The Story Of The 1987 New York Mets (2023)

The 1987 New York Mets came into the season feeling like a dynasty might be at hand. They had won an epic World Series title in 1986, the culmination of a three-year building program under manager Davey Johnson that included strong seasons in 1984 and 1985. They were both young and established and were widely expected to repeat as champions. That didn’t happen, as they couldn’t quite overcome a slow start.

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None of the problems were due to complacency. The Mets did not stand pat in the offseason They let World Series MVP Ray Knight walk in free agency and put Howard Johnson at third base. It proved to be the right call—Knight only had two unproductive years left in the majors, while Johnson—or “HoJo”, as he was nicknamed–finished 1987 with an on-base percentage of .364, a slugging percentage of .504, hit 36 home runs and stole 32 bases.

(Video) New York Mets History Part 2 1987-2001

And that wasn’t even close to the most significant offseason move. New York pulled the trigger on an eight-player deal with the San Diego Padres, with the focal point being giving up utility man Kevin Mitchell in exchange for outfielder Kevin McReynolds. That one didn’t pan out quite as well. It was no fault of McReynolds, who hit 29 home runs and drove in 95 runs. But Mitchell turned into an outstanding power hitter and eventually won an MVP award.

The core of the championship team was still back in the fold though. The Mets had the most prolific offense in the National League and it was led by Darryl Strawberry The incredibly gifted rightfielder posted an OBP of .398 while hitting 39 home runs, stealing 36 bases, driving in 104 runs and scoring 108.

Strawberry and HoJo were the most complete offensive players, but there was a lot of help. Veteran first baseman Keith Hernandez put up on OBP of .377. Sparkplug centerfielder Lenny Dykstra’s OBP was .352 and though he didn’t have home run power, Dykstra ripped 37 doubles and slugged .455. Gary Carter was in decline, but the future Hall of Fame catcher still hit 20 home runs.

What really separated the Mets’ offense though, was the quality Davey Johnson had on his bench. Mookie Wilson had a stat line of .359 OBP/.455 slugging. Tim Teufel’s numbers were .398/.545. Dave Magadan, a future MLB hitting coach was at at .386/.443 and Lee Mazzilli was at .399/.460. No team in the majors got this kind of production from as many bench players as the Mets.

(Video) 1987 Mets: At The Movies

The pitching, after being the best in baseball in 1986, took a step back. They were still very good, ranking third in the National League in ERA, but their modest regression mirrored that of the team’s.

No one really stood up and had an “ace” caliber year. Dwight Gooden went 15-7 in his 25 starts with a 3.21 ERA and was the best, but it marked a decline from his Cy Young status two years earlier. Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera and David Cone all were solid, but unspectacular, with ERAs in the high 3s. Ron Darling struggled to a 4.29 ERA, and 21-year-old John Mitchell finished with an ERA at 4.11.

Perhaps more important than different ERA numbers though was the lack of continuity. New York’s pitching just couldn’t keep healthy. The loss of reliable lefty Bob Ojeda was the biggest problem, and Darling was the only one to exceed 30 starts. The story of Terry Leach was one of the better ones in 1987, as he made 12 starts, 32 relief appearances and went 11-1. But had Davey Johnson known this journeyman was going to be his star, it would have been an indicator that 1987 wasn’t going to be the cakewalk the championship year had been.

After a 6-2 start, a mid-April series in St. Louis was the big warning sign. In the series opener, New York got eight hits and two walks from the top four hitters in the lineup, but were shut down below that, missed opportunities and lost 4-3.

(Video) 1988 New York Mets Team Season Highlights "100 Winning Ways"

On Saturday, they came out blazing and scored five runs in the top of the fourth. Darling gave them all back in the bottom of the inning. Trailing 6-5 in the ninth, the Mets got consecutive two-out RBI singles from McReynolds and HoJo. They gave it back in the ninth when Carter committed a throwing error on an attempted steal of third. New York took the lead again in the 10th on a walk, bunt, productive out and wild pitch. They did more than give it back in the bottom of the inning—after three singles tied it 8-8, a walk was followed by a grand slam and a 12-8 loss.

The Mets lost the finale 4-2 when Fernandez couldn’t get through five innings. It was the low point of an opening movement to the season that included a series loss to the Cardinals at home, a 6-10 stretch in May and saw New York limp into Memorial Day with a record 19-22 and trailing St. Louis by 7 ½ games.

