The History of the New York Mets

by Staff

1962 Houston Colt .45’s and the New York Mets joined the National League. The Mets became the first National League franchise in New York City since the departure of the Dodgers and Giants in 1957. Casey Stengel was named the manager and led the Mets to their first victory on April 23rd. The Mets finished the season with a 40-120 record.

1963 Casey Stengel’s club improved on their first season by finishing the season with a record of 51-111. Jim Hickman was the first Met to hit for the cycle and the Mets knocked off the crosstown Yankees 6-2 in the first Mayor’s Trophy Game.

1964 On April 17th the Pirates defeated the Mets in the first game ever played in Shea Stadium. The Mets lost a 23-inning nightcap of a doubleheader to the Giants 6-4. Ron Hunt was first Met to start in an All-Star Game. The National League defeated the American League 7-4 at Shea Stadium on July 7th. The Mets finished the season with a record of 53-109.

1965 Future Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Warren Spahn joined the Mets. Wes Wenstrum replaced Stengel as manager after Stengel broke his hip. Jim Hickman became the first Met to hit three home runs in a single game. The Mets finished 50-112.

1966 The Mets completed their best season to date with a record of 66-95.

1967 Tom Seaver won the National League Rookie of the Year award. The Mets finished the season with a record of 61-101.

1968 Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman led Mets pitchers to 25 shutouts and a team ERA of 2.72. Jerry Grote, Seaver and Koosman represented the Mets in the All-Star Game. The Mets finished the season with a record of 73-89.

1969 On September 24th the Mets clinched the National League East title. They finished the regular season with a 100-62 record. The Amazin’s went on to defeat the Braves in three straight games to reach their first World Series.The magic continued as the Mets shocked the Baltimore Orioles in five games to become the World Series Champions. Tom Seaver won his first Cy Young Award the same year.

1970 On April 22nd Tom Seaver struck out a record 19 Padres. Tommie Agee won the National League Gold Glove. The Mets failed to repeat as champions, but they finished with a respectable record of 83-79.

1971 The Mets again finished with a record of 83-79. Bud Harrelson won a National League Gold Glove.

1972 Yankee great Yogi Berra was hired as manager after Gil Hodges suffered a fatal heart attack. Willie Mays hit a home run in his first at bat as a Met. Pitcher Jon Matlack won the National League Rookie of the Year award. The Mets finished the season in 3rd place in the NL East.

1973 The Mets dramatically rallied from an eleven game deficit to win the NL East. Tom Seaver won his second Cy Young Award. The team defeated the Cincinnati Reds to win the National League title but lost the World Series to the Oakland A’s.

1974 The Mets slipped to fifth place and a record of 71-91.

1975 Manager Yogi Berra was dismissed on August 6th and replaced by Roy McMillan.Tom Seaver won his third Cy Young Award. The team finished with a record of 82-80.

1976 Joe Frazier was named manager of the Mets. Dave Kingman hit 37 home runs. The Mets finished the year with a record of 86-76.

1977 Joe Frazier was fired on May 31st and replaced by Joe Torre, the first player-manager in the NL since 1959. On June 15th the Mets traded Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds. Torre and the Mets finished the season with a record of 64-98.

1978 The Mets finished the year in 6th place with a record of 66-96.

1979 Ed Kranepool retired after 18 seasons. The Mets finished the season with a record of 63-99.

1980 The Mets were sold to the Doubleday family on January 24th. Doug Flynn won a National League Gold Glove. The team finished the season with a record of 67-95.

1981 The Mets finished the strike-shortened season with a record of 41-62. Torre is not re-hired.

1982 George Bamberger replaced Torre as manager. Diamond Vision screen is installed at Shea Stadium. Mookie Wilson steals 58 bases throughout the season, which the Mets finish with a record of 65-97.

1983 The Mets traded for Keith Hernandez on June 15th. Darryl Strawberry won the NL Rookie of the Year. George Bamberger resigned on June 3rd and Frank Howard replaced him for the remainder of the season. Davey Johnson is named manager for the 1984 season.

1984 Dwight Gooden won the National League Rookie of the Year award and the Mets finished in second place with a record of 90-72. Gooden established a major league rookie record with 276 strikeouts. Keith Hernandez won a NL Gold Glove Award.

1985 Davey Johnson led the Mets to a record of 98-64 and another second place finish. Dwight Gooden became the youngest pitcher in major league history to win 20 games, and the youngest ever to win the NL Cy Young Award. Keith Hernandez won his eighth consecutive NL Gold Glove Award.

1986 Mets won a club record 108 games on their way to their second World Championship. Gary Carter tied a team record with 105 RBIs. Hernandez won his ninth consecutive NL Gold Glove Award. Mets defeated the Red Sox in a seven-game thriller to win the World Series.

1987 Keith Hernandez won his tenth consecutive NL Gold Glove Award. Darryl Strawberry sets a club record with 39 home runs. Darryl and Howard Johnson are the first teammates to both hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season. The team finishes the season with a record of 92-70.

1988 Gary Carter hit his 300th career home run. The Mets won the NL East title with a record of 100-60. The Dodgers defeated the Mets in a seven-game series to win the NLCS.

