Mets in elimination games mixed bag of scores

(AP Photo / Frank Franklin II

The Mets have had a hot and cold history with elimination games. Coming into tonight’s showdown with the San Diego Padres, for what it’s worth, they actually have a little better than the 0.5 mark with elimination games, five times and four downs in their 60-year history and ten trips to the postseason.

In 1969, when the Mets won their first world championship, they did so without trying any knockout matches. They swept the Atlanta Braves in the best three of five – first ever – NL Division Series, when the Braves occupied the Western Division.

In that world championship, where they shocked the baseball world—not to mention the entire country—by outsmarting the much-favoured Baltimore Orioles, they did so by taking four out of five in an unconventional seven-game series.

When they came back after the season in 1973, they won their first appearance in an elimination match when they defeated the Cincinnati Reds in Game 5 of that NLDS, 7-2, a team loaded with three future Hall of Famers – Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, Plus the king of baseball, Pete Rose.

At the Fall Classic, with a club now run by Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, the Mets went to Oakland to lead the series from three games to two. Bera thought he could close it by using his starting best player, future Met and Hall of Famer top Tom Seaver, in Game 6, on a short break. But Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson fell in a few rounds on my Seaver pair, and the Mets’ bats were silenced by two A-shooters who would eventually get to boards at Cooperstown, Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers, as well as Darold Knowles. Final score, Oakland 3, New York 1.

That put the Mets into their first Game 7 to win it all, and Pera gave the ball to first-game rookie John Matlack, which resulted in two home runs, one for Bert Campanires and one for “Reggie Barr” (remember those?) Jackson. Once again, the Mets’ bats were put at bay, and Oakland won 5-2.

The Mets didn’t see the post-season again until 1986, when they won the NLDS title over Houston—the Astros were still a National League back then—in that legendary 6, 16 game with a 7-6 victory. They avoided what could have been more troubling in Game 7 Elimination with Astros Ace Mike Scott lurking in the flanks for that showdown.

And all Mets fans of a certain age can still remember every step of the World Series for seven thrilling games against the Red Sox, when the Mets won two Elimination games.

First, there was that historic comeback in Game 6, and then they won their second Gold Cup with a victory in Game 7 after falling behind early, 3-0. Eight runs over the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds led to the Champagne Party with an 8-5 victory.

In 1988, the Mets lost their Game 7 NLCS playoff match against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, 6-0.

More than a decade passed before the Mets felt the pressure of baseball in October again when the forces of Bobby Valentine faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1999 NLDS Championship. The Mets never needed Game 5, as Todd Pratt won the series with a home tour from Matt Mantei in Arizona At the bottom of the tenth in game 4.

And despite the Mets losing to the Braves in the NLCS, there was no elimination match as Braavos outlasted New York in six games.

But let’s not forget what was truly a knockout event to reach the post-season in 1999. The Mets and Reds tied season records 96-66, which took one playoff to reach the October championship. Before MLB created the concept of Wild Card for the single game in recent years, this 163 game was probably the inspiration for this concept.

Thanks to Al Leiter, who hit the Reds twice, with seven strokes, the Mets were able to savor two sips of champagne before that fateful trip to Atlanta. The Mets won this win 5-0.

In 2000, on their way to the Fall Classic, the Mets avoided elimination games while taking the NLDS over San Francisco in four games and the NLCS over St. Louis in five matches.

As for that Subway series against the Yankees, the Mets certainly wished they’d continued throughout the elimination game, and those circumstances might have been different, but they lost to the Yanks in five matches.

Six years later, the Mets swept the NLDS Dodgers in three games, but lost the elimination match to the NLCS Cardinals after Carlos Beltran patted his racquet on his shoulder while facing Adam Wainwright.

Their next and final appearance at a baseball signing event came in 2015, when the Mets won an elimination match against the Dodgers in the NLDS, 3-2. It was the year of Daniel Murphy, who was awarded the series MVP and who messed up in two rounds with double and Homer that night.

The Mets swept the Cubs in the NLCS, four games, but then lost to the Royals in five World Championship games.

This leaves that one game Wild Card showdown with the Giants in ’16. But it was one and it did for the Mets when Madison Baumgarner hit it at Citi Field, 3-0.

So what do you do allllllll Who does this mean when the Mets faced Padres in Game 3 in the rubber game for their Wild Card series? nothing. Nothing darn.

The players are different. Shooters are definitely different. Management is different. Sometimes the ball fields are different. And even fans, for the most part, are different.

But it’s a funny thing about baseball. More than any other sport, the game is measured by what happens today along with everything that happened in the past.

It’s just a perspective. Great stories to think about.

Meditate away. And enjoy the games.

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