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Best Mets Of All Time: No. 3 Curtis Granderson

Back in the day, we have talked about how Keith Hernandez was the player the Mets acquired who provided leadership to a young Mets team to help them fulfill their full potential and become World Series champions. To a certain extent, Curtis Granderson did the same thing for the 2015 Mets team.

Granderson made himself a friend to Mets fans everywhere by saying, “I’ve heard true New Yorkers are Mets fans.” He would do far more than that in his career to forever endear himself to Mets fans.

It wasn’t that way immediately as Granderson would struggle much in the same way many Mets players did in their first year with the Mets. There could be a number of reasons why that happened, including but not limited to the original cavernous configuration of Citi Field.

They fixed the ballpark in the offseason, and Granderson was more comfortable as a member of the Mets. That would show in his play on the field and in how much of a leadership role he would take. That leadership was needed in a season where David Wright left a void with his career altering injury.

Speaking of injuries, at times, Granderson seemed like the lone professional bat in the Mets lineup. The team had squandered an early season lead. It was basically Granderson and the starting pitching staff keeping the Mets afloat until the regulars got healthy, and Sandy Alderson brought in reinforcements.

In that 2015 season, Granderson led the Mets position players in WAR, and he was second in wRC+. He was also a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field. Looking at it, he was really doing everything the team needed from him. Not only did his contributions during the time the Mets were struggling to keep their head above water, so were his contributions in the stretch run.

While Yoenis Cespedes did receive much of the credit, Granderson had the second highest WAR and wRC+ on the team during that stretch where the Mets went from a pivotal series against the Nationals to winning the division by seven games.

Granderson was great in the NLDS against the Dodgers when they needed everything this team had to beat them. That included him having a five RBI game in Game 3. In Game 5, he led off the game with an infield single, and he scored from first on a Daniel Murphy double giving the Mets an early 1-0 lead in a game they’d eventually win 3-2.

Granderson had his best performance in the World Series, and in an alternate universe, he likely would’ve been the World Series MVP. That began with Game 1 where, if not for Alex Gordon hitting a two out homer against Jeurys Familia in the bottom of the ninth, he would’ve had a key home run which tied the game propelling the Mets to victory.

In that series, he would hit three homers, each of which would tie the game or give the Mets the lead. That includes his electrifying homer in Game 3, the only game the Mets won in that series:

Granderson helped lead the Mets that game like he did all season. He homered again in Game 5, and for a moment, it appeared like that was going to force a Game 6, but we know how it all ended.

In 2016, Granderson did not have the same impact, but he was once again an important player. By WAR, he was the team’s third best player. However, it was more than that. When the team needed him to move down the lineup to bat clean-up, he did. With Cespedes and Michael Conforto dealing with injuries, and the team adding Jay Bruce at the trade deadline, Granderson shifted to center field because that’s what the team needed him to do, and he did whatever the team needed. For a moment, he made a dazzling play in the Wild Card Game which, now, is very Endy Chavez-esque:

As we know, Granderson is much more than just a ballplayer. He won the Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work during his time in New York. Actually, it was for all he had done in his career. He’s also won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award four times, which is two more than anyone else in Major League history. Overall, he was such a good ballplayer and even better person that they should build a wing in the Hall of Fame for people like him.

When you look at players in Mets history who have worn the number 3, none have had a bigger impact on and off the field. If not for Babe Ruth, you might’ve been able to say that for all of baseball history.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting the best players in Mets history by highlighting the best Mets player to wear a particular uniform number. In this case, this is not saying Granderson was the third best player in Mets history, but rather the best Mets player to wear the number 3.

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7 thoughts on “Best Mets Of All Time: No. 3 Curtis Granderson”

  1. Ron says:

    There are 25 Mets who have worn the Number 3 …..
    – Gus Bell
    – Ed Bouchee
    – Tim Harkness
    – Billy Cowan
    – Bud Harrelson
    – Sergio Ferrer
    – Richie Hebner
    – Mario Ramirez
    – Mike Cubbage
    – Rafael Santana
    – Junior Noboa
    – Darrin Jackson
    – Luis Rivera
    – Carl Everett
    – Jason Phillips
    – Vance Wilson
    – Miguel Cairo
    – Manny Acta
    – Damion Easley
    – Alex Cora
    – Luis Hernandez
    – Josh Satin
    – Omar Quintanilla
    – Curtis Granderson
    – Tomas Nido

    While not to diminish Granderson’s time with the Mets — which was exceptional for 3.5 years — I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Bud Harrelson ….. Buddy was an outstanding defense-first SS (Gold Glove winner in 1971) who played for the Mets for 13 seasons and was a key part of two pennant winning teams (1969, 1973) and one World Series Title.

    Grandy’s lifetime Mets BA is .239 with Buddy at .234 ….. Grandy dwarfed Buddy’s power numbers, but again, Buddy was a defense-first player ….. I’d take both on my team but as for the “Best #3” I’d go with Buddy.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’m not dismissing Bud at all. He was a great Met and the first player put into the team Hall of Fame.

      Ultimately, what tipped the scales for me was just how much more productive Granderson was in his time, his leadership, and what he did off the field.

      Honestly, I take no issue if you feel differently and respect that opinion very much.

  2. ron says:

    First, in no way was I attempting to be combative …. I too respect your opinion on this and see why you would go with Grandy …..

    I think we can clearly agree that Granderson and Harrelson are the top two #3’s in Mets history ….. when I look at that list, I don’t think any other players factor into the discussion.

    I am curious to see who your “Best #4” is ….. as I look at the list, I’d say it would be one of Rusty Staub, Lenny Dykstra, Robin Ventura and Wilmer Flores …. I know who I’d pick and am curious about who you pick …. it would be interesting to see how these four #4’s faired in a poll of the best #4.

  3. Brian says:

    When Curtis Granderson punches Pete Rose in the face, he can claim Best #3. Until then, it is Bud Harrelson all the way. (Disclosure: As a 10 year old in 1972, I got my broken arm cast signed by Bud – a thrill for a young Mets fan.)

    1. metsdaddy says:

      As great as that moment was, I’m not sure that alone puts Bud over the top.

      That said, if you want to say Bud over Grandy, I get it.

  4. Bonbolito says:

    If you watch the film of the fight with Pete Rose and see how quickly Harrelson’s teammates came to his defense, particularly Garrett, Koosman, and Grote. Then consider that the fans were so angry at Rose that they disrupted the game by throwing garbage, including a empty bottle of Johnny Walker at Rose, and the many Met fans who remember still carry the grudge against Rose to this day. It should be crystal clear to anyone just how much Bud Harrelson meant to the Mets and the fans. Bud Harrelson was beloved. There is no such comparison with anyone else who ever wore number 3 for the Mets. There just isn’t, I respectfully submit that you’re wrong on this point.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      This is about who was better, not more beloved.

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