The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, a team in the summer wooden bat Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, announced today that former Major Leaguer Mookie Wilson will be the featured speaker at its Annual Hot Stove Dinner on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the Travelodge in Little Falls, New York.
A switch hitter with excellent speed, William Hayward “Mookie” Wilson is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and coach best remembered as the Met that hit the ground ball that trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs in the bottom of the tenth inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
Wilson attended Spartanburg Methodist College for the 1974 & 1975 seasons and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 4th round of the January 1976 amateur draft, but he did not sign. Instead, he transferred to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks to play for former New York Yankees great Bobby Richardson. Wilson was subsequently selected in the 2nd round of the 1977 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Mets. He batted .284 with 22 home runs, 184 runs batted in and 160 stolen bases in four seasons in the Mets’ farm system, and earned International League Rookie of the Year honors in 1979. After stealing 50 bases and scoring 92 runs for the Tidewater Tides in 1980, he was called up to the Majors when rosters expanded that September.
By 1984, Wilson became a fixture atop the Mets line-up, and was soon the face of the organization. In 1982, he broke the team record with 58 stolen bases in a season. And by 1984, he passed Lee Mazzilli to become the team’s all-time stolen base leader (a record since broken). In 1986, he led the Mets to a 1st Place finish in the NL East by 21.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies. In the post-season for the first time in his career in the National League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, he scored the only run allowed by NLCS MVP Mike Scott in Game 4 of the series and drove in and scored a run in the ninth inning of Game 6. After dispensing with the Astros, the Mets went on to face the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
In the iconic 6th Game of the World Series, Wilson came to the plate in the 10th inning after the Red Sox scored twice in the top of that inning to go up 5-3 in a Series they led three games to two. After retiring Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez, Red Sox middle relief pitcher Calvin Schiraldi surrendered singles to the next three batters to bring the score to 5-4 with runners on 1st & 3rd. With Wilson stepping up to the plate, Bob Stanley was called on to pitch. During his ten pitch at-bat, Wilson avoided being hit by a wild pitch that scored Kevin Mitchell from third and tied the score. Two pitches later, he hit a slow roller to Bill Buckner at first base. Aware of Wilson’s speed, Buckner tried to rush the play. As a result, the ball rolled beside his glove, through his legs and into right field, allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run from second base. The play is often known as the “Buckner play” and is blamed on the first baseman, but Wilson’s smart at bat and speed also affected the course of events. The Mets went on to win the World Series.
In 1988 Wilson led the Mets to a 100-Win season and another Division Championship where they faced a Los Angeles Dodgers team the 1988 National League Championship Series they had a 10-1 record against in 1988. Despite their regular season dominance over the Dodgers, the Mets lost the series in seven games.
On July 31, 1989 the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Wilson and he helped lead the Jays to a division championship. Two years later, the Jays won their division again and Wilson was in the post season for the 4th time in six years. Before the start of the 1992 season, though, he decided to hang up his cleats and retired. He was enshrined in the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1996.
From 1996-2002, Wilson served as the Mets’ first base coach. In 2003-2004, he managed the Rookie League Kingsport Mets team, and the single-A Brooklyn Cyclones in 2005. After serving as the organization’s Base Running Coordinator, Wilson returned to serve as the Mets’ first base coach in 2011. He moved into a front office job after the season. In 2013, he managed the U.S. Team in the All-Star Futures Game held at Citi Field. Wilson is also the author of a 2014 autobiography titled Mookie: Life, Baseball and the ’86 Mets.
For more information on the Hot Stove dinner, please contact DiamondDawgs Owner/President Travis Heiser at 315-985-0692.
The event’s doors will open on April 23rd at 5:30 P.M. for cocktails, autographs and silent auction with dinner and program following. Tickets cost $40 for and a table of 8 can be purcheased for $275.
To purchase a seat or table, please email Travis@mydiamonddawgs.com or contact team owner Travis Heiser at (315) 985-0692.
Stay tuned as we announce this years inductees in the coming weeks by visiting our website www.mydiamonddawgs.com or by social media on Facebook and Twitter @MVDiamondDawgs.