May 27, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Foster's Grand Slam Ignites A Ray Knight Mets / Dodger Brawl

Tuesday May 27, 1986: 35,643 show up at Shea Stadium as the first place Mets (28-11) host the fifth place Los Angeles Dodgers (22-23). The Mets were on a three game winning streak securely in first place by 4 1/2 games over the Montreal Expos. 

Ron Darling who was undefeated at 5-0 went up against Bob Welch (3-3). Darling was great once again, pitching a complete game five hitter, only allowing one run and striking out twelve. Darling had great stuff tonight, he struck out Franklin Stubbs three times, Ken Landreaux & Mike Marshall twice each. With the exception of Mike Scioscia & Greg Brock, every other Dodger struck out at least once. 

The game was tied at one in the 6th inning, as Len Dykstra singled & was brought in by Wally Backman's double. Keith Hernandez & Gary Carter both singled & Backman scored as well. Danny Heep followed with a base hit to load the bases. Dodger manager Tom Lasorda removed Welch & brought in Tom Niedenfuer.

George Foster who's days were numbered as a Met by this time, had a big blow hitting a grand slam HR, making it 7-1 New York. It was Fosters' 13th career grand slam & the 5th HR of the season.

L.A. Pitcher Tom Niedenfuer was upset, he stared into the Mets dugout, then stood on the mound with his eyes closed. With tempers beginning to rise, third baseman Bill Madlock came over to calm him down. 

On the first pitch to the Mets next batter; Ray Knight, Niedenfuer hit Knight on the elbow, not a wise thing to do. Knight dropped the bat and charged the mound tackling Niedenfuer to the ground. Both benches cleared, punches were flying everywhere as the fighting '86 Mets were at it again.  

It seemed everyone was off the benches & bullpens on the field in the melee'  except George Foster. The man who hit the HR to start the tension was just sitting back watching everything unfold. This was the final straw for Foster, on this night he lost any support from his team mates. He would be released in the next few weeks.

Order was eventually restored on the field and no one was ejected, although both players were fined. 

After the game, Ray Knight said he had no choice, when he got hit, he had to hit back. "If he wants to hit me, fine, I'll do the same thing to him" Knight said.

Niedenfuer said: ''The pitch to Foster wasn't where I wanted it. The pitch to Knight wasn't where I wanted it.'' 
Strangely before the game Dodgers Steve Sax & Greg Brock had a scuffle in the dugout until team mates broke it up.

from centerfield: centerfieldmaz at the next night's game as Dwight Gooden beat the Dodgers 4-2. We had great seats, first row on top of the Dodger dugout. When Niedenfuer was brought in the game we really let him have it. The Shea faithful booed & harassed him as well as manager Tommy Lasorda mercifully. It was noticeable that the it was getting to the two. After the game Lasorda complained to the press about the hostile fans.

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