With Jacob deGrom receiving his contract extension, it appears he is going to be a Mets pitcher during his prime, and it sets the stage for him to join David Wright and Ed Kranepool as Mets for life. With that being the bulk of the list, there is a host of Mets players who got away. The most famous of which was Tom Seaver who headlined the Midnight Massacre. Putting Seaver aside, the Mets bloggers discussed those players who got away:
Michael Ganci (Daily Stache)
Honestly in recent memory John Olerud comes to mind. He had one of the best pure swings I can remember. Other than that I guess you have to bring up Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner, but who saw those coming?
Daniel Murphy is the most recent Met to have gotten away. And, I’ve heard there are people in the front office who would like a mulligan on that one as well. Having him in 2016 and 2017 would’ve been huge, and not having him kill the Mets in DC would have been huge too.
Allison McCague (Amazin’ Avenue)
To me the most egregious example of a Met getting away is Justin Turner, simply by virtue of how little it would have cost to keep him. Of course, it was impossible to know that he would put up the numbers he did after leaving the Mets, but unlike the Murphy situation where it was a choice not to sign the player as a free agent, they non-tendered a perfectly serviceable utility man just because they didn’t want to pay him and trashed his character on the way out for good measure. I think a dark horse candidate in this conversation, however, would be Collin McHugh, who changed his approach after joining the Astros by throwing his fastball less often and his off-speed pitches more often to much greater success than he ever had as a Met. And now he remains a key piece in the Astros bullpen as they head into another season where they will likely make a push for the postseason.
I’ll give you Justin Turner for sure. What irks me is he’s a good guy and even in the form he was in when he was here, was a valuable piece for the solution. That he evolved thanks to the tutelage of Marlon Byrd while he was here makes it even worse, since this version of Justin Turner would‘ve unquestionably transformed the Mets.
Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)
James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)
Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)
Olerud; he was a far superior player to Todd Zeile. Just look at his seasons 2000-02; think he would have helped? In my opinion, if Mets have Olerud, they win 2000 World Series. My God, remember the Zeile farewell tour? Infamnia!
Tim Ryder (MMO)
I’m gonna hesitantly go with Melvin Mora. The guy he got traded away for, Mike Bordick, was a fine pickup and helped that 2000 team get over the hump, no doubt. But Mora went on to have a solid little career and Bordick was back in Baltimore via free agency the following season.
Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)
The Mets let 18-year-old Paul Blair go to the Orioles in the minor league draft of 1962. Blair played 18 seasons in the majors, winning eight Gold Gloves as the premier AL center fielder of his generation.
Then again, had the Mets kept Blair, they wouldn’t have needed to trade for Tommie Agee prior to 1968, and Agee robbed Blair in the 1969 Series, so all’s well that ended well, perhaps.
Pete McCarthy (OABT)
I thought Nolan Ryan was the only answer to this question, but there are some fun ones in here. Yay Mets!
Far be it from me to disagree with you Pete but Ryan wanted out as much as the Mets were frustrated with him. It wasn’t so much that they traded Ryan and he became a Hall of Famer after it’s what they traded him for.
Scott Kazmir would like a word.
There is always going to be a part of me who wonders what would have happened if the Mets kept Darryl Strawberry. He would have one good year in Los Angeles before everything fell apart for both him and the Mets. For those who forget, the Mets opted to replace him with Vince Coleman, who was detestable as a Met, and it lead to a series of poor decisions which built as bad and unlikable a Mets team as we have ever seen. For Strawberry, his personal problems were far worse than anything the Mets encountered.
Looking at everything, there are a number of mistakes like trading Jeff Kent for Carlos Baerga, but that at least indirectly led to the team signing Robin Ventura. Murphy leaving transferred the balance of power back to the Nationals.
But overall, the one which comes to mind right now is Matt Harvey. For Harvey, it was more than trading him for Devin Mesoraco. It was everything. The 2013 version looked like future Hall of Fame. The 2015 version looked like a staff ace. The ramifications of that 2015 season were far reaching, and we never saw Harvey return, literally and figuratively.
