Today, thirty-three years ago, The Boston Red Sox were one strike away from clinching their first World Series championship since 1918. But unfortunately for the bean towners, the curse of the Bambino would last on for another eighteen years.
With Boston leading 5-4, and Mookie Wilson batting and the winning run now on base, McNamara brought in Bob Stanley, who had not allowed an earned run in the series. With the count at 2-2 after six pitches, Stanley threw a breaking ball that sailed inside and skipped in front of Wilson, who jumped to avoid being hit by the ball and fell in the batter’s box. From his knees, Wilson signaled to Kevin Mitchell to run for home and the rookie scored the game-tying run without a throw. Ray Knight moved into scoring position on the pitch. Stanley missed a chance to end the game without allowing Mitchell to score. Ray Knight had taken a very large lead and caught the eye of second baseman Marty Barrett, who called several times to his pitcher to make a pickoff throw. Stanley never heard Barrett as he focused squarely on Wilson, and the noise made by the sellout crowd at Shea Stadium made it nearly impossible to hear anything.
Only on the tenth pitch in his at-bat, Wilson put the ball in play. A dribbler to first base seemed to be the final out of the World Series. Bill Buckner tried to field the ball but it rolled through his legs, allowing Ray Knight to score the walk-off run as he dashed home from second base.
The Mets tied the series at three and the rest is history.
After a long silence, Vin Scully described the aftermath of the play as follows:
“If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to game six of the 1986 World Series.”
Bill Buckner was the scapegoat and blamed by the Red Sox fans for losing the World Series. They forgot that the pitching imploded and allowed the Mets to get alongside and eventually won.