That other baseball team in 1986

The NY Mets beat the Boston Red Sox back in ’86.  The “Amazin’ Mets” are firmly entrenched in baseball history.

But we were rooting for another team back then; a team that came within a few pitches of making it to the World Series and possibly winning the whole thing. The 1986 Houston Astros.

We loved that team.

Nolan Ryan is our favorite baseball player of all time, but the ’86 Astros were filled with players we loved to root for. Their pitching staff included suspected scuffer Mike Scott, Danny Darwin, Bob Knepper, and the sensational young pitcher Jim Deshaies.  Set up duties were shared by Charlie Kerfeld and Larry Andersen while Dave Smith racked up over 30 saves for the ‘stros.

At the plate, first baseman Glenn Davis was the team’s home run threat with Kevin Bass and Denny Walling setting the table. Bill Doran and Dickie Thon made up the middle infield for a team that won over 90 games and won the NL West.  (yes, that’s right, the NL West… this was pre-expansion and realignment.)

Living in the NY Metro area in 1986, it was hard for us to openly root for the Astros during the NLCS, but we wore our ugly jerseys with pride. And when the Mets and Astros did battle that September, we lived and died with every pitch.

The Metroplitans ultimately won that series. They became media darlings (for all their personal issues) and gave another 17 years of suffering to the Red Sox nation. The Astros did not stay at the top for long. Nolan Ryan went to Texas (and became part of our second favorite MLB team). Glenn Davis moved on to have a lackluster season in Baltimore, and Larry Anderson went to Boston to give them a good month or two of solid relief as they chased another pennant (in return the ‘stros got Jeff Bagwell…. hmmm, I wonder who won out on that deal). Bagwell and Biggio and others led the Astros through the turn of the century while Phil Garner moved into coaching and the rest of the ’86 Astros followed their own paths.

As we said before, Nolan Ryan is the greatest in our eyes. To see him come so close and not reach the big stage broke our hearts. But he went on to have many more great seasons for the Astros and Rangers, so we cannot be too upset. And he was part of a Mets World Series back in the day. Still, it hurts to see a team we love have come so close to making history and receive so little recognition for their accomplishments.

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