New York Mets

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New York Mets
"Ya Gotta Believe"
</br> Established 1962 </br>
Image:Mets 2.gif</br> Team Logo Image:NLMetsIcon.PNG</br> Cap Insignia
Major league affiliations
Current uniform
Retired Numbers 14, 37, 41
Name
  • New York Mets (1962–present)
Ballpark
Major league titles
World Series titles (2) 1969 • 1986
NL Pennants (4) 1969 • 1973 • 1986 • 2000
East Division titles (5) 1969 • 1973 • 1986 • 1988 </br>2006 
Wild card berths (2) 1999 • 2000

The New York Mets are a Major League Baseball team based in Flushing, in the New York City Borough of Queens. They play in the Eastern Division of the National League. The Mets are one of two major league franchises in the City of New York, along with the New York Yankees.

Contents

[edit] Franchise history

Image:NYM 1235.gif
The early version of the New York Mets skyline logo (1962-1998), featuring the interlocking "NY" at left.

[edit] Origins

In 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants abandoned New York for California, leaving the largest city in the United States without a National League franchise. Two years later, on July 27, 1959, attorney William Shea announced the formation of a third major baseball league, the Continental League. After a contentious year, in 1960, Shea and the other Continental League organizers reached a deal with the established major leagues. In exchange for abandoning the new league, four new expansion franchises were created — two in each league. New York City received one of the National League teams with Joan Whitney Payson and her husband Charles Shipman Payson, former minority owners of the Giants, as the principal owners, along with George Herbert Walker, Jr. (uncle of President George H. W. Bush), who served as vice president and treasurer until 1977.<ref name="WashPostTV">Template:Cite web</ref> Former Giants director M. Donald Grant, the only member of the board to oppose the Giants' move West, became chairman of the board.

The new team required a new name and many were suggested. Among the finalists were "Bees", "Burros", "Continentals", "Skyscrapers", "Jets", as well as the eventual runner-up, "Skyliners". Although Payson had admitted a preference for "Meadowlarks," the owners ultimately selected "Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York," or "Mets" because it was closely related to the club's already-existing corporate name "New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc.", it hearkened back to "Metropolitans", a historically significant name used by an earlier New York team in the American Association from 1883 to 1887, and because its brevity would naturally fit in newspaper headlines. The name was received with broad approval among fans and press.

[edit] 1962-1968: Lovable losers

In October, 1961, the National League held an expansion draft to stock the rosters of the Mets and the Houston Colt .45s with players from other clubs. 22 players were selected by the Mets, including some with notable previous success such as Roger Craig, Al Jackson, Frank Thomas and Richie Ashburn. But rather than select talented young players with future potential, Mets management preferred to sign faded stars of the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees to appeal to fans' nostalgia. Legendary Yankees manager Casey Stengel was hired out of retirement to lead the team, but his managerial acumen wasn't enough to overcome the severe deficiency of talent among the players. The Mets began their on-field play in 1962, losing their first nine games en route to a 40-120 record. Their .250 winning percentage was the third worst by any major league team since the beginning of the 20th Century. Throughout major league history only the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134) lost more games in a single season than the 1962 Mets. It wasn't until 2003 that the record would be threatened by the Detroit Tigers, who finished the season at 43-119. The ineptness of the Mets during their first year is chronicled in colorful fashion in the 1963 book Can't Anybody Here Play This Game? written by legendary New York columnist Jimmy Breslin.

Beloved by New York fans despite their losing ways — or perhaps because of them — the Mets of the early 1960s became famous for their ineptitude. Journeyman players like the ironically nicknamed "Marvelous Marv" Throneberry became icons of athletic incompetence. Ex-Dodger and Giant pitcher Billy Loes, who was selected by the Mets in the 1961 expansion draft, was credited with this ungrammatical quotation: "The Mets is a good thing. They give everybody jobs. Just like the WPA." Even the Mets proved to have standards, however. In 1962, Cleveland Indians catcher Harry Chiti was purchased by the Mets for a player to be named later in the season. That "player to be named later" ended up being Harry Chiti. Chiti is the only player ever to be sent back to his original team in a trade in Major League history.

In 1964, the Mets, who played their first two seasons in the old Polo Grounds, the former home of the Giants, moved to the newly constructed Shea Stadium, a 55,300-seat multipurpose facility built in the Flushing neighborhood of the Borough of Queens, adjacent to the site of the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs. One high point of Shea Stadium's first season came on Father's Day, when Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning threw a perfect game against the Mets, the first in the National League since 1880. For perhaps the only time in the stadium's history, the Shea faithful found themselves rooting for the visitors, caught up in the rare achievement, and roaring for Bunning on every pitch in the ninth inning. His strikeout of John Stephenson capped the performance. Another high point was Shea Stadium's hosting of the 1964 All-Star Game.

