Bill Buckner

Even in hindsight the story is hard to fathom. The New York Mets came to bat in the bottom of the 10th inning, at home, trailing the Boston Red Sox 5-3 in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. They were three outs away from losing the Series. Hold on, this isn’t the story you’re thinking it is.

Wally Backman led off the inning slicing a line drive into the glove of Dave Henderson. One out. Keith Hernandez then hit a hard line drive to centerfield for the second out. The Mets were, as Len Dykstra would later tell Peter Golenbeck in Amazin’, “one out away from wasting the whole f—ing season.”

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Long after fans stripped Shea Stadium of everything not nailed down, Tom Seaver and Gary Gentry left the clubhouse and returned to the torn up field followed by Life Magazine photographers.

“I realized for the first time that the ultimate joy is not in the clubhouse, spraying champagne … the biggest thrill is on the field, joining teammates in the competition to achieve one common goal,” said Seaver. “That day I understood that the process in itself is the reward. It was a lesson in maturity, a moment of personal growth. That is why as long as I live, whatever I accomplish, I will always be a ’69 Met.”

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