Willie Mays

Carlos Beltran Astros Scandal Should Not Impact Hall Of Fame Voting

Peel everything back, and Carlos Beltrán should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Really, the only debate over Beltrán and the Hall of Fame is whether or not he will wear a New York Mets cap on his plaque.

However, that glosses over the Houston Astros cheating scandal, which has been blown way out of proportion. In reality, the writers have been hypocritically holding the scandal against Beltrán.

Remember, David Ortiz was inducted in his first year on the ballot. It was then and remains now a complete and utter farce with Beltrán’s candidacy only cementing that fact.

Ortiz threw bats at umpires. He was served with restraining orders for domestic violence. Also, he was caught cheating using PEDs. It was something held against everyone but him.

While Ortiz was inducted on the first ballot, Beltrán is tending towards not being inducted on the first ballot. That’s even with his actions having previously been celebrated by other teams.

Remember the “Shot Heard Round the World” and the story of the 1951 New York Giants. Well, they did the same exact thing as the 2017 Houston Astros.

The Giants went on a 36-7 tear erasing a 12.5 game deficit forcing a tiebreaker series. In the deciding third game and the Giants trailing 4-2, Bobby Thomson hit a walk-off three run homer off Ralph Branca.

The issue is that Giants team was unapologetically sign stealing. Given the technologies available back then, their’s was far more intricate and complex than what the Astros did.

That Giants team had future Hall of Famers players in Willie Mays and Monte Irvin led by Hall of Famer manager Leo Durocher. Right now, and back in 2017, no one cares about the Giants sign stealing and these Hall of Famers roles in it.

We should also note here the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were themselves implicated and punished for similar sign stealing measures.

Somehow, we’re supposed to care about and punish just Beltrán. To date, he’s still the only player from that team punished and will forever remain as such.

On that note, when Beltrán’s teammates have become free agents, teams have been in an outright bidding war to obtain them. Apparently, the caring only goes so far.

That’s the ultimate issue here. No one really cares except when it comes to Beltrán. He’s being held to a completely different standard than everyone.

His former teammates remain unpunished while Beltrán is fired as Mets manager and isn’t getting Hall of Fame votes. Cheaters are inducted in the Hall of Fame, but he has to wait.

It’s absurd. Voters need to stop being so hypocritical after Ortiz’s induction and glossing over all the other cheating scandals. They need to reassess everything and do some soul searching. After that, they should rectify their mistake and vote for Beltrán’s induction next year.

Jacob deGrom Should Be Lock To Return To Mets

The minute Jacob deGrom exercised his opt out was the exact minute anything could happen. At some point, a team could unexpectedly swoop in and offer him a deal to steal him right out from under the New York Mets.

Case-in-point: no one expected the Los Angeles Angels to sign Noah Syndergaard after the Mets offered him a qualifying offer. However, it happened, and Syndergaard is gone. There are some who expect the same will happen with deGrom.

There are some who expect him to go to the Texas Rangers. There are some believing the San Diego Padres may be suitors. You can never count out the Los Angeles Dodgers or Boston Red Sox. There are reports the Atlanta Braves want to make a run (this doesn’t pass the smell test after they let Freddie Freeman go for less than deGrom will cost).

When you look around, there aren’t many people who expect deGrom to return to the Mets. Well, that is except for the people who know deGrom best. We have heard Chris Bassitt, Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler say they expect deGrom to say. They say he’s happy with the Mets and only wants a fair market deal.

When deGrom signed his initial extension, he spoke about how he wanted to be a Met for life like his friend David Wright. We have heard exactly nothing that would have us believe deGrom has changed his mind on that. Really, all we have is conjecture from people that they believe deGrom might go.

If it comes down to money, well, the Mets have Steve Cohen.

Cohen was the same man who gave Francisco Lindor $1 million more than Fernando Tatis Jr. to get him to sign a contract extension. He have Edwin Diaz the largest ever deal for a reliever to get him to stay. He handed out the largest average annual value to Max Scherzer to get him to come to the Mets. Now, all of a sudden, he’s going to let deGrom walk over money?

