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METS FANS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF GAMES FROM THE 1988 NLCS
October 4, 1988 Dodger Stadium
1988 National League Championship Series Game 1
Mets 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 2
john t greenpoint
June 28, 2006
One of the most exciting games of the series. Down 2-0 in the 9th Kevin McReynolds barrels over Mike Scioscia to give the Mets a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers. Orel Hershiser pitches well and this is just a taste of what he will do in the series.

Michael
May 9, 2008

Who would have ever thought we'd lose the series after this game? Scored 3 in the 9th off the unscored upon Hershiser. Fans and players alike I'm sure all thought after this game, more than ever, that LA just couldn't beat us.

October 5, 1988 Dodger Stadium
1988 National League Championship Series Game 2
Los Angeles Dodgers 6, Mets 3
Hank M
March 30, 2009
All I recall about this game is that it was on late at night. The first pitch wasn't thrown until after 10:00 PM Eastern because ABC (and the other networks) televised the Vice Presidential debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle. It was still a reasonable time for the West Coast, but not for New York.

The game wasn't any more interesting than the debate. The Mets fell behind early and never caught up. Since it was late and David Cone did not have his best stuff, I just shut it off and went to bed. Seeing that no one else has commented on this game yet, I'm guessing that I wasn't alone in doing this. It certainly wasn't worth staying awake to watch.

sportsfan8690
August 27, 2009

I was away on a high school camping trip in the wilderness in New Jersey and never got to watch this game live. My school teacher had a radio and kept me informed of everything that happened. Saw it on video two days later. I remember David Cone had called Jay Howell a "high school pitcher" after we won the night before and this seemed to juice the Dodgers up as they hit Cone good and tied the series. Also Tim Belcher pitched real well too. Mets could not hit well against him. Everyone always remembers Orel Hershiser or "Bulldog" as some of us call him (eventually would pitch for the Mets) in 1988 but no one talks about Tim Belcher. If Belcher was not there, Mets win this series in 5 games. He won 2 games in the series and he very well could have been the NLCS MVP. The Reds Chris Sabo had a big year and won NL Rookie of the Year, if not for him Belcher would have run away with that honor.

October 8, 1988 Shea Stadium
1988 National League Championship Series Game 3
Mets 8, Los Angeles Dodgers 4
Mets2Moon
April 16, 2001
Here's a fun game. 40 degrees and raining all day, the field was an absolute mess. See Keith Hernandez fall down running from 2nd to 3d. See him fall down again on the same trip. See gimpy Kirk Gibson slip in the outfield and still catch a liner. See a comebacker to McDowell in the 8th. McDowell steps...and falls flat on his face. See McReynolds up in the 8th, Mets down 4- 3. Count is 3-0. See Davey Johnson come out of the dugout to talk to the umpire. What's that Davey? You say Jay Howell's got something in his glove? Apparently he's slipped some pine tar in there, and he's outta here! See the Dodgers try to win without their closer, and watch them implode. Watch the Mets string together a walk and four hits, and plate 5 runs. Watch David Cone close it out, and the Mets win a memorable one!

Mark
June 28, 2001

It was a wonderful day. My wife was pregnant. It was her due date. I kept watching the game and looking at her thinking that she was going to birth before the game was over. My son was very considerate; he did not come out until later that day. Here we are nearly 13 years later and he is the biggest Mets fan.

Joseph A LajaraJr.
July 26, 2001

Oh I remember as it was yesterday on October 8th 1988, I was 12 Years old and was in the 7th grade,but man what a game that was it was my first ever playoff game ever because my father got the tickets the day before the game was rained out on friday and was rescheduled on a Saturday afternoon,we sat on the upperdeck behind homeplate there I was with my sweater and my Old school Mets Jacket and umbrella over my damp light blue old school met cap and shivering and shaking thoughout the game, I remember when the crowd went wild when Daryl Strawberry's pop fly turned out to be a base hit when Dodger left fielder (could not remember who it was at the time)dropped the ball and the Sharp tv moniter showed a cartoon video of a Dodger outfielder getting burried by Strawberries. Then during the middle of the game my father and I walked one level down and found two seats unoccupied so we sat on them for the rest of the game, so as my father was standing during every time the Mets had a rally I stood on my chair and highfived the fan who was sitting next to me, soon after the game was over as my father and I were exiting Shea everybody around us were all yelling out (LA CHEATS,LA CHEATS,LA CHEATS.)In reference to Jay Howells pine tar incident.

