Two Sides Of Glory Delivers Red Sox’s Take On ’86 World Series
Way to go, Erik Sherman.
Now, baseball fans know the flip side of the 1986 World Series.
October 25, 1986. Game 6 - New York Mets and Boston Red Sox. 55,078 baseball fans rocking Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens. History is in the making. The hometown Mets are down to their last strike in the 10th inning.
Mookie Wilson hits a Bob Stanley pitch down the first base line. All appears routine. As soon as Boston first baseman Bill Buckner scoops the ball up and tags the bag, the Red Sox will have won their first Series in 68 years; dating back to 1918.
The ball goes under the very capable veteran's mitt, through his legs into right field, and there will be a Game 7.
The rest is history.
The Mets win the seven-game series, and Boston will have to wait a little longer, until 2004, to reverse any perceived curse hanging over the franchise.
Fast-forward to 2021. Two Sides of Glory - The 1986 Boston Red Sox In Their Own Words sets the record straight on arguably the most famous World Series, from the dugout and clubhouse, through the eyes of those on the losing side.
Sherman delivers big time.
There are no corners cut. Sherman traveled from coast to coast, tracking down, and hearing directly from the Red Sox players on how they arrived to win the American League pennant, capture an exciting championship series against the California Angels, and entering the Fall Classic looking to win a ring.
Two Sides Of Glory is Sherman's seventh book. He can write. Absolutely no disappointment in his latest project. Among his past works is Kings Of Queens - Life Beyond Baseball With The '86 Mets. In writing this clubhouse confidential type of tale, Sherman travels took him to players on the winning side of glory.
Now, Two Sides Of Glory offers joy and disappointment from the Red Sox perspective 35 years later.
Two Sides Of Glory can now be viewed as unofficially tying up all aspects of one of the most memorable post-seasons of all-time. Should readers be surprised that it is Sherman who has done baseball the favor of wrapping up another aspect of the game's history? No. His readers have come to expect nothing less.
The two books followed the same recipe - travel around the country to meet with the key and most intriguing players wherever they may live or work and, not just get answers to my questions, but also a sense of their body language.
"The two books followed the same recipe - travel around the country to meet with the key and most intriguing players wherever they may live or work and, not just get answers to my questions, but also a sense of their body language, " Sherman said earlier this week in an email.
"So now I have both sides - the Mets who miraculously won that '86 World Series, and the Red Sox, a team that experienced the highest of highs against the Angels less than two
weeks earlier to suffering the lowest of lows by blowing Game 6 - and then seven - in historical fashion."
Games 6 and 7 of the World Series have been talked about and will continue to be topics of discussion by fans from all seats in stadiums for baseball eternity. But, Boston's fighting their way just to make it to Game 1 is a great story to know.
Dave Henderson's two-out, two-strike home run in the top of the ninth inning in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Angels, this is an important stich in Boston's overall march to the World Series. Not only did Sherman want to do a deep dive into this particular at-bat, there's no World Series story to tell without it.
Traveling America's highways and byways to get closer to the Red Sox point of view of their 1986 World Series appearance than anyone has before, being the baseball fan that he is, Sherman know just what to ask, and how to do so.
Getting the who story of Red Sox VS Mets is right up his alley.
"I always wanted to write about the Red Sox side because, in many ways, it's more
I always wanted to write about the Red Sox side because, in many ways, it's more compelling
compelling. Besides, no one writes about the near miss, what that does to an athlete's psyche, career, and even the rest of their life. That's what made the Red Sox interviews so wonderful - the raw emotion all these decades later."
So, throughout the 249 pages of Two Sides Of Glory, Sherman is on the go. Meetings with Roger Clemens in a Fenway Park dugout and Dwight Evans in the stands, Jim Rice and Wade Boggs in Florida, Calvin Schiraldi in Texas, Oil Can Boyd in Rhode Island, Bruce Hurst in Arizona, and the roster continues.
Striving to be objective and at the same time investigative, Sherman does a marvelous job in not letting any possible emotional attachment he may feel towards the players interfere in getting the true story.
"I think you can be both attached to them but remain objective at the same time. And I think the players respect honest questions and writing. So far so good. The feedback from the Red Sox players with Two Sides Of Glory is every bit as good as it was from the Mets with Kings Of Queens."
Sherman's story-telling skills is tugging at my baseball heart , from the get-go. Pages 1-14 is my favorite chapter - Safe At Home.
Sherman is embedded with Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner at Manhattan's Gramercy Theater , in February 2013. The 30-minutes Sherman spent speaking with both before the event that had the two icons offering an evening for baseball fans to hear some of their favorite stories, particularly about the '86 Series, began a friendship.
Nearly five years after they first met, Sherman and Buckner met for lunch on a November afternoon at a Holiday Inn across the street from Citi Field. This encounter is captured on page 3 of Two Sides Of Glory. This is also Buckner's final major interview.
Bill Buckner passed away on May 27, 2019.
There's no getting bored when cracking open Two Sides Of Glory. You can't get any closer to the '86 Red Sox than this book. Honest reflections are dished. Sherman's a proven custodian of baseball fact and emotion, and never allowing the two to cloud each other.
Bravo, Erik. Baseball history thanks you.
Don Laible is a freelance sportswriter living in the Mohawk Valley. He has reported on professional baseball and hockey for print, radio, and on the web since the 1980's. His columns are featured weekly at WIBX950.com. Don can be contacted via email at Don@icechipsdiamonddust.com.