One characteristic of the 1986 Mets was their explosiveness. Not only did they dominate with pitching and the ability to manufacture runs, but they could take over a game with one big inning.
On this day in 1986, that inning was the third when the Mets broke through for five runs on consecutive homers from Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell en route to a 5-1 victory at Atlanta.
Rick Aguilera gave up eight hits in the complete-game effort.
With the victory the Mets moved to 64-30 as they ran away with the NL East.
Resiliency was one of the best descriptors of the 1986 Mets. They dominated with an attitude that they were never beaten.
STRAWBERRY: Big in the clutch in 86.
On this day against future playoff opponent Houston, the Mets overcame two two-run deficits to beat the Astros, 6-5, in 10 innings.
Down 2-0 with Ron Darling pitching, the Mets tied the game, 3-3, in the fifth inning on Darryl Strawberry’s two-run homer off Jim Deshaies.
Houston regained the lead, 5-3, in the 10th against Jesse Orosco on Phil Garner’s two-run homer, but the Mets came back with three on Strawberry’s two-run, game-tying homer and Ray Knight’s game-winner off Frank DiPino.
Strawberry was such a clutch player that season, driving in 24 runs with two outs and runners in scoring position and 60 runs with the game within two runs either way.
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.