This Day in Baseball History

Looking Back

Looking Back

When things are as bad as they have been with the Mets, one might as well look back at a good time. Last night’s loss was typical of how this season has gone, from poor managing to inept playing.

However, on this date in 1986, the Mets clinched the NL East with a 4-2 win over Chicago at Shea Stadium on a Dwight Gooden 6-hitter. The Mets went on to win 108 games that season, the most in the league since the 1975 Reds.

The Mets survived the NLCS with a dramatic Game Six victory over Houston, and used Game Six in the World Series to stay alive – “and the ball gets by Buckner” – to beat Boston.

Two years earlier on this date, Gooden struck out 16 batters for the second straight start, but balked home the winning run in the 8th inning in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies. It marked the fifth straight start in which Gooden struck out at least 10.

I saw Gooden pitch several times and there was such an electricity at Shea whenever he took the ball. Every start you wondered if this would be the one where he’d throw a no-hitter. He never did for the Mets, but did for the Yankees.

If you have a favorite Gooden moment, or memory of the 1986 team, let’s hear them.

5 thoughts on “This Day in Baseball History

  1. In 86 I saw a great pitching duel between Doc and Nolan Ryan. Hows that for a matchup. It was on the fourth of July, I believe. These guys didnt dissapoint either. Mets win 1-0.

  2. I was at the game when Mazzilli came back to the Mets and hit a pinch hit homer against the Cardinals. Regarding Doc and electricity in the air…when he came back from his suspension in 1987 against the Pirates, the crowd was electric…standing and cheering thru each warmup pitch. For us old timers you’ll recall the late Dick Young writing an article in the NY Daily News which was titled: Stand Up And Boo! Booo Dick Young. He was to Met fans what O’Malley was to Brooklyn Dodger fans. Young ran Seaver out of town and O’Malley took the Dodgers to LA.

  3. 3. I was at a DH in Pttsburgh in June. The Bucs won the first game. Bill Robinson the first base coach got into a fight with one of the Pirates and was tossed. The Mets won the second and won 14 in a row against the Pirates going 17-1. Rick Aguiluera popped one for the Mets but couldn’t go 5 for the win.

  4. I was at a bunch of games in ’86, but honestly, I don’t remember much about any of them. The one thing that sticks with me about that season was that it seemed impossible to avoid the Mets (not that I wanted to). I remember going away somewhere for a weekend that summer — not even sure where — and figuring I would just have to miss seeing any Mets games. Yet for some reason, every place I went they were on TV, either network or cable in a motel, and they were winning every game… not simply winning, but destroying the opposition.

    I have a much clearer memory from ’85. A friend of mine at the time had somehow landed a gig taking photos for some Mets sponsor at a luncheon or something they were having in one of the Diamond Club suites. Knowing I was a Mets fan (he knew nothing about baseball) he convinced them to let me come along as his “assistant” — not just because he was doing me a favor, but because I could help him not sound like an idiot. We got there before the game and with his press photographer’s pass, gained access to the passage outside the locker room, where there was supposed to be some kind of award presentation. The door to the locker room opened, and I could see the players in inside… and standing right there was Darryl Strawberry. I was in awe — not simply because it was him, but because I had never realized just how tall he was. Standing there in the pinstripe home uniform with the racing stripes down the side, he looked like a giant.

    My “I’m an idiot” moment came a little while later, when we were actually allowed on the field for a picture of the ceremonial first pitch and I found myself right next to the dugout. I looked over and there was Bud Harrelson, a coach at the time. He was one of my all-time favorites, and I couldn’t stop myself from walking over and calling out, “Hey, Buddy!” He glanced at me, turned away dismissively, and security immediately told me in no uncertain times that I was to stay the hell away from there.

  5. p.s. Nearly forgot: At the Diamond Club thing after the game, I did meet three players in person: Roger McDowell, Lenny Dykstra, and Clint Hurdle. McDowell seemed like a good guy, but didn’t make much of an impression. Dykstra, straight out of the shower and in sweats, looked and acted like a goofy little kid. In fact, I was shocked when he introduced us to his wife! Hurdle, who I’d barely heard of and was a backup catcher, talked to us for a while and really impressed me. I was disappointed when the Mets traded him away, but wasn’t surprised when he became a manager.

    This being ’85, everybody was keeping one eye on the TV, which was showing the Cardinals game. As usual, they came from behind to win again. Damn Cardinals.