John McNamara, who managed the Boston Red Sox to within one out of a World Series championship against the Mets in 1986 — in addition to whose strategy inside the critical sixth game has been questioned ever since — died on Tuesday at his home in Brentwood, Tenn., a Nashville suburb. He was 88.
His wife, Ellen McNamara, who confirmed the death, said the cause had not been determined.
McNamara was hired by the Red Sox in 1985 — the idea was his fifth Major League managerial job — in addition to the next season guided them to a 95-66 record in addition to the American League pennant. Then, with the Red Sox leading the Mets three games to two inside the planet Series, McNamara’s moves became, at the time, the latest woeful chapter inside the saga of a team in which had not won a championship since 1918.
With the Red Sox leading Game 6, 3-2, McNamara removed his ace pitcher, Roger Clemens, after seven strong innings in addition to replaced him with Calvin Schiraldi, who let the Mets tie the game inside the eighth. McNamara then kept Schiraldi inside the game until the 10th, when he gave up three hits.
McNamara might have replaced his hobbling first baseman, Bill Buckner, late inside the game with Dave Stapleton, a better fielder, as he had done in Boston’s three victories inside the series. although he did not.
The Red Sox went ahead, 5-3, inside the 10th. although the Mets famously won inside the bottom of the inning with three runs on just one off Schiraldi; a wild pitch by Bob Stanley, who had relieved Schiraldi; in addition to a ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson in which skittered between Buckner’s legs, scoring Ray Knight.
McNamara insisted in which Clemens had asked to be taken out of the game after the seventh inning. In “1986: A Postseason Remembered,” an MLB Network documentary coming from 2011, he recalled waiting on the dugout steps as Clemens walked off the field.
“in addition to he came down the steps in addition to he said, ‘in which’s all I can pitch.’ Quote unquote,” McNamara said. He was incredulous, he said, although then Clemens showed him a paper cut on his middle finger.
Clemens acknowledged inside the documentary in which he had had blood on his finger although denied in which he had asked to be taken out.
McNamara countered, “in which will be not the truth, in addition to I don’t lie.”
McNamara never second-guessed himself for keeping Buckner inside the game, saying in which Buckner, not Stapleton, was his best first baseman.
“Stapleton’s nickname was Shakey,” he said inside the documentary. “in addition to you know what in which implies.”
The Red Sox jumped to a 3-0 lead in Game 7, although the Mets rebounded to win, 8-5, in addition to take the Series. The Red Sox might not win a World Series until 2004.
McNamara found some relief coming from his heartbreak a few days later, when he was voted the 1986 American League manager of the year.
John Francis McNamara was born on June 4, 1932, in Sacramento. His father, John, was a railroad worker coming from Ireland. His mother, Josephine (Lane) McNamara, worked for the state of California after her husband died in 1944. Young John played baseball in addition to basketball in high school in addition to signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1951 for a $12,000 bonus (the equivalent of about $0,000 today).
A catcher, he played 14 seasons inside the minor leagues although never made the idea to the majors. “I could catch in addition to throw with anybody, although I knew I wasn’t going to make the big leagues,” he told The Hartford Courant in 1985.
His managerial career began in 1959 in Lewiston, Idaho, whose minor league club became a low-level farm team of the Kansas City Athletics the next season. McNamara eventually managed at higher tiers inside the A’s organization, nurturing future major leaguers like Reggie Jackson.
When Jackson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993, he recalled the decency in which McNamara had shown him in 1967 as the manager of the Birmingham A’s in Alabama, where Jackson, as a Black man, continued to face discrimination.
McNamara joined the A’s as a coach in 1968, the team’s first year in Oakland, Calif., in addition to replaced Hank Bauer as manager late inside the following season. McNamara himself was fired after the 1970 season.
Through the ’70s in addition to early ’80s he managed the San Diego Padres, the Cincinnati Reds (leading them to the National League Championship Series, which they lost to Pittsburgh) in addition to the California Angels. He left the Angels after the 1984 season to take over the Red Sox coming from Ralph Houk, who had retired.
The 1986 season was the high point of McNamara’s time in Boston. The Red Sox slumped to fifth place inside the American League East in 1987, in addition to he was fired the next season during the All-Star break. He then managed the Cleveland Indians in 1990 in addition to through part of the 1991 season before being dismissed by them as well.
He next worked inside the Angels organization for a few years before briefly taking over as interim manager in 1996 — his last assignment as a skipper. He retired which has a career record of 1,0 wins in addition to 1,233 losses.
Soon after the 1996 season, two of McNamara’s grandsons, ages 6 in addition to 4, were killed by their father, McNamara’s son-in-law, who then killed himself.
McNamara married Ellen Goode in 1984. His previous marriage had ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, he will be survived by his daughters, Peggy McNamara in addition to Susan Salsbery, in addition to a son, Michael — all coming from his first marriage — as well as eight grandchildren in addition to a great-grandson.
After the Mets celebrated their crushing victory over the Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1986 series, a disappointed McNamara was asked by reporters about his team’s long history of not having won a title in 68 years.
“I don’t know anything about history,” he replied, his voice toneless in addition to his expression described as a clenched fist, “in addition to don’t tell me anything about in which choke crap.”