The 1986 World Series featured two teams that narrowly escaped
elimination in hard fought Championship Series. The Red Sox 95-66, down 3
games to 1 against California, was behind 5-2 going into the ninth inning of game
five, scored four runs to go into extra innings and win 7-6 and won the next two
games for the AL pennant.
The Mets 108-54 needed twelve innings in game five and sixteen innings in
game six to defeat the Mike Scott/Nolan Ryan led Astros in the NL Championship
The managers were John McNamara for Boston and Davey Johnson for
New York both of whom would at some time in their managerial careers manage
the Cincinnati Reds.
The Red Sox were led by Wade Boggs who won his third AL batting title
with a .357BA/207H/107RS, Jim Rice 20HR/.324BA/200H/110RBI, Bill Buckner
102RBI, Dwight Evans 26HR/97RBI and Don Baylor 31HR/94RBI.
The pitching staff was anchored by Roger Clemens 24-4 the AL Cy Young
and Most Valuable Player Award winner, Oil Can Boyd 16-10, Bruce Hurst 13-8
and Bob Stanley 16 saves and Joe Sambito 10 saves in the bullpen.
The Mets had a strong pitching staff with Dwight Gooden 17-6/2.84ERA,
Ron Darling 15-6/2.81ERA, Bob Ojeda 18-5 and Sid Fernandez 16-6 with Roger
McDowell 14-9/22SV and Lefthander Jesse Orosco with 21 saves in the bullpen.
They had a strong offensive team led by Keith Hernandez .310 BA, Gary
Carter 24HR/105RBI, Darryl Strawberry 27HR/93RBI/28SB, Wally Bachman .320
BA and Lenny Dykstra 31SB/.295BA. They also had former Red Ray Knight .298BA
at third base.
The Mets had power, speed, defense, pitching and veteran players.
In a preview of how the series would go, game one in Shea Stadium in New
York was a scoreless affair with Ron Darling and Bruce Hurst pitching, when in the
seventh inning Boston got an unearned run as Jim Rice walked, went to second on
a wild pitch, to third on a ground out and scored on Tim Tuefel’s error on a
grounder to second.
That proved to be the game’s only run and Boston goes up 1-0 with the 1-0
In game two Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden started but neither was
particularly effective and neither figured in the decision. Boston home runs by
Dave Henderson in the fourth and Dwight Evans in the fifth inning off of Gooden
propelled the Bosox to a 9-3 win and a 2-0 lead in the series.
In game three in Fenway Park in Boston Lenny Dykstra led the Mets with
four hits including a home run and behind Bob Ojeda and Roger McDowell won 7-
1 and the Mets get their first victory of the series.
The Mets continued their momentum behind seven scoreless innings from
Ron Darling and two home runs by Gary Carter and another by Lenny Dystra for 6-
2 win to tie the series at 2-2.
Boston finally won a game at Fenway in game five with Bruce Hurst pitching
a complete game 4-2 victory for his second win of the series and the series had
Boston up 3-2.
Roger Clemens and Bobby Ojeda started game six and in a closely
contested game the two teams were tied 3-3 after nine innings. The Red Sox
scored two in the top off the tenth with the help of a Dave Henderson home run
and the Bosox are just three outs away from Boston’s first World Series title.
Reliever Calvin Schiraldi got the first two outs on fly balls to the outfield and
needed just one more out but the next three hitters Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell
and Ray Knight singled with one run scoring to pull the score to 5-4.
Manager John McNamara decided to replace Schiraldi with Bob Stanley to
face Mookie Wilson in one of the most famous plays in baseball history.
An inside breaking ball got away from the catcher and Mitchell scored to tie
the game at 5-5. Wilson hit a ground ball down the first base line with Bill Buckner
in positon to make the play but the ball went under his glove and the winning run
scored and with the Series tied they go to game seven in Shea Stadium in New
The next day the Red Sox regrouped behind Bruce Hurst with Ron Darling
pitching for New York, the third Series start for both pitchers, and the game was
close but momentum was on the Mets side and helped by home runs by Ray
Knight and Darryl Strawberry the Mets won the game 8-5 and the World Series
Ray Knight got the series MVP and the Mets would be back in 2000 and the
Red Sox in 2004.
There was a lot of “what ifs” in game six as if what if McNamara had
replaced Schiraldi after the first hit in the tenth inning as he was on his third
inning of relief. That would have given Bob Stanley more room to work. And
usually late in a game he replaced Buckner with Dave Stapleton for defensive
purposes but left Buckner on the field because he felt he should be there if they
won the game.
For Billy Buckner he would forever be remembered for that World Series
play even though he played in the majors for 22 seasons, batted over .300 seven
times, won a batting title with a .324 average in 1989 and finished with a lifetime
.289 average and 2715 hits.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate