35 years ago, Shea shook, mom & I were there and (we) I almost missed it

By the time you read this, the 2021 World Series will be underway, with either the Boston Red Sox or Houston Astros playing either the Atlanta Braves or Los Angeles Dodgers. For some, just the notion of any of these teams playing is nauseating, especially given just how brutal the Yankees and Mets were in the regular season.

But this all brings me back to 35 years ago — Oct. 25 and Oct. 27, 1986. Just a few days before that, my mom, who had tickets to see the Giants and Redskins play Monday night football at Giants stadium, got an offer from a colleague — the Giants tickets for two tickets to Games 6 & 7 of the World Series.

For mom, who then or now couldn’t care less for football — and ever the Mets fan — took the no-brainer offer and in her hands were seats for the final two games of the World Series, coming back to Shea, with the Mets down 3-2. 

Fortunately for this then 12-year-old, I was the lucky bearer of the second seat that awfully cold Saturday night. We were in the Upper Deck, in fair territory in left field at Shea Stadium (very few seats were in fair territory there, either) so as you might imagine, we we high and far from the action, but it was still the trill of a lifetime to be at a World Series game.

You all know what happened … but tied at 3 going to the 10th, the Red Sox scored 2 to go up 5-3. Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez both lazily flied out for the first two outs in the bottom of the 10th. At this point, I rolled up my blanket (yes, it was that cold that night), stood up and started to make my way to the exit before I came flying back into my seat. “Sit down! Now! This game is not over!” mom screamed as the eight Red Sox fans in the area celebrated.

I really thought she was nuts — and I wanted absolutely no part in watching the Red Sox celebrate their first World Series championship since 1918. And then, on Diamondvision, “Congratulations, Red Sox, 1986 World Champions.” Now I really wanted out of there.

Bob Stanley’s 1987 Tops Baseball Card Google Images

Then Gary Carter singled. Then Kevin Mitchell singled. Then Ray Knight, with two strikes, drove in Carter and Mitchell was at third. Still, I wanted out. This was going to end with Mookie Wilson up with two strikes. And then, the place shook as if there were a California quake, when Bob Stanley, who once threw a no-hitter for Kearny High School, threw a wild pitch that allowed Mitchell to score. 

You know what happened next. 

Shea shook as if an even greater quake hit. We were jumping and screaming and hugging strangers and it didn’t matter if it felt like Shea would collapse. It was joy I’ve rarely experienced since. 

On the ride home — it took hours and didn’t matter for a second traffic was impossible — it hit me why a mom’s wisdom is incomparable. Were it not for her, I’d have never been there to see one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. 

That wisdom from mom is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever had. And why I love her beyond words. 

Oh, after the Mets won Game 6, her colleague asked for the Mets tickets back in exchange for Monday night football tix. Let’s just she wasn’t in East Rutherford on Oct. 27.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.