It was 25 years ago today that the New York Mets played in one, if not, the greatest game in franchise history. With the Mets trailing the Red Sox 3 games to 2 in the 1986 World Series, the Mets fell behind in game six 5 to 3 in the top of the 10th inning. What happened in the bottom of the tenth inning was simply amazin. While most of us recall the play by play of Vince Scully and Joe Garagiola on NBC television, the most wonderful account of the action occurred in the Mets radio booth. The following is an exact transcript of the last of the 10th inning featuring the great Bob Murphy with Gary Thorne. Although the words are exact, the inflections and excitement of Murph’s voice is obviously missing. If you have an account with MLB.TV, you can hear the entire Mets radio broadcast of game 6 as part of their classic games library. Enjoy…
Date: October 25, 1986
Time: Approximately 11:15PM
Where: Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York
What: Bottom of the 10th inning, game 6, World Series
Murphy: Fifty-five thousand standing at Shea, Wally Backman leading off…strike called on the outside corner. Crowd standing at Shea now hoping to give the Mets a big send off as they try and rally one more time. Twice they have come from behind in the game tonight. It would take a huge effort here in the bottom half of the 10th inning. Wally Backman leading off against Cal Schiraldi. Schiraldi’s third inning of relief work. Fouled back into the crowd and a two strike count. Schrialdi has worked the last two innings allowing one run and only one base hit. Lee Mazzilli has the only hit off Cal Schiraldi. That was a pinch hit single in the eighth inning. The Mets missed their big chance to win it all in the bottom half of the ninth inning. They had first and second and nobody out. Keith Hernandez on deck and then Gary Carter. Now the pitch on the way…hit in the air, a fly ball to left field, Rice running toward the line—is there and has it for the out. And the Red Sox are two outs away from a championship. Mets have to get a base runner to get that tying run to bat. One out and nobody on, Hernandez the hitter. Keith one for three, a single in the sixth inning. If Hernandez can get on…it will bring Gary Carter to the plate. Now Schraldi getting his sign from Gedman. And the pitch on the way…off the outside corner, strike one called. Keith Hernandez with five hits in the World Series. The Mets have been badly out hit in this ballgame tonight…13 to 5. They’re trailing 5 to 3. Next delivery…outside high, one ball and one strike. The Mets have had 7 left on base. The Red Sox have had 14 men left on. They’ve set a new World Series record for men left on base. One and one on Keith Hernandez. Mets badly in need of a hit to set the stage. One-one delivery, outside high, two and one to Keith Hernandez. Gary Carter tied the game in the bottom half of the eighth inning when he hit a sacrifice fly, a line drive to left. Mazzilli tagged up, scored the tying run. Waiting on a 2-1 delivery…and a fly ball to center, Henderson going back, going back, under it now…he has it, two men down. Hernandez hit it to the warning track, straight away in center field, run down by Dave Henderson. Two outs and nobody on. Marty Barrett and Dave Henderson have been the big hitting stars for Boston. They are now one out away from a World Series Championship. They have not had one in 67 years. (It was now that the diamond vision board in left field displayed “Congratulations Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Champions”) Last time was 1918. Now Gary Carter carrying the final hopes. Pitcher is due up next, Kevin Mitchell is out on deck. And the pitch by Schiraldi…high pop foul, it might be playable. Gedman coming back, coming back…no play. Into the crowd and the game is still on. Red Sox now one out away from their World Series Championship. Gary Carter without a hit in the game tonight, oh for 3 and an RBI, the RBI, his eighth RBI of the series. He’s had his share of RBIs. Pitch on the way—look out, up high, one ball and one strike. Kevin Mitchell is out on deck, he would bat for Rick Aguilera. Now Schiraldi will check it out. Infield and the outfield very deep. Low and outside, two balls and one strike. Everybody sitting very quietly in that New York Mets dugout, hoping against hope that something will start to happen. The two one delivery—line drive, it’ll be a base hit to left field. The tying run, Kevin Mitchell, will come to bat. So Carter keeps it going with a single to left field. And Kevin Mitchell will be the pinch hitter. And Mitchell does have home run power. Nothing going in the Red Sox bullpen. That’s only the second hit Schiraldi has allowed. Doug Sisk is up in the New York Mets bullpen.
Thorne: Darryl Strawberry got to wonder sitting over there, if the double change had been made, it might have been him coming to the plate right here.
