Shea moment No. 3: Miracle Mets
Improbable World Series champions knock off Orioles
NEW YORK -- Karl Ehrhardt, Shea Stadium's sign man, always had a short quip to illustrate baseball's ups and downs. Among his 20-by-26-inch posters were "Look Ma, No Hands" and "Can You Believe It?"
But the 1969 Mets defied short description. The club finished ninth or worse in its first seven seasons. The Mets were 10 games out of first place on Aug. 10. And now, all of a sudden, Queen's team climbed the National League standings, made the World Series and was about to beat the Baltimore Orioles in give games.
For all to read, an emotional Ehrhardt revealed all that he could scrounge up about the fans' No. 3 favorite moment at Shea Stadium.
"There are no words," the sign read.
Maybe there weren't apt words at the time, but the franchise's first champion would eventually live on in the game's annals as the "Miracle Mets." Managed by Gil Hodges, the 1969 Mets were 23-7 in September and announced the presence of New York's other team.
A 24-year-old Tom Seaver won a career-high 25 games and pitched "The Imperfect Game" -- one ninth-inning hit away from subtracting the prefix -- to win his first of three Cy Young Awards, while Tommy Agee was hitting home runs into the upper deck in left field. But for most of the season, the Mets were relegated behind the Chicago Cubs.
Then, that infamous black cat visited the Cubs dugout at Shea Stadium on Sept. 9. And on Sept. 10, following a doubleheader sweep of the Expos, the scoreboard said "Look who's in first place." The first-place Mets galloped through the playoffs, sweeping the Braves in the first National League Championship Series.
Mets fans wouldn't have to wait much longer to reach the top. A 5-3 win in Game 5 of the World Series allowed fans to storm the field at Shea Stadium, and the wait was over.
Ehrhardt, who would never be outdone, had one sign that echoed history's remembrance of the 1969 Mets.
"Believe in miracles," it said.
They would believe because they saw.
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.