The '86 Mets: Where are they now?

The Mets are honoring the 1986 World Series team with a 30th anniversary celebration during their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers from May 27-29 at Citi Field. Newsday's Steven Marcus takes a look at what the players and coaches from that team are up to now....

To Continue...

Already a Newsday subscriber ?

Get unlimited digital access $1 for 4 Weeks

$0.99/Week Thereafter

The Mets are honoring the 1986 World Series team with a 30th anniversary celebration during their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers from May 27-29 at Citi Field. Newsday's Steven Marcus takes a look at what the players and coaches from that team are up to now.

1. Mookie Wilson, OF (.289, 9 HR, 45 RBI)

Wilson's 10-year career was defined by one momentous at-bat in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets trailed by two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning but rallied for a 6-5 victory to force a seventh game. How the winning run was produced is etched in Mets lore. Wilson hit a 3-and-2 pitch toward Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner. Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy took it from there: "And a ground ball trickling . . . It's a fair ball. It gets by Buckner! Rounding third is Knight . . . The Mets will win the ballgame . . . They win! They win!" Wilson -- and Bucker -- have relived that moment at memorabilia shows for years.

Today, age 60: Wilson, a club ambassador for the Mets, lives in South Carolina.

2. Kevin Elster, SS (.167, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

Came up in September and made the postseason roster based on his defense, though he did commit a throwing error in Game 6. He later set a record for shortstops -- later eclipsed by Cal Ripken -- by playing in 88 straight games without an error spanning the 1988-89 seasons.

Today, age 51: Retired with residences in Huntington Beach, California and Las Vegas.

3. Rafael Santana, SS (.218, 1 HR, 28 RBI)

His dream was always to play for the Yankees, but wound up with the Mets and got his championship ring. He was traded to the Yankees after the 1987 season in the first major league transaction between the teams. In 1990, "Raffy" played in Cleveland with former Mets teammates Jesse Orosco and Keith Hernandez.
Today, age 58: Dominican academy coordinator for White Sox. Resides in Dominican Republic.


4. Lenny Dykstra, CF (.295, 8 HR, 45 RBI)

Popularized the word "dude" in Mets clubhouse to the point that almost every player used it. His walk-off home run against the Astros in Game 3 of the NLCS was probably the biggest moment of his career. He also had a leadoff homer in Game 3 of the World Series at Fenway Park after the Red Sox had won the first two games at Shea Stadium. After baseball, he served 6 1/2 months in prison on charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering.
Today, age 53: The Mets say Dykstra is involved in real estate in California.

6. Wally Backman, 2B (.320, 1 HR, 27 RBI)

Backman had a good World Series, batting .333. His gritty, dive in the dirt style of play was akin to Dykstra and the two became known as "partners in grime." Backman totaled 75 stolen in the 1984-86 seasons.

Today, age 56: He is in his fourth year managing the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. It remains a matter of speculation if he would take over the Mets at the end of Terry Collins' tenure. His offseason home is in Oregon.

7. Kevin Mitchell, OF/INF (.277, 12 HR, 43 RBI)

Mitchell was one of the mini-heroes in the 10th inning of Game 6. After Backman and Keith Hernandez made the first two outs and Gary Carter singled to keep the Mets alive, Mitchell was called on as a pinch hitter. He singled off former minor league roommate Calvin Schiraldi and scored the tying run when Bob Stanley uncorked a wild pitch with Wilson at the plate. Mitchell blossomed as a member of the Giants in 1989 when he hit 47 homers and drove in 147 runs and was named the National League's Most Valuable Player.

Today, age 54: He's a youth league instructor in San Diego.

8. Gary Carter, C (.255, 24 HR, 105 RBI)

His acquisition from the Expos in 1984 cemented the Mets credibility as a contender. His walk-off single won Game 5 of the NLCS. He hit two homers in Game 4 of the Series and had nine RBIs in seven games. His two-out single in Game 6 started the 10th inning rally. The Hall of Famer's exuberance for the game garnered his nickname `The Kid,' by Ken Singleton and Tim Foli. Carter managed the Long Island Ducks in 2009 and hoped it would lead to a managerial job in the big leagues. He wanted to go into Cooperstown wearing an Expos-Mets cap, but officials designated Expos.

Died: Feb. 16, 2012 at 57.

11. Tim Teufel, 2B (.247, 4 HR, 31 RBI)

Split time with Backman, playing mostly against lefthanders. Hit a pinch-hit grand slam homer against Phillies in June of '86. Could have become the Series goat when he committed an error in Game 1 that allowed the only run to score against Ron Darling in a 1-0 victory by the Red Sox. Homered in Game 5.

Today, age 57: Mets' third-base coach since 2012.

12. Ron Darling, P (12-6, 2.81 ERA)

With the third best ERA in the National League, Darling had one of his best seasons in '86. After losing Game 1 on Teufel's miscue, Darling came back to win Game 4 in Fenway. His playing career ended with Oakland in 1995.