The Mets' image as lovable losers was wearing a little thin as the decade progressed, but things began to change slowly in the late '60s. The Mets acquired top pitching prospect Tom Seaver in a lottery and he became the league's Rookie of the Year in 1967, despite the team finishing last again. He and two other young players, catcher Jerry Grote and shortstop Bud Harrelson, formed a new, determined clubhouse nucleus that had no interest in losing, lovably or otherwise. By the 1968 season, Wes Westrum would be replaced as manager by Gil Hodges. Pitcher Jerry Koosman joined the staff and had a spectacular rookie season in 1968, winning 19 games. Leftfielder Cleon Jones developed as a batter and exciting center fielder Tommie Agee came over in a trade. But although much improved, the 1968 team still finished the season in 9th place.

[edit] 1969: The Miracle Mets-"You Gotta Believe"

The Mets began the 1969 season with a mediocre start, going 21-23 through the end of May. By mid-August, the favored Chicago Cubs seemed safely on their way to winning the pennant in the newly-formed National League East Division while the Mets sat in third place, ten games behind. On August 14, the Cubs led the Mets by 9 1/2 games. But Chicago went 8-17 in September, while the Mets, with outstanding pitching from their young staff, piled up victory after victory, winning 38 of their last 49 games and finishing in first place with a 100-62 record for the season, their first winning year ever, a full eight games over the Cubs. The Mets finished with a team ERA of 2.99, and a league leading 28 shutouts thrown. Tom Seaver led the way with a 25-7 record, with lefty Jerry Koosman behind him at 17-9 record, while Cleon Jones finished with a .340 batting average. Seaver's best game occurred on July 9, at Shea Stadium, where he came within two outs of a perfect game, but gave up a one-out, ninth-inning single to the Cubs' Jimmy Qualls for the only hit in the Mets' 4-0 victory.

The "Amazin' Mets" or "Miracle Mets", as they became known by the press, went on to win a three-game sweep of the strong Atlanta Braves, led by legend Henry "Hank" Aaron, in the very first National League Championship Series. The Mets were still considered underdogs in this series despite the fact that they had a better record than the Braves.

The Mets were given very little chance in the 1969 World Series, facing a powerful Baltimore Orioles team that had gone 109-53 in the regular season and included future Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. Before the series began, pundits predicted Tom Seaver might win the opening game, but that the Mets would have trouble winning again in the World Series. As it turned out, just the opposite occurred; Seaver was roughed up, allowing four runs in the opener, which he lost -- but the Mets' pitching shut down the Orioles after that, holding them to just five runs over the next four games, to win the World Series of 1969 4 games to 1. Seaver got his revenge in game four, pitching all 10 innings of a 2-1 victory.

This rags-to-riches story is regarded as one of baseball history's great turnarounds, giving hope to underdogs, also-rans and lost causes everywhere. Soon after the season ended, Tom Seaver lent his name to a commercial saying "If the Mets can win the World Series, America can get out of Vietnam." <ref name="VillageBan">Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] 1970-1979: "Ya Gotta Believe!" and the Midnight Massacre

The Miracle Mets magic wore off as the 1970s began. In subsequent years, Mets pitchers generally excelled but received lackluster support from the hitters with mediocre finishes the result. Efforts to improve the offense backfired with blunders such as trading young pitcher Nolan Ryan for infielder Jim Fregosi after the 1971 season. Once out of the glaring New York spotlight, Ryan became one of the best pitchers in history, spending 22 more years in the majors and entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. Fregosi battled injuries and played just 146 games for the Mets over a season and a half.

The team was thrown into confusion and shock prior to the 1972 season, when Manager Gil Hodges, who had led the team to the World Series victory in 1969, suffered a sudden heart attack at the end of spring training and died. Coach Yogi Berra succeeded Hodges.

Berra's Mets found themselves in last place with a 61-71 record at the end of August, 1973 but they recovered behind relief pitcher Tug McGraw and his "Ya gotta believe!" rallying cry (the team has since copyrighted the phrase), winning 21 of their last 29 games. In a peculiar circumstance, their final record of only 82-79 was good enough to win the division while five better teams in the Majors missed the postseason. Despite the worst winning percentage ever by a division winner (until the 2005 San Diego Padres), the Mets then shocked the heavily-favored Cincinnati Reds "Big Red Machine" in the NLCS. Their record remains the worst of any pennant-winning team but they managed to push the A.L. champion Oakland A's to a seventh game. Their near-miracle season ended with a loss to Ken Holtzman in the final contest.

As the 1975 season ended, owner Joan Whitney Payson died. Her husband Charles delegated ownership authority to his daughters, while board chairman M. Donald Grant managed the baseball operations. Payson had been the driving force behind the Mets but her survivors did not share her enthusiasm for investing in the future of the team. Contract disputes with star pitcher Tom Seaver and slugger Dave Kingman erupted in 1977. Both players were traded on June 15, the trading deadline, in what New York tabloids dubbed "The Midnight Massacre." The Mets received six players in the two deals, but none had any lasting impact. Attendance fell, to the point where Shea Stadium was nicknamed "Grant's Tomb."

The team finished in last place yet again and Grant was relieved of his duties in 1978. That the crosstown Yankees had begun reaching the postseason again in 1976 further eroded the Mets' fan base. The Mets continued to struggle, and did not become a competitive team again until the mid-1980s, marking the first time that both teams were competitive, both on the field and at the box office.

