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Shea moment No. 5: '86 Mets

Shea moment No. 5: '86 Mets

Anybody can win one. One championship can be one blip in an otherwise heartbroken existence. But when the 1986 Mets scored the franchise's second World Series title, their first since 1969, the team created a history instead of a fleeting memory.

The bad boys from Queens -- Strawberry, Dykstra and Gooden, to name a few -- had given the Mets another ring to accompany the first from 1969. And they earned enough love and respect from the fans to be voted No. 5 in the all-time greatest moments at Shea Stadium.

That's right, a moment. Pile the entire 1986 season into one heaping pile of singular dominance. After trailing by 2 1/2 games on April 19, those Mets went on to win the National league East by 21 1/2 games. They led the National League in fewest runs allowed and most runs scored.

And when they played the Astros in the National League Championship Series, several players across the league had strong feelings about the series. Certainly, they didn't like the Mets, because the Mets themselves knew they were that good.

"I think most guys on our team and around the league would like to see the Astros beat the Mets," Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith told reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times, before the Mets won the NLCS, 4-2. "It goes back to an old issue: The Mets have had this arrogance thing all year."

The Mets weren't significantly challenged until the playoffs, then played close all the way through the World Series against the Red Sox. They found themselves down, three games to two, until Mookie Wilson sent a dribbler down the first-base side and you-know-who let the ball slip under his legs.

The winning run came around to score, and, yes, many forget that they had a Game 7 to win in Shea Stadium before the champagne soaked through their jerseys. When the '86 team gathered in 2006 for their 20th anniversary, Wilson had trouble mustering the words to describe their glory.

"If we hadn't won," Wilson said on Aug. 19, 2006. "If we hadn't ... well ... we wouldn't be here tonight."

It's hard to imagine where Shea Stadium history -- where franchise history, for that matter -- would be without the 1986 Mets.

Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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