Sep 16, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Mets Clinch NL Eastern Title




Wednesday September 17th, 1986: The 1986 Mets had been in first place all season long. They ran away with the division back in the summer & magic number countdowns to the clinching of the NL East began in August.

 On this night they had a 19 game lead over the second place; Philadelphia Phillies. It seemed kind of funny, but us fans were actually happy that the Mets got swept in a weekend series at Philadelphia, then split a two game series in St. Louis, putting them on a streak of six losses in eight games. 

All it meant was that they would have the chance to clinch the NL East title at home in Shea Stadium. I got my ticket & centerfieldmaz was on hand with 47,823 crazy, excited Mets fans.

How fitting Dwight Gooden (14-6) was on the mound that night to face Gene Michael's Chicago Cubs & starting pitcher; Dennis Eckersley (6-9).

Doctor K went on to have a good night, going the distance, pitching his 12th complete game of the season, while earning his 15th win (15-6). Gooden allowed two runs on six hits while striking out eight & walking five.

 In the Mets 3rd, Len Dykstra & Wally Backman both singled. Then rookie Dave Magadan, who was making his first MLB start (his third game overall) singled bringing in the first run of the night. Magadan was playing for an injured Keith Hernandez.

Daryl Strawberry followed, with an RBI single of his own making it 2-0 in a very loud Shea Stadium. 

In the 5th inning the crowd roared again, Dykstra doubled & Wally Backman reached on an error. Next rookie Dave Magadan singled home Dykstra making it a 3-0 Mets lead. 


In the 7th Magadan got his third hit of the night, then gave way to pinch runner Stanley Jefferson. He would come home on Strawberry's base hit, for his second RBI of the night. That was all Gooden & the Mets needed for the 4-2 win.

The Cubs scored their only runs in the 8th inning, on a two run HR by Rafael Palmeiro.


Keith Hernandez, who was out of the line up due to injury begged Davey Johnson to put him on the field for the final outs of the 9th inning. The Manager agreed.

In the 9th, Gooden who may have appeared to be tiring, walked Jody Davis. The fans were on their feet awaiting the clinching, and were ready to storm the field. The walk just seemed to prolong things.

Next Shawon Dunston grounded into a force for the first out. Then Jerry Mumphrey struck out looking. The crowd erupted & the anticipation grew even more.

Then, Chicago's Chico Walker grounded to Wally Backman, he threw to Keith Hernandez at first base and the Mets clinched their third NL Eastern title. Gooden jumped for joy & was greeted by is team mates. Then they ran for safety.

The fans went wild. In a flashback of 1969 & 1973 they stormed the field. It was a wild scene once again, as they tore up the infield. 

I was in the upper deck & made my way down the ramps to the infield seats. There was a cop trying to coral people thrying to get by him. I waited for him to grab some one & ran around him. I remember the feeling I had when I jumped onto the field; it was like "This is where They play". 


I ripped up some grass & milled about with all the happy Mets fans. We were all escorted out through the center field gates into the parking lot. On my way out I got my piece of infield grass & a piece of the original wooden, center field wall. Quite a souvenir, I may not be able to prove it's authenticity but I know what it is!

It was to be the last time in Shea Stadium history that the fans would storm the field. As after this game, the NYPD got involved, with mounted police, making sure no damage would ever occur on a baseball field in New York City.



2 comments:

Sharon Barnett said...

i was there that night also. the noise level was incredible from start to finish. when the announcer said, "playing first base for the ny mets, dave madagan", the entire stadium roared "who?" 3 hits later, we knew who. lol!

Sharon Barnett said...

i was there that night also. the noise level was incredible from start to finish. when the announcer said, "playing first base for the ny mets, dave madagan", the entire stadium roared "who?" 3 hits later, we knew who. lol!