Two Amazin' Seasons End in Heartbreak

Nick Laham / Getty Images

The magic runs out for the '99 and '06 teams.

Let's continue the thought experiment Matthew Callan proposed last week. Let's assume string theory is true. Let's assume that there are, at minimum, ten different dimensions vibrating around us at any given moment. Perhaps in one of them, today is the greatest day in Mets history. On October 19, 2006, in Bosonic space-time dimension #6, Beltran swings. Or maybe Cliff Floyd takes a hack in the bottom of the ninth rather than staring at called third strike. Who knows? Perhaps Endy Chavez, in the half inning after the Catch, goes from cult hero to full-fledged baseball conqueror and clears the bases with a double down the line rather than lofting a lazy outfield fly to end the threat.

Let's telescope back through time another seven years to 1999. Let's assume that in this same charmed dimension, Kenny Rogers, pitching in the 11th inning of Game Six of the NLCS, throws the ball over the plate. That Andruw Jones, ever the free swinger, taps a dead fish change into the Best Infield Ever for a rally-killing double play. Let's assume that Todd Pratt, batting in the 12th, has yet another momentous playoff home run in his bat.

Today would be a pretty good day to be a Mets fan in that dimension. Then again, it's still a pretty good day to be a Mets fan here in this one. Sure, our team has gone oh-for-two in National League Championship play on this date with two of the most gut-punching losses in team history. Sure, it'd be nice if we had World Series flags to fly for two of the most entertaining Mets seasons ever. What we did get in those defeats, however, are indelible baseball moments. Endy's catch is as awesome today as it was six years ago. As for the Cardinals, the next time a clip from the 2006 World Series shows up on a Fall Classic highlight reel will be the first. Watching a hobbled Mike Piazza bring the 1999 Mets back from the brink yet again is still powerful stuff. As for the 1999 Braves, they're just another Atlanta team that failed to win in the end.

Birthdays

  • Sandy Alomar is 69. The paterfamilias of the eponymous baseball dynasty, Sandy went hitless in 22 at-bats for the 1967 Mets, then returned to the team 38 years later as a coach.
  • Happy birthday, Super Joe! The Platonic ideal of a Tony LaRussian utility man, Joe McEwing, who turns 40 today, endeared himself to Mets fans (and a young David Wright) with four seasons of scrappy play from 2000 to 2004. McEwing didn't do many things well, except maybe hit Randy Johnson, who he tattooed for a .432 slugging percentage, a mark nearly 100 points higher than his career total. That said, he did do many things and often that's enough to hang on to that 25th roster spot.

Transactions
1965: Acquire C Jerry Grote from the Houston Astros for a PTBNL (P Tom Parsons)The Mets paid the Parsons on this date in 1965, sending fungible reliever Tom Parsons to the newly rechristened Astros for catcher Jerry Grote. Parsons never pitched for Houston, while Grote accumulated 14.1 rWAR over a dozen seasons in Flushing. Well played, GM George Weiss.

Game of Note
Dr. K prescribed some bad medicine for the Mets in Game Two of the '86 World Series, played on this date 26 years ago. Doc's line: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 runs allowed. The offense tried to get Gooden off the hook, knocking out the Red Sox's Roger "the Rocket" Clemens in under five innings and making the Rocket break apart like a Indian space probe. The Mets never got within a run of the lead, though, and by the end of nine found themselves on the wrong side of a 9-3 score and 2-0 deficit in the best of seven series.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Panic in the streets! Specifically, Wall Street. On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Index plummeted 508 points, losing 22.6 percent of its total value in the second biggest percentage drop in New York trading history. Mets fans were probably inured to the terror, however, having just watched the team's winning percentage plunge by nearly 100 points in the year after a franchise-record 108 wins.

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