The 10 biggest wins in Mets history

Here is one man’s opinion of the biggest wins in Mets history, ranked in order. The Mets are looking to make some more history beginning tonight when they face the Royals in the World Series.

1. The Amazins: Perhaps the most improbable champions ever, the Miracle Mets overcome a 3-0 deficit and defeat the Orioles 5-3 to take the 1969 World Series in five games. Series MVP Donn Clendenon and Al Weis homer and Jerry Koosman hurls a complete game as the Mets go from the outhouse to the penthouse.

2. Gets past Buckner: The heavily favored Mets, 108-game winners, are a strike away from elimination in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Then base hits by Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight, a wild pitch that plates the tying run, and a Mookie Wilson grounder that eludes Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner lead the Mets to a 6-5 win over the stunned Red Sox.

3. Seventh heaven: Two nights later, after a rainout, the Mets win their second World Series with an 8-5 win over the Red Sox in Game 7. Series MVP Ray Knight and Darryl Strawberry hit home runs to rally the Mets, who trailed 3-0 in the sixth inning.

4. You gotta believe: In 1973, the Mets languished in last place as late as August 30, then won 21 of their last 29 games and beat the Cubs 6-4 to take the NL East. Buoyed by reliever Tug McGraw, who coined the rallying cry “You gotta believe,” and manager Yogi Berra, who said “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over,” the Mets beat the Reds for the NL pennant, but lost a seven-game World Series to the A’s.

5. 16 innings: The Mets were down 3-0 entering the ninth inning (detect a theme here) before coming back and eventually prevailing 7-6 over the Astros in 16 innings in a dramatic showdown at the Astrodome to win the 1986 NLCS in six games. Celebration above.

6. Daniel Boom: Daniel Murphy turns into Babe Ruth right in front of our very eyes, homering in a playoff game for a record sixth consecutive game. Murphy’s blast earns the Mets an 8-3 win and a  four-game sweep over the Cubs and this year’s NL pennant. Murphy takes NLCS MVP honors.

7. Wild night: This 1985 classic started as a July 4 game and finally ended at nearly 4 am the next morning. The Mets beat the hometown Braves 16-13 in 19 innings, after Atlanta pitcher Rick Camp tied it with an unlikely 18th-inning home run.

8. Yes, Yes: The date was June 1, 2012. After more than half a century and 8,020 games, left-hander Johan Santana pitches the first no-hitter in franchise history in a victory over the Cardinals at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 8-0.

9. 9/11/2001: As New York and all America grieves over the the 9/11 attacks, Mike Piazza, left, gives us something to smile about. Piazza belts a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Braves. “A small miracle,” is how Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine described the blast.

10. First win: After nine straight losses to open their inaugural 1962 season, the Mets finally won their first game on April 23. They beat the Pirates 9-1 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh behind the five-hit pitching of left-hander Jay Hook. Felix Mantilla and Elio Chacon each had three hits, and Chacon, Bobby Smith and Hook each knocked in a pair of runs to pace the attack The Mets won just 40 games the whole year.

10 honorable mentions in chronological order

Jim Hickman becomes the first Met to hit for the cycle (a natural cycle at that) as the Mets beat the Cardinals 7-3 in this 1963 game at the Polo Grounds…Tom Seaver retires the first 25 Cubs before Jimmy Qualls singles with one out in the ninth. Seaver finishes with a one-hitter in the Mets 4-0 win which set the tone for the 1969 season…Center fielder Tommy Agee makes a pair of stunning catches and Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan combine to blank the Orioles 5-0 in Game 3 of the 1969 World Series… Lenny Dykstra’s two-run, walk-off homer leads the Mets to a 5-4 win in Game 3 of the 1986 ALCS…Dave Milicki hurls a nine-hit shutout as the Mets beat in the Yankees 6-0 in their first inter-league meeting in 1997… Al Leiter pitches a brilliant two-hitter as the Mets beat the Reds 5-0 in a 1999 playoff tiebreaker game in Cincinnati…Todd Pratt homers in the 10th inning as the Mets beat the Diamondbacks 4-3 and wrap up the NLDS in four games…Robin Ventura hits a grand slam single as the Mets beat the Braves 4-3 in Gave 5 of the 1999 NLCS…Trailing 8-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Mets score 10 runs, capped by a Mike Piazza three-run homer, and beat the Braves in this 2000 contest at Shea Stadium…Mike Hampton pitches a three-hitter and the Mets advance to the first Subway Series in 44 years with a 7-0 win over the Cardinals in Game 5 of the 2000 NLCS.


