Gas was 89 cents per gallon. The average cost of a new car was $9,200. One could buy a new home for just over $89,000. Median household income was $22,400 and the Dow Jones was under 1900. A nuclear power plant blew up in Chernobyl and the Challenger blew up over Florida.
The top grossing films that year were Top Gun, Platoon and Crocodile Dundee. The top rated TV shows were Magnum PI, Family Ties and Dynasty. Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history. Madonna was telling her Papa not to preach, Robert Palmer admitted he was Addicted to Love, The Bangles taught us how to walk like Egyptians and Van Halen introduced the world to their replacement for David Lee Roth. Hollywood legend Jimmy Cagney died. And Lindsey Lohan was born.
Sound like ancient history? It is. It also is the last time the Mets were World Champions.
I was recently discussing the 2010 post-season with a couple of friends of mine. They are “casual fans” for other teams. They don’t bleed blue and orange like we do. One asked me, “When is the last time the Mets won it all?” The image of Mookie running down the first base line and Jesse tossing his glove into the air immediately came to the forefront of my mind. “1986” I proudly replied, but my beaming smile quickly vanished. “That’s really a long time ago,” my other friend responded. And as I thought about it, they were right. It was a long time ago. Too long.
Even our language has changed. Words like ‘website,’ ‘blog,’ and ‘Ipod’ had not entered our vocabulary. If you wanted to see a video you had to wait for MTV and not just sign into YouTube. A monitor was someone who stood in the hallway at school. A keyboard was something played by the one guy from Journey.
Yes, 25 years have now passed since a Championship flag flew over Shea. Shea, a stadium that no longer exists.
How long has it been?
Since we fans use Baseball to mark our lives like notches on a doorframe, consider these facts: The 1986 All-Star Game highlighted two of the youngest superstars as starting pitchers: Roger Clemens and our own Doc Gooden. In 1986, Mike Schmidt was MVP. Cal Ripken was only one-third of the way to catching Gehrig. The AL Rookie of the Year award went to a slugger from Oakland named Jose Canseco. Barry Bonds’ HR total stood at 16. Mark McGwire had 3. Ken Griffey Jr was in high school. David Wright was in kindergarten.
There was a drug scandal in Baseball but it was cocaine, not steroids. The highest paid player was Gary Carter with an unheard salary of $2.1 million.
A quarter of a century has passed. An entire generation. The members of that 86 championship team have moved on. Some have gone on to manage, others to coach. Some have gone to rehab, others to jail. Several have gone to the broadcast booth. One has gone to Cooperstown. Hitting coach Bill Robinson has passed away.
And where were you that magical night in October? Think back to where you were the last time the Mets were World Champions. And think back how much your life has changed. I’m sure many reading this article were not even alive. Or many others were too young to remember.
I first learned Baseball and became a Mets fan in 1973, a pretty good first year. But as the Mets fell short to the powerhouse Oakland A’s in 7, honestly, I didn’t watch many of the games. I was not quite 8 years old and didn’t grasp the concept. My first year of rooting for the Mets and we go to the World Series??? This whole World Series thing must be pretty easy. I’ll just watch it next year.
But ‘next year’ would not happen until 1986 and by then, this former 7 year old was now a senior in college.
October 27, 1986 was a Monday. With an entire team payroll of just over $15 million, only a little more then one year for Jason Bay, the Mets defeated Boston 8-5 and became Champions. But that same day, 600 miles west of Flushing, in the small town of Lima, OH, Jeffery and Annette Niese welcomed their son into the world and named him Jon.
Yes, it’s been that long…