If Cohen has shown us anything, he’s not going to necessarily let money stand in the way. He knows great players need to get paid, and that great players deserve more than their “value.” Mostly, Cohen understands deGrom is Mets royalty, and Cohen respects Mets history.

Cohen brought back Old Timers’ Day. Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays had their numbers retired. Former players like Ray Knight talk about how they loved the Mets, hated, the Wilpons, and now, feel more welcomed to return to the ballpark.

Cohen was also a Mets fan when Tom Seaver was traded. While not on the same level, deGrom is this generation’s Seaver. Arguably, deGrom is the second greatest Met of all-time. He could be their next Hall of Famer (depending on what happens with Carlos Beltran), and he could have his number retired by the Mets one day.

Does Cohen want to be the owner who let deGrom leave over money? Does he want to see deGrom leave on his watch? The answers should likely be no.

Another thing here is Cohen has cited the Los Angeles Dodgers as the model he wants to follow. Well, time and again, even with the injuries, the Dodgers have found a way to keep Clayton Kershaw, even with all of his injuries.

The Dodgers have understood for true franchise greats and Hall of Famers the typical rules don’t apply. You take care of those players because they’re a part of the fabric of your organization. Another important factor is when the Dodgers deal with Kershaw the entire baseball world is watching.

It’s the same with the Mets. Everyone wants to see how the Mets handle their first homegrown future Hall of Famer to hit free agency.

How he’s treated impacts whether other players want to play for the Mets or stay with the team. It’ll impact agents handling extensions. Again, there is a real impact.

Through all of it, we’re left with the simple fact Jacob deGrom wants to be a Met for life, and Steve Cohen has the ability to make it happen. If this is all truly the case, there are no excuses for not getting a deal done.

Steve Cohen Was Mets Breakout Star Of 2022

When Steve Cohen purchased the New York Mets, there was a ton of excitement from the fanbase. We were finally getting an owner who knew what it was like to be a Mets fan. We were getting an owner with the resources to do what was needed to win.

Well, the first year did not go nearly as planned. We saw the type of influence Cohen could have dining with Francisco Lindor and then giving him the largest contract in team history. In a bit of panache, he gave him one million more than the San Diego Padres had given Fernando Tatis Jr.

Still, much of 2021 was “same old Mets.” Jared Porter was fired for harassment. A Cohen directed investigation uncovered more leading to more firings. The replacement GM, Zack Scott was fired after being arrested for a DUI. They would trade a top prospect for Javier Báez. With apologies to Trevor Williams, the trade was a disaster.

This was a Mets team who set the record for most days in first place only to finish the season with an under .500 record. The hated Atlanta Braves overtook them en route to winning the World Series. The Mets players were booing fans from the field. This was all reminiscent of the Wilpon Era.

In the offseason, the Mets once again struck out in their president of baseball operations search leading them to settle on Billy Eppler as the GM. The collective bargaining agreement would actually implement a Cohen Tax designed to stop him from flexing his financial muscle.

Cohen would be undaunted, and in fact, he would prove to Mets fans and all of baseball this is definitively not the same old Mets.

Cohen opened up the wallet. In the offseason, he paid for the Mets to sign star players in Starling Marte and Max Scherzer. They were not just great, but they changed the culture of a team which fell apart the previous season. That was part of an offseason which also saw the Mets overhaul their lineup and approach at the plate.

Cohen wanted and made sure to land Buck Showalter. The organization wanted to change their offensive mindset and approach, and they were able to hire Eric Chavez away from the New York Yankees to do it. They also continued to grow their analytics department, and late in the season, they purchased one of the famed hitting machines which can replicate pitcher deliveries.

Cohen understood the best thing an owner can do for the fans is to put a winner on the field. He gave the organization all the resources they needed, and they built a 101 win team. However, Cohen was not done there.