[edit] 1980-1985: Cashen rebuilds

In January, 1980 the Payson heirs sold the Mets franchise to the Doubleday publishing company for $21.1 million. Nelson Doubleday Jr. was named chairman of the board while minority shareholder Fred Wilpon took the role of club president. Wilpon quickly hired longtime Baltimore Orioles executive Frank Cashen as general manager to begin the process of rebuilding the Mets.

Cashen's positive impact on the organization took some time to be felt at the major league level. He began by selecting slugging high school phenomenon Darryl Strawberry as the number one overall pick in the 1980 amateur draft. Two years later, hard-throwing hurler Dwight Gooden was taken as the fifth overall selection in the 1982 draft. The pair rose quickly through the minors, winning successive Rookie of the Year awards (Strawberry in 1983, Gooden in 1984). Cashen's mid-season 1983 trade for former MVP Keith Hernandez helped spark the Mets' return to competitive contention. In 1984, new manager Davey Johnson was promoted from the helm of the AAA Tidewater Tides and led the Mets to a 90-72 record, their first winning season since 1976. In 1985 the Mets acquired all-star catcher Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos and won 98 games, but lost the division title to the St. Louis Cardinals in the final days of the season in a memorable series. (The Mets began the series three games behind St Louis and won the first two, but faltered in the third game, allowing St Louis to remain in first place).

[edit] 1986-1991: World Series champions again

Main article: 1986 New York Mets

Unlike the league champion Mets of 1969 or 1973, the 1986 Mets broke away from the rest of the division early and dominated throughout the year. They won 20 of their first 24 games, clinched the East Division title on September 17, and finished the year 108-54, which tied with the 1975 Cincinnati Reds for the third most wins in National League history, behind the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116) and the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates (110).

In the National League Championship Series, the Mets met the Houston Astros. The Mets took a two-games-to-one lead with a come-from-behind walk-off home run by Lenny Dykstra. In Game 6, the Mets turned a 3-0 ninth-inning deficit into a sixteen-inning marathon victory to clinch the National League pennant and earn their third World Series appearance.

In the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, the Mets faced elimination leading into Game 6. The Red Sox scored two runs in the tenth inning and were within one strike of winning their first World Series since 1918. Instead, the Mets rallied to tie the game before Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball that became famous when it went through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner to win the game. The Mets went on to earn their second World Series title by winning Game 7. They remain the only team to come within one strike of losing a World Series before recovering to become World Champions.

While the team around the 1986 championship was strong, they also became infamous for off-the-field controversy. Both Strawberry and Gooden were young kids who wound up burning out long before their time because of various substance abuse and personal problems. Both of their problems started before age 25, and have continued through the present (2006). Hernandez's cocaine abuse was the subject of persistent rumors even before he joined the Mets, but he publicly acknowledged his addiction in 1985 and made a successful recovery. Lenny Dykstra's reputation was recently tainted by allegations of steroid use and gambling problems <ref name="USATodaySteroids">Template:Cite web</ref>. Instead of putting together a winning dynasty, the problems caused the Mets to soon fall apart <ref name="SIFlashback">Template:Cite web</ref>. Despite Darryl Strawberry's numerous off-the-field mishaps, he remains the Mets' all-time leader in home runs and runs batted in.

After winning the World Series in 1986, World Series MVP Ray Knight signed with the Orioles. Also, they traded the flexible Kevin Mitchell to the Padres for long-ball threat Kevin McReynolds. But the biggest shock since the Midnight Massacre of 1977 was when Mets' ace Dwight Gooden was admitted to a drug clinic. But "Dr. K" was back, and so were the Mets. They would surge to battle St. Louis for the division title. But on September 11 in a game against St. Louis, 3rd baseman and future MVP Terry Pendleton hit a homer to give the Cardinals a lead, and eventually the NL East title. One highlight of the year was Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson becoming the first teammates ever to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season.

After missing the playoffs in 1987, the 1988 Mets again won the division. Thanks to some stellar pitching from Gooden, Darling, and David Cone as well as offense from McReynolds, Strawberry, and Howard Johnson, the Mets won 100 games for the 2nd time in 3 campaigns. However, the clubhouse was distracted by the presence of a young Gregg Jefferies who was just called up. The veteran players took a disliking to Jefferies, who had a habit of excessive bragging, prompting his teammates to saw his bats in half as a form of hazing [1]. The Mets played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1988 National League Championship Series in a season where they beat them 10 out of 11 times but the Dodgers continued their Cinderella story season by beating the Mets in seven games.

The Mets (as well as the Montreal Expos) would battle the Cubs for the division title in 1989, but Chicago would prevail, despite a career year by Howard Johnson and a deadline trade with Minnesota for 1988 AL Cy Young winner Frank Viola. Those high points were tempered by injuries to Gooden, Hernandez and Carter as well as an ill-fated trade [2] that sent Dykstra and Roger McDowell to Philadelphia in exchange for Juan Samuel. After the season, Samuel, who hit .235 that season, would be traded to the Dodgers for Mike Marshall, who would hit .239 in 53 games for the Mets before being traded to Boston. Dykstra, however, would become an All-Star in Philadelphia and help lead his team to a pennant in 1993.

