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West Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

Leaving nothing to chance after finishing only three games behind first-place St. Louis in the N.L. East the previous season, the New York Mets dominated the National League in 1986, compiling a record of 108-54 over the course of the regular season.  The Philadelphia Phillies finished a distant second in the division, 21 ½ games off the pace.

Clearly the strongest and most well-balanced team in the senior circuit, the Mets placed at or near the top of the league rankings in virtually every major statistical category.  They led the league with 783 runs scored, a .263 team batting average, a .339 team on-base percentage, a .401 team slugging average, and a 3.11 team ERA, and they finished third with 148 home runs.

The trio of Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry paced New York on offense.  Carter hit 24 home runs and knocked in 105 runs.  Hernandez led the team with a .310 batting average, a .414 on-base percentage, and 94 runs scored.  Strawberry drove in 93 runs, stole 28 bases, and finished first on the club with 27 home runs.  Ray Knight chipped in with 76 runs batted in and a .298 batting average, while Lenny Dykstra batted .295, scored 77 runs, and led the team with 31 stolen bases.

The Mets’ greatest strength lay in their pitching staff, which featured the deepest starting rotation in either league.  Dwight Gooden went 17-6, with a 2.84 ERA, 200 strikeouts, and 250 innings pitched.  Ron Darling finished 15-6 with a 2.81 ERA.  Bob Ojeda compiled a record of 18-5 and an ERA of 2.57.  All three hurlers placed in the top five in the league in earned run average.  Fourth starter Sid Fernandez finished 16-6 with 200 strikeouts.  Meanwhile, New York’s outstanding bullpen duo of Roger McDowell and Jesse Orosco combined to win 22 games and save 43 others.

In spite of New York’s dominance, N.L. MVP honors went to Philadelphia’s Mike Schmidt, who batted .290 and topped the senior circuit with 37 home runs, 119 runs batted in, and a .547 slugging average.

The Mets encountered their first serious challenge when they faced the Western Division champion Houston Astros in the NLCS.  Houston earned a right to face New York in the Championship Series by compiling a regular-season record of 96-66 that put them 10 games ahead of second-place Cincinnati in the final standings.
 
Though not as talented as New York on offense, the Astros had a pitching staff that matched that of their Eastern Division rivals.  Houston finished a close second to New York with a team ERA of 3.15, and their staff featured Mike Scott, who earned N.L. Cy Young honors by going 18-10, with a league-leading 2.22 ERA, 306 strikeouts, 275 innings pitched, and five shutouts.  Houston’s starting rotation also included Bob Knepper and Nolan Ryan.  Knepper compiled a record of 17-12 and an ERA of 3.14 in 258 innings of work, and he tied Scott for the league lead with five shutouts.  Ryan finished 12-8 with a 3.34 ERA, and he struck out 194 batters in only 178 innings of work. 

The Astros were hardly overwhelming on offense, finishing near the middle of the league rankings with a .255 team batting average, 125 home runs, and 654 runs scored.  Second baseman Bill Doran, outfielder Kevin Bass, and first baseman Glenn Davis served as the three primary threats in their lineup.  Doran batted .276, scored 92 runs, and stole 42 bases.  Bass hit 20 homers, drove in 79 runs, and batted .311.  Davis supplied much of the power in the middle of the batting order, placing among the league leaders with 31 home runs and 101 runs batted in.

Houston proved to be a difficult foe for the Mets in their NLCS matchup, giving the favored New Yorkers all they could handle.  Although the Mets won three of the first five contests, they posted two of their victories in their final at-bat.  The Mets had a particularly hard time solving the split-fingered fastball deliveries of Mike Scott, who hurled two complete-game victories against them, allowing just one run and eight hits in the process.  Faced with the possibility of going up against Scott again if the Series went to seven games, New York pulled out all the stops in mounting a comeback to win Game Six.  Trailing 3-0 for most of the contest, New York scored three times in the top of the ninth inning to even the score at 3-3.  After both teams scored once in the 14th inning, the Mets seemingly clinched the pennant by tallying another three runs in the top of the 16th.  However, the Astros made things interesting by closing the gap to 7-6, before Jesse Orosco put an end to the four-hour 42-minute marathon by striking out Kevin Bass with the tying run in scoring position. 

