The 1986 New York Mets season was the Mets' 25th season in the National League. They began the season looking to equal or improve upon their 98–64 record from 1985 and to try to win the National League East Division. They finished the season with a 108–54 record, cruising to the division title. They went on to defeat the Houston Astros in six games in the NLCS and the American League champion Boston Red Sox in seven games in the World Series.
Darryl Strawberry made his debut in 1983, followed by Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and Lenny Dykstra in 1984. That was the year that the Mets hired Davey Johnson to manage the ballclub. The Mets would finish in 2nd-place for two years in a row.
In the 1985-86 offseason, general manager Frank Cashen brought in Tim Teufel, a right-handed hitting infielder from the Minnesota Twins and Bob Ojeda, a left-handed pitcher from the Boston Red Sox. The Mets added them to an existing veteran core including along with former MVPs George Foster and Keith Hernandez, veteran catcher Gary Carter and speedsters Wally Backman, and Mookie Wilson.
In their Spring Training, Davey Johnson said, to his players, that they were not only going to win but that they would dominate. That meant winning the division by double-digits.
April 1, 1986: Tom Gorman was released by the Mets.
June 2, 1986: 1986 Major League Baseball Draft
Curtis Pride was drafted by the Mets in the 10th round. Player signed June 12, 1986.
John Olerud was drafted by the Mets in the 27th round of the 1986 amateur draft, but did not sign.
June 9, 1986: Tim Corcoran was released by the Mets.
August 3, 1986: Lee Mazzilli was signed as a free agent by the Mets.
August 7, 1986: George Foster was released by the Mets.
August 24, 1986: Alex Diaz was signed as an amateur free agent by the Mets.
Month by Month
The Mets would have a rocky start with a 2-3 record (including two extra-inning losses to the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies respectively). But when the Mets hosted the Phils in Shea Stadium, they would embark on an 11-game winning streak. Their toughest test in this stretch happened in St. Louis. On April 24, Howard Johnson hit a game-tying homer. A few games later, Wally Backman would make a series-saving double-play. The Mets would finish the month 13-3.
The Mets would continue dominating in May. On May 23, 1986, Mookie Wilson got 5 hits in one game versus the San Diego Padres. The turning point for the Mets season came on May 27 when third baseman Ray Knight brawled with Dodgers' pitcher Tom Niedenfuer. This gave the Mets a reputation for playing hard and fighting. Many other teams hated their curtain calls.
This month, the shining light came on June 10 against the Phillies when Tim Teufel hit a pinch-hit, game-winning grand slam.
On July 3 against Houston, Darryl Strawberry would hit a game-tying home run. But it would be Ray Knight who won the game with a homer of his own. Dwight Gooden's first half performance was good enough for him to earn the honor of being named starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game in the Astrodome. This game marked the end of a streak where the NL won 13 of the previous 14 games and served as foreshadowing for what would happen next. Later in the month, the Mets were swept by the Astros in convincing fashion (including two losses at the final at-bat). During this series, four Mets would get arrested in a popular nightclub in Houston. Their fortunes improved in a bizarre game in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium on July 22. In the top of the ninth, Dave Parker dropped the ball that could have been the final out for the Reds, allowing the Mets to tie the game. In the bottom of the tenth, Eric Davis got to third and brawled with Ray Knight. Both men, along with Kevin Mitchell and Mario Soto, got ejected. Johnson was forced to alternate Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell in the outfield. In the bottom of the twelfth, Carl Willis bunted into a double-play. In the top of the fourteenth, Howard Johnson hit a home run to put the Mets on top.
Former MVP George Foster was released. Former Mets favorite Lee Mazzilli would return. Gary Carter would be injured. While he was gone, the Mets would win 8 of 11 games. The highlight came on August 27 in Jack Murphy Stadium against the Padres when Tim Flannery would hit one into the outfield. However, it was thrown to home plate to get the runner out at home and eventually Flannery.
In an exhibition game against the Red Sox, Gary Carter would hit a double to test out the Green Monster. When they got to Philadelphia, droves of Mets fans were there to see if they would clinch the NL East. Given what had happened to them when they got swept in a three-game series in Chicago preceding the series and not wanting to see visiting teams win a division title on their field, the Phillies swept the Mets. During the series, Mets fans at Veterans Stadium became unruly and damaged seats in the upper deck (the 700 level). One Mets fan was arrested after striking at two Philadelphia police officers. The Phillie Phanatic summed up the Mets being swept by crushing three Mets helmets in front of the Mets dugout during the final game of the series. The Phillies ended up being the only team in the league to post a winning record against the Mets, going 10-8, with a 7-2 mark at Veterans Stadium. During the post-season awards, the Mets rivalry with the Phillies and that series was played out again, as it was Mike Schmidt of the Phillies who won the National League MVP Award, ahead of the Carter, who finished third, and Keith Hernandez, who finished fourth. It was Schmidt's third career MVP.
The Mets then split a two-game series St. Louis, trimming the magic number to clinch to 1 on September 16. The following day, they faced Dennis Eckersley and the Chicago Cubs. With a flu-ridden Hernandez, Dave Magadan would be the offensive source of the day. Hernandez would return in the 9th to get the final out. The champagne would be popped immediately while the fans invaded the field quickly. The Mets would win a team-record 108 games after defeating the Pirates.By WIKI
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- 1986, 1986 NLCS, 1986 World Series, Darryl Strawberry, Davey Johnson, Dwight Gooden, Gary Carter, Lenny Dykstra, New York Mets