The 162-game schedule was introduced to the world beginning with the 1961 MLB season. A season later, the New York Mets debuted.
Most of the time, the Mets have played all 162 games. A couple of times rainouts weren’t made up and there was a game or so that never happened. There were, however, five instances where the reason why the Mets didn’t play all 162 games had to do with labor disputes or in one case, a pandemic.
As if we didn’t have enough of a reason to want the current negotiations to end and baseball to get back on track, the history of the Mets in shortened seasons should give us yet another.
The Mets had their best shortened season in 1972
Only six games were cut off from the 1972 schedule for the Mets. A labor dispute canceled games early on and the team marched on to an 83-73 record. It was by far their best season in any shortened campaign as it’s also the lone year where they finished above .500.
One season later, with all 162 games on the schedule, the National League East-winning Mets needed nearly every single one to make it to the postseason.
Another labor dispute in 1981 took away even more games and the Mets record was worse
The 1981 MLB season isn’t remembered all that much for how many games were taken away, mostly because it happened mid-season. In a completely different change of pace from the other shortened seasons, the clubs took off mid-year and accepted a split season where the first half winner and the second half winner would make it to the postseason. The Mets weren’t a very good team at all in 1981, finishing with a 41-62-2 record.
In fact, this year’s .398 winning percentage was the worst the team would post in any shortened year. Fans of the Metropolitans can look at it mercifully. The team was on pace to lose almost 100 times.
The infamous 1994 season wasn’t going to be a good one for the Mets
After such a rough year in 1993, I’m not sure too many fans were eager to see the team play a full schedule in 1994. Those pessimists who preferred to not see their favorite ball club every night were lucky that after 113 games by the Mets, the season ended due to a strike. The club would finish 55-58 for a .487 winning percentage.
The World Series was canceled and the longest break in the history of the game was underway.
The 1995 season was a step in the wrong direction
The MLB schedule came back with some vengeance in 1995 with 144 games. The Mets, despite finishing in second place, were only 69-75 and 21 games behind the first place Atlanta Braves.
There was never really much of a chance to catch up either. Even if the Wild Card made its debut, there would be no hope for these Mets to earn the spot.
The shortest season of all in 2020 was an unkind one in Queens
The shortened 2020 season was different from the rest. The COVID-pandemic began in March and the league didn’t start its regular season until late July. The Mets were limited to only 60 games. There was a thought for some that maybe this could benefit them.
Quite the opposite. The Mets were only 26-34 and tied for the worst record in the NL East. Their winning percentage of .433 was equivalent to going about 70-92 in a full season.
Here’s hoping history doesn’t get a chance to repeat itself. Here’s hoping we get all 162 games.