There is no point in writing a beginning-to-end review of the 1969 Mets since many people and websites have already done a great job. Here is the page from ThisGreatGame.com, capturing the basic details of the most incredible season in Mets history.
There was another quote about something happening that was as unbelievable as a moon landing in 1969.
There was also the famous Black Cat Game on Friday, August 13. The cat, Leo Durocher‘s questionable managing, and the maturation of the Mets’ young pitchers are all credited with helping the Mets beat out the Cubs.
I credit the bond between Gil Hodges and Tom Seaver more than any other factor. I have heard Seaver interviewed many times over the years. He credits Hodges as the key. The other players credit Hodges and Seaver for bringing a new confidence to the team at just the right time.
Mark Herrman wrote an article for Newsday comparing the 1969 and 2015 Mets. Here’s a quote from Herrman’s article, putting the season in historical context:
"“There never will be another team like the ’69 Mets in large part because there never will be another year like ’69. It straddled the line between excitement and turmoil. Woodstock happened that summer and Vietnam loomed over every aspect of American life, including baseball. Players, including Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson, had to leave their clubs for weeks to fulfill military reserve duties. Tom Seaver won Game 4 of the World Series against the Orioles during Moratorium Day, which produced a massive antiwar protest in New York.”"
And here’s a joke quoted by Herrman: “In the 1977 movie ‘Oh, God!’ George Burns played the title character and said, ‘My last miracle was the ’69 Mets. Before that, you have to go back to the Red Sea.'”
June 15, 1969: Traded a player to be named later, Jay Carden (minors), David Colon (minors), Kevin Collins and Steve Renko to the Montreal Expos. Received Donn Clendenon. The New York Mets sent Terry Dailey (minors) (May 16, 1970) to the Montreal Expos to complete the trade (from Baseball Reference).
Key in-season move
Early in the season, Hodges used Cal Koonce (SABR bio) as his closer. He got off to a bad start, and in June, Hodges replaced Koonce with Tug McGraw, using the tandem of Ron Taylor (SABR bio) and McGraw (SABR bio) as his late-inning relievers, pushing Koonce to the role of long man/mop up.
The Mets had transitioned McGraw from starter to reliever early in the season, and he took well to his new role, giving the Mets a lefty-righty combo that provided quality support for the talented young rotation.
In addition to being talented, McGraw and Taylor were two of the most interesting baseball players to ever play for the Mets. Maxwell Kates from the SABR Biography Project wrote about Taylor, “Although he was a natural left-hander, his mother feared that young Ron would suffer cardiovascular ailments from extensive use of his left arm, and insisted that he learn to pitch right-handed — ‘Insist? She tied my left hand behind my back!'”
Best regular-season moment
Gary Gentry shuts out the St. Louis Cardinals (radio broadcast) 6-0 at Shea, and the fans tear the field apart.