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Best Mets: Fifty Years of Highs and Lows…

Best Mets: Fifty Years of Highs and Lows from New York's Most…

by Matthew Silverman

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The New York Mets turn fifty this year, and it is the perfect time for Best Mets: Fifty Years of Highs and Lows from New York's Most Agonizingly Amazin' Team by Matthew Silverman. It's just too bad that Johan Santana waited until this season to throw the Mets first-ever no-hitter; it was too late for the book.

Flipping through the book was like a blast from the past for me, seeing all of my old favorites, (Tug McGraw and Gary Carter were my all-time faves) and their exploits in print. After the introduction gives an overview of the fifty years, Silverman gets into lists, which any true baseball fan adores.

We get the Top 50 Mets, and even better, certain Mets give their Top 50 Mets (Jerry Koosman chose Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Grote, Bud Harrelson and himself.) Zipping through the list and seeing Cleon Jones, Jon Matlack, Tommy Agee, and Felix Millan made me smile with joyful memories.

Other chapters include Best Teams, Best All-Stars, and Best Games, which include a list of the team rivalries, heartbreaking losses, and best comebacks. Interspersed through the book are interesting tidbits about "Mets People", including Jane Jarvis, a virtuoso organist. On the night of the big New York blackout in 1977, amidst the chaos, looting and arrests, Jarvis kept the crowd at Shea Stadium happy and calm by singing Christmas carols.

I'm a fairly knowledgeable baseball fan, but one thing in the book stumped me. WAR- Wins Against Replacement- rankings are listed. I had no idea what WAR was, never heard of it. "WAR looks at a player's performance based on valuable he is compared to the average Triple-A player who might be called up to replace him." (My older son told me it's a recent stat.) No surprise, Tom Seaver holds the number one ranking for the Mets.

Best Mets is a must-have book for any Mets fan. It has so much great information presented in an interesting and breezy manner, you can race through the book and then go back and savor each list, each tidbit, and it would be a terrific conversation starter when two or more Mets fans get together. ( )
  bookchickdi | Aug 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received and advanced copy of this book for free through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program, who like to send me books about baseball (I wonder why). The title of the book pretty much sums things up, this is a book of lists about the best Mets players, teams, games, traditions, etc. Obviously this book is not going to have widespread appeal beyond Mets' fans, although I'd think it best for the novice Mets' fan looking to learn a little bit about the history of the team. Still, there are better Mets' books out there. ( )
  Othemts | Aug 3, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Report: Lists of the high and low game moments in the first half-century of the NL's most annoying, frustrating, irritating, inconsistent, underachieving franchise. Lists of best and worst players. Lists of best and worst teams. Lists, in other words.

My Review: I cannot quite get my head around the fact that it's fifty years since the Mets came to be. I got to be a fan in 1969, since I grew up in a Giants family in California (my father was a fan of theirs in the 1930s, when they were still in New York, before he got all his Christmases at once and they came to San Francisco in 1958), and then a Cubs family in Texas (no johnny-come-lately Colt 45s for my grandmother, no sirree bob, she wouldn't even learn their stupid new name...the Astros, faugh!...no, she went with the folks she saw win the World Series in 1908!); we moved to Austin just as the Braves were moving their minor-league franchise out, after being sold to Atlanta (from Milwaukee, which bought 'em from Boston), so no love there; and then it was the World Series, the AL's Orioles against the NL's upstart sad sack Mets, it went to seven games!!! And man-o-mighty was it a thrill to see the AL lose! (All the teams my family has rooted for, don't quite know why, have been NL teams.)

So here I am, forty-three years and one more Series win later (still agonized over the 2000 Subway Series), stuck rootin' for the basement-dwellin' Mets. That's fandom, though, when a team gets its hooks into you, they stay in.

So as I fist-pumped and groaned, the latter more often than the former, through this book, I relived a lot of intense moments from my sports-watching past, nagged by a thought: What on earth can I say about this book? If you're a fan, it doesn't matter what kind of writing there is in it (assuming basic English competence), or what choices are made and what lists aren't included and what players are...well, you get the drift. There's at least as much fun in a fan's tear-down of opposing points of view about his object of obsession as there is in the satisfying smugness of agreement with the author.

So I'll content myself with this observation: I've dipped and browsed and revisited this collection of trivia and opinions with the greatest pleasure ever since I got the book. This one ain't goin' to the liberry book sale. Nope. Can't have it. It's mine. ( )
  richardderus | Mar 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a Mets fan, this book's title is apt. The Mets have had some magical moments, but for the most part, being a fan is agonizing. Wish there were more positive memories from this team. Doesn't look like there will be too many in the near future. At least we can celebrate the past. ( )
  goodinthestacks | Mar 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
First off, I love the game of baseball. I can't imagine anything better than sitting out in the sun, watching two teams slug it out or pitch it out at the ballpark. For the most part I'm a KC Royals fan, but I do appreciate the game. If I can't stomach watching the Royals anymore I will always watch whatever teams are playing. I also follow baseball news with a passion, so I'm not unaware of the Mets' problems as an organization.

Matthew Silverman must be a die-hard Mets fan. The information he portrays throughout this book is detailed and well written. He provides an overview of the Mets, which I'm sure was difficult to construct, and then provides some best of/worst of/things any Mets follower should learn.

The entries are well written and well justified. I personally wouldn't want to get into an argument about who the best pitcher, hitter, manager, etc. was with him. He knows his stuff. That being said, being only an occasional Mets watcher, I lost interest quickly.

Overall, if your a Mets fan this would be a great book for you. If you hold ties to an American League team, however, you may want to look for something else to read. ( )
  MarcusH | Jan 21, 2012 |
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As the New York Mets celebrate their fiftieth anniversary of National League baseball, this rollicking chronicle recounts a half century of the team's ups and downs.

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