6 – 1987
One year after winning it all, the 1987 Mets were hopeful for a repeat. The core was intact and a trip to the postseason felt inevitable. In the Wild Card era, 92 wins practically guarantee a postseason spot. Back in 1987, it meant finishing three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
Maybe most unfortunate from this year, the Mets had more than the San Francisco Giants. The National League West winners went to the playoffs with only 90 victories. They did eventually lose to the Cardinals who then took the L against the Minnesota Twins in the World Series.
The 1987 campaign included the rise of several notable Mets. Most notably, Howard Johnson became the starting third baseman. He smashed 36 home runs and drove in 99 runs. Perfecting his year even more, HoJo swiped 32 bags.
Johnson wasn’t the only 30/30 man. Darryl Strawberry hit 39 dingers of his own and stole 36 bases. The team had power and speed. Four players hit 20 home runs and five finished the season with 80+ RBI. Offense was certainly key to winning as often as they did.
The pitching wasn’t quite as dominant as it was in 1986. Dwight Gooden led the staff with 15 wins and a 3.21 ERA. They received good but not great years from other starters. The biggest pitching weakness, however, was in the bullpen.
It’s clear to see why this Mets team didn’t have what it takes to go all the way. Call it a championship hangover if you’d like. While good with hope ahead, the 1987 Mets had to take one year off from October baseball.