I know that it has been about a month, but I am here with another ML”what would”B! That’s right folks; Matt Nadel of Baseball with Matt is here to tell you about an alternate universe of our national pastime! Anyway, today, we will be exploring a world where two great pitchers had stayed in the city of many championships.
Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan are both in the Hall of Fame. They also both started their careers with the Mets. From there, Ryan went south to the Angels in Anaheim, while Seaver went to cold Cincinnati. But what would have happened to the world of baseball if they stayed as members of New York for their entire careers? This story starts in 1972, when the Ryan Express was leaving for Hollywood in real life. But, because Ryan never leaves the Mets in this ML“what would”B, he stays with New York for the ’72 season. That year, Seaver posts the stats he posted in real life, but something amazing happens to Ryan; he wins his first Cy Young Award, going 22-9 with a 2.61 ERA. Anyway, the Mets have an unbelievable year, winning the NL East with 98 wins. They then win the NL pennant by beating the Reds, but get swept in the World Series by Oakland. Next year, the Mets again win 98 games, again beat the Reds in the NLCS, but then sweep the A’s in the World Series! The entire city of New York is as happy as can be, which is why George Steinbrenner sells his Yankees and buys the Mets before the ’74 season. For the next three years, it’s close but no cigar for the Amazins. In every year from 1974-1976, the Mets win the NL East but lose in the NLCS. Then came 1977, where real life, Seaver was wearing a uniform with a red “C” on it, but in this nirvana for Mets fans, Seaver stays with the Mets. Anyway, the Mets win the NL East for a sixth consecutive year and beat the Dodgers to advance to the Fall Classic to face the Rangers. With new acquisitions Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter, you would expect the Rangers to put up a fight, right? Wrong! The Mets’ three-man pitching rotation of Ryan, Seaver, and longtime Met Jerry Koosman, absolutely dominate the Rangers hitting, which leads the Mets to their third World Series title in franchise history. The same thing happens in ’78!
The Mets die down in the division until the year of 1986. This would be the last year of the careers of Ryan, Seaver, and Koosman. Happily, the ending to that year in real life happens in this ML“what would”B. If you don’t know what happened, let me summarize it up for you with three simple words: through Buckner’s legs. Yes, that’s right, Sox fans. Buckner still messes up your plans for a Reverse the Curse party in an alternate universe. So after a fifth World Series win and the retirement of their three best pitchers in team history, the Mets never recover. They never have a winning record ever again and still do not to this day. Not so much of a nirvana anymore, is it Mets fans?
Anyway, all the teams that Ryan and Seaver were supposed to go to don’t do well at all during the pitchers’ careers. The Angels sink to last place in the AL West to begin and end the ‘70s, and the Astros do the same in the NL West. The Rangers, after their back-to-back World Series losses, never recover, and they average about 70 wins a season to this day. The Reds hold up for a few more years into the ‘80s, but after the Big Red Machine is taken apart, Cincinnati doesn’t post a winning record until the move. I know what you’re thinking: “What move?” Well, the city of Cinci gets tired of the Reds bad play so quickly, that they kick them out of the Queen City just two years after the retirement of Pete Rose: 1987! So where do they move, you ask? Well, they move to the one major city that doesn’t have a baseball team: Miami. What are they called, you ask? Well duh, the Rays! And you know what the team that is created in 1998 in Tampa Bay is called? The Marlins! I know they switched names, but not every name has to be perfect, here in the ML“what would”B.