Jul 18, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Tim Teufel & Rick Aguilera Arrested In A Houston Nightclub

Saturday July 19th 1986: In the mid eighties one of the hottest nightclubs in Houston & famous throughout the country was Cooters. Cooters was a famous hangout for pro athletes because the owners let the celebrity jocks drink for free. 

This brought them in all from all sports, home & visiting teams. Of course this brought more girls in & that brought more guys in, the place was a goldmine.

Tim Tuefel, a rather quieter guy from the 1986 Mets team, was a new father & wanted to go out to celebrate. Pitcher Bob Ojeda said he heard of this place called Cooters. Mets relief pitcher; Doug Sisk, had been there before, he claimed he came out of the bathroom one night & returned to his table, only to find the cops waiting for him. He was roughed up a bit & insists he did nothing to get himself into trouble. Sisk warned Ojeda not to go to Cooters this night in July 1986.  

But after dropping their second game in a row to the Houston Astros in the Astrodome, Mets; Bob Ojeda, Tim Teufel, Rick Aguilera, Ron Darling & Darryl Strawberry all hopped in a cab & went to Cooters Bar. Strawberry didn't stay too long & left the four other Mets players drinking at a table. Tuefel who was not usually a drinker celebrated a bit too much & had way more than he was use too.

After a night of drinking, partying, being noticed by Texas women & sports fans a like it was closing time. The Mets players had made some noise, attracted some attention & it wasn't appreciated by everyone. Not everyone was a fan of the Mets or anyone from New York carrying on in their bar.

At 2:00 AM the Mets were asked to leave as the place was closing down. They refused to go & stayed on drinking for another half hour or so. Eventually Ron Darling & Rick Aguilera went to use the men's room before leaving, as Teufel & Ojeda went outside.

As Ojeda went to hail a taxi, two Houston Police officers, hired for that night's security duty stopped them. Teufel was carrying an open beer bottle which was against the law. When questioned about it Tefuel told the cop to f' off. When the officer went to grab the beer, the intoxicated Teufel went to punch the officer. Two bouncers pulled Teufel away & the officer punched him twice in the stomach. 

Tefuel was hand cuffed, laying on the ground with the Police officer's knee in his back. Reports say someone was yelling to break Teufels arm, Darling came out to witness this all taking place. He went to go help his team mate throwing punches as well, he too was hand cuffed.

Aguilera & Ojeda were eventually hand cuffed as well, even though they were doing nothing except trying to make the peace, especially Bobby O, the oldest of the bunch at 28. The four Mets were taken to a Houston Jail where they were booked & put in a holding cell for ten hours.

Bobby Ojeda called Arthur Richman the Mets travel secretary who was asleep in his hotel room. Luckily, he knew the Houston vice Mayor; Frank Mancuso. Mancuso, a former St. Louis Browns baseball player was the brother of former New York Giants catcher Gus Mancuso. He had known Richman from his playing days, he got the call, made some arrangements & got the four Mets players out of jail before the next morning.

Manager Davey Johnson said: ''My main rule is, 'Don't embarrass me or the ball club.' This is embarrassing to the club, to their families and to me, so I'm forced to fine them.''  

Their lawyer spoke through Mets P.R. man Jay Horwitz: ''The players involved have stated, on advice of their counsel, that because the case is presently in adjudication that it would be improper for them to issue any individual statement. 

''However, the four players involved in the incident would it like made public that they feel they were unduly assaulted by police personnel on the scene and that one of the players, Tim Teufel, was in fact severely beaten by the police.''

Mets PR Man: Jay Horowitz
There was no press waiting for them when they got out, but later the day the story was all over the New York media. Even David Letterman made a joke during his monologue. The legend of the fighting 1986 Mets was growing bigger by the day.

Roger McDowell the main team prankster, put adhesive tape vertically along the four players involved lockers to resemble a jail cell. A bar of soap, a razor & one cigarette was put on each players stool as well. 
The Mets hired a good lawyer, in January of 1987, Ron Darling & Tim Teufel paid a $200 fine & were to serve a year probation. The charges against Ojeda & Aguilera were dropped completely.

The Police Officers tried to sue the Mets for a million dollars but settled for $5000. Cooters Bar became a bigger tourist attraction for the next few years but closed down in the mid nineties. The incident involving the Mets became known as Cotters Gate.

The Mets would lose all four games in that weekend series in Houston. They would get their revenge in a much heated up NLCS later that year. Rick Aguilera broke the four game losing streak with a win in Cincinnati three days later.

Teufel, Howard Johnson, Ojeda & Darling

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