Best Mets Of All-Time: No. 5 David Wright
Aside from Tom Seaver, David Wright is quite arguably the best Mets player to ever don a Mets uniform, let alone the number five. Wright was so great during his career, John Olerud‘s named doesn’t even come into consideration.
The Mets drafted Wright with the compensation pick they received from the Colorado Rockies signing Mike Hampton. With Wright, the Mets drafted a player who grew up a Mets fan and would do everything he could do to ensure he would only wear a Mets uniform in his career.
No matter what you say about Wright isn’t enough. He was a real five tool player who was a seven time All-Star, two time Gold Glove winner, and a two-time Silver Slugger. The Gold Glove may be a misnomer as it was his hands that were pure gold.
Really, Wright did whatever he could do to improve as a player. He worked with boyhood idol Howard Johnson to put together the last 30/30 season in Mets history. On that note, he has just about every offensive record in Mets team history. That includes his putting together one of, if not THE best, ever campaign in Mets history in 2007.
While the story of the 2007 Mets was collapse, that was not Wright’s story. In September of that year, he hit .352/.432/.602. In the ensuing year, he hit .340/.416/.577. That was Wright in a nutshell. He was always there when his team needed him, and his contributions were overlooked across baseball. Still, even as a young player, he was a leader and the type of player you built your team around.
While Wright was a known commodity and superstar, many finally took notice during the 2013 World Baseball Classic that everyone seemed to take notice of what every Mets fan had known for nearly a decade. David Wright was clutch and a great baseball player who was the one of the absolute best players in the game.
During that WBC, he would become known as Captain America. It was not too long thereafter he would simply be known as Captain. Seemingly days after, he was named Mets captain joining Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and John Franco as the only Mets to receive that honor.
Mostly, when we look at Wright he was the player who stayed. After it was him and Jose Reyes igniting the Mets in 2006 and taking this team to the precipice of a World Series, it was just him as the Mets rebuilt around him. He would still play at a high level, and he would join Matt Harvey as starters for the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.
After all the losing at Citi Field, he appeared ready to lead the Mets to their first postseason in nearly a decade. Instead, he suffered what was effectively a career ending injury. While it effectively ended his career, it would not take 2015 away from him.
Wright overcame the spinal stenosis to homer in his return to baseball in an August 24 game against the Phillies. He would slide home pumping his fist scoring a key run against the Nationals in a huge comeback victory. He was there in Cincinnati celebrating with his teammates as they won the sixth NL East title in team history.
In Game 1 of the NLDS, he had the game winning two RBI single off Pedro Baez in the seventh to help Jacob deGrom and the Mets take the first game in what would be an epic five game series. Aside from Game 3 of the NLCS, Wright’s bat mostly went silent after that game, but it would come alive again in the first ever World Series game played at Citi Field:
This side of Mike Piazza, that was about as uplifting and dramatic a home run you will ever see. Even with the Mets losing that series and with him being unable to play more than 37 games in 2016 before really shutting it down forever, even if he did desperately try to return, Wright would have one last Citi Field moment.
Mets fans came out and sold out Citi Field in a completely lost season to say good-bye to Wright. Everything he did was cheered loudly. He was so loved that Pete O’Brien will forever be scorned by Mets fans for not letting a foul pop up drop in Wright’s final plate appearance.
As Wright left the field that day, Mets fans teared up a bit and reminisced about a great career. There were the big hits including the walk-off against Mariano Rivera. There was his rise to stardom in 2006 finishing second to just Ryan Howard in the Home Run Derby. He wore that ginormous helmet after being beaned by Matt Cain. Again, he did anything to play.
Through it all, Wright had a Hall of Fame caliber playing career making him easily the best position player the Mets ever developed. He’s easily the best player to have his entire career with the Mets. He will soon have his number retired. With a little luck, he will be inducted into Cooperstown.
But for now, he is the best Mets player to ever wear the number 5.
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 Wright was the fifth best player in Mets history, but rather the best Mets player to wear the number 5.