On MLB’s 20 Greatest Games on Sunday, MLB Network reviews one of the strangest, bizarre, and zany games, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox were one out and one strike away from winning their first World Championship since 1918 when the New York Mets came back to win on a ground ball that went through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner. This would haunt Red Sox fans every year until 2004. In MLB Network’s countdown, this is number 3. This game used to come back in nightmares, but of course, no longer hurts me, but it was quite painful for a while.
Co-hosts Bob Costas and Tom Verducci will talk with Buckner, and Mookie Wilson and Bob Ojeda of the Mets. We get some very interesting quotage.
The program airs Sunday night at 7.
BUCKNER, WILSON & OJEDA DISCUSS 1986 WORLD SERIES GAME SIX ON MLB’S 20 GREATEST GAMES ON SUNDAY, MAY 1
Game Ranked Third in Series Countdown of the Best Games of the Last 50 Seasons
Secaucus, NJ, April 28, 2011 – MLB Network’s MLB’s 20 Greatest Games continues on Sunday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET when Bill Buckner, Mookie Wilson and Bob Ojeda join series hosts Bob Costas and Tom Verducci to discuss Game Six of the 1986 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, which is ranked third in the series. In an legendary game that could’ve won the Red Sox’s first World Series in 68 years and instead saw momentum change to favor the Mets, Buckner, Wilson and Ojeda discuss the performance of a 24-year old Roger Clemens, key lineup changes that could have been made, and the fateful ground ball hit by Wilson in the bottom of the 10th inning.
The final episodes of MLB’s 20 Greatest Games, which counts down the best games of the last 50 seasons, will air on May 8 and 22. A list of the rankings to-date is available here.
Highlights from the episode include:
Buckner on feeling pressure from Red Sox fans to win the series:
I hadn’t been in New England that long or with the Red Sox and I had no clue what was in those people’s minds and what they had been through and what they’re thinking. I was just out trying to have a good time and trying to win a championship but those people had a lot of other things on their mind.
Buckner on Clemens:
Roger was the best pitcher in baseball and I’d seen some of the things that he’d done that year, they were amazing. He always had a great arm but on top of that, he learned how to pitch. The 20-strikeout game, the whole package – I’d bet my bank account on that game.
Ojeda on pitching on three days’ rest:
Joe Garagiola said as far as [pitching on] three days’ rest, “This time of year, it means nothing,” and he was spot-on. It meant nothing to me. And at that time, no one knows, but I had two cortisone shots. Right after I threw the complete game in Houston [1986 NLCS Game 2], we came home – this is pre-9/11 – I went to the ballpark, I got the needles, I got the cortisone, put it in my pocket, went to LaGuardia, flew down to Washington, where [team physician] Dr. Parkes was. He shoots my elbow in the bathroom, I get back on a plane, fly back and I’m at the yard for [1986 NLCS Game 3] that night. So on the short rest, [Garagiola] couldn’t have been more correct. My arm was killing me, but I wasn’t gonna miss it. Everybody who gets to play in a World Series feels that same way.
On Calvin Schiraldi replacing Clemens in the 8th inning:
Wilson: We’d been very confident so far and, to tell you the truth, Schiraldi was a Met and we all knew Schiraldi very well. And, I’ll tell you what, it was like Christmas. We thought that we could get to Schiraldi. We really did.
Ojeda: When Schiraldi came in – because they knew him as well as Boston knew me – they were fighting over the bat rack. No disrespect to Calvin Schiraldi, none meant, none intended, but these guys – getting Roger out and it happened to be Schiraldi – it was like the clouds had parted. They were ready.
On the lack of lineup changes in the 8th inning:
Wilson: Not watching this game until now, you don’t think about all these things. Normally as players, we’re sitting there trying to figure out what the manager’s going to do but in this game, I don’t think that was the case.
Buckner: In McNamara’s defense, I was the best first baseman, defensively, that he had. Dave Stapleton, bless his heart, he wasn’t a great player by any means. He had his own issues. If I thought that Dave Stapleton was gonna do a better job than I was, then I’d have told McNamara. I wanted to win, so did everybody else. … I’d been in positions where my ankles were in better shape, where I could cover more ground but I wasn’t having an issue at this point. I was the best player we had to be out there. Was I Keith Hernandez? No. But I was the best that we had.
Wilson on batting in the bottom of the 10th:
I don’t even remember feeling anything, I was numb. The crowd was so loud. I mean, it was just so loud. You stand on the ground and you could just feel it generating through your bones, that’s how loud it was. Surprisingly I wasn’t nervous. I only thought one thing, ‘Just don’t make the last out.’ That’s the only thing I was thinking.
Buckner on his reaction after losing Game 6:
The fans in Boston were great to me. … People ask me how I feel now about it, I feel very blessed. I played 21 years in the Major Leagues, I got to play in two World Series. Would I have liked it for things to change differently in the sixth game? Obviously. But it didn’t. Would I do it again, with the same results? Heck yeah.
I lived [in Boston] until 1993 and I moved to Idaho because that was a dream of mine since I was a little kid, since I watched “Bonanza” on TV. I wanted to buy a ranch in Idaho, which I did. People say I left Boston because of [Game 6]. That’s hardly the case.
I will actually watch this just to hear Buckner’s statements.