Shea Goodbye

Through the years, I saw some great games at Shea Stadium, including a 1972 game that featured both Hank Aaron and Willie Mays (both went hitless and remained tied with 648 career home runs), a 1986 NLCS encounter when Houston’s Mike Scott stopped the Mets, and some memorable Subway Series clashes with the Yankees, most notably Roger Clemens face-off with Mike Piazza in 2002.

However, my most memorable night at Shea Stadium occurred on Friday night, Sept, 22, 1967, during the second game of a twi-night doubleheader against the Astros.

It was banner night at Shea, and between games my buddy Ed and I paraded on the field with a banner that read: “We Got the Fever over Tom Seaver” or  “Murderers Row: Kranepool, Swoboda, Jones” or something like that.

The Mets lost the opener, 8-0, as Houston’s Mike Cuellar pitched a five-hit, complete game shutout.

The Mets were trailing in the second game when midway through the contest Ed started dropping M&Ms out of the upper deck onto the unsuspecting patrons in the box seats below.

It didn’t take long for security to catch on, and we were escorted from the stadium. Ejected from Shea. Banished from the ballpark

Not to be denied, however, we went down a couple of exits and sneaked back into the park. We had prime seats to see Mets shortstop Jerry Buchek hit a three-run homer to tie the game with two outs in the eighth and another three-run homer to win it, 8-5, with two outs in the 10th.

Undoubtedly this was Jerry Buchek’s signature moment, his finest hour, the best of Buchek. He hit just 22 home runs in his career (14 with the Mets that season) and had a .220 career batting average.

Buchek did get a hit in his only at-bat in the 1964 World Series as the Cardinals beat the Yankees in seven games. But for those were there, and even those who shouldn’t have been, he’s most remembered for that clutch performance on a Friday night at Shea in 1967.


Lords Of The Ringless

Best Players Never to Win a World Series

Why is Ernie Banks smiling? He won’t like this list.

It’s the club nobody wants to belong to, like the best golfer never to win a major club or the guy at the front of the line when the ticket counter closes.

Just not good enough. Close but no cigar. Losers. No player wants to be on this list. They’re The Lords Of The Ringless.

Ever wonder who are the best baseball players never to win a World Series?

Almost all of them are Hall of Famers, who will be someday. They’ve won dozens of batting titles, hit thousands upon thousands of home runs, earned MVPs, Cy Young Awards and Gold Gloves and achieved milestones such as .400 averages, 500 home runs, 3,000 hits, 300 wins, 500 steals and 500 saves, just to name a few

They’ve won it all….except for a championship.

Some came close. Rube Marquard pitched in 5 World Series, came up on the wrong side every time. Don Sutton, right, the winningest pitcher on this list, and Gabby Hartnett who hit a famous home run in the dark in 1938 to get the Cubs into the World Series, each played in 4 World Series and lost every one.

Some never got to the World Series. And some of them were Cubs, like Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, and more.

Several players on this list are still active, but have played long enough to make their statistics viable. Included is third baseman Alex Rodriguez and closer Trevor Hoffman on the first team, and starter Mike Mussina on the cut list.

Others, like catcher Mike Piazza and outfielder Barry Bonds, just retired this year.

Here they are, The Lords Of The Ringless. They’re the best baseball players never to win a World Series. Career highlights, teams played for and World Series appearances noted in descriptions.

FIRST TEAM

C — Mike Piazza: 396 HRs (most as catcher), 427 overall, .308 lifetime batting average, retired ’07, Dodgers, Mets, Padres, A’s ; 1 WS.

IB — George Sisler: ’22 AL MVP. two batting titles, .407 in ’20, .420 in ’22, .340 lifetime, Browns, Senators, Braves; 0 WS. left

2B — Rod Carew: .328 career batting average, 7 batting titles, AL MVP in ’77 with .388 average, Twins, Angels, others; 0 WS

SS — Ernie Banks: Mr. Cub, 512 lifetime homers, 277 as shortstop, NL MVP in ’58, ’59 as SS, later moved to IB. Cubs, 0 WS.

3B — Alex Rodriguez:: active, 522 lifetime HRs, .306 batting average, MVP 2003, ’05, ’07, Mariners, Rangers, Yankees, 0 WS.

OF — Ty Cobb; best ever .367 lifetime average, 12 batting titles; AL MVP in ’11, second lifetime in hits 4191, fourth in steals with 892. Tigers, A’s;3 WS. right

OF — Ted Williams: last man to hit .400, .406 in 41, Triple Crown winner in ’42, ’47, two-time MVP, .344 average, 521 homers. Red Sox; 1 WS.

