The Red Sox had come back from a 3-1 series deficit against the California Angels in the ALCS, then jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the World Series against the New York Mets. In game 6 with a chance to close it out and win their first World Series since 1918 the Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. In the 5th inning the Mets tied it but the Sox went back in front in the 7th on an error by Ray Knight. The ride was hardly over though because in the 8th inning Sox manager John McNamara removed Roger Clemens from the game in order, he said, to get the left handed bat of Mike Greenwell up against Mets ace Roger McDowell and extend the lead. Let's be kind and say it didn't quite work out that way. Greenwell struck out and the Sox failed to score. In the bottom of the inning the Mets scored (off Clemen's replacement Calvin Schiraldi) to tie it again on a Gary Carter sacrifice fly and when neither team scored in the ninth the game went to extra innings.

The Sox put up a pair of runs in the top of the tenth and were sitting pretty with the Mets down to their final out with nobody on. The scoreboard in right field at Shea Stadium flashed "Congratulations, Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Champions". Problem was the game wasn't over. With Schiraldi on the mound Gary Carter singled then pinch hitter Kevin Mitchell singled to advance Carter to second. No problem right? A strikeout, a popup or a force at 1st, 2nd or 3rd and you're home free, Sox. However, down to his (and the Met's) last strike Ray Knight singled and brought in Carter. McNamara yanked Schiraldi for Bob Stanley who proceeded to throw a 2-2 wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. Mookie Wilson (who had been at bat for the wild pitch) hit Stanley's 10th pitch of the at-bat to first. A sloooooooowwwwww roller that Bill Buckner proceeded to allow to pass peacefully through his legs and into right field scoring the winning run for the Mets. Ouch!

While definitely hard to swallow, the fact is the Sox still had a chance to redeem themselves.

They seemed well on the way to redemption when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game 7. But the Mets came back in the sixth with 3 runs of their own to tie the game. In the seventh they scored 3 more against (surprise!) Calvin Schiraldi again and this series was over.

Bill Buckner has endured decades of flack for his horrendous fielding error that allowed the winning run to score in game 6. But to me the real goat of game 6 (and for that matter of the '86 World Series) was Calvin Schiraldi. His job in game 6 was to hold the lead he inherited from Roger Clemens (just as surely as Buckner's job was to field that ground ball) and he didn't do it. But he still had another chance when the Sox scored 2 in the top of the 10th. Once again it was his job to hold that lead and he didn't do it. (All 3 runners that scored for the Mets in the 10th were his responsibility.) By the time that ball dribbled up the first base line toward Buckner the Sox had already crumbled due to Schiraldi's softball pitches and Buckner's error was simply the last in a chain of blunders and ineptitude that cost the Red Sox a golden chance to cap a magical season with a World Series title. Oh and for the record, the 3 runs that Schiraldi allowed in the 7th inning of game 7 also made him the losing pitcher of that game too. Thanks Calvin.

Watch Calvin pitching with a 2 run lead in the 10th give up 3 hits to doom the Red Sox in game 6.