's new book Doc, Donnie, The Kid and Billy Brawl: How the 1985 Mets and Yankees Fought For New York’s Baseball Soul
(University of Nebraska Press, 2019) focuses on the 1985 New York baseball season, a season like no other since the Mets came to town in 1962. Never before had both the Yankees and the Mets been in contention for the playoffs so late in the same season. For months New York fans dreamed of the first Subway Series in nearly thirty years, and the Mets and the Yankees vied for their hearts.
Despite their nearly identical records, the two teams were drastically different in performance and clubhouse atmosphere. The Mets were filled with young, homegrown talent led by outfielder Darryl Strawberry and pitcher Dwight Gooden. They were complemented by veterans including Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Ray Knight, and George Foster. Meanwhile the Yankees featured some of the game’s greatest talent. Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, Don Mattingly, and Don Baylor led a dynamic offense, while veterans such as Ron Guidry and Phil Niekro rounded out the pitching staff. But the Yankees’ abundance of talent was easily overshadowed by their dominating owner, George Steinbrenner, whose daily intrusiveness made the 1985 Yankees appear more like a soap opera than a baseball team. Steinbrenner’s antics were highlighted by a bizarre relationship with the erratic Billy Martin, who he hired for a fourth time after firing manager Yogi Berra just 16 games into the season.
Paul Knepper is an attorney and writer who was born and raised in New York and currently resides in Austin. He used to write about basketball for Bleacher Report and is currently working on his first book about the New York Knicks teams of the 1990s. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.