Jul 21, 2021

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Ray Knight Starts A Classic Brawl In Cincinnati

Tuesday July 22nd 1986- Davey Johnson's New York Mets were riding high 13 games up in first place, very confident & cocky. Controversy was still surrounding the club after the incident in Houston where four of the Mets had been arrested at a popular night spot. But that just added to the 86 Mets legacy. On the field they were the best team in baseball & also the most rowdy.

On this road trip to Cincinnati there was yet another on field brawl that once again just added to their legacy.

On this Tuesday night the Mets (62-28) were at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, facing Pete Rose's fourth place Reds (44-47).

Starting Lineups

The game began with Bobby Ojeda going up against Scott Terry in front of 23,707 fans. But this wild game would see eight Mets pitchers take the mound & 22 players overall on the field. The Reds would have six pitchers & 22 players overall as well.

The game started out with the Reds taking a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning when Dave Parker hit a two run HR. New York answered in the 5th, as Lenny Dykstra drove in Ojeda with a triple. In the bottom of the inning, the Reds Buddy Bell homered putting the Reds up 3-1. The game stayed that way until the 9th inning.

With two outs, Dykstra walked & Tim Teufel doubled, bringing up Keith Hernandez. Hernandez hit a fly ball to left field that should have been the third out, but Dave Parker dropped the ball. 

Parker who had admitted his anger toward the '86 Mets, as he would curse out the TV set when he would see their nightly highlights. Now his error allowed Dykstra & Teufel to score tying the game. It was just another routine night for the Mets on their way to another win.

In the bottom of the 10th, Jesse Orosco came in to pitch for the Mets. He started out by striking out Dave Parker. Then player / manager Pete Rose pinch hit & singled. He brought in Eric Davis to pinch run for him, Davis stole second base & then stole third as Eddie Milner was struckout by Orosco.

When Davis went into third base he popped up into Mets third baseman; (Ray Knight. Knight had played for the Reds from 1974 to 1981).  Not a good idea, Knight a former Gold Glove Boxer, had already been the center of a few team brawls during the season. 

He yelled "What's wrong with you" to Davis, he shoved Davis back, trying to push him off the base. Davis pushed back, Knight then punched Davis in the face, dropped his glove like a hockey player was ready to box. 

Third base umpire Eric Gregg tried to break it up but that wasn't going to happen. Davis stepped back & then tried to come again but Gary Carter tackled him to the ground. He was pulled away by the umpire & his coach Tommy Helms. Eddie Milner came at Knight & was tackled by Mets, then tossed to the ground. 

Big Dave Parker came running in pulling Mets players aside shouting at Knight. Another Mets tough guy; former gang member, Kevin Mitchell went after Parker but was stopped when Mario Sotto & Bill Gullickson tackled him. Gullickson was tossed aside as well as Soto but karate expert John Denny managed to keep Mitchell down.

The area around third base  had a lot of pushing & shoving going on. Ray Knight continued to yell wanting to go after Reds players. Order was finally restored after a long delay, Knight, Mitchell & Davis were all ejected.

As the Mets returned to the dugout, they saw George Foster (a long time Reds player) sitting there. He was the only player or coach for that matter who had not gotten involved. He would later say he did not want to send the wrong message to the kids. This was the end of George Fosters Mets career. Soon after, Davey Johnson (who enforces team work) would demote Foster from the left field position, giving the job to Kevin Mitchell, Danny Heep, Mookie Wilson & Lee Mazzilli who would be signed shortly. Foster was released a few weeks later.

After all the madness in this wild game, the Mets were short of position players. Davey Johnson thought fast & made the only moves he could. Mets pitcher Roger McDowell went to play right field, Gary Carter went to play third base & Ed Hearn came in to catch. 

McDowell would switch from right to left field & eventually relieve Orosco on the mound. Orosco would go out to then play the outfield.

The game went to the 14th inning when Ed Hearn doubled & Jesse Orosco walked. Howard Johnson finally ended it with a three run HR off Ted Power. McDowell closed out the Reds in the bottom of the inning & the Mets won the game.

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