That offseason, the Mets had a mix of triumph and tragedy. They would receive All-Star closer and native New Yorker John Franco in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, and Strawberry, in legal trouble as well, would check into an alcohol rehabilitation center and miss the start of the season. The next season, the Mets would surge again to battle the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Pittsburgh's "B-B Guns" (which included National League MVP Barry Bonds , future Mets Bobby Bonilla and Jay Bell and former Met Wally Backman) led the Pirates to their first NLCS since 1979. In that campaign, general manager Frank Cashen let Johnson go of his managerial duties and replaced him with former shortstop Harrelson. Although he led them to a good finish in 1990 (Strawberry's last with the Mets, as he went on to sign with the Dodgers in the offseason), the Mets fell to 5th place in 1991. Before the 1991 season the Mets signed Vince Coleman to a fat $2 million contract after failing to sign defending batting champion Willie McGee. This was the first of what would lead to many bad free agent signings and trades, that would doom the Mets during the mid 1990's.

During the 1991 season, the Mets were actually in contention for most of the first half of the season, closing to within 2.5 games of the front-running Pirates at one point. However, during the second half, the bottom completely fell out and Harrelson was fired with a week left to go in the season, replaced by third base coach Mike Cubbage for the final games. The season ended on a high note, however, as David Cone pitched a one hit shutout against the Phillies at Veterans Stadium, in which he tied the National League strikeout record of 19 in a game (since broken).

[edit] 1992-1995: "Hardball Is Back" and The Worst Team Money Could Buy

With all of the personal problems swirling around the Mets after the 1986 championship, the Mets tried to rebuild using experienced superstars. They picked up the aging eventual Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for over $3 million, the younger but troubled Pittsburgh Pirates free agent slugger Bobby Bonilla for over $6 million, traded McReynolds and Jeffries for one-time World Series hero Bret Saberhagen and his $3 million contract and veteran free agent pitcher Frank Tanana for $1.5 million. The rebuilding was supported by the slogan, "Hardball Is Back."<ref>THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING -- ADDENDA; A New Approach For the Mets, The New York Times, March 26, 1993</ref>

The experiment of building a team via free agency quickly flopped as Saberhagen and Coleman were soon injured and spent more time on the disabled list than on the field, and Bonilla exhibited unprofessional behavior towards members of the press, once threatening a reporter by saying, "I'll show you The Bronx" [3]. At the beginning of the 1991 season, Coleman, Gooden and outfielder Daryl Boston were named in an alleged sexual abuse incident against a woman near the Mets' spring training facility; charges were later dropped. Meanwhile, popular pitcher David Cone was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays during the 1992 season for Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent. While the move was widely criticized by fans of both teams, the Jays went on to win the 1992 World Series.

The lowest point of the experiment was the 1993 season when the Mets lost 103 games. In April of that year, Gooden was injured when Coleman accidentally hit Gooden's shoulder with a golf club while practicing his swing. In July, Saberhagen threw a firecracker under a table near reporters. Their young pitching prospect Anthony Young started the '93 season at 0-13 and his overall streak of 27 straight losses over two years set a new record. After Young's record-setting loss, Coleman threw a firecracker out of the team bus window and injured three people resulting in felony charges that effectively ended his Mets career. Only a few days later, Saberhagen was in trouble again, this time for spraying bleach at three reporters. The meltdown season resulted in the worst record for a Mets team since 1965. Their descent was chronicled by the book The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse Of The New York Mets (ISBN 0-8032-7822-5) by Mets beat writers Bob Klapisch and John Harper. In addition, two of the three remaining links to the '86 team, Howard Johnson and Sid Fernandez, departed after the season via free agency.

The following season was filled with some bright spots, but there was still trouble for the franchise, and for the team's franchise player. Gooden, who had a 3-4 record with a 6.31 ERA in the final year of his contract with the team, shocked not only New York sports fans, but baseball fans around the country by testing positive for cocaine and was suspended by Major League Baseball for 60 days. Shortly after he began serving his suspension for the positive drug test, it was announced that he had again tested positive for cocaine and was now being suspended by Major League Baseball for one year, thus ending his Mets career and nearly his life. The day after receiving the second suspension, Gooden's then-wife, Monica, found him in his bedroom with a loaded gun to his head.

Still, the 1994 season saw some promise for the troubled Mets, as first baseman Rico Brogna and second baseman Jeff Kent became fan favorites with their solid glove work and potential 20-25 home run power, Bonilla started to become the player the Mets expected, and a healthy Saberhagen, along with promising young starter Bobby Jones and Franco, helped the Mets pitching staff along. In the strike-shortened 1994 season the Mets were in 3rd place behind first-place Montreal and defending Eastern Division and National League champion Philadelphia when the season ended on August 12. When the strike finally ended in 1995, the Mets finally showed some promise again, finishing in 2nd place behind eventual World Champion Atlanta.

