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Didja ever notice? Mookie This, Mookie That

Part of an ever-continuing series of stories related to the baseball game played on October 25, 1986.

The first 10 games in which Mookie Wilson (and Wally Backman) played for the Mets, the team did not win.

Thankfully, management was not discouraged by this in any way.

Mookie Wilson had a fine Mets career, one best remembered for one moment about which we can all reminisce fondly. It's my understanding that he's recently had a falling out with the organization, and that's too bad, because there are other stories that Mookie could tell about his Mets career as the (now second) greatest base-stealer in team history.

One you won't get to hear is about Mookie's first Mets win. It came on September 14, 1980, and revealing the opponent partly gives away the punchline, so I won't do that just yet.

Mookie Wilson had 11 four-hit games, as well as one five-hit game for the Mets, and this was one of his finer performances. He showed off his speed at every opportunity, first by tripling to lead off the bottom of the first inning. He'd score on a Backman single, something that would become a common occurrence the next few years.

In the third inning, with the Mets down, 3-2, Wilson singled, stole second, went to third on Backman's bunt hit, then scored on Lee Mazzilli's groundout. He'd single again in the fourth, but the Mets stranded two, then struck out in the sixth, which was of little consequence.

Meanwhile, both teams piled on some runs. The visitors scored three, but the Mets responded with two, on a Lee Mazzilli home run, putting them a run behind, 7-6.

The Mets would rally on this day, winning 10-7 on Steve Henderson's three run home run off Bruce Sutter in the bottom of the ninth. You can read about that if you click here. But that wasn't the pivotal moment of this contest.

Leading off the bottom of the ninth, a run down, the Mets needed a baserunner in the worst way. Mookie Wilson led off with a bunt, in front of the plate. The catcher for the Chicago Cubs needed to rush his throw to first due to Mookie's speed, and his toss could not be handled by his first baseman, allowing Wilson to scoot to second as the all-important tying run.

Who was the Cubs first baseman, who went 1-2, plating a run on a sacrifice fly to Wilson in the visitors first, but could not catch Tim Blackwell's throw?

Bill Buckner.


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