The Mets made several runs at the Chicago Cubs in 1969 before they finally overtook, then lapped them en route to their Amazin’ championship season.
Gil Hodges said in spring training he had a feeling for his team. Not that they would win it all, but he believed their pitching would be good enough to be a factor.
That pitching was highlighted by Tom Seaver, who on this date in 1969, became the first pitcher in franchise history to win 20 games with a 5-1 victory over Philadelphia in the first game of a doubleheader.
It was a typical, efficient, workmanlike effort from Seaver, who went nine innings, and gave up one run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
With the victory, the Mets pulled within 4 ½ games of the Cubs. The Mets lost the second game, 4-2.
Seaver was incredible that season, winning the Cy Young Award and finishing second in the MVP voting.
Going 25-7 was one thing, but he had a 2.21 ERA with 18 complete games, including five shutouts. Seaver also worked 273.1 innings (which didn’t lead the NL) – unheard of today – with 208 strikeouts, averaging just under seven per nine innings.