Being a Mets fan himself, he loved and appreciated the Mets history. He brought back Old Timers’ Day and would retired Willie Mays‘ number because he believed it to be the right thing to do (making this a complete departure from the Wilpons). He would also retire beloved player and broadcaster Keith Hernandez‘s number.

In essence, Cohen has given Mets fans everything they’ve ever wanted. Fans wanted this team to matter and be a contender. They were. They wanted the team history to be recognized and celebrated. It was.

The best news yet is Cohen is far from done. Eppler has already talked about getting the resources needed to improve upon this season. The organization has talked about spending to bridge the gap to sustained winning much in the vein of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

No, the 2022 season did not end the way Mets fans had hoped. More important than that failure is the future. With Cohen, the future is bright, and we see how the focus is winning and making the Mets as fan friendly as possible. Seeing the totality of the season, Cohen did all he promised and more. That should leave all of us Mets fans excited to see what comes next.

Mets Fans Failed Steve Cohen

Since taking over the New York Mets, Steve Cohen has done everything he’s promised to do. He’s been a far departure from the Wilpon ownership.

He has celebrated Mets history. Old Timer’s Day came back, and along with it, came some ostracized fan favorites. In fact, Ray Knight would say he loved the Mets but hated the Wilpons.

We saw him retire Willie Mays’ number that day. There was also a ceremony to retire Keith Hernandez’s number.

More than that, he’s tried to win. His first bold move (or at least the organization’s under his stewardship) was to trade for Francisco Lindor. Lindor was then given the richest contract for a shortstop and player in Mets history.

When the team needed more, he opened his checkbook. Max Scherzer was given the highest AAV for a pitcher. He would also increase the Mets payroll to the second largest in the game.

The end result was a 101 win team which claimed the top Wild Card spot. Yes, it was a disappointment and a collapse, but the Mets still made the postseason.

Game 1 was a dud with Scherzer allowing seven runs. It was a complete and utter disappointment reminiscent of Tom Glavine in 2007 (although not nearly as short or fatal).

In Game 2, the Mets had Jacob deGrom. The Mets ace, and second best player in Mets history, wasn’t at his best. However, at 70% (or whatever percent you want to give him), he helped keep the San Diego Padres at bay until the bats woke up.

That set up a winner-take-all Game 3. It was at Citi Field. A ballpark we all promised we’d sell out if the Mets were good again and in the postseason.

Sunday night wasn’t an excuse. First of all, it was Columbus Day Weekend. Mostly, IT WAS THE POSTSEASON!!!!

These are things we’ve mocked other markets for doing. This shouldn’t happen here. The greatest city in the world. A National League baseball city. The postseason. An elimination game.

The Mets had an owner who spent and spent to get the Mets to this spot. This was the dream. October baseball because of ownership who cared.

And then, fans couldn’t sell out the ballpark.

This was an embarrassing moment for a fanbase who has prided itself on being a great and loyal fanbase. Honestly, Mets fans, we’re better than this.

Put aside the frustrations leading to that game. There was a postseason game at Citi Field, and as a fanbase, we didn’t show up. Not nearly enough.

Steve Cohen promised us everything we’ve ever wanted, and he delivered. The very least we can do is show up for a winner-take-all postseason game at Citi Field.

Willie Mays 24 Should Not Be Retired By Mets

Yes, this is raining on the parade. It’s a contrarian opinion on a celebrated moment. All that said, when you actually look at it, Willie Mays number 24 should not be retired by the New York Mets.

If this was 1973, you could understand it. The Mets were around for all of a decade, and they had little history. The franchise had already retired Casey Stengel’s 37, which had much more to do with his New Yankees tenure than anything.

However, Joan Payson, as much as she loved Mays (justifiably so), did not retire his number. Yes, she took it out of circulation, but she opted not to retire it.

Keep in mind, she ran the Mets until her death, which was two years after Mays retired. As much as people want to reframe history now, this wasn’t she never got around to doing it.

