The Mets have continued their recent push to honor their past by announcing they will induct Edgardo Alfonzo, Ron Darling, Al Jackson, and Jon Matlack into the Mets Ha of Fame. This is a very good group, and the Mets should be commended for taking this positive step.
That said, the Mets Hall of Fame is not as representative of the best players in team history, and the Mets still have work to do. On that front, here are five people the Mets should look to induct in the ensuing years.
Believe it or not, the Mets have yet to induct Wright into their Hall of Fame despite his being their all-time leader in many offensive categories, leading all Mets position players in WAR, and being the fourth Captain in team history.
Obviously, it’s only a matter of time before the Mets induct him, and very likely, it’s also a matter of time before the Mets retire his number five.
Leiter is arguably the third best left-handed starter in Mets history, and with his 124 ERA+, he’s definitively a top ten starting pitcher in Mets history. Expounding upon his ERA+, it’s third best in team history behind only Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom among Mets pitchers who have thrown at least 1,000 innings.
More than the numbers, Leiter was instrumental in those late 90s teams. His 1998 season was one of the best seasons a Mets starter ever had. The following year, he had one of the best starts a Mets pitcher ever had.
In the do-or-die Wild Card play-in game, Leiter pitched a two hit shut out against the Reds. Not only did the set the stage for the magical 1999 postseason run, it was very likely the best regular season start a Mets pitcher ever had in a must win game.
Overall, Leiter was a big game pitcher who was one of the best Mets starters ever. Given his impact on those Mets teams, you really cannot adequately tell the story of that era or the Mets as a franchise without mentioning him.
At the moment, Valentine has the third highest winning percentage, the third most wins, and the third most games managed in Mets history. He was the first manager to ever guide the Mets to consecutive postseasons.
Valentine was the perfect manager at the perfect time for the Mets. He always seemed to know the right button to push, including but not limited to his showing up in the dugout with just about the worst disguise you’ve ever seen after he was ejected.
More than the numbers, Valentine played an important role post 9/11. He was visiting firehouses and was at Shea Stadium when it was being used as a staging ground for the relief efforts. He also stood alongside his players in a NYPD cap as his players took the field for the rest of that season wearing the first responder caps.
The Mets are nearing a somewhat awkward situation with Cohen. The man who is very likely the best play-by-play announcer in the game has been a Ford C. Frick finalist, and he’s likely going to win the award at some point with his being eligible again in three years.
Effectively speaking, this would mean Cohen is in the Hall of Fame (albeit not formally inducted) but not the Mets Hall of Fame. Keep in mind, Cohen is already in the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mets fans love Cohen not just for his being part of GKR, but also for his having some of the greatest calls in Mets history. The lifelong Mets fan always seems to be able to take a great moment and elevate it.
With his fellow broadcast partners, Keith Hernandez and now Darling being inducted, he should join them in short order. When he’s being inducted, he should be joined by Howie Rose, who is similarly great and also has some of the best calls in Mets history.
Seeing how Alfonzo was awkwardly fired from the Brooklyn Cyclones and just a few months later is going to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, there is actually precedent for Beltran being inducted after what has recently transpired.
Looking at his Mets career, Beltran is the best center fielder in team history, and you could argue he’s the best outfielder. Certainly, he’s the best free agent signing in team history.
Beltran ranks among the top 5 – 10 in many offensive categories, and he’s the only Mets outfielder with multiple Gold Gloves. In fact, Beltran joins Hernandez and Rey Ordonez as the only Mets to win at least three Gold Gloves.
Beltran was a leader of those Mets teams, and his 2006 season was one of, if not, the best season a Mets positional player ever has. On merit alone, he deserves induction into the Mets Hall of Fame.
Given recent events, it’s likely we won’t see that happen anytime soon. Beltran isn’t the only worthy individual who may not be inducted soon.
In fact, the same could be said about Nelson Doubleday, who is the only Mets owner with a winning record. With his acrimony with the Wilpons, it’s unlikely they move to induct their former business partner.
There are other individuals who could be considered. Johan Santana has thrown the only no-hitter in Mets history, Robin Ventura had the Grand Slam Single, Howard Johnson is the only player with multiple 30/30 seasons, and Curtis Granderson was a leader on the field and just about the best human being to ever don a Mets uniform.
All of this highlights how the Mets have a rich and full history, and it’s great to see them finally dedicated to recognizing and celebrating it.