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Looking Back: Gammons ’86 Playoff Preview

By Mike Silva ~ October 26th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest, New York Mets.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I thought it would be fun to look back at the preview of the playoffs and I found this old Sports Illustrated article by Peter Gammons from October 6th, 1986.

Gammons previews all four playoff teams, but he seems particularly excited about a potential Boston-Mets matchup:

It’s not that NBC, which will broadcast the World Series, is insensitive to the recession in Houston, nor is it true that baseball purists want to punish Orange County fans who file out of Anaheim Stadium no-hitters after seven innings. There certainly would be nothing wrong with a World Series that had Reggie Jackson, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan and Gene Mauch in it.

It’s just that a Mets—Red Sox confrontation would be near-perfect theater, not to mention a boost to the air-shuttle wars that recently heated up. It would be the first time since Fenway Park’s inaugural season, 75 years ago, that a team named Boston met a team named New York in the Fall Classic. It would bring Tom Seaver back to Shea Stadium (and Bob Ojeda back to Fenway). It would match last year’s once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, Dwight Gooden, against this year’s once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, Roger Clemens. It would raise the possibility of the Red Sox’ first world championship since Babe Ruth pitched for them. It would bring together America’s Sparta and Athens, and pull the men of letters, music and history out of the woods. Really, now, could John Updike have written “Dome Fans Bid Kid Adieu”?

A Sept. 4 exhibition between the Mets and the Red Sox sold out Fenway Park and attracted a media crowd in the hundreds. Last week NBC filmed its World Series commercial on the Boston streets. Two weeks ago the president of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, told a Boston audience, “I’m happy to be back in Boston, especially happy now that Roger Clemens and the Red Sox are going to win the World Series.” Yes, the Eastern Seaboard is braced for the inevitable clash of New York power and New England destiny.

There are, of course, two distinct possible obstacles to this multimedia Fantasyworld. Even though they play in ballparks with all the character of shopping malls, and even though their audiences may be better attuned to football and the beach, the Houston Astros and the California Angels could end up playing each other in the Series.

He added later on in the piece:

So, with Gooden, Strawberry and Carter on the one hand and Clemens, Boggs and Rice on the other, baseball may get its dream World Series. The romance of the Green Monster versus the reality of Queens. A team trying to live down ghosts versus a team trying to live up to expectations.

This just might be a Series every bit as good as that one 75 years ago. That World Series came down to the 10th inning of the eighth and final game (Game 2 had ended in a tie). For those of you who don’t remember, Smokey Joe Wood of the Red Sox gave up a run in the top of the inning, but Boston rallied for two runs off Mathewson in the bottom of the 10th to beat New York 3-2. Some people might see an omen in that.


Mark Simon of ESPN NY asked members of the blogosphere their Game 6 Memories. I was only 9 years old, but have a unique memory of that game, which you can read here. 


Darry Strawberry told ESPN the ’86 Mets are better than the ’98 Yankees.

According to Strat-O-Matic that is not the case as I played an ’86 Mets-’98 Yankees Sim-Series a few years ago.

The Yanks won in 6 games and Shane Spencer stole the show.

You can check out the box scores and recaps here.


Here is Bill Buckner predicting his Game 6 error before the playoffs. Very strange!

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Looking Back: Gammons ’86 Playoff Preview

  1. Stu B

    “According to Strat-O-Matic that is not the case as I played an ’86 Mets-’98 Yankees Sim-Series a few years ago.

    The Yanks won in 6 games and Shane Spencer stole the show.”

    No firm conclusion can be drawn from that. The only true test of whether Straw’s assertion is true would be to simulate the series maybe 100 times and see which team wins more often. If either team wins at least 60 times, then a more affirmative conclusion sould be drawn.

  2. irish_eagle

    {I’m not going to register with ESPN to leave my comment.}

    Where was I for Game 6? Stupidly in early ’86 I signed up for a study year in Ireland. If I’d known what was to come I’d never have done that. So I was in Ireland when the Mets clinched the division, won the NLCS & for the World Series.

    I had listened to all the NLCS and World Series games up through game 5 on Armed Forces Radio Network. It was a terrible signal in Ireland. Faded in and out, crackling. Really hard to hear, but better than not hearing. (I was also able to watch extended highlights on the UK’s Channel 4 the day after most games.)

    The night of Game 6 I went to a concert. I got talking to this girl who asked me to come to her flat for a few drinks. I said I couldn’t because I had to get home to listen to the game. She said she had a radio & I could listen there.

    I’ve thought about that night many times and each time I laugh.

    I’m not entirely sure what she intended, but she learned as soon as I got there that I intended to listen to the game, which was due to start about 30 mins after we got to her flat. So, from the moment I arrived I insisted on tuning in AFRN just to be sure.

    After a while she went to bed. I stayed in her flat listening to the whole game. I let myself out for the long, happy walk home – it was around 5am in Dublin then – after the game & post-game were over. The happiest walk of my life.

    Needless to say, I never saw or heard from her again. Still makes me laugh.

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