next to go, ending up on the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later (Eric Hanhold). The final piece to go was Curtis Granderson a popular leader in the clubhouse who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jacob Rhame. As September began, the Mets were a far different looking team than the one that began the season. Ravaged by injuries and trades the Mets were in shambles at 58-75. Injuries continued to devastate the Mets as Michael Conforto having an All-Star season dislocated his left shoulder and tore his posterior capsule. Before his season ended, Conforto was batting .279 with 27 home runs and 68 RBI. The injuries were everything imaginable as broke his nose on a foul tip. When the carnage was over, just Jacob deGrom and Jerry Blevins were on the roster all season, as everyone else was either sent to the minors, injured or traded. deGrom was the Mets top pitcher, finishing the year with a record of 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA and 239 strikeouts. The Mets meanwhile finished in fourth place with a disappointing record of 70-92. Following the season Manager, Terry Collins announced he would not return in 2018.
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Page created on February 11, 2001. Last updated on June 27, 2018 at 11:30 pm ET.