So Long, Mookie

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SO LONG, MOOKIE

”That season was my best memory of New York: the whole season of ’86. It was the peak.” – Mookie Wilson

When the New York Mets announced they were sending Mookie Wilson to the Toronto Blue Jays as the player-to-be-named-later in a trade for pitcher Jeff Musselman, the news angered fans.

Wilson was more than just a run-of-the-mill player. He was family. 

Wilson was drafted by the franchise in 1977 and immediately became a fan favorite as he raced through the system before making his major league debut in 1980. He was the first glimmer of hope that the future could be bright once again in Queens.

Wilson played 10 seasons with the Mets (and 14 years for his career). He hit .276 during his time in blue-and-orange and played table-setter, stealing 281 bases for New York.

But. of course, the man just known as “Mookie” endeared himself to Mets fans when he raced to first base in the sixth game of the World Series in 1986 while his slow grounder trickled through the legs of Bill Buckner of the Boston Red Sox, and the winning run crossed.

But Wilson insisted he was not “bitter” about being traded. 

“I’m just very, very disappointed,” he told the media after the trade”If I talk now, it’s likely to be either dismissed as speculation or viewed as the comments of a frustrated athlete. I just don`t know how many people it would actually enlighten. It`s not that I don’t care, certainly not that I am afraid. I’m simply reserving my opinions.”

While Wilson refused to go into detail about the trade or the team’s underperformance after the 1986 season, he did offer an enlightening comment:

”I’m an observer of people, and it doesn’t take long to observe that some people don’t want to hear what’s wrong. Even worse to those sorts of people is the thought of having to hear a solution. As smart as many of those guys in that clubhouse are, I really don’t think they are interested in finding out what their problem is … the club’s problem is themselves. They took the game too lightly.”

By 1989, Wilson was platooning in center field with Len Dykstra, a managerial decision that irked him. So when the trade was announced, Wilson was relieved knowing he’d get the opportunity to play every day.

”I was always asked in New York if I’d rather be a platoon player with the Mets or an everyday player with an Atlanta or a Seattle. I always answered the latter, and that amazed people. I’m not a spectator, and I could never be a fan of baseball … playing every day is what helped make my life happy.”

In 2014, Wilson released his autobiography — Mookie: Life, Baseball and the ’86 Metsadding more insight about his time in New York.

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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.

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