Keith Hernandez

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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Gregg Jefferies’ career with the New York Mets is difficult to put into words. As a man he has been described as “petulant … self-absorbed … immature … selfish …” As a player, Jefferies was described far differently; he was labeled by scouts as a teenage “phenom”  and the late, legendary L.A. Times baseball columnist Jim Murray described his swing as “equal parts pancake syrup and butter.”

Somewhere in the space between, where the drama, conflict and jealousy fall away, the real Gregg Jefferies is revealed.

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Mets game and Keith Hernandez repeated his story about Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

If you’re not familiar with the tale, here is how the New York Times reported it 30 years ago:

Hernandez had just made what seemed so certain to be the next-to-last out of the game, the World Series and the Met season. The Mets were trailing the Red Sox by two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning, and after Hernandez flied out to center field with no one on base, he took a long, slow walk to the dugout and kept going.

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Former New York Mets catcher Ed Hearn says he has a bag of baseballs in his cellar. They are all from 1986; all from the National League Championship Series; all evidence that Michael Warren Scott cheated.

The rumors started long before the NLCS. In May 1985, during one of Scott’s starts at Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs first baseman Leon Durham found a piece of sandpaper near the mound, “brand new, cut in a circle, big enough to hide in his glove,” Durham told the Chicago Tribune.

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