Before you go away from this piece, please sure you click on the links and visit the sites of those who have taken their time to contribute to this roundtable.
Also, a very special congratulations to Pete McCarthy and his wife on the birth of their baby girl!
The Mets Fan
My name is Rudy Sheptock, and I am on Twitter as @RudyOrangeAndBlue. I am a full time Minister and a part-time DJ! My daily midday Radio Show is called Rudy On The Radio and it’s heard Monday-Friday from Noon until 2PM on LIFT FM here in Cape May County, NJ. I have been married 36 years and have four kids and four grandkids. I love social media and enjoy the many friendships I have made via Twitter and Facebook.
How You Became a Mets Fan
I became a die hard Mets Fan in the mid 1960s because of my Dad. He grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers Fan, and when they and the Giants left for California, there was no way my Father was going to root for the Yankees. So when the Mets came along, he began to root for them and passed his love of the Orange and Blue on to me! Because I never do anything halfway – I was in for life!
Favorite Mets Player
My first Mets Autograph was Gil Hodges, but my first hero was Tom Seaver. I patterned everything I did after Tom. I would listen to the Mets on the Radio and would be perfectly in-sync with Seaver even though I could not see the game. I wore either 14 or 41 all thru my playing days. I also taught both my sons the drop and drive style of Seaver’s pitching. I have tons of Seaver memorabilia all over my house! I cried the day they traded him to the Reds! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
Favorite Moment in Mets History
While my oldest Son was born in 1986 and that magical season, nothing will ever compare to the Summer of 1969! After so much losing, the Mets were finally winning! And I loved Gil Hodges and the innocence of that era for me cause I was 10 years old! Seaver’s almost perfect game! I was at Banner Day that August when the Mets swept the Padres 3-2 in both games. The double-header that the Mets won against the Pirates where both games were 1-0 with Jerry Koosman and Don Cardwell driving in the runs! Ken Boswell singling in Cleon Jones against the Expos to put us in first place! And the day we won the World Series! I was in Baseball Heaven! I am so glad I was alive and well because that Team was my Team! Cleon and Tommie Agee! Jerry Grote and Donn Clendenon! I remember riding my bike thru the old neighborhood screaming We Won The World Series! Childhood at it’s best! Even the Mets on the Ed Sullivan Show!
Message to Mets Fans
Real Mets Fans are a unique breed! We are never confident. We always expect the worst and are pleasantly pleased when our Team comes through. We despise the Yankees! We love Bob Murphy. We miss Shea Stadium! The chant of Let’s Go Mets still gives us Goosebumps and we can still hear Jane Jarvis play the organ in our souls! We love Wilmer Flores and can’t understand why the Wilpons are still around! We can call our Mets Bums but will defend them to the death! We bleed blue and orange! Love to hear Put it in the Books and will always stick around for the Happy Recap! I was a Mets Fan at 7 years old and now at almost 60- I still love them!
The Mets Fan
How You Became A Mets Fan
I was born into a Mets family. One of the earliest life lessons I can remember getting from my big brother was that we rooted for the Mets and hated the Yankees. And thus has it ever been! I attended my first game — a 7-6 win over the Astros — in 1971 and still have the ticket stub to prove it.
Favorite Mets Player
When I first started rooting for the Mets, I somehow decided that I loved Tommie Agee. Not really sure why. Was also very fond of Jon Matlack during that period. Later became a huge Keith Hernandezfan. And always loved Ed Kranepool and thought they should have retired his number just because he played every season dating back to 1962. These days, I really like Jacob deGrom.
Favorite Moment in Mets History
The Buckner game, of course.
Message to Mets Fans
We all know we deserve better than the Wilpons, but the situation is what it is. Hang in there — we were in the World Series just a few years ago, so the pendulum can swing our way again.
With the Houston Astros winning the World Series yesterday, future Hall of Famer, Carlos Beltran finally won his World Series ring. It could not have happened to a better player and a better individual.
While many Mets fans may have been tangentially aware of the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year, everyone knew who he was went he had an incredible 2004 postseason for the Houston Astros. During that postseason run for the Astros, Beltran hit .435/.536/1.022 with a record eight homers in a single postseason.