It’s now 2022, and the Mets have a 60 year history. One way to look at it is the Mets have existed for about as long as the Yankees had when the Mets were founded.

This is now a franchise with a real history. There are two World Series titles and five pennants. There are two Hall of Famers with Carlos Beltran joining this group maybe later this year, and Jacob deGrom going there one day.

It’s a team with their own Hall of Fame. While oft overlooked, it has 30 members. Of note, Mays was never inducted as a member. Now, he has his number retired.

The former was the more correct position when viewed through the lense of the New York Mets franchise.

Mays was a Met for two seasons playing 135 games total amassing a 1.6 WAR. He hit .238/.352/.394 with 19 doubles, one triple, 14 homers, and 44 RBI.

In the postseason, he was 3-for-10 with two RBI. It was his last postseason game winning RBI. That postseason would also mark the lowest point of his career serving as a juxtaposition to his catch robbing Vic Wertz.

All told, Mays is arguably the best player who ever lived. He’s New York baseball royalty lyrically memorialized by Terry Cashman as THE part of “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.” (Say Hey! Say Hey!”). He’s just not Mets royalty.

As an aside, Duke Snider was a Hall of Fame center fielder in the above referenced song. He was a beloved Brooklyn Dodger, who was part of the 1955 Dodgers. He returned to play with the Mets in 1963, and no one even mentions retiring his 4.

The reason they don’t say that about Snider is because he wasn’t a great Met. Snider, as a Met, didn’t deserve the honor. It’s the same for Mays.

Despite that, the Mets opted to gild the lily. Yes, it was popular, but it was unnecessary. Mays was not a Mets great. Meanwhile, true Mets greats who will never get their number retired watched on.

There are many injustices Steve Cohen corrected since taking over from the Wilpons. This wasn’t one of them. It was unnecessary, and in some ways, actually overlooked Mets history on a day it was being celebrated.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Co-No And More Team History

For the seventh time in seven tries this season, the New York Mets won a series. For the second time in team history, they did the impossible:

1. The co-no will forever be one of the greatest moments in Mets history. Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz will forever have a special place in Mets fans hearts.

2. I don’t get everything right, but I got this one (# 55) in my preseason predictions.

3. Between that co-no, the Robin Ventura, Grand Slam Single, and all things Mike Piazza, black is forever a Mets color, and that debate needs to end.

4. It’s somewhat interesting that no-hitter came from Jacob deGrom‘s spot in the rotation when deGrom can never seem to get that close himself despite his unhittable stuff.

5. The next game was a letdown, but it was hilarious the Mets were up 1-0 at one point scoring a run on no hits.

6. In that no-hitter, Kyle Schwarber was walked in all three plate appearances. Seeing him the rest of this series (and his career), this is a very smart strategy.

7. The Mets finally started playing Dominic Smith, and guess what? He had a 4-for-4 game. Shocking, I know.

8. You can’t send him down after that game. In fact, it only reaffirms he’s your everyday 1B/DH.

9. Francisco Lindor and his teammates have said they’d be upset if Robinson Canó is the one cut, but let’s be honest. The team will be upset with any of the position player choices.

10. We don’t talk enough about the possibility J.D. Davis could be the guy. Really, the only thing which keeps him up is he’s the only right-handed bat on the bench.

11. The injury is preventing Sean Reid-Foley from being DFA’d, but it’s a damn shame it was a torn UCL which prevented it.

12. Say what you want about James McCann, but he’s had a big impact this year with his work behind the plate. That co-no was the latest example.

13. Taijuan Walker coming off the IL and pitching like that was just what the Mets needed. It shows just how deep that rotation is, and with a rotation that deep, this team can win a World Series, and that’s before you even account for deGrom.

14. The Mets best player has arguably been Jeff McNeil. He’s not back to his 2019 form because he’s a much better version of that now.

15. There is something wrong with Pete Alonso. It’s difficult to know what it is at the moment, but this is just not the same player right now.