The holiday marked a modest turn back upward. The Mets began a sweep of eventual NL West champion San Francisco and played pretty well in June, going 16-12. By the All-Star break they were still 9 ½ games back of the Cardinals, but the record had improved to 47-49 and New York moved from fifth to third place in the old NL East they shared with the Montreal Expos, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and the Cubs.

In late July the Mets began a serious push and it started in St. Louis. In the Tuesday night opener they overcame a 4-2 deficit when Teufel delivered a two-run single in the eighth that led to a 6-4 win. On Wednesday some of the April appeared to resurface when they let a 4-3 lead in the ninth slip and the Cards tied the game. Enter HoJo, who ripped a two-run blast in the 10th for the 6-4 win. And on Thursday, McReynolds’ two-RBI triple keyed a 3-0 first inning lead and Gooden went eight strong innings for the 5-3 win.

(Video) New York Mets vs Pittsburgh Pirates (6-14-1987) "The Mets & Pirates Bad Blood Continues"

New York followed that up by taking two of three in Montreal. In August they took four of six games from San Francisco and then returned home to win another series with a good Expo team that would win 91 games. The Mets were looking like the team everyone expected and even though they still trailed by 3 ½ games on Labor Day, all the momentum was on their side as the stretch drive beckoned.

The lead was narrowed to a game and a half when St. Louis came to old Shea Stadium for a highly anticipated series on the second weekend of September. Strawberry ripped a two-run blast in the first inning of the Friday night opener and the Mets were leading 4-1 in the ninth inning. Then, the NL East race made another stunning pivot.

Roger McDowell, on in relief, allowed one run and there was a man aboard when he faced Cardinal third baseman Terry Pendleton. McDowell gave up a two-run shot and the game was tied. The meltdown continued in the 10th when the Cards got two more runs and won it 6-4. And that avalanche continued into Saturday as Gooden was shelled, giving up five runs in the first inning of an 8-1 loss.

New York salvaged the finale with a 4-2 win behind a good start from Cone. They were still within 2 ½ games. But it was the blow they couldn’t recover from. The series held stable over the next couple weeks and the Mets were still pinning their hopes on a final three-game series in St. Louis. It never came to that—in the first part of the final week, while the Cards were taking three of four in Montreal, the Mets were losing two of three to the mediocre Phils. The race was clinched on Thursday before the final showdown could begin.

(Video) New York Mets 25th Anniversary Documentary (1986)

It was a bitter ending and in fairness to the Mets, the injuries in the pitching staff were the paramount reason and they still won more games than postseason participants in San Francisco and eventual champion Minnesota. They would recover and win the NL East in 1988. But this team of so much talent never returned to the World Series and never became a dynasty.

FAQs

What did the Mets do in 1987? ›

The New York Mets' 1987 season was the 26th regular season for the Mets. The Mets entered the season as the defending World Series champions. They went 92–70 and finished 2nd in the NL East. They were managed by Davey Johnson.

What did the Mets do in 1986? ›

The 1986 Mets are one of just three National League teams (the other two are the 1975 Cincinnati Reds and the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers) to have won twice as many games as lost in the regular season since 1909.

Who did the Mets play June 14 1987? ›

On that day, the Mets were playing the Philadelphia Phillies, and as Newman so eloquently states, a crucial error made by Keith Hernandez allowed the Phillies to score five runs in the final inning, and ultimately, beat New York. Being hardcore Mets' fans, Kramer and Newman acknowledged that their day had been ruined.

Who was the best player on the 86 Mets? ›

Keith Hernandez (1983-1989)

Across six-and-a-half seasons with the Mets, Hernandez made three All-Star teams and won five Gold Glove Awards. Hernandez helped the Mets to win their second World Series title in 1986.

Who was the best baseball player in 1987? ›

Tony Gwynn

What drugs did the 86 Mets take? ›

Darling, a former pitcher for the Mets, recounted how a number of his teammates used amphetamines and drank beer in the middle of games during the team's title run. Darling explained that players used amphetamines to help them get through the physical and mental rigors of an MLB season.

Who was the best baseball player in 1986? ›

Awards and honors
  • Baseball Hall of Fame. Bobby Doerr. ...
  • Most Valuable Player. Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox (AL) ...
  • Cy Young Award. Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox (AL) ...
  • Rookie of the Year. Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics (AL) ...
  • Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award. ...
  • Manager of the Year Award. ...
  • Gold Glove Award.

