It is readily apparent from a position player standpoint Pete Alonso is Mets fans favorite player. After all, he’s been talked about as a future captain and MVP even if those monikers never really quite fit. It doesn’t matter because he’s adored.
And for very good reason. Alonso has set records, started the LFGM thing, had epic Home Run Derby performances, and has donated portions of his winnings to charities helping veterans. All of the love thrown his way has been more than warranted.
The thing is we’re really about to find out how much Mets fans truly love Alonso.
There was a time being a star or superstar on the Mets meant you were starting the All-Star Game. That was the case in the 1980s with Darryl Strawberry. We saw it again with Mike Piazza and then with Carlos Beltran. Keep in mind, with Beltran, he wasn’t all that beloved, and yet, he was voted a starter in 2005 even when he had his worst year in Flushing leading to the booing.
Things changed a little after that. David Wright never really got the same benefit. In fact, back in 2012, Pablo Sandoval was voted the All-Star Game starter over Wright. Yes, Wright was a deserving All-Star that year, but he would not start.
In fact, Wright only started five All-Star Games, The last one in 2013 took a massive push to get Wright elected in the year Citi Field hosted the All-Star Game. This was at a time when Wright was a superstar playing in the largest market in the world.
There are different reasons why Wright didn’t get the same benefit other Mets did. For starters, the internet ballots changed nearly everything. It really negated the advantage larger markets had in having fans flood the park and voting for their favorites.
Another important factor is the Wilpons and the Madoff Scandal was a massive blow to Mets fans. There was a general depression among the Mets fans, and the earliest dimensions of Citi Field did not help. Getting excited for anything Mets was very difficult to do until Matt Harvey‘s Major League debut. Yes, that had a large part of Wright’s boost in the voting that year.
Keep in mind, Mets fans adored Wright. We did see that in his starting five games, but he should’ve started more. Really, in another day and time, Wright would’ve started more. To a large extent, blame the Wilpons for that.
However, now, we have Steve Cohen. We have an owner who will actually do all he can to make the Mets the best they can be. In many ways, this is like when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets in 1980. There is a trust in ownership and palpable excitment among the fanbase.
That should translate to All-Star voting.
Yes, Paul Goldschmidt is having a better year. You can say the same for Freddie Freeman in Los Angeles. Seeing that, you can argue Alonso may need the push from Mets fans to be named the deserving All-Star he is. He should be voted as a starter by this fanbase.
Failing to do so wouldn’t be a failure of the fans at all. Rather, it is just be a dose of reality that Mets fans don’t carry the power they once did. There are many reasons for that, but it would seem like they love of Alonso is there for this fanbase to flex their muscles (while also using them to vote Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo) as starters.
Steve Cohen has brought the Mets back to where they should be. Mets fans now need to be back to who they are. They need to make Alonso the starting first baseman for the All-Star Game.
In typical New York Mets fashion, Francisco Lindor‘s first season with the team was disappointing. Truth is, it wasn’t as poor as believed.
Really, it was a function of his slow start. He had a .531 OPS in April, which contributed to his first half .698 OPS. As the axiom goes, first impressions are everything.
As a result, there were boos and controversy. That was followed by an offseason with hot takes and anticipated regret.
It’s like people haven’t seen this with the Mets previously. Mike Piazza was booed in 1998, and Carlos Beltran was in 2005. Eventually, the Hall of Fame talent overtook the early New York adjustment and jitters.
We’re seeing it again with Lindor.
While Lindor struggled mightily early in 2021, he’s been great to start this season. Over the Mets first two series, he has a 1.048 OPS. That’s nearly double of what he had last April.
He is leading the Mets out to a fast start. They’re in first place with two series wins on the road before returning to Citi Field.
In the game, Lindor homered from both sides of the plate. He joined Piazza and Cleon Jones as the only Mets to hit two homers in the home opener.
Francisco Lindor has homered from both sides of the plate today.
He has 3 home runs on the season, he didn’t hit his 3rd homer last year until May 15.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) April 15, 2022
In essence, Lindor is showing the world he’s a Hall of Famer. He’s reminding Mets fans why they were so excited the team traded for him and signed him to an extension. Mostly, the boos have turned to adoration, and that is why it was the Mets Neon Moment of the Week!
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The New York Mets will be led by Buck Showalter as the team sets to try to win their first World Series since 1986. Since this is their 60th season, here are 60 bold predictions for the season.
1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.
2. Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.
3. Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.
5. Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.
6. Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.
7. The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.
9. Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.
10. Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.
12. Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.
13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.
14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.
15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.
16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.
18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.
19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.
20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.
21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.
22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.
23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.
