Davey Johnson’s Day Off
By Jay Horwitz
Davey Johnson knew he had to do something different. The Mets were coming off a tough playoff series with Houston and the Mets were not at their best when they dropped the first two games of the1986 World Series at Shea Stadium.
On the plane ride to Boston for Game 3, Davey called me over to his seat and asked for a favor.
I said anything Davey what do you need. He told me if I would call the NL office and say we would not be sending our full team to a workout the next day at Fenway Park. He felt the guys needed a rest to get away from all the media attention. He felt they needed some time to relax and forget about baseball.
That’s what I did. For our workout at Fenway we had Bobby Ojeda and Ron Darling, the starters for Game 3 and Game 4, Davey and myself.
“We just weren’t ourselves the first two games,” Johnson recalled. “We hadn’t recovered from the 16 inning game vs. the Astros (Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS). We had to break up the routine and that’s what we did.”
Davey’s plan worked to perfection. Lenny Dykstra led off Game 3 with a homer and Bobby Ojeda pitched us to a 7–1 victory.
In Game 4, which was 34 years ago today, Gary Carter hit two homers and Ron Darling was outstanding on the mound in a 6–2 victory.
The series was even at 2–2 and everyone knows what happens next. We lost Game 5, had the miracle rally in Game 6 and had another comeback to take Game 7.
For me this would not have happened if Davey hadn’t done what he did.
“Davey was great at taking the temperature of the team,” recalled Ojeda. “He knew we needed to get away. We came back for Game 3 refreshed. Lenny’s home run was the biggest hit of the year. That got us going.”
The day away from the park was just what the Mets needed and played a key part in winning the championship.
“The Astros battled us tooth and nail,” Davey added. “We were really drained when the series started. We just needed to do something different.”