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Looking back at the Mets' previous World Series appearances

The Mets begin their fifth World Series tonight in Kansas City. Let's see what happened in their previous four trips.

Al Bello/Getty Images

The 2015 Mets have made it to where only four other Mets teams have gone—the World Series. The Amazins are 2-2 in the Fall Classic. Let’s take a look back at how those other trips went.

1969: (4-1) New York Mets (100-62) over Baltimore Orioles (109-53)

Despite their red-hot play over the last six weeks of the season, the Mets were considered big underdogs to a great Orioles team. The experts seemed to be right when the Birds beat Tom Seaver by a 4-1 score in Game 1 in Baltimore, but New York evened the series the next day. Jerry Koosman held Baltimore to two hits, and a run-scoring single by Al Weis in the ninth gave the Mets a 2-1 victory.

When the series moved to Shea Stadium for Games 3, 4, and 5, to be played on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, the feel of the whole event changed. The video clips literally switched from black and white to color. The Mets took on an air of invincibility, as if they could do no wrong in their own ballpark, and everything would inevitably go their way.

Tommie Agee had a huge game in the Mets’ 5-0 victory in Game 3 with a leadoff home run in the first and two great catches in the outfield that may have saved up to five Baltimore runs from scoring.

Meanwhile, young Nolan Ryan came on in relief of Gary Gentry to get the save.

Seaver pitched ten innings for a 2-1 win in Game 4. Even when the Orioles scored, it was on a spectacular diving catch by Ron Swoboda in right field that turned Brooks Robinson’s fly ball to right center into just a game-tying sacrifice fly instead of something much worse.

The Mets won the game in the bottom of the tenth when pitcher Pete Richert’s throw to first on J.C. Martin’s sacrifice bunt struck Martin in the back and ricocheted away, allowing Rod Gaspar to score the winning run.

The Orioles took a 3-0 lead in Game 5, but the Mets answered with a combined five runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth to win 5-3. Series MVP Donn Clendenon hit his third home run of the series in the sixth to cut the deficit to 3-2 right after Cleon Jones had been awarded first base on the famous "Shoe Polish Play."

The light-hitting Weis, the "Mighty Mite," hit a game-tying homer in the seventh, and New York scored two runs in the eighth to win, led by Swoboda’s go-ahead double to left. Future Mets manager Davey Johnson flew out to Jones in left for the final out, and the celebration was on, here shown without commercial breaks.

1973: (4-3) Oakland Athletics (94-68) over New York Mets (82-79)

It was not such a happy ending for the Mets in 1973, but that series felt like two distinct events. On the one hand, there were four afternoon games in Oakland on consecutive weekends, of which the Mets lost three. The one game they won was a 10-7, 12-inning victory in Game 2. The game is best remembered for the argument that ensued after Bud Harrelson was called out at the plate, seemingly in error, in the top of the tenth

However, the Mets would win the game anyway later on. Wikipedia writes,

The game stayed knotted at 6–6 until the top of the twelfth. Harrelson led off with a double and went to third on a bunt single by pitcher Tug McGraw. With two outs, Mays drove in Harrelson with a single that would turn out to be the final hit and RBI of his storied career. It gave the Mets a 7–6 lead.

After Jones walked to load the bases, John Milner grounded to second baseman Mike Andrews, but the ball went through his legs. McGraw and Mays scored to make the lead 9–6. The next batter, Grote, hit another grounder to Andrews, but his throw to first pulled Tenace off the bag (though NBC replays showed Tenace kept his foot on the bag). Jones scored to make it 10–6.

The A's added a run in the bottom of the inning when Jackson reached third as Mays lost yet another fly ball in the sun and Alou singled him home, but Andrews' errors proved too much to overcome. McGraw, who pitched six innings total, earned the win, and George Stone the save and the Mets evened the series.

A's Owner Charlie Finley was furious at Andrews' twelfth-inning miscues; he proceeded to punish Andrews (and further alienate A's manager Dick Williams) by placing the infielder on the disabled list—citing a fake injury that would have sidelined Andrews for the rest of the Series. Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn stepped in, reactivated Andrews, and disciplined Finley.

On the other hand, there were the three night games at Shea in the middle of the week, and the Mets did their part in these by winning two out of three. After the A’s won the first game, 3-2, in 11 innings, the Mets answered back by winning the next two games. Rusty Staub was the hero in Game 4, as the Mets won 6-1.

The next night, McGraw nailed down the Mets’ 2-0 victory in the ninth.

It’s easy to forget that the A’s won Games 6 and 7 back in California. Perhaps if Yogi Berra had given Seaver an extra day of rest by saving him for Game 7 instead of pitching him on short rest in Game 6, things would have turned out differently.

1986: (4-3): New York Mets (108-54) over Boston Red Sox (95-66)

The first five games of the 1986 series seem like a week-long warmup for Games 6 and 7 at Shea. Bruce Hurst and Roger Clemens shut down the Mets in the first two games. New York answered with easy wins in Boston in Games 3 and 4, and Hurst beat the Mets again in Game 5 to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the series.

When Michael Sergio parachuted onto the infield in the first inning of Game 6, it took the atmosphere to a whole new level of intensity. It was as if the World Series was finally on for real.

The story of Game 6 is well known. The Mets wore Clemens down and rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to send the game into extra innings. The Red Sox scored two runs off Rick Aguilera in the top of the 10th, and Boston was poised to win its first World Series since 1918. Then, with two out and nobody on in the bottom of the 10th, the Amazins pulled off a miraculous comeback to win the game 6-5. The rally culminated in Bill Buckner’s famous error, letting Mookie Wilson’s ground ball to first go between his legs, as Ray Knight scored the winning run.

After a rainout the next night, Boston brought Hurst back on three days’ rest to pitch Game 7 on Monday night, October 27. The Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Ron Darling, but the Mets rallied for eight runs in their last three times at bat to win the championship. Knight hit the go-ahead homer and was named Series MVP. Darryl Strawberry added a home run to pad the lead, and Jesse Orosco got the last six outs for the save, as well as an RBI single of his own. Orosco struck out Marty Barrett for the last out of the Mets’ second World Championship.

2000 (4-1): New York Yankees (87-74) over New York Mets (94-68)

The 2000 Subway Series was disappointing, as the Yankees won their third consecutive championship and fourth in five years. The Mets put up a good fight but came up short. Memorable moments of Game 1 include Timo Perez being thrown out at home in the sixth when he hesitated on Todd Zeile’s double off the top of the wall. Then Armando Benitez couldn’t hold a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, and the Yankees went on to win 4-3 in the 12th.

Game 2 is remembered for the bizarre confrontation between Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza in the first inning when Clemens threw the remnants of a broken bat in Piazza’s general direction.

The Yankees built a 6-0 lead against Mike Hampton and three Mets relievers. Although the Mets rallied for five in the ninth, it wasn’t quite enough against Mariano Rivera.

The Mets had their moment of glory at Shea in Game 3. Benny Agbayani put the Mets ahead with an RBI double in the eighth, making a winner of John Franco.

The Mets won the game 4-2, breaking the Yankees’ 14-game World Series winning streak. Benitez got David Justice to pop out to second for the last out.

However, the momentum switched right back to the Yankees the next night when Derek Jeter led off Game 4 with a homer off Bobby Jones, and the Yankees won 3-2. The next night, Al Leiter gave a great effort and left it all out on the mound, but the Yankees finally prevailed on Luis Sojo’s ninth-inning single. Bernie Williams squeezed Piazza’s deep fly ball to center for the final out. The Yankees won the game 4-2 and were world champions once again.