The 1980's were a boon for the New York Mets' pitching staff. The 80's saw the Mets develop a new generation of pitchers with electric stuff, headlined by Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, and Sid Fernandez. A late addition to the Mets' staff in the 1980's was starting pitcher David Cone. Cone was not a member of the 1986 championship team, and was acquired by the Mets in the offseason for a package featuring backup catcher Ed "Chick" Hearn, Rick Anderson, and Mauro Gozzo. The trade was an absolute steal for the Mets, who saw Cone become a dominating front line pitcher for them over the next six seasons. Cone made two All-Star teams as a member of the Mets, in 1988 and 1992.
1988: Cone started the 1988 season in the bullpen, but quickly earned a place in the rotation. Once Cone made the starting rotation, he absolutely thrived. Cone went 9-2 with a 2.52 ERA in the season's first half to earn his first career All Star appearance. Cone entered the 1988 contest in the fifth inning as the second reliever behind his teammate, All-Star starter Doc Gooden. Cone pitched a perfect inning and struck out future Hall of Famer Paul Molitor for good measure. Cone finished the 1988 season with a 20-3 record with a 2.22 ERA to finish third in the Cy Young voting.
1992: Cone was not picked for the All-Star team again until the final season of his first stint in a Mets uniform in 1992. Cone started 9-4 with a 2.56 ERA in 1992, becoming the Mets' lone representative at the 1992 All-Star Game. The game, played at Jack Murphy Stadium, saw the National League get roughed up in a 13-6 loss. Cone entered the game in the fourth inning, replacing Atlanta Braves' ace Greg Maddux. Cone once again threw a perfect inning and struck out another future Hall of Famer, Wade Boggs.
The 1992 season was a rough one for the Mets as the team had spent a lot of money in the offseason to try and get back to contention right away. The acquisitions, including Bobby Bonilla, Bret Saberhagen, and Eddie Murray, flopped leading to many dubbing the Mets the "worst team that money could buy." With the team 14 games out of first in August, the Mets dealt away their best pitcher to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson.
Cone went on to win the World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992 and a Cy Young Award as a member of the Kansas City Royals in 1994. Cone eventually made his way back to New York in 1995, when he was dealt to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Cone went on to have some of his best years as a member of the Yankees, winning four more World Series championships and threw the 16th perfect game in major league history on June 18, 1999 against the Montreal Expos.
Cone then went on to pitch for the Red Sox in 2001 and sat out the 2002 season before surprising the baseball world by signing back with the Mets for the 2003 season. Cone made the team out of spring training, but his second stint in Flushing did not last too long. Cone went 1-3 with a 6.50 ERA in four starts for the Mets and retired on May 28th due to a chronic hip problem. Cone now works as a broadcaster for the Yankees on the YES Network.
Check in next week as we bring you another edition of Mets 101's All Star Memories series!
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