[edit] 1996-2004: Piazza, Bobby V, and the Subway Series

While the 1990s started badly for the Mets, things started looking up in 1997. They missed the playoffs by only four games, but they improved by 17 games over 1996. The highlight of the Mets 1996 season was switch hitting catcher Todd Hundley breaking the Major League Baseball single season record for home runs hit by catcher with 41. In 1997 Hundley was having another great season, however, he went down with a devastating elbow injury and needed Tommy John surgery, midway through the season. For a time, it looked like the Los Angeles Dodgers were going to be shopping their superstar catcher, Mike Piazza, in a trade rather than pay the exorbitant salary that 1997's MVP runner-up was going to demand at the end of the 1998 season. In a puzzling move, on May 14, 1998, the Dodgers sent Piazza to the Florida Marlins, who were purging themselves of high salaries to alleviate their claimed financial problems. The Marlins' move made more sense when, just a week later, they re-traded Piazza to the Mets for Preston Wilson and two prospects. The Dodgers had no free agency problem, the Marlins had young players with small salaries and the Mets had their new lineup-anchoring catcher. When Hundley returned from his injury in the 1998 season the Mets experimented with Hundley in left field. The experiment was short lived however and Hundley was in a Dodgers uniform in the 1999 season.

Image:NYM 1247.gif
Alternate version of the Mets skyline logo in black (1999-present).
Image:Mets 2.gif
The New York Mets' new logo, without the "NY" logo (1999).

After the 1998 trade, the Mets played well, but missed the 1998 postseason by only one game. With only five games left in the 1998 season, the Mets could not win a single game against both the Montreal Expos at home and the Atlanta Braves on the road, the Mets could have forced a three-way wild card tie by winning their last game. Although it seemed like a terrible ending to a good season, Met fans felt confident that the team was moving in the right direction. After signing Mike Piazza to a seven-year, $91 million contract, the Mets acquired Armando Benítez from the Baltimore Orioles, and signed Robin Ventura, Rickey Henderson, Bobby Bonilla again, and Roger Cedeño to fill out the needs for the start of the 1999 season. John Olerud anchored the heart of the Mets' order.

The Mets started the 1999 season well, going 17-9, but after an eight-game losing streak, including the last two to the New York Yankees, on June 6 the Mets fired their entire coaching staff except for manager Bobby Valentine. On that day, the Mets, in front of a national audience on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, beat the New York Yankees 7-2 and they never looked back. Both Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura started to have MVP-type seasons and Benny Agbayani began to have an important role on the team. Also this was the breakout year for Mets second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, as he had 108 RBI, and Roger Cedeño, who broke the single season steals record for the Mets. After the regular season ended, the Mets played a one game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds to see which team would advance to the playoffs. In that game, Mets ace Al Leiter pitched the best game of his Met career as he hurled a two hit complete game shutout, a 5-0 victory to advance to the playoffs. In the NLDS, the Mets defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3 games to 1, their series-clinching victory coming on an unlikely home run hit by backup catcher Todd Pratt, playing due to a thumb injury to Piazza. The Mets would advance to the 1999 National League Championship Series, their first NLCS since 1988, only to lose to the Atlanta Braves in six exciting games which included the famous grand slam single by Robin Ventura to win game 5 for the Mets.

In the offseason, the Mets traded Roger Cedeño and Octavio Dotel to the Houston Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton. Todd Zeile was signed to play first base, replacing departing free agent Olerud. The Mets were heading to the 2000 season as a powerhouse in the National League.

2000 began well for the Mets as Derek Bell became the best hitter on the team for the first month. The Mets enjoyed good play the whole year. The highlight of the season came on June 30, when the Mets beat the rival Atlanta Braves in a memorable game at Shea Stadium on Fireworks Night. With the Mets losing 8-1 to begin the bottom of the eighth, they rallied back with two outs to tie the game, capping the 10-run inning with Mike Piazza's three run home run to put the Mets up 11-8, giving them the lead and eventually the win. The Mets easily made the playoffs winning the National League wild card. In the playoffs, the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants in the first round and the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2000 National League Championship Series to win their fourth NL pennant. Mike Hampton was named the NLCS MVP for his two scoreless starts in the series as the Mets headed to the 2000 World Series to face their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. Unfortunately for the Mets, they were defeated in the much-hyped "Subway Series". Even though they lost 4 games to 1, each game was close, as they scored only three fewer total runs than the Yankees. This was the first all-New York World Series since 1956, when the Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In the seasons following the 2000 World Series, the Mets struggled mightily as the result of several poor player acquisitions, including Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeño (again) and Jeromy Burnitz. These acquisitions were made by then-general manager Steve Phillips, who was fired during the 2003 season. Phillips was credited with building the 2000 World Series team, but also blamed for the demise of the Mets' farm system and the poor play of the acquired players. The Mets' record in 2003 (66-95) was the fourth worst in baseball, and Piazza had missed two-thirds of the season with a torn groin muscle. His steady decline around that time mirrored the Mets' fortunes for the first half of the decade.

In 2004, the Mets made more player additions that turned out to be poor. They signed Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui, who never lived up to his potential in two-and-a-half years with the Mets. General manager Jim Duquette acquired pitcher Kris Benson for third baseman Ty Wigginton at the trade deadline just before sending highly-touted pitching prospect Scott Kazmir to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the disappointing Victor Zambrano, regarded by most as the worst recent trade by the Mets, possibly their worst ever. However, the Mets brought up two young infielders with bright futures, David Wright and José Reyes, and they have become the best products from the farm system since Strawberry and Gooden. The Mets finished 71-91 in 2004.

