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New York Mets History

1986 New York Mets dominated the regular season then won it all

jkamilhor
OCT 1986: THE NEW YORK METS CELEBRATE DURING THE METS 4-3 WIN OVER THE BOSTON RED SOX IN GAME 6 OF THE WORLD SERIES AT SHEA STADIUM IN NEW YORK, NEW YORK. Mandatory Credit: Allsport/ALLSPORT
OCT 1986: THE NEW YORK METS CELEBRATE DURING THE METS 4-3 WIN OVER THE BOSTON RED SOX IN GAME 6 OF THE WORLD SERIES AT SHEA STADIUM IN NEW YORK, NEW YORK. Mandatory Credit: Allsport/ALLSPORT
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A look back at the 1986 New York Mets and the great memories they gave fans.

Mookie Wilson‘s dash to first base did not end the 1986 World Series and when he hit the “gets through Buckner” roller the New York Mets had already tied Game Six. Even so, it was the most famous play in Mets’ history, and probably will be forever.

Unlike the 1969 Mets, everyone knew this team would dominate. The only thing the 1969 and 1986 Mets had in common was extensive platooning to make the most of each position and player.

The1986 Mets dominated the National League from beginning to end. The team’s only real opponent turned out to be its volatile and often out-of-control players. If you don’t believe me get a copy of Jeff Pearlman’s book The Bad Guys Won.

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I’m glad I did not know then what I know now about many of these players. They admitted to all kinds of terrible behavior in Pearlman’s book, and it’s hard to reconcile their past deeds with what they are like now.

The roster had everything a team needs to win 108 regular season games and then beat a tough Houston Astros team then come back from a three games to two deficit against the diamond-hard-luck Boston Red Sox.

The offense led the National League in runs, walks, total bases, batting average, on base percentage, slugging, and OPS. The pitchers led the league in ERA, fewest home runs allowed, and finished second in strikeouts. None of the top ten pitchers (most games pitched) had an ERA over 3.88.

The Mets tied for first place in their division on April 22nd and remained alone in first place the rest of the season. As the Japanese say: the regular season was no drama.

The postseason was another matter as both series were extremely tight and full of memorable moments. The Mets edged the Houston Astros in six games despite the dominance of former Met Mike Scott. If the Mets lost game six they were convinced that Scott would beat them once again to win the series for the Astros.

As for the series against the Red Sox it all came down to no player wanting to make the last out of the World Series in game six.

Mets down 5-3 with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning:

Gary Carter singled off former Met Calvin Schiraldi
Kevin Mitchell singled off Schiraldi
Ray Knight singled off Schiraldi (Carter scores; Mitchell to 3B)
Mookie Wilson against Bob Stanley Wild Pitch (Mitchell scores to tie the game at 5-5; Knight to 2B)
Mookie Wilson rolls the ball up the first base line against Bob Stanley and reached on E3 (Knight scores and everyone goes bonkers)

Postseason Broadcasts

NLCS Game 1 at Houston

NLCS Game 2 at Houston 1st seven innings only

NLCS Game 2 at Houston Innings 7-9 only

NLCS Game 3 at New York

NLCS Game 5 at New York Innings 1-4 only

NLCS Game 5 at New York Innings 5-12 only

NLCS Game 6 at Houston 9th-15th innings only (please watch this!)

World Series Game 3 at Boston TV

World Series Game 4 at Boston TV

World Series Game 5 at Boston TV

World Series Game 6 at New York TV

World Series Game 7 at New York TV

Last piece of the championship puzzle

The Mets traded for Bobby Ojeda in November 1985 in an eight-player deal with the Red Sox. Ojeda solidified the starting rotation and added some balance to the predominantly right-handed pitching staff.

  • W-L 18-5 (most wins fewest losses of team’s top five starters)
  • ERA 2.57 (best of five top starters on the team)
  • G 32
  • GS 30
  • IP 217.1 (one of four Mets starters to pitch 200+ innings)

Best players on 1986 Mets (links to SABR Bio Project entries)

Keith Hernandez

Gary Carter

Dwight Gooden

Darryl Strawberry

Bobby Ojeda

Best players for their career

Keith Hernandez

Gary Carter

Dwight Gooden

Darryl Strawberry

George Foster

Most obscure players

John Mitchell

Tim Corcoran

Where are they now?

The Mets have been good about keeping key members of the 1986 team around, including current TV color analysts, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.

Tim Teufel is back on the Mets major league coaching staff after a year as a roving instructor.

George Foster is still involved in baseball, helping youth.

Stanley Jefferson had a second career as an NYPD police officer and was involved in the rescue operations at Ground Zero.

Mookie Wilson worked as a coach for the Mets from 1997-2002 and again in 2011. He managed in the minor leagues and held various other positions. He is enjoying retirement these days.

This article from 2016 catches up with some other Mets and mentions the passing of Bill Robinson, Vern Hoscheit, and Frank Cashen listed below.

No longer with us

The Kid Gary Carter died of brain cancer on February 16, 2012.

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre passed away recently, after a long and successful career as a pitcher and pitching coach.

Hitting coach, first-base coach Bill Robinson passed away in 2007 at the age of 64.

Bullpen coach Vern Hoscheit passed away in 2007 at the age of 85.

General Manager Frank Cashen died June 30, 2014, at the age of 88.

Books to read

Game 7,1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life, by Ron Darling

I’m Keith Hernandez: A Memoir, by Keith Hernandez

Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the ’86 Mets, by Erik Sherman

Davey Johnson: My Wild Ride in Baseball and Beyond, by Davey Johnson

The Bad Guys Won, by Jeff Pearlman

The 1986 New York Mets: There was more than game six, edited by Leslie Heaphy and Bill Nowlin

Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets, by Mookie Wilson, Erik Sherman, with forward by Keith Hernandez

Next. The Greatest New York Mets Players of All-Time

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What’s your favorite memory of the 1986 squad?

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