With a country in turmoil, Americans rally around a ballclub for the hope of a miracle.
In 1957, the Dodgers and Giants left New York for the West Coast, leaving a huge void in a city of National League baseball fans. Five years later, headed by the seventy-one-year-old Casey Stengel, NL baseball was back in the Big Apple in the form of the New York Metropolitans. However, it was anything but smooth sailing.
In their first season of 1962, the Mets went 40–162, a record of futility. While Stengel called his team the “Amazin’ Mets,” they were amazingly inept. But at the same time, they were loved by a fan base that gave new definition to the word loyalty. But seven years later, that all changed.
The Miracle of 1969 is the story of the Miracle Mets though the eyes of a nine-year-old boy from the Bronx, who would later grow up to cover the organization professionally. Rich Coutinho takes you back in time half a century ago, sharing how a country and city knee-deep in social turmoil was able to rally around a ballclub on the verge of greatness.
But to fully grasp the impact of this story, you must also understand where the country was at this time in history. Whether it be man landing on the Moon, Woodstock, Charles Mansion’s cult killings, the conviction of Muhammad Ali for draft evasion, the Chappaquiddick Ted Kennedy incident, protests against the Vietnam War, or even pop culture events like the Beatles last public appearance, the late ’60s were a time of change. With the great play of the Mets, who rumbled back from being back 9 1/2 games in mid-August, Coutinho paints a picture of baseball and the country during this incredible time in our nation’s history.
The Miracle of 1969 is not just a story of a team winning the World Series, but how a single ballclub could so dramatically affect a single boy from the Bronx while uniting people and a city despite the world trying so hard to have hate in the daily diet of every American. The Miracle Mets proved that dreaming of great things in life is not only possible—it is mandatory.
Rich Coutinho has been a sports reporter for over thirty years in the New York City area for such outlets as ABC Radio, ESPN New York 98.7, and WFAN Radio. He has covered the New York Mets since 1984 and reported on the Super Bowl and the World Series as well as the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals. He has also covered national and international events like the Olympics, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Masters, the Indianapolis 500, and a plethora of college football throughout the country. The author of Press Box Revolution, he lives in Rye, New York.