(Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of Chuck’s Personal Sports Memories series, featuring some of our community members’ favorite sports moments. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contribute!)
Ya Gotta Believe- by Ben Gologor
October 25th, 1986
World Series, Game 6: New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox
Game Location: Shea Stadium (Queens, New York)
My Location: My Mom’s apartment on the Upper West Side
My Age: 10
I loved the Mets as a kid (and still do, but don’t follow them as much as I did in the 80’s.) I could name every player on the team, and probably had their baseball card (in mostly mint condition, plastic sleeves and all.)
1986 was a great year. The Mets won 108 games during the regular season and were favored to win it all. But the playoffs were much tougher than expected. First came a grueling battle with the Astros in the NLCS. I went to game 3 with my dad and brother at Shea, and we weren’t too far from where Lenny Dykstra’s game winning homer landed to win it. Amazing stuff. I also remember the security guard at my Hebrew School listening to the extra innings of Game 6 on his radio, and then I was able to catch the 16th inning at home on TV when the Mets finally pulled it out 7-6!
Then came the Red Sox. The Mets quickly went down 2-0 in games, losing both at home. They managed to tie up the series in Fenway Park, but then lost game 5.
And then there was Game 6 with everything on the line. I was on the edge of my couch at home with my older brother. The game went way past my bedtime, but my mom must have said it was ok to stay up, knowing the significance of the moment. The Mets quickly went down 2-0 but were able to tie things up in the 5th inning (and then again in the 8th after Boston had pulled ahead in the 7th.)
The game eventually went to extra innings after the Mets had chances to win it in the 9th. In the top of the 10th, Dave Henderson hits a home run to go up 4-3 for the Red Sox. Tears started to form in my eyes. The Red Sox added another run, and my tears were much more pronounced now. It was 5-3 in the bottom of the 10th. The Mets were down to their last 3 outs. Wally Backman flew out for the 1st out. Keith Hernandez flew out for the 2nd out. My tears turned to anger. How could this be happening? I wanted to throw my television out the window. I couldn’t look. As I recall, they named Marty Barrett, The Red Sox 2nd baseman, the World Series MVP. And then…..
Gary Carter hits a single. I still have tears. Kevin Mitchell hits a single. I wipe away one tear. Ray Knight, down 0-2 in the count, hits a single! Carter scores, to make it 5-4. Mitchell is now on third! Mookie Wilson is now up to bat. I wipe away 3-4 more tears. My palms are sweating. C’mon Mets, you can do this! After a painstakingly long at-bat, Bob Stanley throws a pitch that gets by the catcher! Mitchell scampers home from third and the game is tied!!!!! I think I’m dreaming. I must have woken up the downstairs and upstairs neighbors with my scream of excitement (my mom came out from her bedroom to the living room to make sure everything was ok.) On the 10th pitch, Mookie finally puts the ball in play. 36 years later I can still hear Vin Scully’s voice: “A little roller down the first base line, behind the bag! Gets by Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!!!!”
(Editor’s note: If you’ve never seen it, here’s the RBI Baseball version of Vin Scully’s call of Mookie’s full at-bat. You’re welcome.)
I bear hug my brother and my mom, who is now watching with us. I jump up and down at least 50 times. I think I woke up the whole Upper West Side after Knight scored.
And the rest is history. The Mets found a way to pull out Game 7 after trailing in that game too (albeit in less dramatic fashion than Game 6.)
To this day, I’ve never experienced so many emotions during a sporting event as I did for Game 6 of the World Series. I stayed home from school on the day of the ticker-tape parade just so I could watch it on TV.
It’s been a long 36 years since, but they’ll find a way to win the Series again, right? Is 2023 the year?
Ya gotta believe!