The Mets faced an even stiffer test when they went up against the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.  After the Red Sox swept the first two games in Shea Stadium, the Mets returned the favor by taking the next two contests played at Fenway Park.  The Red Sox then grabbed a 3-2 Series lead by winning the final game at Fenway. 

After the Series returned to New York for Game Six, the two teams battled to a 3-3 tie through nine innings.  However, the Red Sox scored twice in the top of the 10th to take a 5-3 lead.  The Series seemed all but over when New York’s first two batters in the bottom of the frame went down in order.  But three consecutive singles, a wild pitch, and an error by first baseman Bill Buckner on a slowly hit grounder by Mookie Wilson plated three runs for New York, sending the Fall Classic to a decisive Game Seven.

The Red Sox grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the final contest, but the Mets came back to score eight runs in the final four frames to register an 8-5 victory that gave them their second world championship.  Jesse Orosco again recorded the final out for New York.  Ray Knight earned Series MVP honors by batting .391, homering once, and driving in five runs.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• July 6 – Atlanta’s Bob Horner became the 11th player in history to hit four home runs in one game, doing so during an 11-8 loss to the Montreal Expos at Fulton County Stadium.

• December 16 - San Diego Padres pitcher LaMarr Hoyt was sentenced to 45 days in jail following his third arrest on drug possession charges, this time on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth subsequently barred Hoyt from baseball on February 25, 1987.  An arbitrator later cut Hoyt's suspension to 60 days and ordered the Padres to reinstate him.  However, San Diego gave him his unconditional release the following day.

• San Diego’s Tony Gwynn batted .329 and led the league with 211 hits and 107 runs scored.

• Mike Schmidt set a National League record by topping the circuit in home runs for the eighth time.

• Pete Rose announced his retirement, leaving the game as Major League Baseball’s all-time record-holder for hits (4,256), games played (3,562), and at-bats (14,053).

• Although the American League won the All-Star Game 3-2 at Houston, Fernando Valenzuela matched Carl Hubbell’s 1934 feat by striking out five American League hitters in a row.

• Cardinal Todd Worrell earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors by amassing 36 saves.

• Mike Scott threw a no-hitter against the Giants on September 25, clinching the Western Division title for the Astros in the process.

• Steve Carlton became the first left-hander to collect 4,000 career strikeouts.

• Fernando Valenzuela led all N.L. hurlers with 21 wins and 20 complete games.

• Cardinal Willie McGee set a National League record for the largest drop in batting average by a defending batting champion - 97 points.

• Montreal’s Tim Raines stole 70 bases and led the National League with a .334 batting average and a .415 on-base percentage. 

• Cincinnati’s Eric Davis hit 27 home runs, scored 97 runs, and finished second in the league with 80 stolen bases. 

• Reds teammate Dave Parker hit 31 homers, drove in 116 runs, and led the league with 304 total bases. 

• Cardinal Vince Coleman topped the circuit with 107 stolen bases, joining Rickey Henderson as one of only two players to swipe as many as 100 bags in two straight seasons.

Seasons of the National League

1876 · 1877 · 1878 · 1879 · 1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902 · 1903 · 1904 · 1905 · 1906 · 1907 · 1908 · 1909 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919 · 1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929 · 1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939 · 1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ATL 2160 5384 615 1348 575 .200 241 24 138 93 76 2051 .325 .270 .620 124 42 79
CHN 2253 5499 680 1409 638 .184 258 27 155 132 62 2186 .309 .268 .636 113 51 54
CIN 2197 5536 732 1404 670 .186 237 35 144 177 53 2143 .314 .261 .602 127 41 65
HOU 2220 5441 654 1388 613 .173 244 32 125 163 75 2071 .300 .238 .583 126 41 53
LAN 2303 5471 638 1373 599 .193 232 14 130 155 67 2023 .318 .278 .640 109 39 81
MON 2236 5508 637 1401 602 .197 255 50 110 193 95 2086 .304 .269 .594 113 42 53
NYN 2103 5558 783 1462 730 .202 261 31 148 118 48 2229 .354 .293 .676 122 53 75
PHI 2138 5483 739 1386 696 .194 266 39 154 153 59 2192 .328 .304 .679 98 51 66
PIT 2294 5456 663 1366 618 .197 273 33 111 152 84 2038 .323 .272 .620 132 44 68
SDN 2365 5515 656 1442 629 .181 239 25 136 96 68 2139 .286 .278 .628 130 35 66
SFN 2262 5501 698 1394 637 .186 269 29 114 148 93 2063 .300 .273 .604 83 34 101
SLN 2125 5378 601 1270 550 .181 216 48 58 262 78 1756 .305 .261 .608 83 46 108