Who hit the most home runs in 1986? ›

  • Joe Carter. 121.
  • Mike Schmidt. 119.
  • Jose Canseco. 117.
  • Dave Parker. 116.
  • Don Mattingly.

What is the best record in MLB history? ›

Which teams won the most games in a season?
  • 1 (tie). 1906 Cubs: 116-36 (.763) ...
  • 1 (tie). 2001 Mariners: 116-46 (.716) ...
  • 1998 Yankees: 114-48 (.704) Won World Series.
  • 4 (tie). 1954 Indians: 111-43 (.721) ...
  • 4 (tie). 2022 Dodgers: 111-51 (.685) ...
  • 5 (tie). 1909 Pirates: 110-42 (.724) ...
  • 5 (tie). 1927 Yankees: 110-44 (.714) ...
  • 8 (tie).
5 Oct 2022

Who won Rookie of the Year in 1987 MLB? ›

Mark McGwire

Who was a rookie in 1987? ›

1987 American League Debuts
1987 American League Debuts 1987 A.L. Rookies | 1987 N.L. Rookies | Baseball Firsts (All Years)
#Name (sort)Debut (sort)
1Tommy Hinzo07-16-1987
4Bill Bean04-25-1987
39Mike Henneman05-11-1987
77 more rows

Who won MVP in 1987 MLB? ›

In 1987, the answer was yes. Andre Dawson was voted the National League MVP that season despite the Cubs' last-place finish in the NL East. Dawson's power numbers were impressive -- he led the league with 49 home runs and 137 RBIs -- though home runs were hardly a novelty that season.

Who is the most famous Met player? ›

Tom Seaver

Seaver is truly the New York Mets all time popular and franchise player. Over 3,000 innings pitched, 44 shutouts, 2,500 strikeouts, and the 1969 World Series, the stadium should be named after Tom!

Who is the best Mets pitcher of all time? ›

#1 Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver is still arguably the greatest pitcher ever to don the orange and blue and one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound. As a member of the New York Mets, he posted a 2.57 ERA over 12 seasons.

Who played the most games as a Met? ›

As of November 2022, Ed Kranepool has played the greatest number of games in New York Mets franchise history having played 1,853 games throughout his career. David Wright, who has played a total of 1,585 games, placed second on the Major League Baseball side's ranking of players with the most games played.

What is the most valuable 1987 baseball card? ›

1987 Topps #320 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

Many will actually point to this card as an example of how much his body transformed over the years from his alleged use of PED. A young Bonds is shown taking a huge cut and sending one soaring on this rookie card, a key to the set and the most valuable in the checklist.

What is the best 1987 Topps baseball card? ›

10 Most Valuable 1987 Topps Baseball Cards
  1. 1 Barry Bonds #320. Growing up, if you didn't have this card in your shoebox, you had a close friend who did. ...
  2. 2 Don Mattingly #500. Mattingly had a . ...
  3. 3 Bo Jackson #170. ...
  4. 4 Jose Canseco #620. ...
  5. 5 Mark McGwire #366. ...
  6. 6 Pete Rose #200. ...
  7. 7 Nolan Ryan #757. ...
  8. 8 Rickey Henderson #735.
30 Dec 2021

Who won the 1987 All Star game? ›

The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 2-0 in 13 innings. Montreal Expos outfielder Tim Raines was named the Most Valuable Player.

How many fights did the 86 Mets have? ›

In 1986, the Mets were involved in four on-field brawls in eight weeks.

What did the Mets used to be called? ›

The team, also known as the Amazin' Mets or the Amazins, began play in 1962 at the Polo Grounds; after two seasons they moved into the brand-new Shea Stadium.

How many players from the 86 Mets are in Hall of Fame? ›

Carter spent five years with the Mets and is the only member of the '86 team to be elected to the Hall of Fame, where he was enshrined in 2003.

Who was rookie of the year 1986? ›

Rueben Mayes won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in the NFL in 1986.
NAMESEASONRUSH YDS
Rueben Mayes19861,353

Who holds the homerun record without steroids? ›

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge entered baseball's record books Tuesday by smashing his 62nd home run — the most ever in a single season outside of baseball's steroid era.

Who made the error in 1986 World Series? ›

Bill Buckner's 1986 World Series error was a baseball play that occurred in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series on October 25, 1986, at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York.

