Shea moment No. 9: Imperfecto!
Seaver faces one over the minimum on July 9, 1969
NEW YORK -- The Mets don't have a no-hitter to their credit. Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden and Al Leiter, just to name a few, would collect one either before or after joining the organization.
That means no perfect game, either. But an "imperfect" game? Tom Seaver delivered that on July 9, 1969, facing 28 Cubs batters -- one above the minimum -- in what would have been pitching perfection if it weren't for a Jimmy Qualls single to left-center field with one out on the ninth inning.
Seaver's dominance was recognized by the fans on that day and by the fans who voted the feat the No. 9 moment in Shea Stadium history.
The venue roared as the ace stepped to the plate in the eighth inning and laid down a bunt. He didn't even have to run to first to earn the applause, receiving his ovations for allowing nary a hit or a walk in the first eight frames of a 4-0 victory. Though he would surrender his flawlessness to the next three batters, fans finally felt as though they had found their star before the end of the "imperfect" game.
"It started as he took that slow walk to the plate. Remember how slowly Seaver walked to the plate?" Mets radio announcer Howie Rose said, recalling the at-bat. "It was like thunder from all over Shea. You couldn't hear anything else. We're 15-year-old kids, and we're in the middle of it. It was so over-the-top.
"And I remember thinking ... 'We've got one now, the Mets have their Mantle or their Koufax.' They'd been around almost eight seasons, and they had their superstar and they were in a pennant race and the focus of all baseball. That was the Mets' bar mitzvah.' "
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.