When Brian asked me to be part of this site I was truly honored and excited. Someone has asked me to do what I do best and that’s shoot off at the mouth about the Mets. I mean it’s really a dream come true. But then I started to worry, I mean how many times are we going to post that Ollie Perez was probably the worst signing since Mo Vaughn or does Omar Minaya have a Spanish player themed dart board to pick and choose his bench from? I’m sure all year Brian, Eddie, JP, myself and any other die hard Mets fan will be posting about this upcoming year and the things that are going on, so what the hell am I going to focus on? Then it hit me….. being the elder statesmen of the crew I decided to take a look back at the greatest year of my life as a Mets fan and focus on the “brawling, boozing, bimbo chasing and championship baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, the Kid, and the rest of the 1986 Mets, the rowdiest team to ever put on a New York uniform – and maybe the best”
So we are going to do this documentary style on each player on the Amazin’s squad. Give a little background before the season, highlights from the season and maybe a little where are they now. But then here is the best part….. my friend James was a bartender at the Sly Fox in Queens which was located across the campus of St. Johns. Needless to say this was a hotspot for those hard partying Mets and James has seen more than his fair share of debauchery from those guys. Let’s just say remember when Bobby Ojeda got injured “trimming hedges?” Well that is certainly one way to put it. Another way to put it is that he was banging out some meat-heads chick and got thrown through the plate glass window at the Sly Fox. Allegedly……..
So lets begin shall we…..
1986 New York Mets
W-108 L – 54
Manager: Davey Johnson
In 1986 God smiled down on Flushing Meadows. Okay maybe Frank Cashen made a deal with the devil, either way it was a magical year at the old Shea. The Mets mowed through the National League East winning 108 games with a 21 1/2 game lead by seasons end. The Mets led the league in both runs scored (783) and ERA (3.11). The Mets big three offensively had a stellar season with the Kid Gary Carter knocking in 105 RBI’s, Kieth Hernandez chimed in with a .310 BA and 94 runs and Straw hit 27 dingers with 92 ribbies. The pitching was outstanding with three pitchers in the top five in ERA, Bobby Ojeda, Ron Darling and Dwight Gooden. Ojeda led the squad after coming over from Boston the year before with 18 wins and Doc, Ronnie and El Sid each hit the 15 win level. And something you don’t see too often anymore in baseball we had a double headed monster at the closer spot with Roger McDowell ringing in 22 saves from the right side and Jesse Orosco pumping in 21 from the left.
The Mets entered the National League Championship Series against the hated Houston Astros and their ace Mike Scott. The Mets took that series four games to two capped off by a thrilling 16 inning Game 6 that set the Amazin’s up to face the Boston Red Sox who had not won a championship since 1918. (Quick aside: we will get into all these games in depth I just want to do a quick overview for the first article) The Mets were able to emerge victorious four games to three after the famous Buckner play in game six and coming back from a 3-0 deficit in game seven.
1986 New York Mets were the second championship team in their then 24 year existance. But that was not some of the things they ended up being most noted for. For example, on one rowdy flight back to New York, United Airlines billed the team an additional $7,500 for damage resulting from food fights and other unruly antics and said the team couldn’t fly the airline again. There was also the rampant drug use that was clearly accepted but not exactly acknowledged by players, management and the media alike.
All this and more will be broken down, focused on and rehashed as we look back at one of the greatest teams that has ever played Major League Baseball. Next post focus: Davey Johnson.