A Little Roller Up Along First…
By Jay Horwitz
What a swing of emotions. In the span of ten minutes or so, I went from despair to almost certain heartbreak to ecstasy to pure joy.
The transformation happened 35 years ago today. Let me set the scene for you.
It was the sixth game of the1986 World Series vs. Boston at Shea Stadium. It was the bottom of the 10th inning and we were one strike away from elimination I was sitting in Davey Johnson’s office with Keith Hernandez and Deron Johnson, one of our scouts.
We were down by two runs, 5–3, and Gary Carter was in the box with two strikes.
I said to myself, how are we ever going to explain to the outside world that we didn’t win. We had 114 wins, but were about to fall short of winning the World Series. You have to understand the the league hated us. We were perceived as arrogant and cocky (very true) and most of baseball was rooting against us. That year we got into four or five bench clearing brawls. Mike Tyson came to visit us because he liked the way we fought, especially, Ray Knight and Straw.
I was hoping our players would be accountable to the media even in the midst of such crushing let down.
But then it all turned. Gary singled, so did Kevin Mitchell and Ray. Then came the iconic Mookie Wilson at bat. Just before Mookie came to bat, I got up to go the bathroom. Keith said don’t you dare. Stay put. I sunk down in the chair and prayed for the miracle to continue.
Then came the passed ball, the grounder got through Buckner’s legs and someone we won, 6–5.
Shea rocked like I never seen it shake before.
Sure we celebrated in the locker room but it wasn’t like you might have imagined.
To a man the guys realized the series was tied at 3–3 and that there still was work to be done.
Game Seven was still to be played.