Description1986 World Series Last Out Baseball from The Gary Carter Collection. It's a baseball that, by all laws of mathematical probability, shouldn't exist. Just forty-eight hours earlier, the National League Champion New York Mets were dangling from the thinnest of threads over the abyss of elimination, down two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning in Game Six at Shea Stadium, with no runners aboard. The Curse of the Bambino, a luckless plague that had hung over the city of Boston for nearly seven decades, was a single defensive out from its cure. For a brief moment, even the Mets scoreboard signaled its resignation to the inevitability of the Mets' defeat, flashing, "Congratulations Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Champions."
But then Gary Carter singled. Kevin Mitchell, pinch hitting in the pitcher's spot, singled again. Ray Knight made it three in a row, plating Carter and trimming the lead to one. Red Sox manager John McNamara lifted the rattled closer Calvin Schiraldi for the veteran Bob Stanley who battled Mookie Wilson to a two and two count. One strike away.
But on the seventh pitch Stanley threw wild, sending Wilson and the ball to the dirt. Mitchell raced home to tie the game, and Ray Knight scampered to second base. Wilson fouled off the eighth and ninth pitches as the count remained full. Then, on the tenth pitch of the at-bat, Stanley delivered this baseball to the plate.
We all know what happened next. In Red Sox hell, Vin Scully's call plays over the intercom in a continuous loop. "A little roller up along first...behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!"
The sport's most notorious error would set up a winner-take-all Game Seven in Queens the next night, but a deluge of rain pushed the contest back a day to Monday, October 27th. The Red Sox would strike first, in the top of the second inning, plating three runs which the home team would match in the bottom of the sixth. With the wind at their backs, the Mets would duplicate the feat the next inning before allowing the Red Sox to pull back to within a run in the top of the eighth. But the Mets would score the final two runs of the night in the bottom half of the frame, leaving the Red Sox with only the top of the ninth inning to recover from a three-run deficit. But they would instead go down in order.
After the nightmarish error that turned Bill Buckner into New England's pariah, the most memorable image of the 1986 World Series is Mets closer Jesse Orosco on his knees with arms aloft in victory after blasting a third strike past Red Sox second baseball Marty Barrett to secure the World Championship. With that ball firmly in his grasp, Mets catcher Gary Carter had only a moment to leap into the air before he was gang-tackled by a jubilant Mets dugout celebrating the most improbable resurrection in baseball history.
The most significant artifact to emerge from The Gary Carter Collection, the presented Official 1986 World Series (Ueberroth) baseball is toned from age and Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud, and notated in Carter's block lettering on the side panel:
"Last out game ball of the 1986 World Series. Jesse Orosco struck out Mary Barrett to make the Mets the World Champions in Shea Stadium, Final score 8-5. Mets in 7 Games."
Nearby reside the 9/10 blue ballpoint signatures of Carter and Orosco.
It's been nearly five years since Heritage auctioneed Bill Buckner's fatal error ball for $418,250, the most salient point of reference is evaluation for this historic horsehide. For many Big Apple residents, the collision of this ball with the leather of Gary Carter's mitt marks the single greatest moment of their sports fandom. It's unquestionably one of the most significant game used baseballs ever offered at public auction. Notarized letter of provenance from Gary Carter. Letter of provenance from Sandy Carter. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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