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Best Mets Of All Time: No. 46 Oliver Perez

You could make an argument Neil Allen was the best Met to ever wear the number 46, but he only wore the number 46 for two of his five years with the Mets. Moreover, Allen’s best years with the Mets came when he wore 13. That leaves us looking in another direction.

In all honesty, this isn’t going to sit well with Mets fans, but Oliver Perez is the best Mets player to ever wear the number 46. The Mets understandable disdain for Perez wasn’t there in the beginning of his Mets career.

Perez first came to the Mets at the 2006 trade deadline in a trade which was partially necessitated by Duaner Sanchez‘s infamous cab ride. At the time, many viewed Perez as a bit of a throw-in in the trade with the Padres, and no one expected him to contribute to a team vying for the World Series. In fact, Perez would be left off the initial NLDS roster.

However, with Orlando Hernandez getting injured on the eve of Game 1 of the NLDS, Perez would be added to the roster. With Steve Trachsel getting hurt in Game 3 (in addition to his already existing injuries), Perez would be unexpectedly pressed into action in a must-win Game 4.

That Game 4 appearance wasn’t the greatest game a Mets pitcher has ever pitched, but he got the job done picking up a key win. With the Mets and Cardinals splitting the next two games, it was Perez on three days rest taking the ball in Game 7. With a little help from Endy Chavez, Perez delivered one of the guttiest and most unlikely great pitching performances in Mets history.

Unfortunately, Perez had a no decision as the Mets offense and bullpen just could not deliver a win in that game. If you were looking for a bright side, Perez had emerged as someone who could enter a Mets rotation in need of starting pitching.

Over the subsequent two seasons, Perez would emerge as a solid starter for a Mets team with World Series aspirations. In 2007, he would set a career high with 15 wins. An important note with Perez was he was 3-1 over the final month of the season.

In 2008, Perez was again a solid starter in that Mets rotation. Perez was a little more wild for the Mets than he had been the previous year. Considering the tumultuous season that was with the Mets firing Willie Randolph one day into a west coast trip, and Jerry Manuel threatening to cut Jose Reyes. In that year, Perez would lead the majors in no decisions despite some terrific pitching efforts:

The last indecision was hardest. For the second straight year, the Mets needed to win the final game of the season to force a tie-breaker game. For the second time in three years, the Mets handed Perez the ball with elimination at stake. Much like Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, Perez stepped up pitching to a no decision. Perez would have the distinction of being the final Mets pitcher to start a game in Shea Stadium, but like the rest of the Mets, he would never play another game there.

At that point in his Mets career, Perez was 26-20 with a 4.13 ERA. He had a 3.6 WAR over the two full seasons in the Mets rotation. He also came up huge in the 2006 NLCS, and he came up big again in the final game at Shea. If that was the end of the Perez story, he would have been far more warmly.

Perez received a large free agent contract from the Mets after the 2008 season. Perez would have an injury plagued season, and he would need season ending knee surgery. Everything fell apart for him in 2010. In that season, he performed poorly, and he would refused an assignment to the minors. He would eventually be moved to the bullpen and left unused as punishment. That was until the final game of the season where he’d be thrown into the 14th inning of a completely meaningless final game of the season after not having pitched for nearly a month.

That would be the end of Perez’s Mets career as the team would release him despite his still being owed $12 million for 2011.

Even with how horribly his Mets career ended, Perez still had some terrific moments as a member of the team, and he has the seventh best K/9 in team history. While it does not seem like it with the way his career ended, Perez is the best Mets pitcher to ever wear 46.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy

29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto
31. Mike Piazza

32. Jon Matlack
33. Matt Harvey

34. Noah Syndergaard
35. Rick Reed
36. Jerry Koosman
37. Casey Stengel
38. Skip Lockwood
39. Gary Gentry
40. Bartolo Colon
41. Tom Seaver

42. Ron Taylor
43. R.A. Dickey
44. David Cone
45. Tug McGraw

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