Bob
May 31, 2002

What a wild one! Game 3 had actually been scheduled for the night before (Friday night) but it was a miserable day and night, and the game was postponed. I think game 3 wound up starting at noon on Saturday. I've been to Shea a couple of hundred times, and that was the coldest I've ever been. I know it was snowing in the upper deck in left field where we were sitting. But we had a great view of Gibson falling and Keith doing the breaststroke into third base. Of course, we had no clue what was going on when Jay Howell was ejected. Luckily someone near us had a radio.

October 9, 1988 Shea Stadium
1988 National League Championship Series Game 4
Los Angeles Dodgers 5, Mets 4
Happy Recap
October 18, 2000
This was one of the worst postseason moments in Mets history. Doc Gooden was sailing along on a cold night at Shea. It looked like the Mets were about to take a 3-1 series lead over the Dodgers, and a return trip to the World Series looked imminent. And then along came Mike Scioscia. His three-run homer tied the game, and I think everyone at Shea felt like they'd been punched in the stomach.

I remember sitting in the cheap seats which, of course, weren't all that cheap, with a full bladder. I was too cold to get up from my seat, and I didn't want to miss a pitch, so I just sat there with the urine freezing inside of me as the game went into extra innings. Eventually, Kirk Gibson would hit a homer, Orel Hershiser would come out of the bullpen to stamp out a Mets rally, and I'd finally get to visit the restroom. It was a horrible turn of events, and you could make an argument that it took the Mets organization 11 years to recover. But at least I didn't sustain any kidney damage.

Stems31
July 26, 2001

I was 14 years old sitting in the loge section right behind the "Karate Kid"...yup, the one and only Ralph Macchio, man was he small. I remember it being cold and damp and Hernandez wearing just his short sleeve uniform with no long sleeve shirt underneath. Anyway, when Scoscia hit that home run...I deflated. Oh, what could have been.

Joe Lanzisera
July 22, 2002

As far as I'm concerned this game marked the end of the ride for Mets fans in the '80s. Gooden sailed into the 9th pitching as well as he had in years - it was the old Dr. K back in town. We were going to go up 3 games to 1 and close the series out at home on Monday. I remember that with one out in the 9th, he had John Shelby dead to rights on a couple of hooks and Shelby just managed to foul them off. I think there was a bad call on an inside fastball too, but maybe its just my imagination running wild. Anyway, Shelby walked and then Scoscia followed with his blast.

Anyway, once the ball went out you just knew the Mets were done. Then the next day the Dodgers roughed up El Sid and we were effectively done.

Brian
September 1, 2004

This was the one and only postseason game I've ever been too. I was 15 and so excited about the Mets and it seemed like a perfect game - Gooden was pitching well, Strawberry and McReynolds went back to back, and the Mets were headed to the World Series. Until they blew it in the 9th. I cried myself to sleep that night, knowing that this game was going to turn the series. What if Johnson had brought in Randy Myers? I think it would have been a 1-2-3 ninth. But he went with his heart and left Doc in there. Not saying it was a terrible move, but I just remember how good Myers was that year. The fact that the Mets had the bases loaded with 1 out in their last at bat and couldn't get the tying run home added to the sting. The Mets beat the Dodgers 10 of 11 times in the regular season. This should never have happened.

The significance of this game combined with the fact that I was actually there make this the saddest sports memory of my life. Maybe if the Mets had beaten the Yankees in 2000 it would have exorcised the demons - but alas, the suffering of Mets fans continues.

murphy
May 21, 2005

Without a doubt this game was the most painful loss of my life. I really don't like to think about watching Scioscia's ball go over the wall. It was a swift kick to the groin with a steel-toed boot. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Mets would have wiped out the A's in the World Series. It still hurts to this day.

Professor G
June 10, 2005

Wihtout a doubt, the worst game I've ever experienced at Shea. It was so festive in the top of the ninth. I thought to myself: "We're gonna go up 3-1 and I'll be here tomorrow to see us actually win the pennant." But I also CLEARLY remember asking my dad, before Mike Scioscia came to the plate: "Why doesn't Davey have Randy Myers warmed up to pitch to Scioscia in this situation?" To this day, I still believe if Davey made this move, we would've been back in the World Series.

Jim
July 12, 2005

I'm trying to remember a Gary Carter triple in this game, and drawing a blank.