Today, age 55: Since 2009, he has worked as an analyst for SNY. He also has provided analysis for postseason games for TBS.

13. Lee Mazzilli (.276, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

Mazzilli wanted to be a lifetime Met but was dealt to the Rangers in 1982. Mazzilli rejoined the Mets in August of '86 when George Foster was released. Maz had two hits in five at-bats and scored two runs in the Series. He also has a championship ring as first-base coach for the 2000 Yankees.
Today, age 61: He is special adviser to the Yankees and resides in Connecticut.

16. Dwight Gooden, P (17-6, 2.84 ERA)

Gooden's '86 stats were fine but paled in comparison to the year before when he electrified the baseball world with 24 wins, 268 strikeouts and a 1.53 ERA. He started the 1986 All-Star Game in '86 at 21 years old, but never won a postseason game, going 0-4, including two World Series losses, with a 3.97 ERA. He lost two games to the Red Sox in the Series. He missed the World Series parade, later publicly admitted it was due to substance abuse. His well documented problems short circuited what many thought would be a Hall of Fame career. He later pitched a no-hitter as a member for the Yankees.
Today, age 51: He operates a baseball academy in Staten Island.

17. Keith Hernandez, 1B (.310, 13 HR, 83 RBI)

The championship seed was planted in 1983 when Hernandez arrived from the Cardinals for reliever Neil Allen. Hernandez was at first unhappy with the trade that took him away from the city where he won a Series title, but he grew to love New York City and the Mets, where he became co-captain with Carter and transformed the Mets into a contender. In 1986, they finished third and fourth in the balloting for MVP. Hernandez was in manager Davey Johnson's office in Game 6. He said he had been dejected over his Series performance. He lamented not having a good Series in '86--he was 6-for-26 (.31) with four RBI. But his work in uplifting the Mets with his leadership and stellar defensive play at first base had already been completed.
Today, age 62: His objective and amusing analysis on SNY also has transformed the broadcast booth. He has residences on Long Island and Florida.

18. Darryl Strawberry, RF (.259, 27 HR, 93 RBI)

With all his issues -- he was suspended three times in his career for substance abuse -- Strawberry did manage to hold it together to be part of four World Series championships, three with the Yankees. Though forever identified with the Mets, he spent eight years with them and five with the Yankees. He hit three postseason home runs for the Mets in '86, two against the Astros and one in the Series. Strawberry's years with the Mets is equally remembered for his dust-up with Keith Hernandez for being late on team photo day and the 6-6 Strawberry's verbal barrage on the 5-9 Backman. The betting money would have been on Backman.
Today, age 54: Strawberry, whose off-the-field issues included repeated cocaine abuse and subsequent rehab stints, arrests for solicitation and domestic violence, prosecution for failure to pay child support and federal taxes, along with 11 months in prison for violating probation on cocaine possession charges, credits Gary Carter for helping him turn his life around. He is an ordained minister in Florida.

19. Bobby Ojeda, P (18-5, 2.57 ERA)

Involved in an eight-player deal that brought him from the Red Sox for Calvin Schiraldi to start the '86 season. With the Mets, Ojeda's ERA was second best in the NL. He won Game 3 of the Series In Fenway after the Mets fell into an 0-2 hole at home. He had no decision in the Buckner Game. Schiraldi became the losing pitcher in the Buckner 10th inning.
Today, age 58:Ojeda was a studio analyst for SNY until leaving after the 2014 season. He resides in New Jersey.

20. Howard Johnson, 3B/SS (.245, 10 HR, 39 RBI)

Hojo already had a World Series ring from the 1984 Tigers when he was sent to the Mets in 1985 for Walt Terrell. Johnson's arrival prompted the Mets to trade popular Hubie Brooks to the Expos as part of the deal for Carter. Johnson was 0-for-7 in the '86 postseason but had MVP-consideration seasons in 1987, '89 and '91.
Today, age 55:He manages the Texas Rangers' Desert Mavericks in the California League. His offseason home is in Florida.

22. Ray Knight, 3B (.298, 11 HR, 76 RBI)

The World Series MVP's single in the 10th inning of Game 6 kept the rally going and he later scored the winning run. His homer in the seventh inning of Game 7 broke a 3-3 tie and he was named the most valuable player for the Series after hitting .391. He became the first Series MVP not retained by a team the following year. He recently told Newsday's Jim Baumbach that he would have accepted a one-year deal for the 1987 season but couldn't get anyone on the phone in the front office.
Today, age 63: Knight hosts a pre and post game show for the Washington Nationals. Formerly married to golfer Nancy Lopez, he lives in Georgia.

