Best Mets Of All Time: No. 39 Gary Gentry

To put in perspective how well thought of Gary Gentry was, when the ill-fated trade for Jim Fregosi went down, the Angels initially asked for Gentry, and they were rebuffed. That led to them “settling” for Nolan Ryan. Back in 1971, this made a lot of sense.

In 1969, Gentry was a rookie for that Miracle Mets team which shocked the world and won the World Series. Gentry would have his moments during that rookie season, but it was a mostly pedestrian season where he served as an effective third starter behind Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. However, Gentry would do something that year neither Seaver nor Koosman would do.

The first postseason ever thrown at Shea Stadium was by Gentry. It wasn’t a great start with him leaving after two innings, but he was the pitcher who started the game where the Mets clinched their first ever pennant. Gentry would repeat that history in the World Series, and things would go much better for him.

Gentry would start Game 3 of the World Series, and as such, he became the first ever pitcher to throw a pitch in the World Series in Shea Stadium. After Koosman shut down the Orioles in Game 2, the Mets were in this series, and they had a chance no one never thought they would. They took full advantage.

What made this game interesting for the Mets was this was the first time in the series there was purportedly a clear pitching advantage for the Orioles with them starting future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer. However, on this day, the Mets would be the better team and Gentry the better pitcher.

That Game 3 will forever be known for Tommie Agee. He had a lead-off homer and made two great defensive plays. What has been overlooked was how good Gentry was. Over 6.2 innings, he shut out the Orioles while allowing just three hits albeit while walking five. As a result, Gentry would become the first ever pitcher to win a World Series game at Shea Stadium.

This was one of the most important starts in Mets history. With this great start, the Mets took a 2-1 lead, and they were about to hand the ball to Seaver and Koosman. The rest, as we know, is history.

That game would be the apex of Gentry’s career, but to be fair, it would be the apex of just about anyone’s career. There were some issues for Gentry including his temper. At times, he would show his frustration and show up fielders. His biggest issue would be his arm problems, which the Mets never could quite diagnose and fix.

As a result, at the time, he was seen more as a disappoint and a what could’ve been. After all, this was a pitcher the Mets thought was better than Ryan. It wasn’t just the Mets who felt that way. That was a common perception. Regardless of all of that, Gentry was still a good pitcher for the Mets with a 103 ERA+ posting the 10th most shutouts in team history. Overall, Gentry was the best Mets player to ever don the number 39.

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

 

Simulated Recap: deGrom Tamed By Diamondbacks

When Pete Alonso scored in the fourth, the Mets were tied at 1-1. With Jacob deGrom on the mound, the expectation was the Mets were in for a close game.

Unfortunately, in the seventh, deGrom allowed an RBI single to Ildemaro Vargas. With two outs and two on in the inning, Luis Rojas lifted deGrom for Robert Gsellman.

Gsellman allowed both inherited runners to score. The Diamondbacks would add insurance runs to win this game 6-1.

2000 Game Recap: Super Joe McEwing Vanquishes The Big Unit

At this point, the Diamondbacks must be wondering what they need to do to beat the Mets at Shea Stadium. Last year, they lost both games in the NLDS played at Shea. Yesterday, they couldn’t complete the comeback. Today, they couldn’t hold onto the lead.

Mostly, Randy Johnson has to wonder how does he get Joe McEwing out?

After the Diamondbacks staked Johnson with a first inning lead with a run off of Rick Reed, McEwing led off the bottom of the first with a double. He came home to score as Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo followed his double with one of their own to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

The Diamondbacks led off the third with three straight singles to tie the score. They then took a 3-2 lead when Jay Bell moved to third on an Erubiel Durazo fly ball and scored on a Steve Finley RBI groundout. Again, Johnson was given a one run lead, and again, he surrendered it in the bottom of the inning. This time, it was a Mike Piazza homer.

Both pitchers seemed to finally settle in after that with them both putting up a string of zeros. That was until Travis Lee hit a two run homer off of Reed in the top of the sixth.

