Doc, Donnie, the Kid, and Billy Brawl 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. Leading them all was Davey Johnson, a player’s manager. It was a team filled with hard‑nosed players who won over New York with their dirty uniforms, curtain calls, after-hours activities, and because, well, they weren’t the Yankees.
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. There was a managerial firing before the end of April and the fourth return of Billy Martin as manager. Henderson was fined for missing two games, Lou Piniella almost resigned as coach, and Martin punctured a lung and then gave drunken managerial instructions from his hospital room. Despite all that, the Yankees almost won their division.
While the drama inside the Mets’ clubhouse only made the team more endearing to fans, the drama inside the Yankees’ clubhouse had the opposite effect. The result was the most attention-grabbing and exciting season New York would see in generations. And it was the season the Mets would win the battle for the hearts of New York baseball fans, dominating the New York landscape for nearly a decade, while the Yankees faded into one of baseball’s saddest franchises.