25. Danny Heep, OF (.282, 5 HR, 33 RBI)

Obtained from the Astros for Mike Scott, who would become a Cy Young Award winner. Heep drove in a run off Scott in Game 4 of the NLCS and got a two-run single off Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd in Game 3 of the Series for his only hit in 11 at-bats. Part of the Dodgers World Series team in 1988 when Kirk Gibson hit his limp round the bases homer in his only at-bat.
Today, age 58: Head coach baseball coach at University of Incarnate Word, a Division I program in San Antonio, Texas.

38. Rick Aguilera, P (10-7, 3.88 ERA)

Fifth starter who went to the bullpen in the postseason and threw five scoreless innings against the Astros in the NLCS. Became the swinging pitcher in Game 6 of the Series, where he had a 12.00 ERA. Traded to the Twins in 1989 and became an outstanding closer, with 318 career saves. He was a three-time All-Star and pitched for the Twins' 1991 World Series champions. Had 318 saves in his career. Today, age 54: Lives in California with franchise ownership in Dunkin' Donuts and a carwash.

40. Randy Niemann, P (2-3, 3.79 ERA)

Did not appear in the Series. Originally drafted by the Yankees, Niemann is more known for his post-playing years in the coaching ranks.
Today, age 60: He had a brief stint as pitching coach with the Red Sox in 2012 but mostly has been in the Mets organization as minor league instructor, bullpen coach and now pitching coach for the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League. Lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

42. Roger McDowell, P (14-9, 3.02 ERA, 21 saves)

Bubblegum-blowing prankster who, along with Howard Johnson, perfected the art of the hotfoot, which is setting a teammates shoes laces ablaze. His biggest appearance in '86 came in the NLCS when he pitched five scoreless innings in Game 6. He was the winning pitcher in the World Series clincher after Game 7 of the Series after pitching a scoreless seventh inning. In 1989, was sent to the Phillies with Dykstra for Juan Samuel.
Today, age 55: Pitching coach for the Atlanta Braves since 2005.

47. Jesse Orosco, P (8-6, 2.33 ERA, 21 saves)

Another '86 Met with a definable, Bob Murphy moment, this one in Game 7. After Orosco struck out Marty Barrett for the final out, he tossed his glove high in the air and fell to his knees as his teammates jumped on top of him. Murphy announced, "He's somewhere at the bottom of the pile." Orosco had three victories in the NLCS, capped by the clincher in the 16-inning Game 6. He played with eight other teams, including the Yankees, before ending his career with the Twins in 2003. Pitched in a record 1,252 games.
Today, age 59: Orosco works with youth leagues and gives private pitching lessons in San Diego, California.

49. Ed Hearn, C (.265, 4 HR, 10 RBI)

Filled in nicely behind the plate for Carter for about two weeks in August of '86 when Carter sustained a partial tear of his left thumb. "This is my team now," Hearn told reporters, though he said recently it wasn't brashness, only the leadership that the position required. Was traded to the Royals in 1987 but played only 13 more MLB games due to injuries and health issues.
Today, age 55: Has had three kidney transplants since 1992. Now an inspirational speaker, he lives with his family in Shawnee, Kansas.

50. Sid Fernandez, P (16-6, 3.52 ERA)

The Hawaiian-born lefthander was terrific at Shea Stadium, where he had a 2.17 ERA but 5.03 on the road. He made the All-Star team after a 12-2 start and, after walking the first two batters he faced, struck out the side. He lost Game 4 of the NLCS to the Astros and Mike Scott. He went into the bullpen for the Series and in Game 7 struck out four of the seven batters he faced. Used to spray the clubhouse with a toy machine gun Super Soaker.
Today, age 53: Coaches his son's baseball team in his home state of Hawaii.

5. Davey Johnson, Manager

Upon his hiring by Frank Cashen, Johnson reportedly said "I love working for someone who's smart enough to hire me." The relationship would sour but not before a good run of competitive teams, led by the 108-win '86 champions. Johnson would go to manage the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers and Nationals.
Today, age 73: Last managed the Washington Nationals 2011-13, now has real estate interests in his home state of Florida.

23. Bud Harrelson, Third base coach

Won his first Series ring playing shortstop for the 1969 Mets. Briefly served as Mets manager following Johnson's firing after 42 games in 1991.
Today, age 71: Co-owner and senior vice president of the Ducks. Long time resident of Hauppauge.

28. Bill Robinson, First base coach/hitting instructor

Robinson disliked being called a "batting instructor" and corrected those who referred to him as such. Won a ring as a player with the champion Pirates in 1979 and as a coach with the Phillies in 2003.
Died: July 29, 2007 at 64.

30. Mel Stottlemyre, Pitching coach

Picked up four more World Series rings after the Mets as he joined Joe Torre with the Yankees.
Today, age 74: Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2000, Stottlemyre is said to be in remission. The Yankees honored him with plaque in Monument park last season on Old-Timer's' Day last season. A cancer survivor, he lives in Washington State.