With all the injuries to the 2009 Mets reminding me of the 1987 Mets, and with the St. Louis Cardinals in town for a big four game series, it got me thinking about the great Met-Cardinals rivalry of the mid 1980′s.
To borrow a line from Keith Hernandez “You kids out there who are new to the game” may not realize that once upon at time, the Mets and Cardinals played together in the Eastern Division of the National League.
Of course old time fans remember when the Mets and Cards used to share a spring training facility at Al Lang Park in St. Petersburg. In the middle 1980′s, 1985, 1986 and 1987 in particular you couldn’t find a better rivalry.
Whitey Herzog’s 1985 Cardinals edged the Mets out for the NL East flag by three games. There was something about the way the 1985 season ended that just made me feel 1986 was going to be a special year for the Mets.
In 1987 the Cards edged the Mets by 3 games again to win the NL East flag . But oh how those Cardinal teams would make me (or most Met fans), crazy. Those were the speed demon Cardinal teams. The teams of Vince Coleman, Willie McGee, Terry Pendleton and of course Ozzie Smith. At the time it seemed the the Met pitchers never held the Cardinal base runners close, and that Gary Carter couldn’t throw anyone out. Those were just such huge games back then. Like the Philly games have been for the last few years.
In 2006 it was only fitting for the NL crown to come down to the old NL East rivals. Too bad it didn’t work out for the Mets. But I will always think of the Cardinals as one of the Mets most bitter rivals.