24. So will Eric Chavez.
25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.
26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.
28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.
30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.
31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.
32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.
34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.
35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.
36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.
37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.
38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.
39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.
40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.
41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.
42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.
44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.
45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.
46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.
47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.
48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.
49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.
51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.
52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.
53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).
54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.
55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.
56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.
58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.
59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.
60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.
It’s Opening Day, so it is time to make some predictions (sure to be wrong) about the 2022 season.
AL East – Toronto Blue Jays.
AL Central – Minnesota Twins
The Chicago White Sox might be better full strength, but losing Lance Lynn is a huge blow. The Twins also made some huge moves adding Carlos Correa, who is among the best in baseball, and they bolstered the rotation with Sonny Gray. With some health from Byron Buxton, they’ll be unstoppable.
AL West – Los Angeles Angels
With Noah Syndergaard, the Angels finally got that big top of the rotation starter, and they addressed the pen adding Aaron Loup. Oh, and by the way, they have the two best players in all of baseball in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
AL Wild Card 2 – Chicago White Sox – Even with the loss of Lynn, there is still more than enough there to get this team back to the postseason.
AL Wild Card 3 – Houston Astros – Many seem to be downplaying the loss of Correa, but in the end, that division appears to be so weak, especially with the Athletics stripping down, they can still make the postseason.
AL Cy Young – Alek Manoah – This is a darkhorse candidate for sure, but his spin and velocity numbers are off the charts. Also, if the Blue Jays can make Robbie Ray a Cy Young, they sure can do the same with a former first round pick.
AL Rookie of the Year – Bobby Witt Jr. – He seems the consensus pick and for good reason. He’s got the tools, and he’s playing for a team who will let him play.
AL Manager of the Year – Rocco Baldelli – This usually nothing more than an award for whose team exceeded expectations, and it will likely be the Twins this year.
NL East – New York Mets
Yes, the Mets have lost Jacob deGrom, and Brandon Nimmo is battling injuries. However, this is a much improved club over the team who was atop the Atlanta Braves in the standings most of last year. Remember, that Braves team has lost Freddie Freeman, don’t have Ronald Acuna Jr.. back yet, and that bullpen which carried them was taxed.
NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals were a disappointment for much of last year, but they turned it on late. They are more analytically inclined to match that roster.
NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers are a juggernaut, and they are just going to keep going out and finding ways and players to beat you. Keep in mind, they almost won the pennant, and they added Freeman to an already absolutely stacked roster.
NL Wild Card 1 – Milwaukee Brewers – Aside from the Mets, they have the best rotation in the National League, and that will help carry them to the postseason even in Christian Yelich is still not back to being in his MVP form.
NL Wild Card 2 – San Francisco Giants – They’ll miss Buster Posey and Kevin Gausman, but this was still a very deep team, and they have the players and organization to keep this a postseason caliber team, especially in an expanded postseason format.
NL Wild Card 3 – Philadelphia Phillies – No, the Phillies cannot catch the ball. However, they can absolutely mash, and in that ballpark, they will wear opposing staffs out. They also have the top of the rotation and manager in Joe Girardi to do enough to stay above .500 (again) to claim the last spot.
NL MVP – Francisco Lindor – We’ve seen it time and again with the Mets. The first year is the transition year. The second is the break out year. Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran were denied their MVP, but Lindor will not be this season.
NL Cy Young – Zack Wheeler – Wheeler was an unappreciated ace level pitcher when he was with the Mets, but with the Phillies, he has gotten the chance to shine. He should’ve won last year. He won’t be denied this year.
NL Rookie of the Year – Keibert Ruiz – The Nationals are going to let him play, and he has shown some signs in his brief Major League career.
NL Manager of the Year – Buck Showalter – Again, this is a narrative award, and if the Mets win the division, he is going to get it.
Wild Card Round
Astros over Angels
White Sox over Rays
Mets over Phillies
Brewers over Giants
Blue Jays over Astros
White Sox over Twins
Dodgers over Brewers
Mets over Cardinals
League Championship Series
Blue Jays over White Sox
MVP – George Springer
Mets over Dodgers
MVP – Jacob deGrom
Mets over Blue Jays
MVP – Brandon Nimmo
Look, we should not get too over excited about Spring Training results. Yes, that is even the case when the New York Mets annihilate the Miami Marlins and their starter Pablo Lopez, who is coming off a very good year. The same goes with the Marlins having many of their Opening Day players in the game.
But . . .
The Mets didn’t just look great in the game. They have looked great all Spring. More importantly, the players they need to be great have looked great.
Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are deGrom and Scherzer. Chris Bassitt has not allowed a run this Spring. Right there, the top three in the league look ready to run, and if they pitch like they can, the Mets don’t need much more help.
And yet, they are getting that help as Francisco Lindor seems poised to have his 1999 Mike Piazza or 2006 Carlos Beltran season. Lindor has been a man possessed hitting four homers this Spring, posting high exit velocities, and playing great defense even by his own standards:
WHAT A DEFENSIVE PLAY FROM FRANCISCO LINDOR pic.twitter.com/j2XGhQbjyB
— Nate Mendelson (@NateMendelson) March 29, 2022
Jeff McNeil seems poised to put a down year behind him, and he looks to be playing the best defense we’ve seen from him. We’ve also seen James McCann ready to put a bad year behind him as well as he’s been hitting the ball hard this Spring, and he seems to be getting back to the catcher we thought he was after the 2020 season.
Dominic Smith came to camp ready to win a starting job, and really, at this point, it’s impossible not to give him one. Starling Marte put injuries behind him, and he’s literally hit the ground running. Up and down the lineup, the Mets appeared like they came to Spring Training with World Series aspirations, and they are not going to leave anything to chance.
That goes down to Luis Guillorme and Tomas Nido, who have also had strong Springs. Really, you have to look deep at the Mets roster to find someone who is not contributing and who has not done something to claim a job.
Maybe this is the retooled roster. Maybe this is the excitement over the Scherzer and Marte signings. It could be a Buck Showalter or Steve Cohen effect. Whatever it is, right now, it looks great. If this carries over to the season, the Mets are going to run away with the division.
During Spring Training, Buck Showalter has made it a point to bring Keith Hernandez down to the field. In fact, as reported by Bob Klapisch of nj.com, Showalter removed the old rule which banned Hernandez from the batting cages. Showalter made it a point to get rid of the dumb rule (which was explained away because Hernandez was a part of SNY).
Specifically, Showalter noted, “I wanted people to notice Keith next to me and it wasn’t by coincidence. To me, Keith Hernandez is Mets royalty. He can go wherever he wants around here. This is his team.”
Showalter is exactly right here. After all, Hernandez was the first captain in team history. That 1986 team constantly talks about how much Hernandez meant to that team in terms of his leadership and defense. To keep that away from the team is pure and utter Wilpon nonsense. Well, the Wilpons are gone and so is much of their stupidity.
This was something Bobby Valentine had done so well during his Mets tenure. We didn’t just see the Mets greats pass through Spring Training for a photo op and media attention. That is something we will see this Spring with Mike Piazza, Al Leiter, David Wright, and others passing through and working with the players for a day or so.
Valentine had taken it a step further than that. Valentine put Mookie Wilson on his coaching staff. We also saw it with him having Al Jackson, an original Met just inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, on his coaching staff. There many be many reasons why Valentine did that, and it could very well be because Davey Johnson once did the same thing with him and Bud Harrelson on the Mets coaching staff.
Being a Met is different than being a part of any other team. It’s being the big market target while sitting in the shadow of the Yankees. It’s having a fan base who clings to Tug McGraw‘s “Ya Gotta Believe!” who also expects Tom Glavine to implode completing the collapse. We know Gary Carter is going to start an improbable rally while fully expecting Lucas Duda to throw it nowhere near Travis d’Arnaud.
The Mets are the most unique team in all of sports, and they have the fanbase to match. Each and every player who has come through here fully understands it. After all, Carlos Beltran went from reviled while playing here to a standing ovation at the All Star Game wearing the enemy St. Louis Cardinals uniform and fans who cheered him as a conquering hero when he was brought back as the manager.
Valentine knew all of this, and he had a coaching staff reflect that. Showalter seems to get that as well, and he wants the former Mets to be a part of this team both in Spring Training and beyond. He understands the team history, and in the end, Showalter just implicitly gets it.
When the Mets have a manager who gets what being a New York Met is all about, magic happens. We saw it in 1986 and 1999. Mookie brought home Ray Knight. Robin Ventura hit a grand slam single. Seeing how Showalter is managing this team, Mets fans should be ready to see what is coming next.
Due to site difficulties, this is going up a week later than anticipated, but fortunately (or unfortunately), all of what was discussed remains relevant. Players discussed during this podcast included Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Melvin Mora, Mike Bordick, Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, Starling Marte, Billy Taylor, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Harvey, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jake Marisnick, Blake Taylor, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Escobar, Shawon Dunston, Craig Paquette, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and many, many more.
As always, thanks to Timothy Rider. It was an absolute blast. Please take a listen to the Simply Amazin podcast (by clicking on this link).