[edit] 2005-present: Minaya takes the reins

After the 2004 season, Mets ownership made significant changes to their management strategy. With their television contract with the MSG Network expiring by the end of 2005, they announced plans to establish their own cable network to broadcast Mets games, rivaling the Yankee-owned YES Network. This investment in what became known as SportsNet New York was coupled with an aggressive plan to upgrade the performance of the team on the field. Jim Duquette was replaced as general manager by former Expos GM Omar Minaya. Minaya, an ex-Mets assistant GM, achieved notable success in Montreal by making bold player moves on a limited budget. With the Mets, Minaya was given substantial financial resources to develop a winning team by the time the new network launched in 2006.

Minaya began by hiring Yankee bench coach Willie Randolph as manager, then signed two of that year's most sought-after free agents — Pedro Martínez and Carlos Beltrán — to large multi-year deals. Though Beltrán underperformed, Martínez and a rejuvenated Tom Glavine led the pitching staff while Cliff Floyd's power, Jose Reyes' speed and David Wright's hitting sparked the offense. Despite an 0-5 start to the season, the team finished 83-79, finishing above the .500 mark for the first time since 2001.

After 2005, the departure of Mike Piazza gave Minaya enough financial flexibility to take full advantage of a payroll-reduction effort by the Florida Marlins. All-star first baseman Carlos Delgado and all-star catcher Paul Lo Duca were acquired from Florida in exchange for five prospects. Minaya also improved the bullpen by signing star free agent closer Billy Wagner.

Minaya's offseason moves and his organization of the team during the season paid off in 2006, as the team, led by a franchise record six All-Stars (Beltran, Lo Duca, Reyes, Wright, Glavine, and Martínez), won the division title, their first in 18 years. The Mets led the division from April 6 on, and built a lead as high as 16 1/2 games, before clinching the division on September 18th, becoming the first team in the major leagues to clinch a 2006 playoff berth. The Mets finished the season 12 games ahead of the Phillies, and with the best record in the National League. The Mets achieved this success despite a slew of injuries which included losing Martínez for a month, and starting fifteen different pitchers in games. A 9-1 June road trip through Los Angeles, Arizona and Philadelphia was a turning point for the season.

The Mets 2006 division title ended the Atlanta Braves' streak of 14 straight National League East division titles, as they became the first team besides Atlanta to win the NL East since the 1994 division realignment. 2006 was also the first time ever that the Mets and Yankees each won their respective divisions in the same year. Both New York teams also had the best records in their respective leagues, 97 wins and 65 losses.

Despite losing Pedro Martínez and Orlando Hernández from their starting rotation due to injury just before the start of the post-season, the Mets swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 National League Division Series, relying on their bullpen (with the lowest regular season ERA in the National League) and their potent offense. But the over worked bullpen finally faltered and the offense failed in key moments in the 2006 National League Championship Series, and the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, the eventual 2006 World Series champions in seven games, with the decisive blow coming on a ninth-inning home run by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

In 2007, The Mets will start their season on the road against the Cardinals. Their first game is scheduled for Sunday, April 1, 2007 in St. Louis. The game is scheduled to be nationally televised on ESPN2 at 8:05 PM EST. The Mets will face a very tough schedule including a June in which they play the Yankees, Athletics, Twins, and Tigers, all playoff teams in 2006.

[edit] Stadium plans

Main article: Citi Field

On June 12, 2005 a plan was announced for a new Mets ballpark to be built adjacent to the current park in Flushing, Queens. Construction of the new stadium, to be called Citi Field, is expected to be paid by the Mets, while "infrastructure improvement" costs at the site are to be paid by the city. The final mix of private and public funding has not been settled. As of 2005, Shea Stadium is the sixth oldest stadium among the 30 facilities in major league baseball, and will be the 5th oldest by the end of the 2008 season as the Washington Nationals are scheduled to move into their new park before 2009. Shea Stadium is nearly as old as Ebbets Field was when the Dodgers abandoned it. The current site of Shea Stadium is expected to be a parking lot for Citi Field.

Citi Field is to be a "retro" park, following current architectural trends in stadium design. It will follow the brick and steel-truss trend begun by the Orioles at Camden Yards in 1992. The exterior facade will resemble Ebbets Field, former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The new stadium will be an open-air design, designed to give the fans a more personal experience. The stadium will only hold 45,000 fans, which is less than the current capacity of Shea Stadium. According to design notes the lesser capacity creates better sightlines and a more contoured seating configuration, allowing seating closer to the field.

Construction of the new stadium began in 2006. Most of the current parking lot was closed off to begin preparing for the installation of the main support columns during the 2006 season, but the official groundbreaking did not take place until November 13, just beyond the left field bleachers of Shea Stadium. The naming rights of the stadium were sold to Citigroup. The name Citi Field was officially anounced at the November groundbreaking.<ref name=citif>Mets break ground on new ballpark. MLB.com. Retrieved November 13 2006.</ref> Citigroup reportedly agreed to pay $20 million a year for the rights, which would be the most lucrative naming rights deal ever in terms of revenue per year.<ref>Report: Mets strike stadium naming deal</ref> The stadium is scheduled to open for the 2009 season.