Who won Rookie of the Year in 1986 MLB? ›

The winner of the 1986 National League Rookie of the Year Award was Todd Worrell of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Who was the first player to hit 4 homeruns in a game? ›

However, Clarke's total is still disputed, reported by some newspapers as three homers and eight runs scored, but there is no surviving box score to help confirm or deny his feat. Bobby Lowe was the first to hit four home runs in a single game, doing so on May 30, 1894 for the Boston Beaneaters.

Who won the MVP in the MLB in 1986? ›

1986 Major League Baseball season
1986 MLB season
Season MVPAL: Roger Clemens (BOS) NL: Mike Schmidt (PHI)
Postseason
AL championsBoston Red Sox
AL runners-upCalifornia Angels
18 more rows

What is the hardest hit ball in MLB history? ›

Below is a quick look at the top 19 -- including the postseason -- as well as the best of the non-Stanton/Judge group.
  • 1) Stanton: 121.7 mph. Date: Aug. ...
  • 2) Stanton: 121.3 mph. ...
  • 3) Judge: 121.1 mph. ...
  • 4) Stanton: 119.8 mph. ...
  • 5) Kyle Schwarber: 119.7 mph. ...
  • 6) Manny Machado: 119.6 mph. ...
  • 7) Judge: 119.4 mph. ...
  • 8) Stanton: 119.3 mph.
18 Oct 2022

What was the worst ever record in MLB history? ›

The 1899 Cleveland Spiders own the worst single-season record of all time (minimum 120 games) and for all eras, finishing at 20–134 (.

What's the longest an MLB team went undefeated? ›

  • 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. The 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings are the only team to ever accomplish an undefeated season in baseball history with a record of 57-0. ...
  • 1906 Chicago Cubs. The 1906 Chicago Cubs are the winningest single-season team in MLB history. ...
  • 2001 Seattle Mariners.

Who was the oldest MLB player to win Rookie of the Year? ›

Sam Jethroe was 33 years old when he won in 1950

A version of this story was originally published in November 2021. Sam Jethroe was past his prime in 1950. Or at least, he should've been by baseball standards. The Mississippi native was 33 years old, a few years past the age when the average player retires.

What MLB team has the most Rookie of the Year awards? ›

The Dodgers franchise has the most Rookie of the Year winners in MLB history with 18, doubling the next-closest team, New York Yankees. The Oakland Athletics have had eight Rookie of the Year Awards, and the Boston/Atlanta Braves have seven in their franchise history.

What 3 MLB catchers won Rookie of the Year and MVP? ›

Steve Yeager shared the award with two of his Dodger teammates in 1981 — the only such three-way tie in history — and Johnny Bench won the award by himself in 1976, as did the Athletics' Gene Tenace in 1972.

What was invented in 1987? ›

Released on December 9, 1987, the Microsoft Windows 2.0 operating system introduced a number of popular computing concepts: It was the first version of Windows to allow for overlapping application windows, desktop icons and VGA (16 color) graphics.

Who was the best NFL player in 1987? ›

1987 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards
  • Super Bowl Champion: Washington Redskins.
  • AP MVP: John Elway.
  • AP Offensive Rookie of the Year: Troy Stradford.
  • AP Defensive Rookie of the Year: Shane Conlan.
  • AP Offensive Player of the Year: Jerry Rice.
  • AP Defensive Player of the Year: Reggie White.
  • Passing Leader: Neil Lomax, 3387 Yds.

What MLB team has never won MVP? ›

The award has never been presented to a member of the following three teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays.

Has a rookie won MLB MVP? ›

Jeremy Peña, 2022 ALCS and WS

400 with 10 hits and a homer that ended up being decisive in a Game 5 victory. He was the first rookie position player to be named World Series MVP and joined Marlins right-hander Livan Hernandez in 1997 and Dodgers righty Larry Sherry in 1959 as the only rookies ever.

Which MLB player never won an MVP? ›

1) Derek Jeter

In '06, he fell just 14 voting points shy of winner Justin Morneau, and, with the benefit of hindsight and more reliable metrics, Jeter probably would have won that one. But hey, he's got five rings, a World Series MVP (2000) and near-unanimous entry into the Hall of Fame to fall back on.

What is the most famous piece at the Met? ›

The Death of Socrates, Jacques-Louis David, 1787

This Neoclassical work is one of the most famous paintings at The Met.