OF — Barry Bonds; 7-time NL MVP, 4 in a row 01-04, 762 HRs are most ever, 73 in ’01 single season record. 514 SBs. Pirates, Giants, 1 WS

P — Juan Marichal; 243-142, 2.89 ERA, six 20-win seasons, 26-9 in ’68, Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers; 1 WS

P — Don Sutton: 324 career wins, most by non-champion, won 20 once in ’76, Dodgers, Astros, Brewers, A’s, Angels;4 WS

P — Ferguson Jenkins:284-226 7 20-win seasons, 3192 Ks, ‘ 71 NL Cy Young; Cubs, Rangers; 0 WS

P — Rube Marquard: left-hander, 201-177, record 19 straight wins to start season, 26-11 in ’12, Giants, Dodgers; Reds, Braves; 5 WS

R — Trevor Hoffman; active, all-time saves leader with 532, led NL with 53 saves in ’98, 46 in ’06 Marlins, Padres. 1 WS

SECOND TEAM

C — Carlton Fisk: 376 HRs, 351 as catcher, 269 career average, hit famous HR in ’75 Series, Red Sox, White Sox; 1 WS

IB — Willie McCovey: 521 HRs, ’69 MVP 45-126-.320, ’77 comeback player, Giants, Padres, A’s;1 WS

2B — Nap Lajoie: .broke in with Phillies in 1896, 339 lifetime average, 4 AL batting titles; Phillies, Naps (Indians), A’s; 0 WS

SS — Arky Vaughan; 318 lifetime, won NL batting title in ’35, .385, Pirates, Dodgers; 1 WS

3B — George Kell: .306 career batting average, won AL batting title in ’49; Phillies, Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox, Orioles; 0 WS

OF — Harry Heilmann: .342 career average, 4 AL batting titles, .403 in ’23, Tigers, Reds; 0 WS

OF — Billy Williams: 426 HRs, .296 career batting average, ’72 NL batting title, Cubs, A’s; 0 WS

OF — Tony Gwynn; 338 average, 3141 hits, 8 NL batting titles, .394 in ’94, Padres, 2 WS right

P — Phil Niekro: knuckleballer, 318 wins, 24 years from ’64 to ’87, Braves, Yankees, Indians; 0 WS

P — Gaylord Perry, 314 wins, AL Cy Young ’72, NL Cy Young ’78, Giants, Indians, Rangers, Padres, Yankees, Braves, Mariners; 0 WS

P — Tommy John: 288-231, left-hander, 26-year career from ’63 to ’89, White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels, A’s; 3 WS

P — Early Wynn, 300 career wins, Cy Young ’59, Senators, Indians, White Sox, ,2 WS

R — Lee Smith, 478 saves; Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles. Angels, Reds, Expos 0 WS

FINAL CUTS

C — Gabby Hartnett: lifetime BA .297, .236 HRs, ’38 HR helps win pennant for Cubs, Giants, 4 WS

IB — Don Mattingly: .307 lifetime average; AL batting title .343 in ’84; ’85 AL MVP, 9 Gold Gloves,Yankees; 0 WS

2B — Ryne Sandberg; .284 average, 282 HRs, NL MVP ’84, 9 Gold Gloves, Phillies, Cubs; 0 WS

SS — Luke Appling, .310 lifetime hitter, 20 years with White Sox, ’30-’50, hit HR at age 75 in ’82 exhibition: 0 WS

3B — Ron Santo; 342 HRs, .277 lifetime average, 5 straight Gold Gloves ’64-’68, Cubs, White Sox, 0 WS

OF — Carl Yastrzemski; 452 HRs, 3419 hits; MVP and Triple Crown in ’67, Red Sox, 2 WS

OF –Sammy Sosa: 609 Hrs, 5th all-time, 3 years with 60 HRs, NL MVP ’98, Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Orioles; 0 WS

OF –Lloyd Waner: Big Poison, .333 average, 3152 hits, Pirates, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees; 1 WS

OF — Paul Waner: Little Poison, .316 lifetime, Pirates, Braves, Reds, Phillies, Dodgers, ; 1 WS (’27 with brother Lloyd)

OF — Chuck Klein: .320 lifetime, 300 HRs, ’32 MVP, ’33 Triple Crown, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates; 0 WS

P — Robin Roberts:286 career wins, 6-time 20-game winner in ’50s, Phillies, Orioles, Astros, Cubs, 1 WS

P — Ted Lyons: 260 career wins, won 20 3 times,White Sox ’23-46, 0 WS

P — Rube Waddell, 193 wins, 26-11 in ’05, left-hander,Pirates., Cubs, A’s, Browns; 0 WS

P — Mike Mussina: active, 256-147 career, .635 win percentage; Orioles, Yankees, 1 WS

R — John Franco: 424 saves, 4th all-time; led NL in saves in ’88, ’90, ’94, Reds, Mets, Astros; 1 WS