Bob K.
November 5, 2006

My recollection is that Gary Carter was on third base with fewer than two outs and did not score, a typical failing for the Mets even in that great year. Had someone found a way to drve him in earlier in the game, the Scioscia home run wouyld have been a ho-hum footnote to a glorious Mets win. But nooooooooooooooo!

Herman
March 9, 2007

As soon as Gooden put a runner on base in the 9th, Johnson should have removed him. Other than Orel, this was not a good Dodger team. Come on... Micky Hatcher, John Shelby. Ham and eggers. But a bad move by Johnson cost the Mets a date in the World Series.

Stu Baron
October 12, 2007

I was sitting in mezzanine reserved, wondering why Randy Myers wasn't warming up in the top of the ninth...Gooden walked John T-Bone Shelby, and up came Mike F. Scioscia, when a guy behind me comments, "If this guy hits a homer, it's tied up!"

Of course, I respond, "Yeah, but he doesn't have much power; he only hit about 4 homers all year!"

Me and my big mouth! Scioscia promptly launches his dinger into the Mets bullpen...DOH!

Frank the Met
April 6, 2008

This was the second worst game in Mets history (the worst being the Pendleton game from Sept. 11 of the previous year.) It was the most obvious move in the world -- frankly, a no- brainer -- to bring in the smoking Randy Myers to finish off the Dodgers. But Johnson had it in his head that Gooden was entitled to finish the game. This bonehead mentality cost the Mets their third World Series victory. What no one has mentioned is that once Gooden walked Shelby, it was even MORE obvious that he bring in Myers. It would have been Myers vs. the aging no-power Rick Dempsey, who was the righty version of the catcher platoon. Just like the Pendelton game, the Mets lacked the character to recover from this. Every honest fan knew they were dead. Strangely, the Mets hold the distinction of having been defeated in the playoffs by the two worst (and untalented) world champions in history, the 1988 Dodgers and 2006 Cardinals.

Michael
August 14, 2009

Was at this game, season ticket holder Field Box 163g, seat 1, this game was deja vu of 9/11/87 of the Terry Pendleton home run. Mike Scioscia had hit only 3 home runs all year and no one thought this would happen and it did. Davey Johnson made his worst decision ever as manger by not removing Gooden after he walked John Shelby on an 0-2 count. That should have a sign he was tired and it was Randy Myers time. Myers would have come in and Tommy Lasorda would have the aging Rick Dempsey pinch hit since he was right handed. Scioscia usually did hit against tough lefties like Myers. The potential dynasty that could have been was over after this and we never saw the playoffs again until 1999. Davey Johnson should have been fired after losing this NLCS for his bad moves.

October 10, 1988 Shea Stadium
1988 National League Championship Series Game 5
Los Angeles Dodgers 7, Mets 4
Dave
May 30, 2001
What a miserable experience. I remember 3 three things clearly: 1. it was raining, I was in the right field upper deck, not too far past first base and I had never seen rain going horizontally before. It was coming at us from the Long Island Sound instead of the clouds. 2. I remember our short-lived ecstasy when the Dodgers pitcher, what was that SOB's name? was ejected when they found pine-tar in his glove and 3. the whole game was summed up by Keith Hernandez getting tagged out reaching for third base, crawling, about 2 feet from the bag: not even close! That's when we knew it was over.

Larry Burns
June 23, 2002

One of my all time favorite Met stories. Before Sid threw in Game 5 of the playoffs in 1988 (The night before was the Scioscia disaster) I got to the ballpark early. The Dodgers were finishing batting practice and Lasorda was holding court with the media in front of the dugout. Some Met fan was at the rail behind homeplate, above the netting, in the Loge. He screamed "Tommy, Tommy" at least 50 times to try to get Lasorda's attention. As Lasorda finished he decides to wave to this obvious fan, as he makes eye contact and waves the guy screams, "Lasorda you fat f**k!" Lasorda looked shocked. I almost peed myself. I figured we were gonna right the ship with that omen, then El Sid goes out and pitches a crappy game and we end up losing the playoffs. Great story, terrible game.

Joe Lanzisera
July 22, 2002

It was the night after the Scoscia disaster and I was sure we would turn it around. I was driving back to college after a weekend home (maybe it was Columbus day) and left early. I remember listening to Gibson take El Sid deep early on and it just went downhill from there. I have this whole series on tape and I've never once watched it. It's too painful.

Jeff In Florida
July 30, 2003

There had been some debate over if it was better to show this 12PM start live in Hawaii (for Hawaiian pitcher Sid Feznandez) which would have been about 3am, or to show it on tape delay. I remember that after Sid was hammered, the guys on TV said that they didn't know the outcome of the debate but if it would be tape delayed, Sid Fernandez might want to burn the tape.

