Born: Dec 28, 1952
The husband of golf great Nancy Lopez and the hero of the 1986 World Series, Ray Knight seemed to have the world in the palm of his hand after the 1986 season. But either Knight dropped it or the Mets knocked it from his hands, perhaps short-circuiting their dynasty hopes by letting one of their team leaders walk away.
Knight began in the Cincinnati organization. In 1979 he was Pete Rose's replacement at third base and picked up the slack nicely, batting .318 in his first season as a starter. When his hitting fell off during the next two seasons, the Reds dealt Knight to Houston, where he responded with season of .294 and .304. Knight had fueded with pitcher Joaquin Andujar and dueled with Andujar and Dominican teammate Cesar Cedeno during the late 1970s but, ironically, Knight was traded for Cedeno after Andujar had been shipped to St. Louis so a potential clubhouse powderkeg was avoided.
In 1984 Knight was sent to the Mets and suffered through an abbreviated 1985 season, batting only .218 in 90 games.
Knight was almost abandoned during 1986 spring training, but became one of their World Series heroes that year. In Game 7 the Mets fell behind early, but Knight's seventh-inning solo homer off reliever Calvin Schiraldi gave New York the lead for good. "It was probably my greatest thrill in baseball," said Knight, and an amazing finish to what had begun as such a gloomy season. Knight had hit .391 for the Series with one homer and five RBIs, and was named Series MVP.
After retiring from baseball, Knight went to work for ESPN, then became Cincinnati's manager in 1996. Following that, he returned to ESPN.