16. David Cone was criticized, but he was right. When the Mets are good, fans come out of the woodwork. That’s obvious because those fairweather fans flock over from the Bronx to Queens when the Mets are good. We know those fans exist in New York. Let’s not pretend they don’t.

17. That ESPN booth was brutal, which was odd because Cone and Eduardo Perez are great. Perhaps, it is because Karl Ravech is not a play-by-play guy who brings his color analysts into the conversation. Also, Buster Olney calling Ronald Acuna Jr. this generation’s Willie Mays was just about the dumbest thing he ever uttered. He should have had his mike cut and sent home.

18. The wave is an indelible part of Mets history as it was a big part of the 1980s celebrations. There is a place for it in the game, and at times, we should do it. However, doing it in the late innings of a close game is a blatant violation of the wave rules, and we should not stand for it (pun intended).

19. The Mets have won seven straight series. To do that at any point of the year is a phenomenal feat. With the Atlanta Braves coming to town, they absolutely have to make a statement and make it eight in a row. Do what the 1986 Mets did to the St. Louis Cardinals and let the Braves know this division race is over before it began.

20. As Ron Darling said after the co-no, that was one of the special moments you get after a special season.

Mets Who Wore 17 After Keith Hernandez

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 MayneAgain 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.

Satoru KomiyamaThat Japanese Greg Maddux never was close to that spending one forgettable winless season with the Mets before returning to Japan.

Graeme LloydLloyd 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 DelgadoMets 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.

Dae-Sung KooA largely forgettable LOOGY who will forever live in Mets lore for that impossible double off of Randy Johnson followed by that mad dash home from second on a Reyes’ bunt.

Jose LimaThe 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 NewhanThere 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 TatisOmar 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.

 

Marcus Stroman Was Wearing Tom Seaver’s Du-Rag

Last night, Arizona Diamondbacks announcer Bob Brenly had what should have been his Thom Brennaman moment. However, we didn’t get to hear Brenly talk about a Nick Castellanos, or rather Pavin Smith moment. Instead, Brenly was allowed to make his racially charged statements are carry on with the rest of the game.

If you are going to play the game of Brenly didn’t say anything as bad as what Brennaman said, you’re already doing it wrong. Wrong is flat out wrong. Mocking Stroman’s du-rag was wrong, and it was racist. It’s also stupid and a stain on Tom Seaver‘s good name. More than that, it couldn’t possibly have missed who Seaver was and who he idolized.

In an article by Paul Lukas of Uni Watch, he highlighted how Seaver never buttoned the top of his uniform. This wasn’t by accident. In fact, it was in honor of Willie Mays, a player Seaver idolized. As a collegiate player, Seaver had the opportunity to sit next to Mays, and seeing how Mays didn’t button his top button, Seaver would never again button his.

Looking at it, Seaver saw who he thought was the best player in the game doing something, and he emulated it. Chances are, if Seaver saw Mays wearing the du-rag, he would have done so as well. The reason is Seaver wanted to mold himself as one of the greats, and he did that in what was a unique and then bold statement to not button the top button. He did that to be like Mays. He probably would’ve done anything to be like Mays.

There is two things right now which unite Seaver and Stroman. Both are Mets pitchers. More than that, both are pitchers who strove for greatness, and they sought each and every avenue they could to become great. They are uniquely driven, and they had they own unique fashion when they took the mound. It should also be noted with the patches this year, both wore 41 on the mound.

In some ways, there is no greater honor for a pitcher than to get compared to Seaver. That goes double for a Mets pitcher. Unfortunately, Brenly did it in a disgusting and mocking way which was at best ignorant. There is no place for that anywhere, and Brenly owes Stroman and the Seaver family an apology.

More than that, the entire Diamondbacks organization does as well for letting Brenly say that on their air and to continue speaking after those statements. Stroman is a good person, and he deserves much better than this. We all do.

