The best seasons of the New York Mets have yet to come but it may all begin with our 1985 simulation.
The Golden Age of New York Mets baseball is here—or is it? In real life, 1985 seemed to signal a major turn in the franchise’s history. Gary Carter arrived behind the plate and with all of the other talented players on the roster, they were able to start competing again.
I think we may see some similar results in our simulation of the 1985 season. Although, if the simulated championship victory in 1971 is any hint of what’s to come, the Mets may be two years behind real life which would mean another World Series win in 1988.
Before we reveal the results of the 1985 season, let’s remember past Mets simulated seasons:
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
Winning baseball has returned to Queens. Will we see some playoff baseball in our 1985 simulation?
The preseason predictions for the Mets have the fans hyped. The virtual Mets are set to go 98-64 this year. Unfortunately, despite all of the wins, it will not be enough to catch the 104-58 St. Louis Cardinals.
We should see big years from three Mets. Darryl Strawberry is expected to hit .283 with 24 home runs. On the mound, Dwight Gooden is expected to go 22-9 with a 2.09 ERA. Sid Fernandez is also a preseason star with a 20-11 record and 2.30 ERA.
I should also add that Gooden has 290 strikeouts in this prediction.
The preseason standings didn’t do much to help these positives vibes heading into 1985. The Mets were only 10-20 in spring training action. However, with the Cardinals going 13-17, it’s likely not going to reflect the actual regular-season standings.
Regular Season Results
As expected, the Mets were an early-season contender. After dropping their first two to begin the year, the team picked up the pace and began to win a whole lot of games.
At the conclusion of the first half, the team held a record of 49-37. This was good enough for first-place, two games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Some of the early numbers to note include the team-leading 16 home runs by Gary Carter and the 10-5 record with a 1.63 ERA held by Dwight Gooden. Keith Hernandez is hitting only .244 without a single home run.
The second half push for the postseason included a tight race between the virtual Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals. Lenny Dykstra had an 18-game hitting streak during this time while Wally Backman fought for third place in the batting title race.
In late September, the Mets managed to pull away from the rest of the division and finish with a comfortable lead above the rest of the NL East teams. After 162, the Mets were 98-64 with a 9-game lead or higher against every other team in the division. Not only that, but they also had the best record in all of Major League Baseball.
The playoffs are returning to Shea Stadium.
In the NLCS, the Mets will go up against a familiar foe: the Cincinnati Reds. These two teams went head-to-head in our 1970 simulation with the Reds coming away as the victors.
Game 1: Dwight Gooden threw a one-hit shutout to start the series off and put the Mets ahead 1-0 in the series. The Mets took this game by a score of 2-0.
Game 2: Sid Fernandez delivered in this game with some relief help from Jesse Orosco. The Mets took a 2-0 series lead with their 4-2 win.
Game 3: Looking to take 3-0 lead, the series shifted to Cincinnati. Although Darryl Strawberry did get his first hit of the series and knock a home run, the Mets lost 8-4.
Game 4: Hoping to once again beat Cincinnati and come one win away from going to the World Series, the Mets dropped this game 7-6. We’re knotted up at 2-2.
Game 5: In what will be the final game of the series played in Cincinnati regardless of what happens, Roger McDowell earned the win in relief for the Mets in their 4-3 win.
Game 6: The Mets couldn’t close it out at Shea Stadium in this one, instead handing a win to the Reds. The final score: 5-2.
Game 7: In the deciding Game 7 of the series, we get a repeat of the Game 3 starters of Tom Browning and Ron Darling. By the score of 3-2, the Reds advance.
The season is over! The virtual Mets are bounced by the Reds from the playoffs yet again.
A trio of Mets had a chance to represent the team in the All-Star Game. Voted in by the fans, Gary Carter suits up behind the plate to start the game. If not for starting the weekend prior to the game, Dwight Gooden would have also started. Instead, it’ll be ex-Mets pitcher Mike Scott tossing to The Kid.
Sid Fernandez also had the chance to represent the Mets in this game. He tossed a scoreless seventh inning in his All-Star debut. As for Carter, he went 1 for 2 in the National League victory.
We do have a couple of honors to get to. Davey Johnson won Manager of the Year. Even bigger, Dwight Gooden took home the Cy Young Award. It’s the first of what I hope can be many in his young career.
We got two Gold Glove winners. Gary Carter won his seventh straight and first as a member of the Mets. Keith Hernandez won his fifth straight and his second-straight as a member of this ball club.
Beyond the major awards, there were some in-season achievements. Only two players in Major League Baseball struck out 15+ batters in a game and each suited up for the Mets in 1985. On May 10, Gooden fanned 17 Philadelphia Phillies. On September 24, Sid Fernandez had 15 strikeouts against them, too.
Notable Individual Statistics
Dwight Gooden had a monster season on the mound complete with a 16-11 record and 1.60 ERA. He struck out 318 batters to put a cap on it all.
Sid Fernandez finished off his All-Star campaign 16-8 with a 2.30 ERA. One surprising pitching result came from 17-5 Ed Lynch who led the team in wins.
On the offensive side of things, we got great regular seasons from multiple players. I won’t get into them all. Darryl Strawberry hit .287 with 24 home runs. Keith Hernandez did manage to turn his season around somewhat with a team-leading 157 hits, 4 home runs, and a .264 batting average.
As for WAR, Gary Carter led the way with a 5 WAR on offense. To no surprise, Gooden’s 13.4 led the entire team.
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Progress is the best word I could use to describe the 1985 season for the virtual Mets. And if I’m correct, 1986 should be just as fun in the virtual world as it was in our reality.