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25 Years Later, Championship Rings Still an Issue



By Mike Silva ~ October 28th, 2011. Filed under: New York Mets.

“Randy (Myers) was playing for the Chicago Cubs and he’s in the bullpen at Shea Stadium and they put up a trivia question,” Terry Leach told me during a 2007 appearance on my radio program. The question was “who is the Mets player that pitched only one inning and received a 1986 World Series ring?” It was none other than Ed Lynch, the GM of the Cubs at the time. “When Randy read that it just set him on fire,” Leach added. What resulted was Myers going up to the Mets offices the next day and talk them into getting him, Leach, Barry Lyons, and Dave Magadan rings made on his dime. When the ring was finally delivered to Leach’s house he said “it was like Christmas in the middle of the year.”

No matter how cynical you get about professional players there always is a sense of pride with them when it comes to championship hardware. The role players, especially, are appreciative despite receiving so little in terms of money and playing time.

Last night was the 25th anniversary of the Mets 1986 World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox. Despite Myers generosity, there are still other members of that team who produced equal or more service time that have not been rewarded by the Mets. One of those individuals, RHP John Mitchell, discussed it with me earlier this week via email.

Mitchell spent 35 days on the active roster that season, but informed me that he wasn’t one of the chosen individuals by Myers. He is best known for giving the Mets 19 important starts the following year in 1987 when the rotation was depleted. “I was not on the postseason roster just like the other players, but I had more days than Dave Magadan that season,” Mitchell said. He was called up after me and he had 28 days. Stanley Jefferson was called up the same time as Mags. Story I got was Myers was the only one complaining about not getting a ring and he told the Mets brass who should get them. Mags, Lyons nor Leach knew what was going on. Myers paid the difference of the cost of the rings from 1986 to 1995. He paid for Mags, Lyons and Leach’s rings. I pitched in 4 games with 10 innings. Myers pitched 10 2/3 inns in 10 appearances.  Check the 1987 media guide it will give the facts. If those guys got rings then Stanley and I should have received rings.”

The Mets aren’t the only team that has this problem. Wally Whitehurst, also a former Met, pitched for the Yankees ’96 championship team and told News 12 New Jersey back in July that although he received a small share from his teammates, he never received a championship ring. “I think it’s a shame,” he added. “It’s disgusting that I did not get a ring. Anybody that was in the big leagues that season, no doubt, you play this game long enough; you’re in it long enough; that’s the one thing that you could hope to ever get as a player. Money means nothing; the ring means everything and I did not receive one.”

Just like I said during the Whitehurst situation, I believe every player that spends a day on the big league roster should be awarded a ring. What seems to bother Mitchell is the randomness of how the Mets acted. “I don’t lose sleep over it but if those handful of guys got a ring in 1995 then the Mets front office should have given one to all of us. There is no rhyme or reason on who they gave one to.”

I agree with John, maybe giving both Jefferson and Mitchell their World Series rings will create some new good karma at Citi Field. We all know the team could use it.

***

One thing that is amazing about Game 7 of the World Series was the television ratings in comparison to what we see today. The Mets-Red Sox Game 7 in 1986 is still the highest in baseball history. It did a 38.9 share nationally and 55 in New York. Game 6 two nights earlier did a 52.

Royals -Cardinals in ’85 and Twins-Cardinals in ’87 both did 32.6 nationally. Twins-Braves in 1991 were just behind at 32.2. All three had around 50 share of their local market.

This year you have ratings below 10 nationally and around 12 locally. The highest rated World Series game since 1991 was Yankees-Arizona Game 7 in 2001 at 23.5. That game did a 34 locally.

Why the drop? Simply put its options. People now can spend the night surfing the computer, watching their DVR, or playing video games. Technology has created more content and it’s impossible for baseball to compete with the average fan. There are also more homes hooked up to cable television as well. The World Series used to be an event, now it’s more geared towards the local markets. Even in New York there seems to be a certain “jump the shark” nature to the Yankees as they had local ratings in the high teens/low twenties in 2009.

It’s just amazing how much television viewing has changed in the last quarter century. We will probably never have a World Series game with that much attention again. If it’s on an NFL Sunday, like Twins-Braves was, forget it getting any attention.

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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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4 Responses to 25 Years Later, Championship Rings Still an Issue

  1. Joseph DelGrippo

    “The Mets-Red Sox Game 7 in 1986 is still the highest in baseball history. It did a 38.9 share nationally and 55 in New York.”

    And becasue of a rain out after Game 6, the Game 7 contest was played on a Monday night, going to head to head with Monday night football, which the Giants were playing a big game for first place against the Redskins, playing only a few miles away at the Meadowlands.

    It is amazing if anyone in the NY area was watching anything but those two games.

  2. Chuck

    “Just like I said during the Whitehurst situation, I believe every player that spends a day on the big league roster should be awarded a ring.”

    The 2001 Dbacks did that. They issued three different rings, depending on your role, but everyone got one.

    Actually, I’m surprised to see not everyone does.

  3. Stu B

    It’s a shame, but people should get over stuff that happened that long ago. Especially when it’s so ephemeral and way beyond the problems of average folks. I mean, if the worst thing you have to worry about is not getting some bling, then you have more than a pretty good life.

    And with all due respect to Jefferson and Mitchell, a ring ceremony at Citi Field in 2012 for a couple of fringe players of that long ago won’t sell more than maybe 8-10 tickets, especially if the current team is as lame as it may be next year.

  4. Stu B

    PS – That would be equivalent to the Cardinals giving out rings to guys like Kelly Paris and Gene Roof for being part of their 1982 team. Those two appeared in a grand total of 23 games. Ever hear of them? Exactly my point.

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