If you're anything like myself (which for you and your loved ones I hope not) you've dated and had a few relationships in your time. In reflecting in most relationships past, you hope that all of them were good ones (in my case I'm still crossing my fingers), that you were able to learn from them/gain experience (also in my own experience maybe one lesson too many), and if it ended that it hopefully ended well (I have no comments for that one).
For today's special "Valentine's Day" column, instead of walking down romantic memory lanes, we talk a stroll down a list of our most lovable New York Mets as we reflect on their times with the organization, impact, and legacy within the Mets franchise.
The Original Mr. Met himself, Tom "Terrific" Seaver:
There was never another pitcher in the Mets organization like Tom Seaver. Sure there was Jerry Kooseman, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Frank Viola, Johan Santana, and R.A. Dickey, but none have ever filled the exact "shoe size" left behind by Tom Seaver. Over his total time with the Mets, Seaver had pitched over 3,000 innings, had nearly 200 wins (198) to 124 losses (most of which occurred on teams with lack than luster talent), 2,541 strikeouts, 171 complete games, 135 strikeouts, 44 shutouts, and a 2.57 ERA, along with being one of the Original "Miracle Mets. We shouldn't forget to mention that Seaver is the only player to go into the Hall Of Fame as a Met.
Today's Mr. Met, David Wright:
While Tom Seaver may be the only player to have gone into the Hall of Fame as a Met, David Wright has a good chance to become the next one. Being a Mets fan it's hard to realize or recognize just how special Wright has been. In nine years, he's played in 1,262 games, 790 runs, 1,426 hits, 204 homeruns, 818 RBI's, 166 stolen bases, a .301 average, a .506 slugging percentage, and a .381 on base percentage. He has done all of this while in a Mets uniform, ranking among the greatest position players in franchise history already. With Wright signing on until his late thirties, one could easily argue that he's entering phase two of his career before the final stage. He's been able give the Mets something to build around, along with the fans.
Another original member of the Miracle Mets, Jerry Koosman was arguably the greatest left handed pitcher the organization had ever had. Koos' numbers with the Mets in 12 years are 2,544 innings pitched in 376 games, with 140 wins to 137 losses (give him a break, like Seaver he played with some pretty lack than luster offenses.), 1,799 strikeouts, 108 complete games, 26 shutouts, 5 saves, and 3.09 ERA. Koos was known for his clutch performances, coming through when the team needed him most. Koosman wasn't one to shy away from tough situations, going the distance in game 5 of the 1969 World Series. While living in the shadow of Tom Seaver during most of his tenure as a Met, Jerry Koosman without a doubt is one of the greatest Mets of all time and definitely one of the most lovable ones.
Former Mr. Met, Mike Piazza:
It would be near blasphemy to leave out all time great Mike Piazza from this list. Though his tenure with the Mets was only eight years, Mike Piazza will most likely be remembered solely for his time as a Met. Coming here initially fans were hesitant but it didn't take long for New York to adopt him as their own. Over his time with the Amazins, he played in over 900 games, scored 532 runs, 1028 hits, 220 home runs, 655 RBI's, and average of .296, and a .542 slugging percentage in 3,478 at bats. Those numbers are not too shabby and don't even account for bringing the team to the playoffs, winning an NLCS championship and a World Series appearance. One thing which Piazza's arrival hardly accounted for was him making the team a legitimate contender. While the team did make a push late in the season, prior to Piazza's arrival, it would be the great catcher that got them to that next level.
Though we've had John Olerud, Carlos Delgado, and now Ike Davis, there's never been someone quite like the stache himself, Keith Hernandez. After being traded here from the St. Louis Cardinals, he at first dreaded the move. However, over time and as evident by today it would be hard to argue that he wasn't born to be a Met. Along with kicking his drug habit, he also became a leader in the club house of youngsters. Over his seven years with the organization he amassed 3,164 at bats with 455 runs, 939 hits, 80 home runs, 468 RBI's, an .297 average, and a .387 on base percentage in 880 games. Oh yeah, he also won a World Series championship.
Like Keith, Gary "the Kid" Carter has his own little place in the hearts of Mets fans. Sure you can argue that Jerry Grote was a better defensive catcher and that Mike Piazza was a greater offensive catcher, but Gary Carter provided both of those things, swagger, and to many is considered the final piece to the 1980's puzzle that eventually won the championship. In five years as a Met and 600 games, Carter scored 272 runs, had 542 hits, 89 home runs, 349 RBI's, and a slugging percentage of .412.
Though plagued by continuous drug issues, there is no doubt about how talented a player Darryl Strawberry was. Strawberry was just an unbelievable natural talent. In his first season with the Mets in 1983 he had 74 RBI's and 26 home runs with a .257 average, earning him Rookie of the Year honors. Straw continued to improve each year (when not completely taken over by drug use). His natural ability helped the Mets to their first title since 1969. In his eight years with the Mets he scored 662 runs, had 1,025 hits, 252 home runs, 733 RBI's, 191 stolen bases, and a slugging percentage of .520 at 3,903 at bats and in 1,109 games.
While there were certainly plenty of names that were left out, such as Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Dwight Gooden, the managers, Ed Kranepool, Johan Santana, and so on, this is a list in which I felt that fans are able to go back and remember the good times. After all, Valentine's Day isn't a day of mourning. Should the team not be able to compete, then we have a season to do that. So let's look back at more positive times and look forward to a (hopefully) great season!
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