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ATL 470 72 89 1426 932 576 6125 1443 117 67.190 631 719 17 2 39 44 11
CHN 506 70 90 1447 962 557 6248 1546 143 85.880 724 781 11 4 42 55 20
CIN 475 86 76 1467 924 524 6240 1465 136 67.740 640 717 14 6 45 39 5
HOU 461 96 66 1457 1160 523 6010 1203 116 98.570 511 569 18 11 51 50 11
LAN 442 73 89 1453 1051 499 6199 1428 115 59.070 608 679 35 7 25 51 10
MON 487 78 83 1466 1051 566 6208 1350 119 78.920 616 688 15 7 50 49 20
NYN 414 108 54 1486 1083 509 6165 1304 103 47.410 513 578 27 7 46 40 16
PHI 482 86 75 1452 874 553 6244 1473 130 95.450 624 713 22 4 39 45 17
PIT 518 64 98 1450 924 570 6201 1397 138 83.160 629 700 17 4 30 59 20
SDN 512 74 88 1443 934 607 6212 1406 150 87.060 641 723 13 4 32 38 18
SFN 508 83 79 1459 992 591 6093 1264 121 65.290 545 618 18 3 35 58 15
SLN 448 79 82 1466 761 485 6061 1364 135 53.780 551 611 17 0 46 38 13

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ATL 2518 7328 5115 2048 165 .975 17097 177 80 0 11
CHN 2768 7270 5306 1813 151 .966 17340 132 102 0 17
CIN 2603 7513 5518 1831 164 .976 17619 135 69 0 13
HOU 2659 7118 5379 1593 146 .974 17480 176 62 0 9
LAN 2797 7363 5309 1840 214 .960 17451 123 73 0 11
MON 2611 7334 5356 1826 152 .971 17595 200 54 0 21
NYN 2602 7494 5518 1816 160 .974 17810 159 55 0 8
PHI 2501 7439 5483 1805 151 .980 17423 216 70 0 23
PIT 2735 7481 5358 1953 170 .956 17407 137 80 0 9
SDN 2772 7213 5386 1671 156 .935 17317 159 65 0 14
SFN 2666 7418 5423 1830 165 .960 17525 137 88 0 12
SLN 2557 7560 5564 1849 147 .974 17594 91 60 1.00 9

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Houston Astros 96 66 1734276 1 1160
Cincinnati Reds 86 76 1692432 2 924
San Francisco Giants 83 79 1528748 3 992
San Diego Padres 74 88 1805716 4 934
Los Angeles Dodgers 73 89 3023208 5 1051
Atlanta Braves 72 89 1387181 6 932

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
New York Mets 108 54 2767601 1 1083
Philadelphia Philies 86 75 1933335 2 874
St. Louis Cardinals 79 82 2471974 3 761
Montreal Expos 78 83 1128981 4 1051
Chicago Cubs 70 90 1859102 5 962
Pittsburg Pirates 64 98 1000917 6 924

Awards

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Tagged:
1986 NLCS, 1986 World Series, Bill Buckner, Bill Doran, Billy Hatcher, Bob Horner, Bob Knepper, Bob Ojeda, Darryl Strawberry, Dave Parker, Dwight Gooden, Eric Davis, Fernando Valenzuela, Gary Carter, Glenn Davis, Houston Astros, Jesse Orosco, Juan Samuel, Keith Hernandez, Kevin Bass, La Marr Hoyt, Lenny Dykstra, Mike Schmidt, Mike Scott, Mookie Wilson, New York Mets, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Ray Knight, Roger McDowell, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Steve Carlton, Tim Raines, Todd Worrell, Tony Gwynn, Vince Coleman, Willie McGee

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