The New York Mets franchise began in 1962 and the team finished in last place nearly every year. When the 1969 season began, fans weren’t expecting much from “the Lovable Losers.” But as the season progressed, the Mets inched closer to first place and then eventually clinched the National League pennant. They were underdogs against the formidable Baltimore Orioles, but beat them in five games to become world champions. No one had predicted it. In fact, fans could hardly believe it happened. Suddenly they were “the Miracle Mets.”
Playing right field for the ’69 Mets was Art Shamsky, who had stayed in touch with his former teammates over the years. He hoped to get together with star pitcher Tom Seaver (who would win the Cy Young award as the best pitcher in the league in 1969 and go on to become the first Met elected to the Hall of Fame) but Seaver was ailing and could not travel. So, Shamsky organized a visit to Tom Terrific in California, accompanied by the #2 pitcher, Jerry Koosman, outfielder Ron Swoboda, and shortstop Bud Harrelson. Together they recalled the highlights of that amazing season as they reminisced about what changed the Mets’ fortunes in 1969.
With the help of sportswriter Erik Sherman, Shamsky has written After the Miracle for the 1969 Mets. This is a book that every Mets fan—and every baseball fan—must own.
|A story that begins with the author who had played on the 69 team getting with some of the players and making a trip to Napa Valley to visit Tom Sever, who cannot travel due to the effects of lime disease. Then the author begins the story of the team that year. Breaking spring training going to New York and who it was difficult at first for him since he was hurt and went to the triple-A club first, joining the Mets a little later. Once you get into the story you begin to see how the team had a winning streak early in the season and this gave them confidence, especially because they were over 500 and no other Mets team had ever been over 500. Just a few years before they lost 102 games, now they were playing winning baseball. Had a small losing streak going into the All-Star game and did not play well coming out either being beaten by the lowly Astros, who would also sweep them in a doubleheader. The turning point was the games against the Cubs and they were winning those battles shrinking their lead from ten games down to four. Really what took it for them was going 38-11 from the end of August to the end of the season. They then would go on to sweep the Braves, then to the World Series against Baltimore. It was there that really no one gave them a chance. I for one being a kid reading what I could. Listening to the radio and some games on TV, the people were talking like the Mets did not have a chance. So when they win it was a shock. Well reading this book and looking back now 50 years later I am not surprised. The manager Gil Hodges was ahead of his time platooning and using his relief pitching when he felt need be. Heck Nolan Ryan was coming out of the bullpen and would be traded to the Angels a few years later. When you get done with that part of the story you are back to the men in the car going to Seavers home. Then the time with him which was a good part of the story. Overall I thought it was a good book. All I remember is them winning and of course, that was the year of landing on the moon and all of the Vietnam fighting which was important in my home because I had an Uncle fighting over there. The author does touch on those as well. A good baseball book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com