“One of sports’ most storied championship teams gets its proper due” (Tom Verducci) in this definitive history of the 1969 Miracle Mets from the New York Times bestselling author of The Boys of Winter. “If you want to know what it was like to live and witness a baseball miracle in tumultuous times, this book is for you.”—Ron Darling, former New York Mets All-Star and bestselling author of Game 7, 1986 The story of the 1969 New York Mets’ season has long since entered sports lore as one of the most remarkable of all time. But beyond the “miracle” is a compelling narrative of an unlikely collection of players and the hallowed manager who inspired them to greatness. For the fiftieth anniversary, renowned sports journalist Wayne Coffey brings to life a moment when a championship could descend on a city like magic, and when a baseball legend was authored one inning at a time.
Future Hall of Fame ace Tom Seaver snagged the biggest headlines, but the enduring richness of the story lies in the core of a team comprised of untested youngsters, lightly regarded veterans, and four Southern-born African-American stalwarts who came of age in the shadow of Jackie Robinson. Most of the Mets regulars were improbable candidates for baseball stardom. The number two starting pitcher, Jerry Koosman, grew up on a Minnesota farm, never played high-school ball, and was only discovered because of a tip from a Mets’ usher. Outfielder Ron Swoboda was known for long home runs and piles of strikeouts, until he turned into a glove wizard when it mattered most.
All of these men were galvanized by their manager: the sainted former Brooklyn Dodger Gil Hodges, whose fundamental belief in the power of every man on the roster, no matter his stats, helped backup players like Al Weis and J.C. Martin become October heroes. As the Mets powered through the season to reach a World Series against the best-in-a-generation Baltimore Orioles, Hodges’s steady hand guided a team that had very recently been the league laughingstock to an improbable, electrifying shot at sports immortality. “A must-read for not just for Mets fans, but all baseball fans who will appreciate what indeed was the most astounding season in baseball history.”—Ken Rosenthal, two-time Sports Emmy winner for Outstanding Sports Reporter