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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Amazin' Mets - From Worst to First
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Sept. 10, 1969

In their first seven years, the New York Mets had never finished closer than 24 games to first place (five times being at least 40 games out). Their best record was 16 games under .500.

It's different this season. During a twinight doubleheader against the Montreal Expos, the Mets, who trailed the Chicago Cubs by 9-1/2 games on August 14, move into first place. Their 3-2, 12-inning victory in the opener at Shea Stadium puts them a percentage point ahead of the Cubs in the National League East.

When the Cubs lose, 6-2, to the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Mets win the nightcap, 7-1, behind Nolan Ryan's three-hitter, New York leads by a game. In the clubhouse, the players are drinking champagne, even if it is a New York State brand that comes with plastic stoppers instead of corks.

The Miracle Mets will go on to win their division by eight games with a 100-62 record, then beat the Atlanta Braves for the National League pennant and stun the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.

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