The World Series Champion 1986 New York Mets – one of the most memorable teams in New York baseball history – recently gathered for their 25th anniversary celebration at Strawberry’s Sports Grill in Douglaston. With Game Six on every television screen, almost all of the storied team filed in, including fan favorites Keith Hernandez, Mookie Wilson, Ray Knight, Howard Johnson, Jesse Orosco and owner Darryl Strawberry.
“This is a great celebration of who we are and what we have meant to Met fans and all the things we accomplished here,” said Strawberry, who put the series out of reach with a homerun in Game Seven.
Also in attendance was Bill Buckner, first basemen for the Boston Red Sox, whose name has become synonymous with the ’86 Mets team. His error on Wilson’s dribbler up the first baseline ended Game Six after a monumental three-run comeback with two outs and no runners on base.
“He’s one of the classiest players ever,” said Ron Goldstein, a Mets fan who had his picture taken with both Wilson and Buckner. “It feels like a lifetime ago.”
“I wasn’t going to be the goat and make the last out,” said Kevin Mitchell, who singled and scored the game-tying run during the Game Six comeback. “It was an honor for me to play with these guys. It brings back a lot of great memories.”
One Met who was missing from the festivities was Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, whose team leading 105 Runs Batted In during the regular season led the Mets to the post-season. He is currently battling cancerous brain tumors and recent reports show him making progress
“We are just praying for him,” said Strawberry. “It’s hard not seeing him here because he was such a big part of what we accomplished.”
For Mets fans in attendance, the evening was a surreal experience to rub elbows with their idols of yesteryear. Queens resident Bill Betrulo, who was at Shea Stadium for Games Six and Seven, said it was hard to put in words his feelings toward the team but eventually described the victories as “absolute jubilation.”