Introduction: Welcome to the Talent Era

It was late 1969, and the Amazing Mets had just won the World Series. The United States was in a turbulent time. The civil rights movement, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and the moon landing dominated the headlines. Riots had erupted across the country; music, theater, movies, and TV shows explored uncensored territory; and, yes, the Mets had won. The world had turned upside-down. But of all those events in the late sixties, the one that might seem inconsequential had one of the biggest impacts in the long term. You see, it was the Mets rather than the Cardinals who won the National League championship.

Throughout the 1960s, the Cardinals had been a powerhouse. In 1969, the ...

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