The book: “Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life”
The author: Ron Darling, with Daniel Paisner
The vital statistics: St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages, $25.95. Released April 5
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers website.
The pitch: We written before about the various visits we’ve had with the former Mets All-Star and current SNY and TBS analyst about games he’s pitched.
For the longest time, we were led to believe his crushing Game 7 loss in the 1988 NLCS against the Dodgers was the one that he could never shake.
“It was my total and utter disaster,” he once told us. “I’m haunted by that seven game to this day.”
Darling only made it through 10 batters. He left the contest trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded and no one out. Doc Gooden came in and couldn’t help. Darling was charged with six runs (four earned) as Orel Hershiser went on to a complete-game five-hit 6-0 triumph that put the Dodgers in the World Series.
Now, Darling admits that isn’t that only thing that keeps him up at night.
In this book, he’s tearing his heart out with a self-examination about all that transpired during the deciding game of the 1986 World Series, two Octobers earlier.
Maybe it wasn’t so painful because, as the readers know going into this book, Darling wasn’t on the losing end. No spoiler alert: The Mets won the series, the Boston Red Sox lost again.
Darling started Game 7 and gave up three earned runs in the top of the second. Just 18 batters faced in 3 2/3 innings. Two homers allowed. No strikeouts. It was up to relievers Sid Fernandez, Roger McDowell and Jesse Orosco try to clean things up long enough for the Mets’ offense to wake up.
“My piss-poor performance,” Darling calls it on page 149.
Since this one delivers a much happier ending, Darling finds it a little more palatable to recount, about how he approached it, what he remembers and doesn’t remember, and lessons learned.
Lessons apparently not applied.