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How did the Mets win the 1986 World Series?

The New York Mets’ 6-5 win over the Red Sox at Shea Stadium has been celebrated annually since 1986. While the Mets are praised every 25 October, Bill Buckner is still blamed.

Update:
The New York Mets’ 6-5 win over the Red Sox at Shea Stadium has been celebrated annually since 1986. While the Mets are praised every 25 October, Bill Buckner is still blamed.
Brad PennerUSA Today Sports

The New York Mets’ legendary 6-5 win over the Red Sox in the 1986 Fall Classic has been celebrated annually ever since, and while those victorious Mets are showered with praised every October 25th, the late Bill Buckner, who passed away in 2019, is still the object of ridicule for his error during Game 6.

October 25 will always be the day the New York Mets made magic at their home, Shea Stadium, after defeating the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

The Mets claimed their second World Series title after winning the series four games to three.

What happened at Shea Stadium?

The Red Sox were twice only one strike away from winning the title and entered the bottom of the 10th inning with a 5-3 lead and quickly got the first two outs. Three singles by Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight brought on a pitching change, which saw the young Calvin Schiraldi replaced with Boston’s star pitcher Bob Stanley. A wild pitch made it past catcher Rich Gedman, allowing left fielder Kevin Mitchell to score the tying run. The only thing left at that point was for the Red Sox to close out the inning.

And that’s when history turned its wheels around.

Outfielder, William “Mookie” Wilson, hit a ground ball that found its way through first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs. (Sorry, again Buckner.) This allowed Mets’ infielder Ray Knight, who had advanced to second base on the wild pitch, to come around and score the winning run, giving the Mets the 6-5 victory.

Shea Stadium shook in excitement as a stunned Red Sox team were left speechless. Here’s a little preview to give you the feeling of that night.

Buckner bears the brunt of blame for the Red Sox loss

Buckner’s error was not taken lightly by the baseball world, in particular Red Sox fans. He has always been blamed for the team’s loss and even received death threats - despite the fact that the team as a whole gave up two runs and Knight was only in scoring position because of a wild pitch. No matter. Every October 25th, Buckner’s name still comes up.

But Buckner always stayed positive, telling the New York Times in 2011, “You can never really forget it because it comes up all the time. I’m a competitive guy, so it’s something I didn’t enjoy. But for some reason, the stars were all lined up just right for the Mets that year, and here we are, 25 years later, still talking about it.

I think Red Sox fans have always been good to me; they’ve treated me well. I think those fans appreciate guys who go out and play the game hard. There wasn’t a day that I played in over 21 years that I didn’t look forward to going to the ballpark”.

Add another ten years to that, Bill, because here we are in 2023 still talking about it. Some of the vitriol has been relieved from the commentary in the meantime, however, by the Red Sox finally breaking the so-called Curse of the Bambino in 2004, then establishing themselves as a dynasty by winning the World Series again in 2007, 2013, and 2018.

Buckner, who passed away aged 69 in May 2019, may have made a mistake that changed his team’s history, but he has certainly shown himself to have been a sports character worthy of respect. Shea Stadium meanwhile was demolished in 2009 when the team moved into their new home, Citi Park.