[edit] Trivia

  • The Mets held the New York baseball attendance record for 29 years. They broke the Yankees' 1948 record by drawing nearly 2.7 million in 1970. The Mets broke their own record five times before the Yankees took it back in 1999.[4][5]
  • When a Mets player hits a home run at Shea Stadium, a big red apple emerges from a giant top hat behind center right field sometimes accompanied by a small fireworks display.
  • The Mets' first scheduled game was postponed due to rain on April 10, 1962 at St. Louis.
  • Gil Hodges hit the first home run in New York Mets history on April 11, 1962 at St. Louis.
  • Roger Craig is the only Met to have lost 20 or more games in a season twice (10-24 in 1962, 5-22 in 1963).
  • Ken Mackenzie was the only pitcher on the 1962 staff with a winning record (5-4, 4.95)
  • Jerry Koosman is the only Mets pitcher to have won 20 games in a season and lost 20 games in a season.
  • The 1969 Mets recorded an album featuring them singing a variety of songs, including "You Gotta Have Heart" from the musical Damn Yankees. The 1969 Mets also performed "You Gotta Have Heart" on the "Ed Sullivan Show."
  • On April 10, 1969 Tommie Agee became the only player ever to hit a home run to the small area of fair territory in the upper level of Shea Stadium. A painted sign on the stands nearby commemorates the spot.
  • In 1966, the Mets chose catcher Steve Chilcott as the first overall selection in the amateur draft. He became the first number one draft pick to retire without reaching the major leagues. The second pick that year was Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
  • No Met pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter, and the Mets have gone longer than any other major league franchise without pitching a no-hitter — more than seven thousand games. Ironically, a number of pitchers -- Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Doc Gooden, just to name a few -- have thrown no-hitters either before joining the Mets or after leaving the team.
  • The two pitchers who recorded the final outs of the Mets' two World Series titles were traded for one another. Jerry Koosman of the 1969 team was dealt to the Minnesota Twins in 1978 for Jesse Orosco of the 1986 team.
  • The Mets have appeared in more World Series — four — than any other expansion team in Major League Baseball history. They have won two championships, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins for the most titles among expansion teams.
  • On June 16, 1997, pitcher Dave Mlicki led the Mets to a 6-0 win over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the first ever regular-season game played between the crosstown rivals.
  • The first major sporting event to take place in New York City after the September 11, 2001 attacks was played at Shea Stadium on September 21, 2001, when the Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves. The Mets came from behind to win, 3-2, on an eighth inning home run by Mike Piazza. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lifelong fan of the rival Yankees, attended the game and was cheered by the crowd for his leadership in the preceding ten days.<ref name="9/11">Template:Cite web</ref>
  • In 1998, the Independent Budget Office of the city of New York published a study on the economic impact of the city's two major league baseball teams. The study included an analysis of where fans of both the Mets and the Yankees resided. The study found that 39% of Mets fans lived in one of the five boroughs of New York, 49% in the tri-state area outside the city and 12% elsewhere. Mets fans were more likely to be found in Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island whereas Manhattan, the Bronx, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the upstate counties of Westchester and Rockland leaned more towards the Yankees. <ref name="IBO">Template:Cite web</ref>
  • On October 3, 2004, the Mets played against the Montreal Expos in their last game before they became the Washington Nationals. Coincidentally, the Mets also played against the Expos in the franchise's inaugural game. Both games were contested at Shea Stadium.
  • Kazuo Matsui became the first person, as a member of the Mets, to hit a home run in his first plate appearance in each of his first 3 seasons from 2004-2006.
  • The 2006 Mets were the first team in MLB history to win eight consecutive road games and score in the first inning of each game.
  • On July 16, 2006, the Mets set a franchise record by scoring 11 runs in one inning. It took place in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs. There were three home runs in the inning; a two-run homer by David Wright, and grand slams from both Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltrán. The Mets sent 16 batters to the plate in the inning, which took 41 minutes to complete and oddly started with a pop out by Chris Woodward. <ref name="11runinning">Template:Cite web</ref>
  • In July 2006, the Mets became the third team to hit six grand slams in a month, joining the Cleveland Indians of May 1999 and the Montreal Expos in April 1996. Carlos Beltrán tied the Major League record for slams in a month with three, José Valentín hit two and Cliff Floyd hit one. <ref name="6slams">Template:Cite web</ref>
  • On September 26, 2006, Tom Seaver was named the Mets Hometown hero in a fan poll sponsored by Major League Baseball and DHL.

[edit] Quick facts

Founded: 1962
Owner(s): Fred Wilpon (Private)
General Manager: Omar Minaya
Manager: Willie Randolph
Uniform Colors: Blue, Orange, White, Gray, Black
Logo Design:
  • An interlocking N and Y with decorative serifs.
  • Mets in orange script over a blue New York City skyline over a bridge. The logo is super-imposed over a baseball, with orange stitching running over it.
Team Mascot: Mr. Met, a human with a giant baseball for a head.
Team Motto(s):
{{{Current Mottos}}}
  • "You Gotta Believe!"
Theme Song(s):

Bring Em' Out - Played when Mets take the field.

