This year's sixth game had to be one of the wildest, weirdest, and in the end most heartbreaking to the losing team of any in the long history of the World Series. The whole contest was a second-guesser's field day -- filled from beginning to end with missed opportunities and questionable managerial decisions. And the way it ended was about as incredible as a game can get, with the Red Sox one strike away from victory on two separate occasions only to toss it away on a pair of miscues and force a seventh game.
The Red Sox had their old teammate, Bob Ojeda, on the ropes several times in the early innings, but they couldn't get the big hit that might have put the game -- and the Series -- away.
The Mets also missed some early chances, and then with the score 2-2 the managerial wheels started turning.
New York manager Davey Johnson decided that Ojeda had had enough narrow escapes and brought in Roger McDowell.
That move didn't look too good at first when Marty Barrett walked and eventually scored, though the real culprit was third baseman Ray Knight, whose throwing error set it up.
The moves a manager doesn't make are frequently second-guessed as much as those he does, and in the eighth inning Boston's John McNamara had one of each.
Dave Henderson led off for Boston with a single, whereupon McNamara had No. 8 hitter Spike Owen sacrifice, then removed Clemens for pinch-hitter Mike Greenwell, who struck out.
It seemed strange to take out an overpowering pitcher who still looked strong and who had a lead, but McNamara indicated later that Clemens was having some problems on his pitching hand and may have given all he had to give at that point anyway.
Another question arose, though, when the Mets brought southpaw Jesse Orosco in to face left-handed hitting Bill Buckner with two out and the bases loaded, raising the possibility of sending up right-handed slugger Don Baylor to hit for Buckner, who has limited mobility and is frequently removed in the late innings for defensive purposes anyway. But McNamara stuck with Buckner, who flied out to end the inning.
No one would have paid much attention to any of this if the Mets hadn't tied the game and sent it into extra innings. And again it looked as though there wouldn't be any second-guessers to worry about when Dave Henderson's home run triggered a two-run Boston 10th. But things are seldom that simple when the comeback-prone Mets are involved.
Schiraldi got the first two batters in the 10th, and the Red Sox were one out away from their first world championship since 1918. Twice in the next few minutes, in fact, they would be one strike away.
But Carter and pinch-hitter Kevin Mitchell singled, and Knight, the erstwhile ``goat'' for his earlier error, singled in one run. Reliever Bob Stanley then wild-pitched home the tying tally, and in a bizarre finish to a truly bizarre game, Buckner -- who of course wouldn't have been there if McNamara had pinch-hit and/or replaced him defensively -- let Mookie Wilson's slow grounder trickle through his legs for an error while Knight raced home with the winning run.