Shea Remembered: 10 Memorable Mets Moments (1980’s)

SHEA REMEMBERED: 10 MEMORABLE METS MOMENTS (1980s)

Shea Remembered is a series featuring 10 memorable Mets moments by decade. This feature is intended to stir great Mets memories at Shea Stadium throughout franchise history. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it recorded in any order of importance. Finally, the moments are exclusive to baseball and does not include non-Met events (i.e., concerts, other sports, etc.). We hope this content triggers great memories for you.

April 5, 1983: Tom Seaver returned home to pitch for the New York Mets. On Opening Day 1983 at Shea Stadium, in front of a record crowd of 46,687 (the largest Opening Day crowd at Shea Stadium since 1968), Seaver pitched six innings of shutout baseball, allowing just three hits in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. 

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May 6, 1983: Darryl Strawberry made his Major League Baseball debut (and debut at Shea Stadium) in a 7-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds. The media began drawing parallels between Willie Mays’ arrival in 1951 and Strawberry’s arrival in 1983. When asked about the comparison, Strawberry said: ”I’m not familiar with the things Willie has done. I’m just Darryl Strawberry and I have to play like me.” Mets GM Frank Cashen cornered Strawberry before the game and told him, “… not to go shouldering the burden. The danger is that Darryl will think he has to do it. It was a brief, but intense conversation.”

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June 17, 1983: Keith Hernandez arrives in pinstripes. Frank Cashen traded pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey to St. Louis for Hernandez at the trading deadline two days earlier. “I’d like to take credit for it, but the Cards called and asked ‘Would you trade (closer) Neil Allen? I said no,” said Cashen. “They said ‘If you talk about Neil Allen, we’ll talk about Keith Hernandez.’ You didn’t have to be Phi Beta Kappa to make that trade.”

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April 19, 1984: Dwight Gooden, 19, made his first start at Shea Stadium, pitching five innings, striking out seven. “It was electric, this guy, when he took the mound it was an event, and the people would absolutely electrify the stadium,” said Howard Johnson. “Every strikeout he got, the momentum kept building, kept building, and he just dominated other teams. You could see other teams just give up mentally.” The Mets beat the Expos, 7-6, but Gooden did not get a decision in his Flushing debut.

September 17, 1986: The Mets clinch the National League Eastern Division title with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. “It seemed like there were already 10,000 people that had jumped over the fence,” said Wally Backman. “I was gonna throw the ball to first and said ‘Oh my God, I gotta throw this straight,’ they might’ve mugged me and killed me if I didn’t.”

April 9, 1985: Gary Carter debuts for the New York Mets hitting a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off former Mets reliever Neil Allen at Shea Stadium. Mets win, 6-5. “It was a nice way to start my Met career, and to be greeted at home plate by all my teammates,” Carter told the media. “And then of course the fans chanting my name on the way out of the turnstiles. That was a great thrill for me as well.”

October 11, 1986: Game 3 of the 1986 National League Championship Series ended in dramatic fashion when Lenny Dykstra blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Houston Astros reliever Dave Smith to lift the Mets to a 6-5 win at Shea Stadium.

September 15, 1986: Game 5 of the NLCS also ended in dramatic fashion. This time, it was Gary Carter who played hero when he singled home Wally Backman in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Mets a 2-1 win and a 3-2 series lead.

October 25, 1986: Game 6 of the 1986 World Series is remembered as the “The Bill Buckner Game.” Mets infielder Howard Johnson said: “I was just watching to see who was gonna get to first base, if (Mookie) was gonna be able to beat it out or not. I was crouched down watching the thing happen and when I saw it go through his legs, it was like, ‘It’s over.’ Unbelievable.”

October 27, 1986: Jesse Orosco strikes out Marty Barrett to give the New York Mets their second World Series title. Orosco celebrated the win throwing his glove into the night’s sky before being buried under a pile of his teammates. “I had friends ask ‘If you get a chance to save Game 7, what are you gonna do, The Pee Wee (Herman) shuffle?'” said Orosco. “I just blew my lid.”

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National League baseball in New York was redefined on March 6, 1961 when the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. formally received a certificate of membership from leave president Warren Giles. Of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs today, the case could be made that no other team has a more compelling franchise history than the New York Mets. From Casey Stengel to Yogi Berra, Marv Throneberry to Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Tug McGraw, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Valentine, Pedro Martinez and Matt Harvey, the Mets are loaded with character(s). Then there are the Amazin’ seasons — 1962, 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000, 2006-2008 and 2015 — full of miracles, joy, hope and heartbreak. Mets Rewind is designed for that purpose: To share team history in a distinct and entertaining format. We hope you — the baseball fan — enjoy the content. We encourage you to share your memories.
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