Putbeds 1986
March 1, 2006

To Dave, You were commenting about Game 3. Btw, the weather was sunny but cold for October for Game 5 because my friend Gary has photos of Game 5 and shows them to me once in a while. He sat on the third base side for that game and has great shots of Straw, Jefferies, Gibson and Lasorda.

John T Brooklyn
October 1, 2006

I have chilling memories about this game. We were excited to have tickets to a playoff game, but we did underdress because it was FREEZING and WINDY!! Thank goodness some people brought a blanket to block some of the wind from behind, but after they left early we FROZE!

Someone mentioned this before, but seeing Keith Hernandez trip running third and getting tagged out crawling to third...it was so pathetic, yet appropriate of how the Mets played that day. They just didn't have it then, and the core of the '86 team -Keith, Carter, even Gooden - was past their prime.

One happy note - found a great place in Woodside for some well-earned Irish coffee!

sportsfan8690
April 9, 2010

I was at this game sitting in my season seat Field Box 163g. Also I was at game 4 that ended in the wee hours of the morning and was right back at less than 9 hours after that game ended with not much sleep. So it was a quick day game after a real late night game.

It seemed the whole stadium was still in shock that the Mets had game 4 won and let it get away with a lot of questionable moves by Davey Johnson that cost the game. No doubt the Dodgers had the momentum as Kirk Gibson hit another home run and the Dodgers got way ahead early and the Mets showed no desire or inspiration to fight back in the game and lost 7- 4 and were in a 3-2 hole going back to LA for the next 2 games.

Two reasons why the Mets did not win the 1988 NLCS was Davey Johnson making some bad decisions and the team showing no heart or emotion which the Dodgers no doubt did have.

I did a two-sport day/night doubleheader this day. Went to the NLCS game 5 at Shea Stadium during the day and after the game headed right to Madison Square Garden to see the Rangers first home game of the 1988-89 season against the Devils. The Rangers lost that game with the Devils scoring the winning goal late in the game. While at the game I kept an eye on the TV as the Giants were playing on MNF in Philadelphia and they lost late in that game as Randall Cunningham just ran all over the Giants single-handedly. My teams were 0-3 on this day.

October 11, 1988 Dodger Stadium
1988 National League Championship Series Game 6
Mets 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Jeff In Florida
July 22, 2003
Why did we win this game? Cone's pitching had something to do with it. However, Davey Johnson finally put Backman back in the 2 spot of the lineup. The wildboys were back together for the last time but look at how they did in the game!

October 12, 1988 Dodger Stadium
1988 National League Championship Series Game 7
Los Angeles Dodgers 6, Mets 0
jj kennedy
February 22, 2001
got a stack of pizzas for this one. delicious. went to my sisters house it was packed. A very long night. The World Series tickets were in my hands. Oh what should have been. To this day I don't wanna talk about. So i'll leave it at that.

Bob Mercier
November 24, 2001

I must say this was indeed a great upset. I say that because the Mets should have been in the World Series in 1988 against the A's and not the Dodgers. It also seemed like when the dodgers got the 5 runs in the bottom of the 2nd that made this upset become official. That could have been a great World Series the A's and the Mets but it was not to be here in 1988. It seems like the Mets going 100-60 in the regular season was not official all the way. well what do I mean by that? I mean they did not win the World Series for the icing on the cake. It was that old saying of 100 wins means nothing without the title showed up in this year of 1988 for the Mets.

Joe Lanzisera
July 22, 2002

I remember that my Dad and I used to argue all the time over Ron Darling. I loved him and he hated him. I remember the double kick-in-the-gut that this game became when Ron blew up early. Watching the final seven innings was almost like having a root canal. I was almost relieved when HoJo struck out to end it. What a shame.

Jeff In Florida
December 31, 2004

I remember this game as a sad lesson in life. I was not quite 13 at the time and to me, the Mets were the best. They had won the series in 1986 and I believed that they only lost in 1987 because of injuries. This game taught me that the Mets (The team that I still love) were human and were capible of losing. Ron Darling (my second favorite Mets pitcher at the time) was in fact not a big game pitcher (remember his start in WS game 7) and I had the accept the fact the Orel was actually just a better pitcher. Sad game. Hard lesson. I held out hope even after falling behind 6-0. The Mets did have some explosive hitters. However, Orel's strike out of HOJO was a symbol of thigs to come. Johnson was a fastball hitter and he struck out on a fastball.