On that postseason stage, we saw not just a five tool player, but a great player who had that rare ability to raise his game on the bigger stage. Those are the types of players who typically thrive in New York, and Mets fans were thrilled when Omar Minaya made the bold move and made him the Mets first ever $100 million player.
If we’re all honest, things did not go as well for Beltran with the Mets as we all would have hoped. His first season was marred by struggles and his head-first collision with Mike Cameron in right center field at Petco Park that left Beltran with facial fractures and a concussion. That collision was so bad he was the one that got lucky.
Still, during that first season with the Mets, he helped create a culture that led to one of the better runs in Mets history. Early on in the 2005 Spring Training, Beltran took David Wright and Jose Reyes under his wing, and he showed them what it took not just to be Major League players, but great players.
This sparked the incredible 2006 season that ended in heartbreak. Because baseball is a cruel sport, that season and perhaps Beltran’s entire career with the Mets will forever be remembered for Beltran’s strikeout with the bases loaded at the end of Game 7 of the NLCS. However, Beltran’s season was much, much more than that.
Beltran would hit .275/.388/.594 with 38 doubles, a triple, 41 homers, 116 RBI, and 18 stolen bases. By WAR, it was the greatest single season performance ANY Mets position player has ever had. He was predominantly in the Top 5 to 10 in all single season Mets categories setting the marks for runs scored and tying the record for homers and extra base hits. In addition to that, Beltran joined Tommie Agee as the only Mets outfielder to win a Gold Glove. When Beltran would win in the following season, he became the only Mets outfielder to win multiple Gold Gloves.
Essentially, Beltran became the Mets version of Keith Hernandez and Mike Piazza. He was the seminal figure that taught the young players how to play, and he was the player who led the charge by being the superstar.
By the way, for all the talk about the Adam Wainwright moment, Beltran hit .278/.422/.556 with three homers in that postseason. The Mets don’t even get to that Game 7 without him. He should have been revered for that season.
If only he was treated as such. Though not his fault, from that 2006 NLCS on his Mets career became one of what if to hand wringing instead of celebration. The disappointment of the 2006 NLCS carried forward into collapses in 2007 and 2008. Although, he did all he could do to try to stop it.
In 2007, he hit eight homer and 27 RBI in September marking his highs for any month that season. In 2008, he had an impossibly great month hitting .344/.440/.645 with six homers and 19 RBI. This includes a game tying two run home run at the final game at Shea Stadium. To that end, Beltran provided the Mets with the team’s final highlight at the beloved Shea.
From there, Beltran would have some injuries and run-ins with the front office. Rightfully and despite the Mets objections, he had a knee procedure which probably extended his career. Always, the good teammate and doing what was best for the team, he willingly moved from center to right in 2011 before he was traded away for Zack Wheeler.
Since Beltran has left, Mets fans have seemed to have warmed much more to him remembering him more for the great player he was than the strikeout. When he was introduced at the 2013 All Star Game, he received the standing ovation he so rightfully deserved.
That’s what you do for a player that is the greatest center fielder in team history, and is arguably the best outfielder in team history. More than that, that’s what you do for a player who built his Hall of Fame career during his seven year career with the Mets.
All Mets fans should now be congratulating one of the best players in team history for getting that elusive World Series ring which we all know meant so much to him. He didn’t get it with the Mets. Ironically, he got it with that Astros team with whom he built his postseason reputation that inspired Minaya to go out and get him.
This won’t be the final day of celebration for Beltran. One day in the not too distant future, the Hall of Fame will come calling. The hope is he wears a Mets cap, and he returns to Citi Field to watch his number 15 get retired and hang forever next to his fellow Mets greats.
