Day 404

The Black Cat Game

February 6th, 2013

Out on the walkway in front of Citi Field, amid a swarm of thousands of personalized bricks, sit a dozen or so granite plaques (hopefully all correct by this point) memorializing notable events in Mets history. The one pictured recalls a game between the Mets and the Cubs that took place during the heat of the 1969 pennant race. The first-place Cubs had faltered late in the season, and had watched their mid-August nine-game division lead dwindle to a mere game-and-a-half advantage over the red-hot Mets by September 9. As an editor at The Week magazine remembers it:

On the afternoon of Sept. 9, 1969, during a crucial game between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, a black cat appeared on the field at Shea Stadium. From my seat in the upper deck, I watched the mysterious cat circle Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, awaiting his turn at bat. As 56,000 people began to point and cheer, the cat padded directly up to the Cubs' dugout steps. There it stopped, and seemed to fix its gaze on manager Leo Durocher. A roar of exultation filled the stadium. The game stopped, as the players all stopped to look at the black cat looking at Leo. It was just a cat, of course, but after that none of us doubted that the first-place Cubs were doomed. The Mets beat the poor cursed Cubbies that day, and the next. The Cubs fell out of first place for good, as the Mets, with fairy dust on their spikes, went on to win the World Series.

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