Keith Hernandez Hall of Fame Case

With Mike Piazza hinting more numbers are going to be retired, there were renewed calls for Keith Hernandez‘s 17 to be retired. Previously, the Mets had only retired the numbers of players who wore a Mets cap on their Hall of Fame plaque meaning the Mets first captain did not have his number retired.

One of the biggest issues with that is Hernandez should have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by now.

To put things in perspective, according to Baseball Reference, the average Hall of Fame first baseman has a 66.9 WAR, 42.7 WAR7, and a 54.8 JAWS. For his part, Hernandez is just a hair behind those marks with a 60.3/41.3/50.8. However, that is part of the story.

Currently, there are 24 first basemen in the Hall of Fame. Of those 24, only 10 of those players were above the 66.9 WAR mark. There were 11 above the WAR7 mark, and there were nine above the JAWS mark. The main reason for this is because Lou Gehrig, Cap Anson, and Jimmie Foxx skewed those numbers upwards. Notably, Gehrig’s and Anson’s careers were over before World War II, and Foxx has already played 16 years out of a 20 year career before the war began.

When you look at it, Hernandez has a higher WAR mark than eight of the first baseman inducted in the Hall of Fame, and he is 0.1 WAR behind Harmon Killebrew. Hernandez has a higher WAR7 mark than nine of the first baseman in the Hall of Fame including his being 1.2 ahead of Eddie Murray. His JAWS is better than 10 of the first baseman in the Hall of Fame including his being 0.4 behind Hank Greenberg.

When you look at the numbers of first baseman inducted into the Hall of Fame whose careers occurred post World War II and post Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, Hernandez is right in the mix of that group. In many ways, the two things that hurt Hernandez was he did it a different way than most of those first baseman.

Hernandez was not a slugger at the position in a traditional sense. Rather, he was more of a gap hitter who hit for average. Still, he was a good hitter with a 131 wRC+. That mark is good enough to tie him with Orlando Cepeda and put him ahead of Murray and Jim Bottomley.

Looking at traditional numbers, Hernandez had 426 doubles putting him ahead of players like George Sisler and Willie McCovey. His OBP is higher than Sisler and McCovey as well as Killebrew. The only ding against Hernandez is the power numbers you see with homers, RBI, and SLG where he would trail most Hall of Fame first baseman.

That said, all of those first baseman are a clear step behind Hernandez defensively. In fact, Hernandez was the best defensive first baseman to ever play the game.

This isn’t just the eye test, although when you look at plays like that, it helps. Hernandez is the all-time leader in Total Zone with a 121 mark. That puts him significantly ahead of Roger Connor, who has the second best mark at first base.

Keep in mind, when looking at defensive stats, Total Zone is the best one to look at when analyzing players across generations. On that note, here is the TZ leaders for each position across baseball history:

With the exception of Bonds, who is not in the Hall of Fame purely due to steroids, the best defensive player at each position is in the Hall of Fame. Well, that’s everyone except Hernandez.

It’s not just the stats. There is also Gold Gloves. Again, we see Hernandez and Bonds as the only players to have the most Gold Gloves at their position not be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Really, when we look at baseball history, we have seen a number of players inducted into the Hall of Fame due to their ability to play defense at a virtuoso level. Smith is the classic example. It was the argument for inducting Bill Mazeroski. Yet, for some reason, that argument has not been advanced to push Keith Hernandez into the Hall of Fame.

Remember, Hernandez wasn’t just a glove at first base. As noted above, he contributed offensively. He won the 1979 batting title. He led the league in runs twice. In his career, he also led the league at one point in doubles, walks, intentional walks, and OBP. In his career, he won two Silver Sluggers. Hernandez was also an 11 time Gold Glover, five time All-Star, and the 1979 NL MVP. Hernandez also won two World Series titles in his career.

Another important point was Hernandez was seen as a leader in his playing days, and he was the first captain in Mets history. When you look at Hernandez, he had a Hall of Fame caliber career in every single sense of the word. As you see with his broadcasts on SNY, this was a player who loved baseball and understood it better than just about everyone.