Cat in Albany
February 7, 2005

My dorm room at SUNY Buffalo was packed at the start. It was a very festive atmosphere and there was even talk of a World Series Road Trip to Shea.

After the Jeffries error in the bottom of the second, the dorm emptied out. Knowing the Mets and their propensity for crazy memorable games (think Atlanta game 6 in 1999), I stayed alone, in my dorm in Buffalo, watching every painful out as Orel mowed the Mutts down.

I remember thinking that watching this till the end would make it that much sweeter when the Mets came back the next year. Too bad it was going to be a decade before the Mutts would rise again.

Still, on the positive side, without Ron Darling's implosion and this loss, there would be no Gibson gimpy, walk-off, pinch-hit dinger in game 1 of the World Series. That is arguably in the top 5 hits in World Series history!

Professor G
June 10, 2005

Davey's managerial decision still sticks in my craw: If Doc Gooden - clearly our best pitcher that year - was OK to come in in relief, then he was healthy enough to start. He should've gotten the ball in this must-win against Hershiser.

Jeff In Florida
September 23, 2005

That's a manager's curse. Had Gooden been bombed in the game everyone would have said, why didn't they start Darling, a 17 game winner on regular rest? Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Peter P
September 11, 2005

The other comments reflect the absolute destruction of hope this game produced. I was so bummed I went out for a three-mile run after it was over. The next day I looked forward to the second Presidential debate, but my man, Dukakis, screwed himself with a lousy response to the very first question! I was devastated, two 'body blows' in two days.

Mike A.
December 17, 2007

Watched this game in my dorm during my freshman year at college, deep in the heart of Phillies country. Let's just say that nobody played any violins for me after the game, ha-ha!

This game to me, was the end of Davey Johnson's career with the Mets. Until then, he had kept a loose grip on the team, making sure they disciplined themselves on and off the field.

But this painful game showed that Davey's policy had run its course. Not just the brutal pitching, but the absolute lack of fundamentals in the field, as shown by the Jefferies error.

The Mets basically played as 9 separate individuals rather than 9 player team... and it was going to get worse in the future.

Michael
May 13, 2008

Without question, considering the magnitude of the game, the 2nd inning of this game was by far the worst inning in team history. It included a botched bunt, 2 errors, and 4 hits.

Michael
May 13, 2008

One more note... I just watched this game again (please don't ask why, I really have no idea!) and as painful as 2006 was to us, this game was BY FAR the worst loss in the history of the franchise.

Stu Baron
July 13, 2008

I just remember knowing the Stems were going to lose, seemingly before the game started, but certainly from the 2nd inning on, but for some reason forcing myself to watch the whole game, all the way to the bitter end, my eyes welling up with tears the whole time.

sportsfan8690
December 23, 2009

This 1988 NLCS game 7 is one you would like to forget for a Mets fan like me but it's hard to do that.

To me it wasn't that the Mets lost this game but how they lost. Only 24 hours before David Cone pitches a terrific game 6 to force game 7.

It's always said anything can happen in a game 7 no matter who the starters are and the game 6 winner a lot of times has that momentum and mental edge going into the 7th game. Not so on this night as the Mets came out so flat and uninspired that it seemed as the Dodgers won game 6 to force this game even though that was not the case.

I know Orel Hershiser was on the hill for the Dodgers but that was no excuse for the Mets to come out so flat. Even 20+ years later I still can't understand why they played with no emotion or spark with a trip to the World Series on the line. To me if a team should lose a game 7, I prefer it to come down to the final pitch just like in 2006 to St. Louis. This 1988 version was over before the first inning ended.

sportsfan8690
December 23, 2009

Another note I want to add about this 1988 NLCS game 7 is that it should have been at Shea Stadium. The Mets would have had this game at home if home field advantage which was not already determined even before spring training camps opened. It was alternated each year which division winner got home field advantage regardless of who had the most wins. It did not make sense.

In 1988 the Mets had way more wins than the Dodgers and were 10-1 against them in the regular season. The Mets for this should have had game 7 at home and maybe the NLCS results might have been a lot different and the Mets might have 3 World Championships right now.

The same thing could have happened in 1986 if the Mets did not win game 6 and had to face Mike Scott in the AstroDome for game 7.

It was not until 10 years later in 1998 that MLB office finally changed the rule that home field advantage goes to the team with the best record in their league, that was 10 years too late for the 1988 Mets.


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