The four men with 1986 Mets ties sat at the table signing “Mookie Wilson” and “Tim Teufel” and “Sid Fernandez” and “Bud Harrelson” for a long line of veterans and staff at the Manhattan VA Hospital. Dr. Craig Tenner had a baseball to sign, but he wanted to share something else with Wilson.
Tenner said that he had a photo of him up in his office. It shows Wilson running to first as the fateful ball gets by Bill Buckner, capping the unforgettable, down-to-their-last-strike, three-run, 10th-inning rally at Shea Stadium in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against Boston.
“It reminds me all the time to never give up,” Tenner told Wilson.
Some amazing memories of that resilient championship team were on display Friday. These former Mets gave autographs and did a Q&A with those vets and the hospital staff since Memorial Day is coming Monday. Most of that 1986 team will be coming for a happy 30th anniversary ceremony Saturday at 6:15 p.m. prior to Mets-Dodgers at Citi Field.
“It was phenomenal,” Ron Joyner, a 67-year-old former Army Specialist, said of this mini-reunion at the VA, “because as a New Yorker and a Mets fan, you’re not going to forget the ’86 Mets.”
Those 108-win Mets ran away with the NL East and beat Houston in six in the NLCS after scoring three in the ninth to force extra innings in the clincher.
“When we checked out of the hotel for Game 6, we said if we have to check back in and face Mike Scott the next day, we’re in big trouble,” said Teufel, then the part-time second baseman and now the third base coach.
The Mets trailed the Red Sox two games to none, then three games to two, then 5-3 with none on and two gone in the 10th in Game 6, then 3-0 in Game 7 at Shea.
“These guys would come right back,” said Harrelson, then the third base coach. “They did it time after time after time. Good teams do that. Not lucky teams.”
Teufel tipped his figurative cap to Fernandez for Game 7.
“Without Sid’s performance, we’re not here,” Teufel said.
The Hawaiian lefty came on with two outs in the fourth and threw a hitless 2 1/3. The Mets tied it with three in the sixth and won 8-5.
“I really didn’t hear noise in the stands,” Fernandez said. “I just was tunnel vision and I did my job.”
And now 30 years later, El Sid and those Mets are reuniting again.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s been 30 years,” Wilson said. “The beautiful thing is the relationships have really lasted and grown over the years. It’s always nice to get together.”