There are many factors to consider when voting for a candidate today. At this point, they have all be regurgitated and discussed at length, and hopefully, you have made your decision based upon sound criteria. However, if you are looking for a reason to change your mind or reason to have your mind made up for you, or you really want to base this important decision on how the Mets have fared with a Republican or a Democrat in office, you are in luck. Here is how the Mets have performed under each President in their 54 year history:
|John F. Kennedy||1962 – 1963||91 – 231||0.283|
|Lyndon B. Johnson||1964 – 1968||303 – 506||0.375|
|Richard M Nixon||1969 – 1974*||478 – 433||0.525|
|Gerald R. Ford||1974* – 1976||263 – 277||0.487|
|Jimmy Carter||1977 – 1980||260 – 388||0.401|
|Ronald Reagan||1981 – 1988||662 – 573||0.536|
|George H.W. Bush||1989 – 1992||386 – 423||0.477|
|William Jefferson Clinton||1993 – 2000||562 – 506||0.526|
|George W. Bush||2001 – 2008||651 – 643||0.503|
|Barack Obama||2009 – 2016||630-666||0.486|
* Nixon resigned from office August 9, 1974
Here are the cumulative results:
|Democrat||1,846 – 2,297||0.446|
|Republican||2,440 – 2,349||0.510|
Here are some interesting Mets postseason facts when there was a Democrat or Republican in the White House.
Democrat Postseason Facts
- The two times the Mets have been to back-to-back postseasons was when there was a Democrat in the White House (1999 & 2000 – Clinton; 2015 & 2016 – Obama)
- The Mets have only had an NLCS MVP when there was a Democrat in the White House (Mike Hampton – 2000; Daniel Murphy – 2015)
- The Mets have only won the division once (2015) with a Democrat in office. The other three postseason appearances were as the Wild Card.
- The Mets have appeared in four total postseasons and two World Series. The Mets are 21-17 in postseason games with the following records per round:
Wild Card Game 0 – 1 NLDS 9 – 4 NLCS 10 – 4 World Series 2 – 8
Republican Postseason Facts
- The Mets have won their only two World Series with a Republican in office (1969 – Nixon; 1986 – Reagan)
- In all five of their appearances in the postseason with a Republican in office, the Mets were the National Leauge East champions.
- In three of the five appearances, the Mets won 100+ games with the high water mark coming in 1986 with 108 wins
- In four of the five seasons the Mets appeared in the postseason with a Republican in office, the Mets had the best record in the National League (1973 is the exception). In two of those seasons (1986 & 2006), the Mets had the best record in baseball.
- In total, the Mets have appeared in five postseason and three World Series. The Mets are 30-20 in those postseason games with the following records per round:
NLDS 3 – 0 NLCS 16 – 12 World Series 11 – 8
If you wish to mainly focus on player performance over how the team has fared during each administration, Mets players have received more awards during Republican leadership:
Cy Young Award
Rookie of the Year
- Republican 3 (Seaver 1967; Jon Matlack 1972; Darryl Strawberry 1983; Gooden 1984)
- Democrat 1 (Jacob deGrom 2014)
Rolaids Relief Man
Sports Illustrated Man of the Year
- Republican 1 (Seaver 1969)
- Democrat 0
- Republican 14 (Tommie Agee 1970; Bud Harrelson 1971; Keith Hernandez 1983 – 1988; Ron Darling 1989; Carlos Beltran 2006 – 2008; David Wright 2007 – 2008)
- Democrat 6 (Doug Flynn 1980; Rey Ordonez 1997 – 1999; Robin Ventura 1999; Juan Lagares 2014)
- Republican 14 (Hernandez 1984; Gary Carter 1985 – 1986; Strawberry 1988; Howard Johnson1989 & 1991; Mike Piazza 2001 – 2002; Jose Reyes 2006; Beltran 2006 – 2007; Wright 2007 – 2008)
- Democrat 5 (Piazza 1998 – 2000; Edgardo Alfonzo 1999; Hampton 2000)
Roberto Clemente Award
From the Front Office side, Republicans have a 2-1 edge in executive of the year with Johnny Murphy winning in 1969, Frank Cashen winning in 1986, and Sandy Alderson winning in 2015. Baseball America named the Mets the top organization in baseball once in a Republican (1984) and once in a Democratic (1995) term.
As a general rule of thumb, the Mets and their players have performed better with a Republican in office. As you enter the voting booths today, take that as you will. Hopefully, you have more sound criteria for choosing your candidate.