For Reed, today, it was a mixed bag. On the one hand, this was the eighth time in nine starts, he had pitched at least seven innings. On the other, this is the fourth time over his last five starts he has allowed 4+ runs. Regardless of how you look at it, Reed at least kept his team in the game, and he gave them a chance to win.

In the seventh, the Mets would once again tie the score, and once again, it was McEwing torturing Johnson. With one out in the seventh, McEwing would hit a solo homer to pull the Mets within one.

In this game, McEwing was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a homer, three runs, a walk, and an RBI. He would also have a tough 12 pitch at-bat in the fifth before hitting his second double of the game. That is a great game no matter who is on the mound. When it is Johnson starting, it’s phenomenal.

Speaking of players who torture Johnson, Alfonzo was back at it. As we remember, he homered off Johnson in the NLDS. Today, he hit the first inning RBI double, and like McEwing, he would homer off of Johnson in the seventh. That would tie the score at five, and it would chase Johnson from the game.

Not enough can be said about the Mets offensive outburst against Johnson. The future Hall of Fame pitcher entered the game with a 0.97 ERA, and he had allowed just eight runs all season long. It took the Mets fewer than seven innings to almost double that total.

Dennis Cook would come in for Reed, and he would continue his poor start to the season. This time it was his allowing a homer to the left-handed hitting Steve Finley. With that homer, Cook’s season ERA is up to 6.16. Between his and Rich Rodriguez‘s struggles, the Mets simply do not have a reliable LOOGY in that bullpen right now.

Again, the Diamondbacks lead was very short-lived. Despite his sore thigh, Robin Ventura came into the game to pinch hit for Kurt Abbott with two outs in the eighth. He would tie the game with a pinch hit solo homer.

After Turk Wendell did his job retiring the side in order in the top of the ninth, it was time for some ninth inning heroics, and again it was McEwing at the forefront.

McEwing drew a walk against Byung-Hyun Kim, and he would steal second. That put him in position to score on the ensuing Bell game winning walk-off RBI single.

Simply put, this was a great win. The Mets faced a future Hall of Fame pitcher, and they put up the runs they needed. They took advantage of every opportunity. They got a huge performance from a utility player who began the year in the minors, and they had an injured player hit a game tying homer. This is exactly what very good teams do.

Game Notes: This was just Ventura’s second pinch hit homer of his career. It was also the second pinch hit homer the Mets had this year with Agbayani hitting one in Tokyo. Both Pat Mahomes and John Franco are dealing with sore ankles.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

Citi Bracket: (6) Noah Syndergaard vs. (11) Pete Alonso

(6) Noah Syndergaard – As a rookie helped Mets win 2015 pennant. Pitched perfect inning in Game 5 of NLDS, won Game 2 of NLCS, and told the Royals he was 60’6″ away. First pitcher to win a World Series game at Citi Field. Was so great during his first year, he had Pedro Martinez screaming “THOR!” in honor of him. Beat the Royals again in the second game of the 2016 season featuring a nearly unhittable slider. Had two home run game against the Dodgers. Threw at Chase Utley. One of the few reasons Mets were able to claim top Wild Card spot in 2016 and out-pitched Madison Bumgarner for seven innings. Despite subsequent injuries remains in the top 10 in FIP among MLB pitchers. Fourth best Mets starter of all-time by FIP. Has had exceptional control with second best K/9 in team history and fourth best K/BB.

(11) Pete Alonso – Had rookie season so great people are already envisioning him as the next captain of the Mets. Near unanimous NL Rookie of the Year. Set Mets and MLB rookie record for homers. Also set Mets single-season record for total bases and extra base hits. Won the 2019 Home Run Derby and provided portion of winnings to charity. When MLB once again denied the Mets request to wear the first resopnders’ caps, he took it upon himself to get cleats honoring the first responders.

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Best Mets Of All Time: No. 38 Skip Lockwood

When talking about the great relievers and closers in Mets history, the one name which gets constantly overlooked is Skip Lockwood. The main reason for that is he is the only one who never got to actually pitch in the postseason with the Mets.

