Today is the 35th anniversary of the 1986 New York Mets World Series victory against the Boston Red Sox. Many fans argue that this team was not just the greatest team in club history, but that they were one of the best teams to ever do it.
Their run to the World Series was one marred in a lot of partying, crazy antics, and wild on the field moments. Unlike their '69 run, which no one saw coming, the '86 team was dominant all season long and were seen as a powerhouse. They went on to win 108 games that topped their rivals in the NL East by 21.5 games.
In fact, the '86 Mets team won more games than any other team in National League history besides the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates.
The '86 team featured a cast of characters including Darryl Strawberry, Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden, Keith Hernandez and possibly the most troubled member of the legendary Mets’ squad—Lenny Dykstra. One moment that really sums up how crazy this team truly was, is the plane ride the team took back to Queens after clinching the NCLS against the Houston Astros 4-2.
As former Mets’ pitcher Bobby Ojeda put it to Jeff Pearlman in his book, The Bad Guys Won, “We were a bunch of vile f****rs.”
“For the first hour the all-out partying was little more than drinking and yelling. But then, the United crew committed the ultimate mid-celebration error: They served cake,” Pearlman wrote. “Ruffino [a team batboy] remembers sitting in his seat and biting into his piece when— Whoooosh! Splat!”
Left fielder Kevin Mitchell recalls not believing what he saw on that plane.
“It was all over the carpet. Brown icing on the ceiling. Soon it was a free-for-all. Bottles of champagne rolled down the aisle. Peas were smooshed up and used as shampoo. We tore up that plane like Bébé's Kids," says Kevin Mitchell. ‘I couldn’t believe the things I saw going on.”
That included players using drugs in the bathroom, harassing the flight attendants, and racking up $7,500 in damages to the plane. Some of the players’ wives and girlfriends who were on the plane weren't spared from the debauchery.
“To have the wives in their snazzy North Beach Leather outfits, covered in vomit, it didn’t make for a pretty picture,” Mets pitcher Ron Darling told Pearlman. “And the guys were coming off in various forms of disarray of dress. We were gross.”
Outside of the wild antics, the '86 Mets had a lot of memorable moments on the field, none quite as memorable as Mookie Wilson’s Game 6 hit along the first base side that went behind the bag and got through Red Sox 1B Bill Buckner to win and ultimately force a Game 7, where they went on to win their second title in franchise history.
The '86 Mets are truly a treasure to behold and will likely never be seen again as the advent of social media would have made it impossible for a group of guys that had that much off the field issues to exist in today’s sports world. This rugged and rough around the edges team will be discussed for many, many years to come as Mets fans are still waiting on a third World Series title.