Murphy: Strawberry came out. Davey did not make a double change at that point in time…So the hopes now have shifted to Kevin Mitchell. This rookie from San Diego California had a superb rookie year. The stretch by Schiraldi…and the pitch on the way…check swing, foul ball, strike one. Five to three Boston, bottom half of the 10th inning, two outs and one on. Red Sox won 96 games to win the American League Eastern Division title. Went to the seventh game before beating California. Here’s the pitch…and a line drive base hit into center field. Now the tying runs are on base. Mitchell delivers…a single to center…and Ray Knight will be coming up. So Gary Carter singles, Kevin Mitchell has singled. Tying runs are on first and second, two down and Ray Knight will be the hitter. Ray earlier in the game after getting off to a good start…driving in a run with a single off Roger Clemens, made a high throw that allowed one of the Red Sox runs to score. Now in this game of redeeming features, Ray Knight stands in with his biggest chance of all. Bill Fisher, the pitching coach, has been dispatched to the mound by John McNamara. And they’ll have a little strategy talk here about how they’re going to go about pitching to Ray Knight.
Thorne: They’ll get the bullpen up and active. Nobody had been throwing however so there is nobody ready out there and they didn’t make a change here, probably in any event with a right handed batter up.
Murphy: Ray Knight, one for three and a walk in the game tonight. Davey has pretty well used up his bench. He’s had to do that playing catch up ball—all night long. Now Ray Knight is the batter, he is the winning run at bat. Tying runs are on base, the stretch by Schiraldi…the pitch on the way…fastball, a strike called. They’re going to play straight away against Ray and pretty deep in the outfield. And the third baseman, Boggs, is not really playing the line, he’s more or less moving away from the line now to try and chop off a single. Schiradli is ready…the pitch to Ray Knight…and a ground ball slowly hit, foul, no a…foul ball down the third base line. Boggs had first started to come in for it, realized the best play was to let it role foul and he did… and now my friends the New York Mets…are down to their final strike. Two strike count on Ray Night. The Red Sox were down to their final strike in their game with California, their series with California. They were behind three games to one and down to their last strike in the ninth inning. Dave Henderson, the same Dave Henderson who homered in the 10th inning here tonight, hit a two run homer and the Red Sox went on to win it and to win the American League championship. Now the Mets are down to that final strike. Cal Schiraldi who went to Boston on the Bobby Ojeda deal trying to get the biggest win of his young Major League career by far and away. Now he blows on his pitching hand. Gary Carter on second, Kevin Mitchell on first. Mookie Wilson is the on deck batter if Ray Knight can keep the ballgame alive. Ray taking plenty of time, now he’s in the batter’s box and ready. Here’s the stretch by Schiraldi…now the pitch on the way…and a soft line drive…it’ll be a base hit…into center field. Carter around third will score. Mitchell will go to third! A base hit by Ray Knight. The Mets now have the tying run on third! Ray Knight, with the Mets down to their final strike…gets a base hit to center field. It is now five to four. Still two men down and Mookie Wilson is coming up. Second RBI of the game for Ray Knight.
Thorne: Well Knight has come through in tough situations after making that fielding mistake. That’s the veteran hanging in and John McNamara is coming out and he’s seen enough of this.
Murphy: I think he’ll bring in the right hander Bob Stanley. Mookie Wilson is going to be coming up, we will get a pitching change here in the bottom half of the 10th inning. It is now five to four, Bob Stanley, a ten year pro, real veteran out of that bullpen is coming in, so with a break in the action, and the tying run 90 feet away on third, we pause for this message…
After commercial break…
Murphy: Veteran relief right hander Bob Stanley being brought on now by John McNamara. Stanley has pitched affectively in this World Series. He’ll be pitching to Mookie Wilson. The Mets were down to their final strike. Ray Knight kept it going with a base hit. Bob Stanley…with the World Series, making his fourth appearance. He has not given up a run. Now the tying run is on third, that’s Kevin Mitchell. The winning run, Ray Knight, is on first. The hitter is Mookie Wilson. Mookie, one hit in four times at bat. Boston 5, New York 4. The first two batters up in the home 10th inning were retired. Three hits in a row. Gary Carter, a single to left, Kevin Mitchell a single to left, Ray Knight with a two strike count, a single into centerfield…scoring Gary Carter. Now one more hit and the Mets for the third time tonight would have come from behind and tied this ballgame.
Thorne: Mookie Wilson had a single against Bob Stanley in his last relief appearance in game three.
