Mookie Wilson turns 57 today.
Mookie played center field for the Mets for years. His most famous moment was in game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Red Sox. Bottom of the 10th inning, the Red Sox had scored 2 in the top of the inning to take the lead and get to where they were just three outs from winning their first World Series since 1918. The Mets made two quick outs, then Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight hit consecutive singles, to put the tying run at 3rd and the winning run at first with Mookie up.
Mookie got to a 2-2 count, fouling off some good pitches. The 7th pitch of the at bats was a wild one, that almost hit Wilson, bringing home the tying run and moving the winning run to second. A couple more fouled off pitches before Mookie hit the ground ball that would make Bill Buckner public enemy number one in Boston, a soft roller that went right between Buckner's feet. The Mets would win game 7 and the series.
If you want to indulge some Red Sox schadenfreude, you can watch it:
The Jays traded for Mookie on July 31, 1989 sending Jeff Musselman and Mike Brady to New York. At the time we were tied for second place, with Boston, at 52-53 , 3.0 games back from Baltimore in a very close AL East. It was a tight race, 6 of the 7 teams in the division were within 6 games of first.
Mookie really didn't look like the guy who was going to pull the Jays into the playoffs. He had been hitting .205/.237/.289 in 80 games with the Mets. He was 33 and it seemed like he was past his prime. But he found the fountain of youth with the Jays and hit .298/.311/.370 (yeah, I know, it would have been nice if he got on base more, but heck we won) with 12 stolen bases (caught just once) and sparked the Jays to a 37-20 stretch run, helping us to a first place finish. Unfortunately we lost to the A's in the ALCS.
Wilson quickly became a fan favorite in Toronto, how can you fail to like a guy named Mookie. And he was a happy guy who seemed to love playing the game.
The rest of his time in Toronto didn't quite as well. He hit .265/.300/.355 in 147 games in 1990 and then .241/.277/.349 in 1991, with us making the playoffs again. This time losing out to the Twins in the ALCS. Mookie retired after that season.
Happy Birthday Mookie. I hope it is a good one.