With the Cubs facing the daunting task of heading back home down 0-2 in the World Series, Jake Arrieta stepped up and pitched the most important game of his life. Arrieta pitched 5.1 no-hit innings to help the Cubs even the series at 1-1 and to capture home field advantage. Arrieta was the pitcher to carry a no-hitter that deep into the World Series since Jerry Koosman pitched six no-hit innings against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 2 of the 1969 World Series.
Koosman’s performance was much more dominating and important than Arrieta’s. Whereas the Cubs are favored in this year’s World Series, the 1969 were about as big of underdogs as you get. The Orioles lineup featured two Hall of Famers in Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson. They had a rotation featuring Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, and future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer. This was about as tough a team you could face. This was a team so tough, they beat Tom Seaver 4-1 in Game 1 of the World Series. Going into the World Series, you presumption was the Mets needed Seaver to win each and every single one of his starts to even have a chance, and not even that happened.
With the Game 1 victory, the Orioles appeared as if they were going to steamroll through the Mets much in the same fashion they had done to the Los Angeles Dodgers three years before and would do the following year to the Cincinnati Reds. Koosman’s 8.2 innings two hit masterpiece changed all of that. It completely changed the tone of the World Series and the momentum. Without this performance, the Mets may not have had the same energy and belief in themselves. It’s quite possible we don’t see either of Tommie Agee‘s catches or Ron Swoboda‘s for that matter.
While Koosman was not named the MVP of the series, that honor would go to Donn Clendenon, his performance was the most important factor in the Mets changing the script and winning the World Series in five games. In that World Series, Koosman not only established himself as a great Met, he also established himself as the first big game pitcher in the franchise’s history. Without him the Mets never win the 1969 World Series.
Coincidentally, without Koosman, the Mets also don’t win the 1986 World Series.
On December 8, 1978, the Mets traded Koosman to his hometown Minnesota Twins in exchange for Greg Field and a left-handed pitcher named Jesse Orosco. Today is the 30th Anniversary of the Mets winning their second World Series. The Mets would not have been able to win that World Series without Orosco’s three wins, and his gutsy win in Game 6, of the NLCS. They would not have won without his standing on the mound to close out Game 7.
Neither the 1969 or the 1986 World Series would have been possible without Koosman. With it being the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 World Series victory and with Arrieta’s peformance, we were again reminded of that.
It looked like more of the same for the Mets. Steven Matz allowed a first inning two run home run to Kris Bryant and a solo shot to Javier Baez in the sixth. The Mets were down 3-0 and didn’t seem to have a chance. It was the same old dreary Mets offense. In the bottom of the sixth, Yoenis Cespedes woke everyone up:
The 441 foot shot was the longest in Citi Field history and first into the Promemade Level. It was shades of Tommie Agee.
The Mets looked like a different team after that. Travis d’Arnaud got it started with a one out single off Cubs starter John Lackey. Then a minor miracle happened when Alejandro De Aza worked out a walk against Cubs reliever Joel Peralta. Then Brandon Nimmo had the at bat of the night.
Nimmo was quickly down 1-2 in the count. He would foul off three straight pitches, and he would hit an RBI single on the ninth pitch of the at bat. It narrowed the score to 3-2. He alertly moved to second when center fielder Albert Amora tried to get De Aza at third.
Joe Maddon then went to Pedro Strop to pitch to Neil Walker. Strop quickly went ahead in the count 0-2, and the Cubs pulled the infield in. Walker then hit a hooper at second baseman Baez who had no shot at getting De Aza at home. He tried to get Nimmo at third, but he threw it wild.
In the eighth, MLB history was made when Addison Reed pitched to Addison Russell. Russell won the first ever battle of the Addisons by walking. It set up runners at first and second with two outs. Maddon sent up Jason Heyward to pinch hit, and Terry Collins countered with Jerry Blevins. Blevins got Heyward to tap one back to Blevins to end the inning.
