Jun 29, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detailed view of game-used authenticated baseballs from the game between the New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

How Frank Cashen made me love sports

Frank Cashen, former GM of the New York Mets, and the man most people point to as the “architect” of the Mets rise to glory in the mid 1980’s has passed away.
Frank Cashen made the 1986 World Champion New York Mets. This fact probably doesn’t mean much to you unless you’re a Mets fan, but it means the world to me.
In 1986 I was five years old and sitting on the living room floor of my great Aunt’s apartment in Jackson Mississippi, just off Old Canton Road. My parents were out for the night and I was spending the night with Aunt Nett. We had the World Series on, the Mets were losing to the Red Sox in game seven.

Aunt Nett loved baseball; she didn’t really have a favorite team, she rooted for everyone. If fantasy baseball had existed in the early ’80s my great Aunt Nett would have beaten the crap out of you. She had old popcorn tins full of baseball cards in stashed her room. I remember digging through them to find my favorite players. Orel Hershiser, Nolan Ryan (originally a Met), but the one I was really searching for was my hero Darryl Strawberry.
Believe it or not there wasn’t a whole lot going on in Jackson Mississippi in the early 1980s. What our sleepy (but biggest in Mississippi) town did have was a minor league baseball team. Going to see the Jackson Mets in action was a huge treat. You see the Straw had played in Jackson; he may have been from California, and he may have been playing in New York City, but Jackson Mississippi claimed him.

Red Sox fans remember one horrific moment from the 1986 World Series when Bill Buckner let a routine ground ball slip through his legs in game six. For me however it was game seven, when down 3-0 the Mets came charging back to score 8 runs in the last three innings. I was leaping around the living room, I was ecstatic. In fact, it was the first time I’d ever been thrilled by sports.

That team, that scrappy bad mannered team of misfits in 1986 made me love sports. Frank Cashen was the man that built that team, so in a way Frank Cashen helped build my love for sports. I wasn’t cheering for Frank Cashen that night, but he made it happen.
Thanks for everything Cash.

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