Lockwood had a long and winding path to the Mets. Early on his career, he was thought of as a third baseman, and he would flame out at the position. He would go to the Oakland Athletics who threw him on the mound mostly just to take a look and to try to slip him through the Rule 5 Draft. Little did they know, Lockwood was a pitcher.

However, it appeared he wasn’t a starting pitcher. Over six seasons as a starter, he was 30-60 with a 3.81 ERA. On the eve of the 1975 season, he was released by the New York Yankees, and he was brought back to the Athletics organization to pitch in the minors. Finally, at that point, he not only accepted, but he pushed for a role in the bullpen. During that 1975 season, he was sold to the New York Mets, and his career would take off.

Lockwood was called up in August, and he would pitch in both ends of a doubleheader against the Expos. Over five innings, he allowed just one earned run. After allowing an earned run in his first appearance, he would not allow another one in his next six appearance which spanned 12.2 innings. This was part of a sensational debut where Lockwood was 1-3 with a 1.49 ERA, 1.097 WHIP, and an 11.4 K/9.

Lockwood would be handed the closer’s reigns the following season, and by and large Lockwood repeated his success. In that 1976 season, he was 10-7 with a 2.67 ERA, 1.018 WHIP, and a 10.3 K/9.That was the best year of Lockwood’s career. He had the third most saves in the league, and he led all National League relievers in strikeouts. By FIP, he was the best reliever in the National League.

This started one of the better stretches in team history for a closer. From 1976 – 1978, Lockwood was a full time closer and one of the best in the game. His 54 saves were eighth best in the Majors, and his 265 strikeouts were seventh best among relievers. His 2.83 FIP was ninth best. Overall, at a time when the Mets were starved for talent, they had one of the best closers in the game.

Overall, in his Mets career, Lockwood was 24-36 with 65 saves, a 2.80 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, and an 8.7 K/9. His 65 saves are the 10th most in team history. He also ranks ninth in games finished. Overall, he is one of the best closers in team history, and he is the best Mets player to ever wear the number 38.

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

 

Simulated Recap: Alonso And Nimmo Homer

In the top of the third inning, the Mets fell behind 1-0. In the bottom half, they’d take the lead for good on a Pete Alonso two run homer:

That third inning run was the only run Michael Wacha would give up in his five innings of work. The Mets bullpen did him one better by following with four scoreless innings.

The Mets 2-1 lead expanded to 4-1 when Brandon Nimmo hit a two run homer of his own.

In the game, Wacha would pick up the win, and with a scoreless ninth, Edwin Diaz was credited with a save.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Nearly Blow Eight Run Lead

The rain caused this game to be delayed three-and-a-half hours, and for a while it seemed like the Mets had completely washed out the Arizona Diamondbacks. With a five run fourth, this game had seemed all but over. It wasn’t.

In that fourth, the Mets built upon a 1-0 lead from a Derek Bell RBI single the previous inning. In the fourth, starting with Benny Agbayani, the Mets hit four straight singles with Mike Hampton delivering a two RBI single. A Joe McEwing grounder ate up Jay Bell driving home another run. The final run of the inning came on an Edgardo Alfonzo sacrifice fly.

When Alfonzo homered in the seventh, the Mets had an 8-0 lead. This should have been as easy as it gets.

For a while it was, Hampton continued his stretch of terrific pitching shutting out the Diamondbacks over six innings. After Dennis Cook pitched a scoreless seventh, Bobby Valentine began pulling his regulars. Mark Johnson replaced Todd Zeile at first. Todd Pratt took over for Piazza behind the plate. Jon Nunnally came in for Bell. Kurt Abbott came in for Alfonzo.

At the time, it seemed like the smart move. There was a rain delay, and this presented an opportunity to get the regulars some rest. Little did we know, but the game would soon get away from the Mets.

It began with Pat Mahomes injuring his ankle. In the eighth, he’d walk Luis Gonzalez before surrendering a two run homer to Greg Colbrunn. At that point, it was still just 8-2, and the game was heading into the ninth. That was the type of lead you expect even Rich Rodriguez to hold. That proved to almost be wrong.