Jeurys Familia recorded his 27th straight save this year to secure the 4-3 win. This one wasn’t easy. Ben Zobrist hit a double to make it second a third with no outs. Familia struck out Bryant, and then intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo to face rookie catcher Willson Contreras. Familia struck out the overmatched Contreras. Baez popped it up to end what was a tremendous save by Familia and win for the Mets.
The Mets took the first game of a four game set against the Cubs. By the way, last year’s NLCS was also a four game set.
Game Notes: Matz showed his frustration out there a few times, most notably when Lackey buzzed him on a sac bunt attempt. He also threw his glove after the Baez homer. Erik Goeddel earned the win after pitching 1.2 scoreless innings.
“Look at me, I can be Centerfield.” That is about as fun as the baseball songs get. Another one of my favorites is “Talkin’ Baseball” with it’s famous refrain of “Willie, Mickey, the Duke.” As you can see, Centerfield is an important position with much history in New York City. You always hear about those good old days of Willie, Mickey, and the Duke playing CF in New York City at the same time. That doesn’t seem fair or possible. The Yankees have had an absurd tradition with their centerfielders with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. The Mets tradition hasn’t been as good, but then again whose has? However, we’ve had some fun names and good players come through and man centerfield in Flushing.
In 1969, the Mets had Tommie Agee, who for at least the 1969 World Series, was the best defensive CF to ever play the game:
Unfortunately, the Mets did try Willie Mays out in CF in the last two years of his career. From what I’ve been told, it did not end well. Then there was fan favorite Lee Mazzilli, who played for some truly awful Mets teams. However, he was the star, if not the MVP, of of the 1979 All Star Game (back when the ASG meant something). Lee Mazzilli then gave way to Ron Darling. They would both win a World Series together with the Mets in 1986.
Speaking of 1986, the Mets had two other fan favorites who played CF: Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra. Both contributed to the 1986 World Series victory immensely between Dykstra’s leadoff homerun against Oil Can Boyd, and well, we know about Wilson:
After that, we saw a bit of a dry spell with highlights like Lance Johnson, the late Darryl Hamilton, Jay Payton, and Mike Cameron. Then, we were blessed with Carlos Beltran. Say what you will about the Wainwright strikeout, in my opinion, he’s even money on making it into the Hall of Fame, and there’s a significant chance he goes in as a New York Met. Although with the way he was treated here by the fans, and mostly by the Wilpons, he’s probably going in as a Royal.
Now after Juan Lagares’ 2014 Gold Glove season and reasonable contract extension, we’re back to who should play CF. This is important because Lagares has a triple slash line of .254/.280/.333. Even if he was what he was defensively last year, this is unacceptable. Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with his injured elbow. Regardless, CF is now a problem.
It should be noted his splits against LHP are .279/.338/.412. That is much better especially when you consider his defense. Add to the fact that Kirk Nieuwenhuis has hit .333/.400/.444 over the past two weeks (mostly against RHP), there is a real platoon here. Niewenhuis is a very capable CF, but he’s not in Lagares’ league defensively . . . then again who is?
With the Yoenis Cespedes acquisition, there have been some overtures that Curtis Granderson move to CF, a position he hasn’t played since 2012. This is dangerous because the Mets starting pitchers get more outs in the air than on the ground this year. Here are their respective ground ball percentages:
Matt Harvey 44.4%
Jacob deGrom 43.2%
Noah Syndergaard 45.9%
Jon Niese 54.6%
Bartolo Colon 39.9%
According, with the exception of maybe Niese, the Mets need their best defensive outfield out there are all times. This means Lagares must play as much as possible. Granderson and his good OF defense should stay in a corner OF spot where it will remain good defense. While Lagares isn’t hitting and Nieuwenhuis is, the platoon should remain in place.
While we all agree the Mets need to ride their pitching to the postseason, we should also agree that they need to put their best defense out there to help the pitching. Remember helping a pitcher is more than just scoring runs . . . it’s also about preventing runs with good defense. The only effect the Cespedes acquisition should have on the outfield configuration is to demote Michael Conforto to AAA and put Cespedes in LF, where he has played all year. I think that outfield alignment is the best there is that is ready to go out there and play.