Book Review: The Miracle Has Landed (Part III)November 25, 2009
Below is Part III of my book review for: The Miracle Has Landed: The Amazin’ Story of How the 1969 Mets Shocked the World. This is an email interview I did with one of the books editors Matthew Silverman. This is a continuation (second part) of my interview with Matthew Silverman. If you missed the first part of the interview, please click here.
Special Thanks to Matt for taking the time out to do this interview and to The Society For American Baseball Research for contacting me about this book.
Question: Within the acknowledgments section, there is mention of a number of Mets related blogs. How big of a role did Mets Blogs play in the research and information gathering of the book?
Answer: There have been many times in Mets history where you had to wonder, “Am I the only person who cares about this? It’s 10-1, they’re 20 games out, and I’m worried that they’re using a reliever for the third night in a row.” Blogs are unequivocal proof that we are not alone. While a few people I thought would be anxious to help weren’t, just about every blogger I asked–most of whom aren’t even in SABR–couldn’t wait to be a part of it. And bloggers like yourself writing about the finished product and furthering the discussion on this great team also helps get the word out. People with questions about the book can contact me at my blog at metsilverman.com.
Question: In your words, why should a young Mets (or general baseball fan) not alive in 1969 read this book?
Answer: Well, first of all I actually missed the 1969 season–and 1973. At age four in ’69, I remember seeing the show Underdog but not the Underdog Mets. I didn’t start following the Mets until it was too late (1975–the ship was starting to go down–and the team was horribly run). I always wanted to know everything I could about the time I missed, like a dynamic relative you heard so much about but you never got to meet. The more you look at the ’69 season, the more you realize it will never be duplicated. Not just by the Mets, but by any team. The Mets were so hideously bad in their early years, losing 100 games five out of seven seasons–plus the worst record of the century–and then bam: 100 wins and a World Series title against a 109-win Orioles team filled with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers (as were the Cubs). That Mets lineup was not what you call power-laden, but their manager made sure they knew how to play. Gil Hodges used everyone on the roster. They all had career years or were platooned perfectly by Hodges. The ’69 Mets are not just some legend. It’s your team. They may win another World Series someday, but it will never be anywhere close to this level of hysteria…even with ESPN, the Internet, MLB channel, and twittering till your thumbs fall off. The ’86 team was an echo of the ’69 club–only that was a club of All-Stars that did the unMetly feat of running away with a division–yet even they needed divine intervention. There had to be a little 1969 mojo in the air at Shea for that ’86 team to win three times in their last at-bat in the NLCS or the Game 6 and 7 comebacks against Boston. I’m just hoping these 23 long years since ’86 are building up to some other celestial jackpot we can’t yet see.
Question: Give me one or two things you learned from the book that you didn’t already know about the 69 Mets?
Answer: Rain and doubleheaders. The ’69 Mets actually benefited from a lot of rainouts. The Mets had a really tight early schedule, no days off–and back then they played almost all day games until May (what a concept). So the rainouts happened when the team was struggling and they benefited from the time off. Then in August and September, the Mets had all these doubleheaders, the pitching was at its peak, and they charged past everyone. They went 11‑3‑8 in doubleheaders, including six sweeps in their last nine twinbills, fueling their 38-11 finish. The Cubs had the worst record in the league over the same period and lost a double-digit lead. A Chicago blogger and an Orioles fan were gracious enough to write what it was like being a kid and seeing this upstart Mets team crush their dreams. It’s a feeling modern Mets fans can understand, but it’s reassuring to know it can happen to someone else.
Question: Closing thoughts or anything additional you want to add?
Answer: Thanks for your interest, Kerel. The books is available at local bookstores for under $25 and for even less at Amazon–in Mets dollar terms: for less than the price of a sandwich and beer run for one person at Citi Field. It’s for a good cause and a great team and the book, if I dare say, will have you saying “wow” more than a few times. And when was the last team the current Mets made you say that in a good way. There’ll never be another team like the ’69 Mets.