Who has the most hits in Mets history? ›

As of November 2022, David Wright has the most hits in New York Mets franchise history with 1,777 hits. Jose Reyes, who had 1,534 hits, placed second on the Major League Baseball side's ranking of players with the most hits.

Who is the oldest Met? ›

The Oldest Living Mets Players
PlayerBirth DateAge
Thomas, Frank Joseph (Frank)June 11, 192993 years, 139 days
Craig, Roger Lee (Roger)February 17, 193092 years, 253 days
Landrith, Hobart Neal (Hobie)March 16, 193092 years, 226 days
Mays, WillieMay 6, 193191 years, 175 days
36 more rows

Who threw the hardest pitch of all time? ›

Fastest pitch ever thrown

As a result, Aroldis Chapman is credited with throwing the fastest pitch in MLB history. On Sept. 24, 2010, Chapman made MLB history. Then a rookie relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, the fireballer unleashed a fastball clocked at 105.1 mph by PITCH/fx.

Who is the most famous pitcher in history? ›

1. Walter Johnson
IPWRA9-WAR
5,914417156.3
26 May 2022

Who has the longest hitting streak in Mets history? ›

Moisés Alou

Has anyone ever hit 5 hrs in one game? ›

Five home runs in a game has been achieved four times: Pete Schneider (1923), Lou Frierson (1934), Cecil Dunn (1936) and Dick Lane (1948). In the pre-professional era, Lipman Pike also hit five home runs in 1866.

What was the worst year for the Mets? ›

The Mets' 120 losses are the most by any MLB team in one season since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20–134, . 130).
...
1962 New York Mets season.
1962 New York Mets
Local radioWABC (AM) (Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy)
Next season >
10 more rows

Who is Mets best hitter? ›

Career Top 10 Leaders
1.David Wright49.2
2.Darryl Strawberry36.6
3.Carlos Beltran31.1
4.Edgardo Alfonzo29.6
5.Jose Reyes28.2
5 more rows

Who was a baseball rookie in 1987? ›

1987 American League Debuts
1987 American League Debuts 1987 A.L. Rookies | 1987 N.L. Rookies | Baseball Firsts (All Years)
#Name (sort)Team (sort)
29Randy Velarde1987 New York Yankees
32Greg Cadaret1987 Oakland Athletics
38Dave Otto1987 Oakland Athletics
77 more rows

When did Mets clinch division in 1986? ›

29 years ago today, the Mets clinched the NL East

On Sept. 17, 1986, Dwight Gooden took the hill at New York's Shea Stadium to make his 30th start of the season. Eight and a half innings later, the Mets were NL East champions.

How much is a box of 1987 Topps baseball cards worth? ›

Topps 1987 Complete Set Values

Complete sets of the 1987 Topps Baseball Tiffany cards are currently selling for over $1,000 on eBay. These are factory-sealed sets with the original sticker and are in great condition.

What is the error on the 1987 Barry Bonds card? ›

What's the Barry Bonds RC Error? In the 1987 Donruss Opening Day set, some of the included Barry Bonds cards pictures Bonds' teammate, Johnny Ray. Meaning, the card is #163, which is Bonds' place on the checklist, and has Bonds' name printed. However, the photo is Johnny Ray.

Are 86 Mets the best? ›

It was clear from early on in the season that they were the favorites to win the World Series that year. The 1986 New York Mets went 108-54, easily the best record in franchise history. They beat the Houston Astros in the NLCS in six games, and that series is widely regarded as one of the best NLCS's in MLB history.

Who threw out first pitch at Mets game? ›

Bailey tossed out the first pitch ahead of the New York Mets game against the Chicago Cubs, going over the plate in front of an audience that included his six- and four-year-old sons.

Videos

1. St Louis CARDINALS at New York METS 7/1/87 Original WWOR Broadcast
(Phenia Films the MLB archives Original Broadcasts)
2. Montreal EXPOS at New York METS 5/1/87 Original WWOR Broadcast
(Phenia Films the MLB archives Original Broadcasts)
3. MLB - 1987 - Special - The Cocky Arrogant Mets That Everyone Is Gunning For In The 1987 Season
(rss empresas)
4. How I Met The Mets: 1987 (MetsPolice.com)
(Shannon Shark)
5. Mets 1986 - A Year to Remember
(Will Christison)
6. NY Mets World Champion 1987 Season Promo - Let's Do It Again
(BrooklynCelluloid)
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