The New York Mets made the announcement they are officially bringing back Old Timer’s Day. So far, it has been announced Mets greats Cliff Floyd, Howard Johnson, Daniel Murphy, and Robin Ventura will be there. We are undoubtedly going to see many other greats.
As we work through the list of players which will undoubtedly include Mike Piazza and David Wright, the most important player would be Carlos Beltran. This would set the perfect stage and opportunity for the best free agent signing and center fielder in team history to return.
The saga of Beltran and the Mets is in many ways a story still unfolding. During his playing days, he was never fully appreciated by the fans. Part of that was his very disappointing first year in Flushing, and then in 2006, when he was everything and more the fans expected, he would strikeout looking to end the NLCS. After that, while Beltran was great, he was part of the Mets teams who collapsed in consecutive seasons.
From there, he was a bit injury prone. Lost in everything was the Wilpons interference with his ability to get the treatments he needed. There was also the fact he graciously accepted a move to right field because it was what was best for the team. After his departure, it did seem Beltran was better received by Mets fans as evidenced by the ovation at the 2013 All-Star Game.
Of course, we know all too well Beltarn was initially hired to replace Mickey Callaway. He wouldn’t get the chance to manage one game because of his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal. To date, he is the only player to face any discipline as the callow Wilpons fired him.
Sadly, it wasn’t the Mets who gave Beltran his path back into baseball. That would be the Yankees. Much like how Beltran began his post playing career working in the Yankees front office, he will be part of the Yankees’ YES studio shows. It is something the Mets could’ve potentially done with SNY, but it should be noted the Wilpons still owned the network, and as such, Steve Cohen didn’t have the chance.
This is now Cohen’s opportunity. He can reach out to Beltran and bring him back for a big ovation at Citi Field. He can remember him of all that was great during his time, and that Beltran will go to Cooperstown largely because of his time with the Mets.
Remember, Beltran will be on the ballot for the first time next season. Looking through his career, Beltran will likely have three choices for his Hall of Fame cap: (1) Royals; (2) Mets; or (3) blank. Beltran played more games for the Mets than any other team. He also accumulated his highest WAR, all three of his Gold Gloves, both of his Silver Sluggers, and five of his nine All-Star appearances with the Mets.
Fact is, Beltran will go to the Hall of Fame because of what he did in a Mets uniform. He belongs in Cooperstown as a Met, and his 15 should be retired. However, there is evidently still some healing which needs to occur to secure Beltran wearing that Mets cap. That should begin with Old Timer’s Day. It’s an excellent opportunity for a first step, and hopefully, it will be a big step in what can be a journey for Beltran emerging as a great former Mets ambassador for years to come.
When we first learned on the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal, it was presented as the worst thing to ever happen to the game of baseball. Led by Carlos Beltran and Alex Cora, the Astros designed a system to let the hitters know what pitch was coming. For many, the end result was an ill-gotten 2017 World Series championship.
In all honesty, the scandal was always blown way out of proportion. For proof of that, we need to go back to the Shot Heard Round the World. To this very day, Bobby Thompson‘s homer is celebrated as one of the biggest moments in Major League history, and you could argue it was the earliest great game captured on television.
The thing about that shot was it was a sham. Thompson got the sign for the pitch Ralph Branca was going to throw, and he homered. If you think what the Astros did was bad, consider the Giants trailed the Brooklyn Dodgers by 12.5 games with 41 games remaining. They would go on a 36-7 (.818) tear to end the season and force that three game playoff culminating in that epic homer.
Of course, much of that was lost in the years after the 2017 World Series. Players were forever tainted. Beltran was fired as the New York Mets manager without managing so much as one game, and the Boston Red Sox fired Cora after he guided them to the 2018 World Series. While they were the only ones who faced consequences, fans and players alike were furious and still hold a grudge to this day.
Fast-forward to the 2022 Hall of Fame announcement. Despite his part with the 2017 Red Sox sign stealing and the PEDs, David Ortiz was put into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. There were players bewildered on how Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would not be inducted into the Hall of Fame after their careers and 10 years on the ballot.
Who cares about validation from a bunch of outdated-ass writers. MLB has a pre-historic mindset with all endeavors. Barry Bonds is a HOF. Everyone who’s actually gone out on that field and grinded at the big-league level would agree…as well as a large majority of the fans!
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) January 26, 2022
Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame and Barry Bonds is not
— Phil Hughes (@PJHughes45) January 27, 2022
Growing up means realizing Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be in the HOF
— Zac Gallen (@zacgallen23) January 25, 2022
This is just a sampling of the many players who took time out to voice Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame. Notably, as we have heard with other players, they have a problem with steroid and PED users getting into the Hall of Fame. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and arguably, the players more so since they competed on the field.