Former Met Bernard Gilkey singled to start the inning, and he scored on a Travis Lee double. After a Dan Klassen walk, Hanley Frias grounded into a double play. Any hopes that was going to be the end of the jam ended with a Tony Womack RBI single.

With the Diamondbacks now within 8-4, and Damian Miller singling, Valentine went to John Franco. Franco was not immediately relief allowing three straight singles allowing three more runs to score. Suddenly, it was 8-7, and the Diamondbacks had the tying run at third.

Valentine went deeper into his bullpen he probably never thought he would have in this game, and he went to Armando Benitez. When Benitez struck out Erubiel Durazo, he earned the save in a game the Mets led 8-0 as the eighth inning began.

Game Notes: This is the first time the Mets have won three in a row since April 25. Robin Ventura was held out of the lineup with a sore hamstring, but he was brought into the game for defense on the final out.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

Citi Bracket: (4) Jose Reyes vs. (13) Wilmer Flores

(4) Jose Reyes – One of the most exciting and dynamic players in Mets history. Set team records for single season and career stolen bases. Mets all-time leader in triples. By WAR, best Mets SS and fifth best position player. Only Mets player to win a batting title. Four time All-Star. Returned to Mets after domestic violence suspension to take over third base. Hit bit homer against Phillies to help Mets claim Wild Card.

(13) Wilmer Flores – Player who loved being a Mets player so much, he cried on the field when he thought he was being traded. Came back to hit a walk-off homer to beat the Nationals. That was one of many walk-off hits, and he would become the Mets all-time leader in that category. Handled shortstop well defensively after Chase Utley tackled and broke Ruben Tejada‘s leg. Joined Edgardo Alfonzo as the only Mets players to go 6-for-6 in a game. Played all four infield positions in effort to do whatever team asked of him to help them win.

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Best Mets Of All-Time: No. 37 Casey Stengel

When compiling a list of the best Mets by choosing the Met who wore a particular number, you finally reach a number where there is only one person who wore the number. That is the case with the number 37 with Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel being the first and only Met to ever wear the number.

Stengel had been unceremoniously fired by the Yankees after Bill Mazeroski hit the only Game 7 walk-off homer in baseball history. After that, the Yankees decided to go in a new direction. In response, Stengel famously quipped, “I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again.”

That was the thing with Stengel. He was always good for a line, quip, or malpropos. At his age, it seemed like it was going to be his last in baseball. Even though he was 70, Stengel had turned down other managerial jobs. That initially included the Mets.

Early on in their history, the Mets were hell-bent on bringing in some famous faces, especially those with New York roots. That included former Dodgers like Gil Hodges and Don Zimmer. After persistence, it would finally included Stengel. If nothing else, in those early days, Stengel would be a character who would give the team an early identity.

While Darryl Strawberry might’ve been the first person to play for all the teams which started in New York, Stengel would be the first and only person to actually wear all four New York uniforms. In his playing career, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. As a manger, he would manage the Dodgers, Yankees, and finally, the Mets.

Stengel was never able to bring the Mets to anywhere near the level of the Yankees. He was oft criticized, but that is what typically happens to managers with bad teams. He would be the only Mets manager in the team’s Polo Grounds days, and he would be the first manager in Shea Stadium. He would manage all the way up until he broke his hip. At the end of that season, he would be the first Met to have his number retired by the team.

While he was no longer the manager, the team would keep him as part of the organization until his dying day. When the Mets won the World Series in 1969, both he and his wife were presented with championship rings. Stengel would wear his proudly until his dying day.

So, in the end, while Stengel was not the Hall of Famer he was with the Yankees, he was quintessentially the Mets in their early years, and ultimately, he too would be a champion. Overall, he is the only and best Met to ever wear the number 37.

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

 

Simulated Recap: Mets Waste Big Effort From Conforto

Rick Porcello allowed five runs over five innings, and the Mets never could quite catch up to the Diamondbacks.

In the loss, Michael Conforto had a big game going 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

The Mets other runs came off of back-to-back bases loaded walls to Porcello and Jeff McNeil.

The Mets had a chance in the ninth with runners at the corners and one out, but they couldn’t get another run across. As a result, the Mets lost 5-3.