Mets get back into serious contention in our 1997 simulation
By Tim Boyle
The New York Mets are crawling out of the darkness and back into serious contenders during our 1997 season simulation.
We’re in the beginning stage of what will hopefully become a good run for the New York Mets yet again. It’s now 1997 and after some years of missing the playoffs, I’m hopeful this year brings us some more promising results.
Three-time virtual MVP Mike Piazza is still with the Los Angeles Dodgers but he definitely appears to be someone who can help this club in the not too distant future.
First, we’ll need to get through the 1997 season. Before we do, let’s recap past Mets seasons:
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
1985: 98-64 (NLCS loss 4-3)
1987: 95-67 (NLCS loss 4-3)
1988: 99-63 (World Series Champions)
1989: 110-52 (World Series loss 4-1)
1990: 103-59 (World Series loss 4-0)
The three consecutive World Series appearances are far in the rearview now. Is the 1997 season the one where this organization gets back on track?
Preseason predictions for this club aren’t too promising. The team is expected to finish 76-86 and in fourth-place ahead of only the Montreal Expos. This is a year where the Atlanta Braves are expected to win 107 games and the Florida Marlins will head to the postseason with 98 of their own.
The Mets did have a surprisingly great spring training, finishing 17-13. Maybe this year will turn out better than originally believed.
Regular Season Results
The Mets went into the year as NL East underdogs. However, with some new additions, they were able to put up a strong effort in the first half.
When the All-Star Break rolled in, the simulated Amazins were 44-42. While not an inspiring record and well behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, they were only three games out of the Wild Card spot. Of course, the Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos were the two teams tied for first place. Fortunately, they are the only ones ahead of the Mets.
John Olerud finished the first half with a league-best .352 batting average. With 11 wins, Mark Clark one behind the league-leader.
The best case for the second half would have Olerud win a batting title and the Mets earn themselves a playoff spot via the Wild Card.
Unfortunately, neither was meant to be. Olerud fell out of the batting title race and the Mets, at 89-73, were two games behind the Marlins for the Wild Card spot. It was a frustrating result especially with the 84-78 Pittsburgh Pirates and 81-81 San Diego Padres winning their divisions.
The 1997 virtual Mets were well-represented at the All-Star Game. Pitcher Mark Clark, first baseman John Olerud, and third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo all made the trip.
Olerud went 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI. Alfonzo walked in his lone plate appearance but drove in a run by doing so. Clark failed to get into the game with the National League opting to use only five pitchers in this game.
Rick Reed took home some hardware as the National League Gold Glove winner for pitchers. We also had one very memorable game from another pitcher, Bobby Jones. On August 4, he pitched a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. If I didn’t miss any, it’s the ninth no-hitter by a Mets pitcher in this simulation. The team is still looking for its first perfect game.
Notable Individual Statistics
Before we get into some Mets statistics, let me mention a big one. Sammy Sosa hit 62 home runs in our 1997 simulation. Sosa never held the single-season home run record in real life so it’s interesting to see him do so in this virtual world.
John Olerud hit .343 for the Mets, setting a new single-season record for the franchise. Edgardo Alfonzo also had a great year, batting .310 with 23 home runs and 95 RBI.
The pitching was surprisingly superb for the Mets. Dave Mlicki went 18-9 with a 2.57 ERA. Before Mark Clark was traded to the Chicago Cubs, he went 13-5 with a 2.29 ERA. It kind of stinks that this simulation cannot keep transactions from real life and adjust based on the standings.
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The 1997 season should have included a Mets postseason run. I won’t fret about it too much. Next year, Mike Piazza is coming.