Here’s the problem – you can’t simultaneously call for PED users to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while also chastising the Astros. The aims of the PED users and the Astros players was to win. They did everything they could do to win even if it meant cheating. Yes, they both cheated. If you want the PED players to be rewarded, you can’t simultaneously chastise the Astros. That’s the epitome of hypocrisy.
Seeing how the majority seemingly want Bonds and Clemens in the Hall of Fame, it’s long past time we forget about the Astros sign stealing. Really, that was nothing compared to breaking the law to cheat their way to awards, championships, and the Hall of Fame.
Since 1989, you would tune into the occasional New York Mets broadcast, and you would hear Howie Rose incredulous another Mets player wearing the number 17. With the New York Mets announcing Keith Hernandez‘s 17 will now be retired, we will be forever robbed of those moments, but we can look back at the players who wore the number after Hernandez left the Mets.
David Cone – Cone would change his number from 44 to 17 in honor of his teammate. It would be the number Cone wore when he led the league in strikeouts and tied Tom Seaver‘s then National League record of 19 strikeouts in a game.
Jeff McKnight – McKnight became the first player assigned the number after Hernandez wore it, and you could argue it was even more of an eyesore because it was the year the Mets had the underscore jerseys. Believe it or not, McKnight just had a knack for wearing great numbers. He would also wear David Wright‘s 5, Jose Reyes‘ 7, Carlos Beltran‘s 15, and Darryl Strawberry‘s 18.
Bret Saberhagen – Saberhagen changed from his usual 18 with the Kansas City Royals and the number he first had with the Mets after his good friend Cone was traded to the Toronto BLue Jays. While Saberhagen did have some success with the Mets, he was probably the player least suited to wearing the number after the bleach incident.
Brent Mayne – Again with the former Royals wearing 17. Mayne’s first hit with the Mets was a walk-off RBI single off Dennis Eckersley to take the opening series of the season. Even after that, he still couldn’t get recognized on the 7 line on the way to the park.
Luis Lopez – Lopez was a utility player for the Mets for three years including the beloved team. His biggest hit with the Mets was the time he punched Rey Ordonez on the team bus. Hearkening back to the team photo incident between Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry, this may be the most Hernandez moment any of the subsequent players to wear the number 17 ever had.
Mike Bordick – Bordick was supposed to be the key pickup for the Mets to replace the injured Ordonez at short. He gave us all hope as he homered in his first Mets at-bat, but things would end badly as he would be benched for Kurt Abbott in the World Series, and he would return to the Baltimore Orioles in free agency. Worse yet, 1999 postseason hero Melvin Mora, who was traded for Bordick, would go on to be a star for the Orioles.
Kevin Appier – With Cone, Saberhagen, and then Appier, it seemed Royals pitchers really liked wearing 17 with the Mets. Appier came to the then pennant winning Mets in the hopes of winning a World Series, but unfortunately, he is forever known as the key piece sent to the Angels for Mo Vaughn.
Graeme Lloyd – Lloyd was one of the few who thrived with the Yankees who pitched well for the Mets. He didn’t last a full season as he and many of the 2003 Mets who battled under Art Howe was moved at the trade deadline.
Wilson Delgado – Mets fans were thrilled to obtain Delgado in 2004 as he would be the return for Roger Cedeno. Delgado played 42 games for the Mets in 2004. He’d never appear in a Major League game after that.
Jose Lima – The 2006 Mets pitching staff was so injured that we’d get Lima Time! for four starts. After struggling mightily, this marked the end of his MLB career as he then played internationally.
David Newhan – There really isn’t much to tell with Newhan. In his one year with the Mets, he proved himself to be that classic Four-A guy who annihilated Triple-A pitching but struggled in the majors.
Fernando Tatis – Omar Minaya first signed Tatís as an amateur and would bring him to the Mets organization. Tatís rewarded Minaya’s faith by winning the 2008 NL Comeback Player of the Year. For a franchise known for “what ifs,” you can’t help but wonder if the Mets don’t collapse for a second straight season if Tatis didn’t injure his shoulder. While Tatís had many memorable moments with the Mets, perhaps, his most memorable was his being one of the few actually capable of hitting it over the Great Wall of Flushing.
After Tatis, the Mets had finally said enough was enough. They were taking the number 17 out of circulation like they had done in the past with Willie Mays‘ 24. That meant the number was not going to be worn again. That is, unless, the next Rickey Henderson came long. However, now, with the number being officially retired, no one will ever wear Hernandez’s 17 again.