All told, Hernandez is one of the best defensive players in baseball history, and he is one of the best first basemen to ever step foot on the field. He did it different than most others at this position, but all told, he did it better than almost everyone. Next time he is eligible for the Hall of Fame, he should be inducted.

 

Ranking Mets Managers

Typically speaking, deciding who is “THE BEST” at something is a futile endeavor. After all, trying to apply objective measures to reach a subjective opinion is a concept somewhat at odds with itself.

In terms of baseball, it’s nearly impossible with the change of eras. Should Babe Ruth be considered the best ever when he played before integration? Should Barry Bonds be disqualified due to PEDs? Should we split the difference and say it’s Willie Mays?

Again, there’s just too many factors at play to determine who is THE BEST. To that end, we should look at this more as who’s in the discussion rather than who is atop the list.

In terms of the Mets, we know Tom Seaver is the best player to ever play for the team. That’s one of the rare instances where it’s clear-cut. It’s far from clear-cut on the manager side.

For 25 years, it was clearly Gil Hodges. He led the Miracle Mets to the 1969 World Series partially due to innovation. Hodges utilized platoons, and he might’ve been the first manager to utilize a five man rotation.

As we all know Hodges never got the chance to cement himself as the best manager ever as he suddenly died of a heart attack on the eve of the 1972 season. You can’t help but wonder what he could’ve done with the Mets getting Rusty Staub.

In 1984, the Mets hired Davey Johnson, who arguably went on to become the best manager in team history. In addition to winning the 1986 World Series, his teams never finished lower than second in the division.

Johnson was also the only Mets manager to win multiple division titles. In his tenure, his teams averaged 96 wins. It’s part of the reason why he has the most wins and highest winning percentage. Those were the Mets glory years, and he was at the helm.

Arguably, Hodges and Johnson are the Mets two best managers. However, there could be a case for Bobby Valentine.

Valentine is third in terms of wins and winning percentage. He came one year short of Johnson’s team record by having five consecutive winning seasons. However, notably, Valentine’s teams were not as loaded as Johnson’s.

Despite that, Valentine was the first Mets manager to lead the team to consecutive postseasons. He’s the only Mets manager to lead his team to a postseason series victory in consecutive seasons. In fact, he’s the only one to do it in any two seasons.

Overall, that’s the top three, and people should feel comfortable ranking them as they see fit. There’s a justifiable reason to put them in any order from 1-3. That said, Hodges and Johnson have the edge having won a Word Series.

After that trio, it’s fair to say Willie Randolph was a clear fourth. In addition to his leading the Mets to the 2006 NLCS, he never had a losing record while amassing the second best winning percentage in team history. His hand in developing David Wright and Jose Reyes to not only reach their potential, but also handling the city should never be discounted.

Honestly, if that isn’t your 1-4, you’re simply doing it wrong.

Terry Collins has a losing record and the most losses in team history. He blew a World Series. He also unapologetically destroyed reliever careers (see Tim Byrdak, Jim Henderson) while admitting he didn’t want to develop young players like Michael Conforto.

Yogi Berra was the manager who led the Mets to their second pennant, but he also finished with a sub .500 career despite having a World Series contending type of roster for part of his tenure.

After that, well, just consider there are only six Mets managers with a winning record. Two of them, Bud Harrelson and Mickey Callaway, were not generally well regarded for their managerial abilities. After that, there’s a lot of bad, including Hall of Famers Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.

Through Mets history, it’s clear who the four best managers are even if the order isn’t nearly as clear. Past them, it’s an uninspiring debate among pretty poor choices.

In the end, your list is personal to you, and no one can quite tell you you’re right or wrong. That is unless you do something monumentally stupid like having Hodges outside the top three or putting Stengel on your list.

Short of that, everyone’s opinions are valid, and it’s a fun debate. And remember, that’s all this is – a fun debate. It’s nothing more than that because you can’t definitely prove one is better than the other.