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Didja Ever Notice: The Forgotten Encounters of Buckner and Mookie?

The hubbub surrounding Tom Glavine's re-signing failed to intrigue me enough to cure my case of blogger's block and in search of inspiration, I went to my freshly purchased 1986 World Series DVD set. My viewing of choice was Game 7 and the "Extras" bonus collection that adds some fresh perspective to the memories.

The most entertaining viewing on the latter came in the form of a discussion between Mike Piazza and Mookie Wilson in which Piazza asks Mookie just what it was like to be a part of the most memorable moment in Mets history. Mookie recounts the usual stories and mentions that he and Buckner chat about their most significant encounter and tells how Buckner has made good money by turning a negative situation into a positive one.

I wonder if they ever got around to discussing their come-togethers in Game 7, lesser appreciated than that in Game 6, but each bearing some significance on the final outcome.

For those who forget, the first came in the second inning, after the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead on back-to-back home runs by Dwight Evans and Rich Gedman. Boston actually mounted a threat to extend the lead to a greater margin when Buckner came up in that frame, with two on and two out.

Buckner got pretty good wood on a 1-0 pitch from Ron Darling, and hit a line shot to left center field. The ball didn't have a lot of hang time and was reminiscent of Jose Reyes' shot to center in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. It looked, off the bat, like it could be trouble. I wouldn't rate Mookie's eventual catch as difficult (I count he had to race 11 steps to snag the sphere), but if the ball was a little bit more to Wilson's right, it would have been two runs worth of trouble and made the deficit a possibly insurmountable five runs.

Flash-forward to the sixth inning in which the Mets, still trailing by three, finally threatened against Bruce Hurst, putting two men on base with one out for second baseman Tim Teufel. Hurst fell behind 1-0, than missed away. The pitch was such that Rich Gedman thought it worthwhile to take a chance. He fired a strike to first base where Buckner was waiting. Wilson, who was on first, may have been caught by surprise. He retreated back quickly, but the throw beat him to the bag.

However, Buckner had to reach shoulder-high to snag the toss, then tried to block the base with his right knee as he brought the tag down. Wilson ducked in and slid right into Buckner, and the base, jamming his shoulder against Buckner's leg. He was safe, barely, and there's a moment shortly therafter where the expression on Buckner's face shows he knew that the opportunity to kill the rally was missed. It was similar to Buckner's expression as he walked off the field at the conclusion of Game 6, which might help trigger your recollections of these particular moments.


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