Apr 9, 2016

Mookie Wilson Book Signing at The Yogi Berra Museum

centerfieldmaz attended a book signing at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, New Jersey the other day. The book was called "Kings of Queens" Life Beyond baseball with the 1986 Mets.

The book features profiles & interviews with 14 members of that Championship Mets team. The book is written by Erik Sherman with a forward by Davey Johnson. Sherman is also the author of Mookie, Life, Baseball & the '86 Mets as well as two other baseball books. The special guest of the night was also non other than Mookie Wilson.

Mookie was a pleasure to meet, he was good natured polite & just a great guy. He talked to everyone & was genuine, it wasn't just a book signing that was just "next please, keep it moving" event. Mookie took pictures & gave good conversation.

I told him I was in the upper deck of left field during Game #6 of the 1986 World Series & from that point with no audio of broadcasters, I just saw a little white ball go from being in front of Bill Buckner to being behind him on the outfield grass.

And from what I remember Mookie was already on first base & would have beat it even if there would have been a play. Mookie replies "that's what I've been trying to make people believe for years"

When my friend Freddie asked him about his coaching years & stated that he coached some good teams (including the 2000 NL Champions) he jokingly erupted saying "then why did they fire me?". I replied because it was just another mistake the organization made & are famous for.

Mookie Wilson it was a pleasure to hang with you.

The author, Erik Sherman made an interesting point saying that everyone he interviewed on the 1986 club seemed to feel the same way, that the reason the Mets could not repeat a title run was that Ray Knight & Kevin Mitchell were both gone the next year. Not necessarily because of their abilities bit because of their presence. Both players were very intimidating factors & enforcers on the field.

Looking back on paper you'd have to say I make the same moves today, trading Mitchell to get Kevin McReynolds & letting Knight go to free agency as Howard Johnson was to move into the main third base spot. But if the Mets hadn't made those moves it would have been interesting to see if history would have been different. It was a great night.........................

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Ceter: If you have never been here its a great place. It's a small Museum located on the campus of Montclair State, adjacent to the baseball field. I was here twice before, a few years back for a Ralph Branca Bobby Thompson book signing for Joshua Prager's Book "The Echoing Green".

Some exhibits change, others are constant. The museum celebrates Yogi's career as a player, a coach & a manager as well as him being one of the most beloved & respected people of all time. It celebrates baseball, community, family & commitment. While promoting respect, sportsmanship & social justice. There are many intimate events they sponsor & is certainly worth a visit.

As a Mets fan I especially enjoyed the Mets exhibits, representing Yogi's years as coach for the 1969 Amazing Mets & Manager of the 1973 NL Champions.

I also enjoy the Italian American references, especially the tributes to Yogi's old neighborhood in the Hill in St. Louis with life long friend & baseball personality; Joe Garagiola.

The Brooklyn Dodger Rivalry is also noted with acknowledgements to Gil Hodges & Jackie Robinson.

Berra & Gil Hodges 1956 World Series

Yogi Berra's Catching Gear

Berra's Three MVP Awards

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