Murphy: Now the stretch by Stanley, the pitch…fouled upstairs, strike one. The Mets have one run in. The tying run is on third, Kevin Mitchell. The winning run, Ray Knight is on first. But they have so little working room. Stanley is ready, the pitch…outside high, one ball and one strike to Mookie Wilson. Howard Johnson is the on deck batter. The Mets so badly needing one more base hit. Stanley ready, the pitch…up high. Two balls and one strike to Mookie Wilson. Howard Johnson loosening up in the on deck circle. Bottom half of the 10th inning. Red Sox one out away from a World Championship. Stanley in the set position, the pitch…foul ball skidding off the bat handle and again, the Mets are down to their last strike. Count two and two on Mookie Wilson. Kevin Mitchell at third base. Ray Knight on first. Three hits in a row. One run in, they need one more. Now the pitch…swing and a foul tip. It looked like he had been struck out. He just barely ticked the ball. And Mookie stays there with a count of two balls and two strikes. A very memorable sixth World Series game. Stanley…working very quickly, the pitch…fouled out of play behind third. Stanley really anxious to get it over with, he’s getting the ball back and almost quick pitching. So Mookie will step out on him to slow him down a little bit. Two balls and two strikes, Mets have only one strike left. Stanley is ready, the pitch…Gets away! Gets away! Here comes Mitchell! Here comes Mitchell! Tie game! Tie game!
Thorne: Unbelievable! A wild pitch!
Murphy: The game is tied, five to five. Mitchell comes in to score, Knight the winning run is on second. Either a wild pitch or a passed ball, we’ll wait for the official scoring. But it’s a tie ballgame Gary.
Thorne: The pitch came low and inside. Gedman did get a glove on it…slowed it down but it went all the way to the backstop.
Murphy: Now Wilson with a chance to win it. Three two delivery, popped the ball up foul, probably out of play. Gedman coming over, coming over, it will be in the crowd, a foul ball. The winning run is on second base. For the third time tonight, the third time in this ballgame, the Mets have come from behind. It was scored a wild pitch by Bob Stanley…allowing Mitchell to score. And its five to five, the winning run is on second. Mets are down to their final strike. Three and two on Mookie Wilson. The pitch…hit down the left field line foul. Foul ball off the bat of Mookie. If that been fair, the Cinderella story would had been all over and the Mets would have been the happiest guys in the world.
Thorne: Two pitches…twice the Mets have had just one strike left in this game.
Murphy: As mentioned, the Red Sox were in that position against California. The Mets in that position here tonight, and they have dodged a huge missile. They’ve tied it up. The worst that could happen is to go to the eleventh inning. Mookie Wilson still hoping to win it for New York. Three and two the count. And the pitch by Stanley…and a ground ball…trickling…it is a fair ball…gets by Buckner, rounding third Knight, the Mets will win the ballgame! The Mets win! They win!
Thorne: Unbelievable, the Red Sox in stunned…disbelief!
Murphy: A slow ground ball went right through the legs of Buckner down the right field line. The Mets have won the ballgame. Three runs in the bottom half of the 10th inning. Three runs in the 10th inning. They were down to their final strike twice in the bottom half of the 10th inning, they win the ballgame. I thought the ground ball was going to be foul, it stayed fair. It went right through the legs of Billy Buckner and down the right field line.
Thorne: Bob, what is Billy Buckner doing in the game in the bottom of 10th inning?
Murphy: …with a three run lead.
Thorne: Do not understand it (talking over Murph who corrects himself saying a two run lead)
Murphy: We talked about that earlier saying they usually put Dave Stapleton in to play defense. This crowd, and not a soul had left, they’re all here, they can’t believe what they’ve just seen. Mets were down and out, it was all over. Some how, some how they managed to get three runs and they win it…it’ll be a very costly error but none the less the Mets are delighted that it came about that way. A slow ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson…went through the wickets on Billy Buckner. Ray Knight at first didn’t realize it when he rounded third, Buddy Harrelson said keep it going, keep it going. And he came racing in and in to score and the Mets have won…what must be the most amazing game in their 25 year history. I can’t imagine a more remarkable victory. It’ll be an error charged to Billy Buckner. It was an amazing play, Buckner came over, it was a very slow ground ball. I though it was going to be foul, maybe he thought so. He had the glove down. It went right under the glove, it rolled very slowly down the right field line, fair ball. And around to score the winning run came Ray Knight. That’ll be an error charged on Billy Buckner. In the 10th inning, 3 runs…3 hits…the biggest error of the World Series and a man left on. We’ll be back with the happiest recap of them all in just a moment. The final in 10 innings, New York 6 and Boston 5.