1989 The Mets finished the season with a record of 87-75, six games behind the Cubs.

1990 Buddy Harrelson replaced Davey Johnson on May 29th. David Cone led the majors with 233 strikeouts. The Mets finished the season in 2nd place with a record of 91-71.

1991 The Mets finished the season 20 ½ games out of first place with a record of 77-84. David Cone tied NL and team records with a 19 strikeout performance versus the Phillies.

1992 Jeff Torborg managed the Mets to a record of 72-90.

1993 Dallas Green replaced Torborg after only 38 games. The Mets finished the season in last place with a record of 59-103.

1994 Dallas Green led the Mets to a record of 55-58.

1995 The Mets finished the season with a record of 69-75.

1996 Bobby Valentine replaced Dallas Green on August 26th. The Mets finished the season with a record of 71-91.

1997 The Mets finished in third place with a record of 88-74. Rey Ordonez won a NL Gold Glove Award. John Franco became the All-Time National League Save Leader with 359 career saves. On June 16th the Mets played the Yankees in their first-ever regular-season meeting. The Mets won the game 6-0.

1998 Newly acquired Mike Piazza and the hot hitting John Olerud led Bobby Valentine’s squad to a record of 88-74. Rey Ordonez won another NL Gold Glove Award, and Olerud batted .354, the highest batting average in Mets history.

1999 Five-time AL Golden Glove Award winner Robin Ventura was acquired from the Chicago White Sox. With the addition of Ventura the Mets possessed one of the finest defensive infields in baseball. The Mets made the playoffs, faced the Atlanta Braves, and lost, in what was arguably one of the closest National League Championship Series in history.

2000 With the acquisition of Mike Hampton, Derek Bell, and Todd Zeile, the New York Mets fortified both their lineup and their starting rotation for the 2000 season. After reaching the playoffs for the second year in a row, the Mets battled past San Francisco and St. Louis to reach the World Series. This year's World Series possessed added excitement as the Mets took on the New York Yankees in the first Subway Series in 44 years. Despite falling to the Yankees in five games, the Mets restored their fans' pride by giving them a series, and a season, to remember. After the season concluded, the Mets made key signings including manager, Bobby Valentine, general manager, Steve Phillips, and pitchers John Franco, Rick Reed, and Turk Wendell.

2001 Despite a season in which they struggled for the majority of the time, the Metropolitans began to win games by donning a "nothing to lose" attitude following the 9/11 tragedy. The team went on to win 21 of their final 30 games and finished their season with an 82-80 win-loss record. Among the individual achievements for the season, Mike Piazza made yet another All-Star appearance and pinch-hitting extraordinaire Lenny Harris became the all-time leader in pinch hits by eclipsing Manny Mota's mark of 150.

2002 This season marked a low point for the Mets, who finished in last place with a record of 75-86 and missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. Although the Metropolitans didn't have the year that they had anticipated, Mike Piazza was selected to the All-Star team for the tenth time and is only 15 home runs shy of passing Carlton Fisk for the all-time lead in home runs for catchers. 2003 looked promising, as the Mets had signed one of the biggest free agents of 2003, left-handed pitcher Tom Glavine. This two-time Cy Young award winner and 1995 World Series MVP looks to be the ace of a New York Mets staff that would include Al Leiter, Pedro Astacio, and—back from a short stint of retirement—David Cone. The Mets also added outfielder Cliff Floyd, who would bring left-handed power to the middle of the lineup. Along with their player acquisitions, the Mets also brought in new manager Art Howe from the Oakland Athletics. Howe had previously led the A’s to the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.

2003 Since winning the National League Wild Card in both 1999 and 2000, along with their World Series appearance in 2000, the Mets failed to make the playoffs for the third year in a row. The Mets' record of 66-95, a .410 winning percentage, makes for the worst Mets’ season since 1993 when the team had a 59-103 record. One of the key reasons for the Mets disappointing season could be attributed to several serious injuries to integral players. Perennial All-Star catcher Mike Piazza missed half of the season with a severely torn groin, while Mo Vaughn and Pedro Astacio were shelved for the season after injuring themselves early in the year. However, there were some bright spots for this struggling team. The emergence of young players such as Jose Reyes, Jason Phillips, Jae Weong Seo, and Ty Wiggington were the most notable. General Manager Jim Duquette figures to add several key free agent acquisitions during the off-season to complement these young players, giving Mets fans plenty of reasons to anticipate an exciting 2004 season.

2004 Due to the injuries of Jose Reyes, Kaz Matsui, Mike Cameron, Cliff Floyd, Victor Zambrano, and Mike Piazza, the New York Mets fall short of making the 2004 playoffs. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the Mets have not made the playoffs and the third consecutive season in which the team finished in last place with a losing record (71-91). There were reasons for hope among the Mets faithful with the addition of David Wright, a 21-year-old third baseman who, after cruising through the minor leagues, registered 14 home runs, 81 total runs (runs & RBI), and a .293 batting average in 69 games. With a healthy Jose Reyes (who would likely return to shortstop in the coming season) and Kaz Matsui (who would make the switch to second base), along with the probable full-time return of Mike Piazza behind the plate, the next year’s infield promised to offer more production than year’s past.

