The Mets, who had been dismissed as the "lovable losers," provided the surprise kicker to the summer of 1969. Sports columnists said the Mets would never win: They were an 8-year-old expansion team playing the star-studded Orioles - with Frank Robinson, Boog Powell and Jim Palmer - acknowledged to be one of the finest teams ever.

The Mets had never finished higher than ninth place, and their gaffe-filled performances had been immortalized by Jimmy Breslin several years earlier in a book aptly titled, "Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?"

Even in mid-August of 1969 they were in third place in the National League East division.

"When they reached the World Series, everyone said, 'They don't deserve it, it's a fluke,'" said Kim Cody, of Whitestone, who was a 17-year-old Mets fan back then.

He got to attend every home game of the Series. In the fifth and final game, the Mets won 5-3 in front of a sellout crowd of more than 57,000 at Shea Stadium. Cody ran onto the field and lifted a stranger aloft. Their photo ran on the back page of a newspaper the next morning.

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When Cody went to his Catholic school and reported that he'd been sick the day before, the dean of discipline said simply, "Mr. Cody, you take a nice picture." Cody said he received 10 lashes with a belt.

"It hurt like hell," Cody recalls, "but it was worth it."


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