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On this day in baseball history, Doc Gooden and the '86 Mets clinched the NL East title

On Sept. 17, 1986, Dwight Gooden took the hill at New York's Shea Stadium to make his 30th start of the season. Eight and a half innings later, the Mets were NL East champions. 

Heading into that game against the Cubs, the Mets had lost four of their last five (and been swept by the second-place Phillies during that span), but still maintained an 18-game lead at the top of the division. Dave Magadan and Darryl Strawberry combined for five hits and three RBIs to post four runs (including three on Cubbies starter and future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley).

The Cubs made a game of it when Gooden walked Jody Davis to lead off the top of the ninth and later surrendered a base hit to Chris Speier. But, ultimately, Doc induced a Chico Walker groundout to wrap up the game -- and the division -- with his 11th complete game of the year.


He'd throw one more before the regular season was done as the Mets finished an impressive 21.5 games ahead of the Phillies and went on that amazin' postseason run that culminated in a Game 7 victory and the second World Series championship in franchise history.

Twenty-nine years later, the Mets hold a 7.5-game lead on the second-place Nationals with 16 games left on the schedule.