The history of the New York Mets is all about amazing (or as the Mets fan might prefer, Amazin’). They win in amazing ways, they lose in amazing ways. You name it, it’s amazing.
So where does Daniel Murphy's postseason rank among the most amazing or Amazin’ in Mets history?
You can decide. Here’s a chronological look.
40-120 in 1962
The 1962 Mets weren’t your typical awful expansion team. They set a standard for awfulness with 120 losses, a number no team has matched since. The answer to the question, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” (a quote from Mets manager Casey Stengel and later the title of a Jimmy Breslin book about the team), was a resounding no. But Mets fans didn’t mind. They embraced their lovable losers with a fervor.
Picked out of a hat
The pitcher known as “The Franchise,” the best they’ve ever had, became a Met under unusual circumstances. Tom Seaver initially signed a contract in 1966 with the Braves, but after the commissioner declared the deal illegal for violating baseball rules, the Braves relinquished their rights and teams could enter a special lottery to win Seaver, then a student at USC.
Three teams entered the lottery, agreeing to match what the Braves would pay ($40,000) and the Mets won the drawing, with their name selected out of a hat.
Seaver would become the greatest player the franchise has ever had.
100-1 to champs
The Mets had never had a winning season prior to 1969, so it made sense that Las Vegas made them 100-1 underdogs to win the World Series.
Man walked on the moon that summer and the Mets did the improbable and impossible. They won 100 games and overcame a 9 1/2-game deficit to overtake the Cubs, then upset the Braves and the Orioles to win their first title.
Ball on the wall
That the 1973 Mets were in the middle of a race for a division title was miraculous considering they were injury-riddled throughout the season and in last place as late as Aug. 30. But inspired by the rallying cry of “Ya Gotta Believe” from their closer, Tug McGraw, they found their way to the top of the division by season's end with a 21-8 finish.
The most improbable of those wins was a game against the Pirates in which a potential go-ahead home run in the 13th inning hit the top of the fence and bounced back to Cleon Jones, who was able to throw a stunned Pirate out at the plate. The Mets won the game in the bottom of the frame.
A wild pitch and a trickling ground ball
The 1986 season was a dream season on the verge of becoming a nightmare, as the Mets trailed the Red Sox 3-2 in the series and 5-3 on the scoreboard with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the 10th inning.
But then Gary Carter singled, Kevin Mitchell singled, and Ray Knight fought off an 0-2 pitch and singled to bring in Carter and send Mitchell to third.
The Mets were again down to their final strike as Mookie Wilson battled Bob Stanley, barely fouling off a couple of two-strike pitches. Then, a miracle, as Stanley’s inside pitch eluded Rich Gedman, and Mitchell scored the tying run. And then, another miracle. Wilson hit a grounder to first that bounced and skipped and went right through the legs of Bill Buckner. Knight scored the winning run and the series was tied. Two days later, the Mets were crowned champions.
The grand-slam single
There have been many memorable home runs in postseason history, but there’s only one home run-turned single. The Mets and Braves played an epic Game 5 in the 1999 NLCS. The Braves took the lead in the 15th inning, but the Mets rallied to tie. With the bases loaded and one out, Robin Ventura hit a drive to right field that sailed over the fence. But in all the excitement, Ventura didn’t even make it to second base as the Mets mobbed him halfway there. The official scorer awarded him a single and the Mets were winners.
Endy Chavez’s catch
“We’re going to the show,” or so manager Willie Randolph thought after Endy Chavez made one of the greatest catches in major league history. It came with the score tied in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Chavez reached high over the fence to steal a potential home run from Scott Rolen, than pegged the ball back into the infield to start an inning-ending double play.
Seven up with 17 to play
Arguably the ugliest collapse in baseball history came in 2007 when the Mets blew a seven-game lead to the Phillies with 17 to play in defense of their NL East title.
The season ended with a debacle of a loss to the Marlins, in which Tom Glavine was charged with seven runs in the first inning and booed off the mound as the Mets' playoff chances departed with him.
Finally, a no-hitter
The Mets fan had seen just about everything in the first 8,019 games in franchise history, but for one thing: No Mets pitcher had ever thrown a no-hitter.
The longest such streak in major league history was finally broken on June 1, 2012, by Johan Santana against the St. Louis Cardinals. It took 134 pitches and a missed call on a potential chalk-hitting double for Santana and the Mets to break through. And though Santana’s career was never the same after that game, it made for an incredibly memorable night at Citi Field.
Daniel Murphy had a career-high 14 home runs this season, so maybe we should have seen this coming. Or maybe not. Murphy became the first player in major league history to hit a home run in six straight postseason games. Murphy has thus far done no wrong.
In nine games, he’s won with his hitting (he’s batting .421 with seven home runs), his baserunning (his steal of third in Game 5 of the NLDS led to the tying run scoring) and his fielding (he made a diving stop to end the first game of the NLCS).
Who knows what will be next among his amazing feats?