The following is an excellent passage from Steven Travers’ book about the ’69 Mets. It describes a moment in early July, when the Mets were facing the rival Chicago Cubs and I think it best llustrates the passion of Mets fans that magical season. The book is called “The 1969 Miracle Mets” and is a must read for all Mets fans.
Cleon Jones came to the plate, hitless all day, but Jenkins was withering. He smoked a line drive double over Ron Santo’s head, scoring Boswell and Clendenon to tie it. The Cubs bullpen was up by now as Durocher went out to talk it over with Jenkins. He kept him in the game. Shea throbbed with emotion. The noise, the fevered passions, were unlike anything ever felt at Yankee Stadium. It was Ebbets with Duke at the plate, Jackie dancing off third; “Broadway Joe” eyeing the Raiders’ secondary with a minute or so left, the goal post within his sights; it was all of that rolled into one.
Shea literally used to shake when the Mets were winning and I trust Citi Field will rock like that soon enough. It is for moments like this that Mets fans yearn and that is why we are as impatient and starved for a champion than ever. It is the magic of those winning seasons that keeps the fans coming back, and it was the destiny that seemed so present in 2006 that made us so desperate for a champion. We can hope and pray that the moves Minaya makes this offseason can help us reach the playoffs once more. But on the surface, we seem to be set up to fall to the now mighty Philadelphia Phillies for a fourth consecutive year. Excluding 1986, the truly great Mets seasons are not the ones we entered expecting to win it all. In ’69 the Mets were supposed to be good, but not championship caliber. The Cards were supposed to repeat the division behind the incomparable arm of Bob Gibson. They didn’t even sniff 1st place all year. The Cubs then looked to be the team to beat, but the Mets rallied late to win the division by more than 9 games. In ’73 and ’99, to name a few other seasons, the Mets made an unexpected 2nd half push to the playoffs. It is the come from behind type seasons that baseball fans find so magical and memorable. Sports Illustrated will not name the Mets their World Series winner this year, and that’s how I like it. I’m realistic and I’m not all of a sudden getting my hopes up for 2010, especially with the pitching staff not looking very threatening after Johan. But sometimes, things fall into place for our team and there is no better proof of that than 1969.