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World Series champion and beloved SNY analyst Keith Hernandez will have his No. 17 retired by the Mets on July 9, becoming just the fourth player, plus managers Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges, in the history of the franchise to be bestowed that honor. This is the sixth of a 10-part daily countdown of Hernandez’s greatest moments and accomplishments following his 1983 arrival in Flushing.
One of the most famous stories in the lore of the 1986 Mets, was Keith Hernandez’s superstitious decision to remain in manager Davey Johnson’s office watching the game-winning rally in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the World Series.
The Red Sox had scored two runs off Rick Aguilera in the top of the inning — on Dave Henderson’s leadoff home run and an RBI single by Marty Barrett — to grab a 5-3 lead and move three outs away from vanquishing the Mets.
After Wally Backman flew out to left field to open the bottom half against Red Sox closer and ex-Met prospect Calvin Schiraldi, Hernandez skied to Henderson in deep center to leave the Mets down to their final out.
As an admittedly “pissed off” Hernandez headed off the field, “Congratulations Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Series Champions” mistakenly but briefly was flashed on the scoreboard.
“I decided as I was walking off that I didn’t want to see Boston celebrating on our home field,” Hernandez told The Post last week.
Hernandez made his way up the runway and into the clubhouse, and found scout Darrell Johnson — the former manager of the Red Sox when they had lost the World Series to the Reds in 1975 — and media relations man Jay Horwitz watching the end of the game on the TV in the manager’s office.
Hernandez sat down with them awaiting the inevitable, but then three straight two-out singles by Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight pulled the Mets within one.
“When Knight drove in the first run, that’s when I thought I better get my ass back out there,” Hernandez said. “I was still in full uniform, but then I got halfway to my locker and stopped. I was superstitious, so I stayed right where I was.”
Veteran reliever Bob Stanley’s wild pitch with Mookie Wilson batting tied the score. As Shea was shaking above them, the three men in Johnson’s office jumped up and celebrated there when Wilson’s slow roller trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs to keep the season alive with an improbable 6-5 victory.
“I could have ran back up the runway and out on the field to celebrate. But in that moment, I feel as if I didn’t deserve it,” Hernandez told MLB.com in 2020. “All this time later it’s something I’m not proud of, going back to the clubhouse. I should’ve been on the bench.
“But to this day, I still think that chair had hits in it.”