There’s one image I think all of us have of Jesse Orosco when it relates to Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. From some point beginning with his final pitch to Marty Barrett to the end of the celebration, this is the icon moment for Orosco in the New York Mets victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Definitely the biggest moment of all, only a few minutes earlier Orosco had another big one. It came quite unexpectedly.
The forgotten Jesse Orosco moment before the Mets won it all in 1986
After a two-run double from Dwight Evans, the Red Sox cut the Mets’ leader to 6-5. Davey Johnson decided it was time to replace Roger McDowell in the top of the eighth with nobody out and a runner now on second. He summoned Orosco from the bullpen hoping his closer could help seal the victory.
A lineout, a strikeout, and a groundout ended the eighth. There were still three outs for the Mets to get, but first, they would get a chance to tack on a few more.
Darryl Strawberry led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run. It was great insurance. Could it be enough?
Ray Knight followed with a single and then proceeded to move over to second base on a Lenny Dykstra groundout. Then came Rafael Santana, the light-hitting shortstop, who received an intentional walk. The method behind this madness was due to the fact that Orosco was due up next.
Despite what we might think, Orosco batted a lot in his professional career even though he was almost always a reliever. At this point in his career, he had 62 total plate appearances with a surprisingly acceptable .208 batting average. However, he was 0 for 3 with a pair of walks in the regular season in 1986. He would never again have a major league hit either except for this one last base knock.
Against Red Sox pitcher Al Nipper, Orosco singled to center field. Knight rounded third, headed for home, and scored just as he had in Game 6 for the winning run. This time, it only added a little more breathing room.
Orosco did the impossible! He drove in the last Mets run of the postseason. Who would have guessed it?
Not worn out yet, Orosco returned to the mound after New York stranded the bases loaded. A pop out to first base, a ground out to second, and the final strikeout would end the game, the season, and the series.
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Orosco’s hit might not have mattered in the grand scheme of things. But it’s the unlikeliest of moments like these that make October baseball so special. A lot of the focus from the 1986 World Series often goes to Game 6 and the Bill Buckner error. However, it took one more amazin’ night for it all to come together.