Local Television Affiliates: SportsNet New York, WPIX New York
Announcers: Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez
Local Radio Affiliates: WFAN, WADO (Spanish)
Announcers: Ed Coleman, Howie Rose, Tom McCarthy
Spring Training Facility: Thomas J. White Stadium, Port St. Lucie, FL

[edit] Uniform and logo symbolism

[edit] Uniform color and design

The colors of the uniform, orange, blue, black, and white, were chosen to represent the National League teams that had formerly inhabited the city of New York. The Orange and black represent the New York Giants. The Blue and white represent the Brooklyn Dodgers. The pinstripes on the Mets home uniforms was an idea taken from the New York Yankees, thus the Mets have intertwined New York's Major League Baseball history into their uniforms. The Mets always wore some form of grey jersey for their road uniform up until the 1998 season.

Before the 1997 season the Mets introduced their "snow white" home jerseys, as an alternate home jersey. These uniforms were completely white with no pinstripes, and the cap of the uniform was completely white. The "snow white" jerseys are still in use as a home jersey, and are worn more than the pinstripes now. The white cap is not in uniform circulation anymore. Before the 1998 season black was also added as an official Mets color. The Mets used their black cap as an alternate cap starting that season, and began using their black alternate jersey at home and on the road. By 2003 the Mets home pinstripe jersey was only worn sparingly, as the newer black outfits were worn more freequently. The black cap has become the Mets primary cap now, no matter what jersey they are wearing. Though these are the uniforms that the Mets wear most commonly, the team still states that the traditional pinstripe design is their official home uniform, while the black jerseys are the alternates.

[edit] Logo

The cap logo is identical to the logo used by the New York Giants, and is on blue cap reminiscent of the caps worn by the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the skyline logo, each part of the skyline has special meaning — at the left is a church spire, symbolic of Brooklyn, the borough of churches; the second building from the left is the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the tallest building in Brooklyn; next is the Woolworth Building; after a general skyline view of midtown comes the Empire State Building; at the far right is the United Nations Building. The bridge in the center symbolizes that the Mets, in bringing back the National League to New York, represent all five boroughs.[6]

[edit] Postseason appearances

Year NLDS NLCS World Series
1969 Atlanta Braves W (3-0) Baltimore Orioles W (4-1)
1973 Cincinnati Reds W (3-2) Oakland Athletics L (4-3)
1986 Houston Astros W (4-2) Boston Red Sox W (4-3)
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers L (4-3)
1999 Arizona Diamondbacks W (3-1) Atlanta Braves L (4-2)
2000 San Francisco Giants W (3-1) St. Louis Cardinals W (4-1) New York Yankees L (4-1)
2006 Los Angeles Dodgers W (3-0) St. Louis Cardinals L (4-3)

[edit] Baseball Hall-of-Famers

Elected heavily based on performance with the Mets

  • Gary Carter, catcher, 1985-1989
    • Carter asked that his Hall of Fame plaque either be depicted as split between the Mets and Montreal Expos, or just as a Met. The Hall of Fame denied both of Carter's requests and he was inducted as an Expo.
  • Tom Seaver, pitcher, 1967-1977, 1983 (only player inducted as a Met).

Other Hall-of-Famers associated with the Mets

[edit] Retired numbers

;color:{{{1|inherit}}};">|(1965)
Image:Metret37.PNG
Casey Stengel
Manager: 1962-65
}}

||};color:{{{1|inherit}}};">|(1973)
Image:Metret14.PNG
Gil Hodges
1B: 1962-63
Manager: 1968-71
}} ||};color:{{{1|inherit}}};">|(1988)
Image:Metret41.PNG
Tom Seaver
P: 1966-77, 1983
}}

||};color:{{{1|inherit}}};">|(1997)
Image:Metret42.PNG
Jackie Robinson
Retired by
Major League Baseball
}} |- |}

Although not officially retired, two other numbers are being held out of circulation: '8' for Gary Carter and '24' for Willie Mays, although Rickey Henderson wore '24' during his brief stint with the Mets. Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number on April 15, 1997, when the Mets played the Dodgers at Shea Stadium, although Butch Huskey wore the number throughout the rest of his Mets career (due to a grandfather clause placed on the retired number by MLB). Mo Vaughn also wore number forty-two during his stint with the Mets, due to the same clause.

[edit] Team captains

[edit] Current roster

[edit] New York Mets Roster

Updated on November 21, 2006  

Pitchers

 

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

 

Extended roster

[edit] Coaching staff

Manager

Coaches


[edit] Minor league affiliations

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references/>

[edit] External links

New York Mets Franchise
AAA AA A Rookie
New Orleans Zephyrs Binghamton Mets
St. Lucie Mets
Savannah Sand Gnats
Brooklyn Cyclones
Gulf Coast Mets
Kingsport Mets
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