With the Mets on the brink of an NLCS date with the Cards or Friars, what better time than right now….for a gratuitious swipe at Gregg Jefferies? The New York Post’s Brian Costello chats with the ’88 NL East Champion Mets about their disappointing October failure against L.A., and the subsequent dismantling of the team.
The Mets took two of the first three games before an epic Game 4 at Shea Stadium. The Mets led 4-2 going into the ninth inning with Gooden cruising after allowing one hit after the first inning.
He walked John Shelby to lead off the ninth after getting ahead 0-2 in the count. Then, Mike Scioscia came to the plate and drilled a stunning two-run homer into the Mets bullpen in right field to tie the game.
“Our manager lost that series for us,” Lenny Dykstra said yesterday. “We had (Jesse) Orosco warming up in the pen.”
In the 12th inning, Kirk Gibson hit a home run off Roger McDowell. Hershisher came on to close the game in the bottom of the inning after the Mets loaded the bases. The Mets were three outs from a 3-1 lead, but now were tied.
“We would have went up 3-1 so the series would have been over,” Darling said.
The teams split the next two games, setting up a pivotal Game 7. Darling started the game but didn’t make it out of the second inning. Crucial errors by Wally Backman and Gregg Jefferies (above) led to his undoing. Hershiser took care of the rest, and the Dodgers won 6-0.
The Mets finished in second place the following two years, and it would take 18 years to capture another division title. Team leaders Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez turned 35 the next year, and the younger players never lived up to their billing.
“You had Gregg Jefferies masquerading as a general manager,” Dykstra said. “They changed the whole team for that guy. It changed morale and everything went sideways.”