The 1986 Mets vs the 2006 Mets

In 1986, the New York Mets won 103 regular season games and their second World Series Title. After the same core of players was ousted in the 1988 playoffs, the fans would have to wait nearly twenty years to have a team that was exciting and a true World Series contender. This came in the form of the 2006 Mets, who won 97 regular season games and were eliminated in Game 7 of the NLCS.

But if the two teams played each other, who would come out on top? On the surface, most would be quick to say the 1986 team. But it is actually a lot closer than it may seem to be.

Catcher: Gary Carter vs. Paul Lo Duca

Over the course of the 2006 season, Lo Duca hit .318, which is a high mark for a catcher. He had a low strikeout total as well, as he only struck out 38 times. However, Carter was the only Met to have over 100 RBIs in the 1986 season (he had 104), and he also slugged 24 home runs. This can make up for the fact that he hit .255.

Advantage: 1986

First Base: Keith Hernandez vs. Carlos Delgado

Carlos Delgado was an absolute monster at the plate for the Mets. His 38 home runs and 114 RBIs were both second best on the team. While Keith Hernandez didn’t have nearly the power that Delgado had, he made up for it in hitting for average. Hernandez amassed 171 hits and a .310 batting average. Not to mention, Hernandez displayed complete wizardry in the field.

Advantage: 1986

Second Base: Wally Backman vs. Jose Valentine

Backman wins this one with ease. He led the 1986 Mets with a .320 batting average  and a second best .376 OBP. Valentine put up a modest .271 average, but did manage to crack the 100 hit mark.

Advantage: 1986

Shortstop: Rafael Santana vs. Jose Reyes

With their first win of the breakdown, Jose Reyes steals this one. Reyes stole 64 bases in 2006, and was the overall spark-plug that ignited the offense of the Mets that season. Santana was a weak spot for the lineup of the 1986 Mets, registering a meek .218 batting average for the season, and a .6 WAR.

Advantage: 2006

Third Base: Ray Knight vs. David Wright

A young, upcoming David Wright will just beat out Ray Knight. Wright put up one of his best seasons, batting .311 with 26 home runs and 116 RBIs. While Knight’s offensive numbers were respectable, a .298 average with 24 home runs, he just didn’t have the same production as Wright.

Advantage: 2006

Left Field: George Foster vs. Cliff Floyd

This position was a bit of a weak spot on both teams. Foster batted .227, and Floyd batted .244. I am going to side with Floyd, who was a slightly better fielder if we are talking in terms of fielding percentage. Floyd had a percentage of .987, compared to Foster’s .962.

Advantage: 2006

Center Field: Lenny Dykstra vs. Carlos Beltran

Lenny Dykstra was a feisty leader on the 1986 Mets, and was universally known as a tough guy on the diamond. His batting average was a respectable .295, but he lacked any power that would make opposing pitchers fear him. Beltran on the other hand, slugged 41 home runs and 116 RBIs and was a powerhouse in the lineup. The advantage here goes to Beltran.

Advantage: 2006

Right Field: Darryl Strawberry vs. Xavier Nady

Much like the shortstop position, this is also a no brainer. This one favors the 1986 Mets however. Darryl Strawberry is renowned as one of the top sluggers in franchise history, and Nady, while he did his job, is just another player in the franchise history.

Advantage: 1986

Starting Pitching Rotation

While both teams had dynamic offenses, the 1986 team was superior in quality of starters. The whole five man rotation of the 1986 team won over ten games, while all keeping their ERA below 4.00. The 2006 featured Tom Glavine as their ace, and he went 15-7. Compare that to 1986 ace Doc Gooden, who was 17-6, with 200 strikeouts.

Advantage: 1986

Bullpen

The 2006 Mets had a clear closer, and that was Billy Wagner, who finished with 40 saves. On the 1986 squad, the duties were split more or less between Roger Mcdowell and Jesse Orosco, who combined for 41 saves as a tandem. As for overall bullpen success, the 2006 just beats out the 1986 team, in terms of ERA. The 2006 bullpen posted a 2.69, while 1986 finished with a 2.98.

Advantage: 2006

Bench

In terms of bench strength, the 1986 team had the better. A combination of Mookie Wilson, Howard Johnson, and Tim Tuefel will beat out Endy Chaves, Chris Woodward and Lastings Milledge any day.

Advantage: 1986

Overall, the matchup would come down to pitching. The 1986 rotation is far superior to the 2006 rotation, therefore the 1986 team would beat the 2006 team.

9 comments for “The 1986 Mets vs the 2006 Mets

  1. John Fox
    October 28, 2017 at 11:41 am

    The “86 Mets won 108 regular season games, not 103 as it says in the article

  2. Hobie
    October 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Had the 2006 had a healthy Cliff Floyd in LF and Xavier Nady in RF (which means they would have had a healthy Duaner in the BP) … Beat Cards in 6, Detroit in 4.

  3. Henry
    October 28, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    George Foster was released by the Mets in August of 1986. By the WS Mookie was playing LF regularly, and Dyskstra CF.

  4. Adam
    October 28, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    The 1986 Mets won 108 games in the regular season. How can you not know that? Ray Knight also did not hit 24 home runs in 1986. And George Foster was released in June of 1986. Mookie Wilson was the main left fielder for the rest of the season and the playoffs. What stat book are you looking at?

  5. Pete from NJ
    October 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

    George Foster was released at the all star break. Left field was rotated then with Mookie Wilson and Kevin Mitchell. The latter also was inserted at SS along with Howard Johnson to beef up the offense as opposed to defense.

    The 1986 team just dominated in the regular season mentally and physically!

  6. TexasGusCC
    October 29, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Guys, I don’t think Dalton was even born then, so you can’t expect him to know intricacies. He probably just Baseball Referenced who had the most at bats at each position and their numbers. Good exercise, but it points to how the Mets fans are mostly 40/50/60/70 year olds.

    Youngsters became Met fans in the 70’s due to Mazzilli and the Bronx Zoo, and the 80’s due to the success and excitement of new success, but in the 90’s and 2000’s, they mostly became Yankee fans., except for Dalton and some few smarter ones! I wonder if the Coupons ever thought of this when they keep penny pinching their brand.

    • October 29, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      I was one of the few who grew up a Mets fan in the dark ages while the Yankees won everything (wasn’t quite paying attention to baseball for the 86 team). Can’t stand bandwagon fans (2015), but we do need to embrace younger additions to the fanbase.

  7. Metsense
    October 29, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    “fans would have to wait nearly twenty years to have a team that was exciting and a true World Series contender.”
    For four straight years, between 1997- 2000, the Mets had a winning percentage of .541 or better. 1999 culminated in an NLCS loss and a 2000 a World Series loss. In 2000 they were not just a contender , they were in it. They were exciting offensive teams that played stellar defense, and you just brushed they aside in order to promote your piece. Shame on you! You would choose your words more carefully.

  8. Jon Lapin
    October 30, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Your review is flawed in more than one spot, but most egregiously in left field. George Foster was gone from the team the last two months of the season, and Mookie Wilson was not a bench player; he was an every day player who platooned with Len Dykstra in Center and /or kevin Mitchell in left, depending on the left/right starter of the other team. Also, as to Nady, please review your history. And the Orosco/McDowell tandem was vastly superior than the 2006 pen!

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