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This Day in History, 1986: Mets Win World Series

Do you remember where you were twenty years ago tonight? I do.

My younger brother Josh was a major Mets fan, and my parents had arranged for him to have a set of season tickets for the 1986 baseball season. We couldn't afford tickets for every game, unfortunately, and so we had tickets for weekend games only. Also, we also could only afford two tickets per game for a family of five, so most of the time one of my parents or my older brother went with Josh to the games.

Until the Mets got into the World Series. As season ticket holders, we were entitled to purchase tickets to games being held on the same day of the week we had tickets. So we managed to get tickets for games 1 and 7, which were supposed to be held on a Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Game 1 was in fact held on the evening of Saturday, October 18, 1986, and since I had not been able to go to many of the games during the season, the family agreed that I would be the one to escort Josh to Shea Stadium for both games (should there be a game 7). The first game was a disappointment to us, of course, as the Mets lost 1-0. It was not exactly an auspicious moment for them, or for us. As Mets fans, we obviously wanted the Mets to win the World Series, but as holders of tickets for game 7, we needed it to be a squeaker.

Over the next week, we watched the games on television, saw the Mets lose game 2 at Shea, and then win games 3 and 4 at Fenway. The series was now tied 2-2, which gave us hope, until the Mets lost game 5 by a score of 4-2.

And then they returned to Shea for game 6. Everyone knows what happened during game 6, held on the evening of Saturday, October 25, so I won't recount it here. What I will note is my vivid memory of us watching as it looked like the Mets were going to lose, and how terribly disappointed and even depressed we were beginning to feel at my house. Josh and I desperately wanted to use the tickets to game 7, and if the Mets had lost we wouldn't even get to keep the tickets as a souvenir of a game that was never played; they had to be returned for the full refund. So we watched and moped, until Mookie Wilson did what he did and we knew game 7 was a reality.

And then it rained on Sunday, postponing the game to Monday. There was talk of holding the game during the day, and I had visions of bringing a note to school on Tuesday: "Please excuse Michael from being out yesterday, as he had to attend the World Series." Fortunately, they chose to play that game at night.

And so Josh and I went. After the final game of the NLCS and game 6 of the World Series, game 7 felt almost like an anticlimax. The Mets managed to score 6 runs by the top of the 8th inning, and although the Sox finally scored 2 runs of their own, the Mets scored 2 more and the game ended 8-5. I will never forget how Jesse Orosco pitched that final strike and fell to the mound in joyous gratitude that he had won a World Series.

Nine years later I found myself married to a Red Sox fan, and we avoided talking about the 1986 World Series until 2004. Finally, I can breathe free again, and as the Cardinals and the Tigers pound away, I can revel in the memories of a beautiful World Series, played twenty years and a lifetime ago.

References:
1986 World Series by Baseball Almanac

Copyright © Michael Burstein

Comments

Home CRYING...
I too feel sad that the Mets didn't get into the Series this year... :-)

(Hey, the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. Be happy.)
You asked me what I was doing during the game. I am very happy that the Sox won the series during my life time.
Ah! I apologize. I didn't realize you were answering the question I posed at the beginning. (I thought it was mostly rhetorical.)

As much as I wanted the Mets to win in 1986, I didn't want the Red Sox to have to lose for that to happen.
I was back at the dorms after the long Sukkot break at Yeshiva College. The rest of the playoffs, I watched at home with my brother, or missed for the holidays. This one, I was with neighbors in the dorm (in part because my roommates were not big baseball fans). It was of course a great game (though not as great as game six), and afterwards I went and bought a beer despite being underage. It was the only time in college I ever did that.
Wow. The night game 6 took place was Simchas Torah. I had no idea.
The other day, I was looking at one of those "This Day in History" sites, and it was the 20th anniversary of the Red Sox blowing the series. That was the first night I was ever in Boston. Pretty unforgettable! They didn't win until after I'd moved away. Coincidence?
I'm sorry, but you must never return. We take our coincidences seriously around these parts.
How about I promise never to be in Boston during a post-season game? ;)
If I recall correctly, most Astros fans were being talked down from tall buildings at the time...
Yeah I recall. I was attending a meeting of the UCLA sf club, having just returned from Milehighcon in Denver where I saw the Game 6 Incident That We Don't Talk About. My, and from what I gather, other Red Sox fans thoughts were "Why are we even bothering to play Game 7. We all know it's anti-climatic and that the Mets are going to win it". I'd occasionally check the score in the union's food court area, and wasn't surprised at all at the loss.
20 years ago today (10-28) I was taking a Borten AP Physics exam at the same time the Mets were parading down the cavern of heroes. Darn!

Ticker-tape parades for sports teams should be held on the weekend.
oh one more thing- thanks to you or your brother for getting me a world series program at that game. :) I still have it in my collection.
Hey, I'm glad you have that program. I honestly have no idea where our souvenirs of the Series are...

And I was taking that same AP Physics test.
On the night of the fabled Game 6, I was attending a graduation party for an older co-worker who had gone back to college to get his degree. He had rented a hotel suite in Manhattan for the party, but the TV was chained to the wall in the bedroom. The bedroom only held a handful of people at a time, so we watched in shifts. The room was about evenly divided between Yankee fans, Sox fans and Mets fans.

By the time Mookie came to bat, all of the Sox fans were up front by the TV, and we Met fans were huddled against the wall. When the ball went through Buckner's legs, my friend and I leapt up so high to High-Five that we put our hands through the light fixture in the ceiling. The Sox fans were easily scrapped off the floor, and escorted back to the kegs in the next room.

For Game 7, my friends and I watched the game on TV at my house. When it was over, we grabbed our Met caps and a couple of pennants, and cruised the neighborhood with all the other fans. It was a great night. Even today, though I drive down 86th Street nearly every day, going under the El always makes me remember that night.
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