2005 The New York Mets 2005 season came to an end on October 2nd in an 11-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Though the score was lopsided, the Mets finished the year in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 47,000 at Shea Stadium. Manager Willie Randolph led the Mets to a winning record (83–79) in his inaugural year as team skipper, finishing 4th in the NL East—seven games behind first place Atlanta. The Mets boasted a strong roster; third baseman David Wright led the team with a .306 Avg. and 102 RBIs while speedy shortstop Jose Reyes finished second in the MLB with 60 stolen bases and tied Wright for a team-high 99 runs scored. Pitching categories for 2005 belonged to Mets ace Pedro Martinez, who finished the year with 15 wins, a 2.82 ERA, and 208 strikeouts. The close of the 2005 season is bittersweet for many Mets fans, as eight-year Mets star Mike Piazza’s future in New York is uncertain. Piazza, who first took the field for the Mets in 1998, has not said whether he would be back in a Mets uniform next year, but both he and the Mets acknowledged that his return to the lineup next season was unlikely. Willie Randolph and the Mets would look to bring younger talent into the clubhouse, and to increase their winning ways in 2006, including a return to post-season contention.

2006 The Mets returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2000 and finished just one game shy of a World Series appearance after losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. The Mets finished the regular season with an impressive 97-65 record (tying the Yankees for the best record in baseball, and won their first NL East title in 20 years. The season was marked by the impressive development of shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright as well as a return to dominance by pitcher Tom Glavine and outfielder Carlos Beltran. Reyes ended the season as the league leader in stolen bases with 64, and Wright led the team for the second consecutive year with 116 RBIs. Living up to the expectations that came with his signing as a free agent two years prior, Carlos Beltran had team highs of 41 home runs and 126 runs.

As the pitching staff suffered injuries to Pedro Martinez and in-season acquisition Orlando Hernandez, Tom Glavine showed flashes of his prime by leading the Mets with 15 wins, 198 innings pitched, and a team best 3.82 ERA. Off-season acquisitions Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado, and Paul Lo Duca also proved to be valuable additions to the team. Wagner notched 40 saves, Delgado smashed 38 home runs and knocked in 114 RBIs, and Lo Duca led the team with a .318 batting average. As the Mets move into the off-season, they’ll look to bolster their pitching staff for another run at the World Series in 2007.

2007 A historic collapse down the stretch kept the Mets out of the playoffs and overshadowed a solid season highlighted by numerous individual performances and achievements. The Mets became the first team in history to hold a seven game lead with 17 games to play and not make the playoffs. The team lost 12 of its last 17 games, allowing the Phillies to overtake them for the NL East title.

The Mets had high expectations for this season after falling one win short of the World Series in 2006. The team got off to a great start, going 34-18 through May 31. The Mets then slumped a bit in June before entering the All-Star break with 48 wins and 39 losses, holding a slim lead over the second-place Atlanta Braves. Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and David Wright were starters for the NL All-Stars, and Billy Wagner also made the roster.

On August 5, Tom Glavine defeated the Cubs to win the 300th game of his career, becoming the 23rd pitcher in history to reach the milestone. Reyes led the league with a career-high 78 stolen bases and Wright had a monster year with 30 HR, 107 RBIs, 34 SB and a .325 avg. Carlos Delgado, who broke his hand after getting hit with a pitch in the final game of the season, finished his season with a .258 batting average, 24 home runs and 87 RBIs, all the lowest numbers he has produced in a full season in the Major Leagues. John Maine went 10-4 with a 2.71 ERA before the break, but contributed to the Mets slide in the second half, going 5-6 with a 5.53 ERA. Billy Wagner’s ERA jumped from 1.64 to 3.90 after the break, and he blew four saves in the second half compared to just one in the first.

The Mets acquired Luis Castillo and Jeff Conine before the playoff roster deadline, and Castillo and Conine were solid in their roles. In addition, Pedro Martinez made a successful return from shoulder surgery to help the Mets starting rotation down the stretch.

The status of some of the Mets free agents was uncertain, including Paul Lo Duca, Luis Castillo, and Shawn Green. Glavine, who has a player option for next season, is not certain to return. Manager Willie Randolph’s status with the team is also uncertain, and the Mets did some soul-searching during the off-season before regrouping for the next year.

2008 The Mets finished the 2008 season with an 89–73 record, coming in second place behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East and one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the wild card spot. The Mets were eliminated from postseason play on their last day of the regular season for the second straight year. Third baseman David Wright won his second Gold Glove while establishing himself as one of the premier young players in the league. He and closer Billy Wagner were named to the National League team in the All-Star Game. In the off-season, the Mets addressed the team’s biggest weakness by revamping the bullpen with the signing of free-agent closer Francisco Rodriguez and swapping for reliever J.J. Putz.

2009 The Mets started the spring with optimism in a brand-new ballpark, but ultimately succumbed to a rash of injuries and other assorted misfortunes to finish a disappointing 70-92. There were some bright spots for the season, however, as David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez all had strong years and were named as National League All-Stars.