Kevin Mitchell

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 47 Jesse Orosco

Imagine trading a pitcher like Jerry Koosman, a man who was so important to your franchise winning its first ever World Series, and in return, you get Jesse Orosco, a man who would similarly be of vital importance to your team winning its second ever World Series. Somehow, the Mets accomplished this feat.

From 1979 – 1982, Orosco was figuring out his role and then establishing himself as a reliever. In 1983, he would really burst onto the scene with one of the truly great seasons a reliever has ever had. Arguably, it is the greatest season a Mets reliever has ever had.

In a feat relievers do not regularly achieve now, Orosco threw 110.0 innings. In Mets history, among pitchers who have thrown 100 innings in a season, Orosco’s 1.47 ERA is the best ever. He was so good that season, he was an All-Star, and he would finish third in the Cy Young voting. That’s the highest in Cy Young voting any Mets reliever has ever finished.

He’d also set team reliever records with 13 wins. Overall, he was 13-7 with 17 saves, a 1.47 ERA, and a 1.036 WHIP. With that, a Mets team who was about to turn the corner knew they had a terrific closer who could pitch at any point in the game.

For 1984, he would be that for a Mets team who went from under .500 to 90 wins and in contention. It would mark the second straight time Orosco would be named an All-Star. In 1985, he would be joined by Roger McDowell in the bullpen, and they would share closing duties. As it turns out, they could do more than that.

There were many great stories from that 1986 season. One of the craziest came on July 22, 1986. In the 10th inning of an extra inning game, catcher Ed Hearns was the last player on the bench. That became an issue when Eric Davis slid hard into third leading to Ray Knight coming up punching. The benches cleared leading to the ejection of Knight and Kevin Mitchell. This meant a pitcher was going to have to play the field.

Through the ingenuity of Davey Johnson, Orosco and McDowell split pitching duties. McDowell pitched to right-handed batters with Orosco in right field, and Orosco pitched to left-handed batters with McDowell in left field. In the 13th, Tony Perez would lined one the other way with Orosco fielding it cleanly.

In the 14th, Orosco reached via walk, and he would be one of the three runs which scored on Howard Johnson‘s go-ahead three run homer in an epic Mets victory. The length and drama of that game would be nothing compared to the postseason.

In the NLCS, Orosco would set Major League history. In that tight, epic series, Bob Ojeda was the only Mets starter to earn a victory. The other three wins were by Orosco. With that, Orosco would be the first and to date only reliever to ever earn three wins in a postseason series.

The biggest and most well known win was his last one. Initially, Orosco had blown the save in that game after allowing a homer to Billy Hatcher in the 14th. Orosco shook that off to pitch a scoreless 15th. When the Mets took the lead in the 16th on a three run rally which included an Orosco sacrifice bunt, it was on Orosco to send the Mets to the World Series.

The Astros would not go quietly scoring two runs. They had runners on first and second with two outs. As the story goes, Keith Hernandez came to the mound to threaten Orosco and Gary Carter if there was a fastball thrown to Kevin Bass. Carter always said he wanted Orosco to shake him off and only throw his slider. There wasn’t as Bass struck out to end the series.

The NLCS that seemingly no one could forget would become an afterthought after what was a storied World Series. The tired Orosco who was pushed to the limits in the NLCS would pitch four times in the World Series where he would again take part in crazy games.

In Game 6, he entered the eighth inning to bail McDowell out of a bases loaded two out jam. He’d be lifted for Lee Mazzilli in a rally where the Mets tied the game to set the stage for the two out heroics in the 10th. Orosco would play a much larger role in Game 7.

After the Red Sox pulled within 6-5 in the eighth, Orosco relieved McDowell. With his best reliever on the mound, and the Mets having a lead, there was no way Johnson was going to lift Orosco if his turn to bat came. As luck would have it, the Mets rallied in that eighth to add insurance runs, and Orosco came to the plate in a sacrifice situation.

That’s when Orosco pulled the old butcher boy and hit an RBI single up the middle to extend the Mets lead to 8-5. Believe it or not, that was the last hit and the last RBI of that series. Orosco made sure of that as he struck out Marty Barrett to end the series throwing his glove up into the heavens:

We are all still waiting for that glove to land. According to legend, it may land when Darryl Strawberry finally rounds the bases after that long home run.

In that postseason, Orosco was 3-0 with two saves, and a 1.98 ERA. He was the man on the mound when the Mets won the pennant, and he was the man on the mound when the Mets won the World Series. It is somewhat fitting as he was the man who was obtained for Koosman.

Orosco’s Mets career would end after the 1987 season as he was sent to the Dodgers in a three team trade which netted the Mets Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst. For a brief moment, he was with the Mets again after the end of the 1999 season, but he was traded for Joe McEwing (who also wore 47) before the 2000 season began.

That gives an indication how long Orosco pitched. As it stood, he made more appearances than any other pitcher in Major League history. In terms of Mets history, he ranks sixth, one behind the man who was sent to Minnesota to obtain him. Orosco is also fourth in saves being the first Mets pitcher to ever eclipse 100 saves. He also has the third best ERA+ and ERA in team history. Overall, he is the best Mets pitcher to ever wear the number 47.


1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy

29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto
31. Mike Piazza

32. Jon Matlack
33. Matt Harvey

34. Noah Syndergaard
35. Rick Reed
36. Jerry Koosman
37. Casey Stengel
38. Skip Lockwood
39. Gary Gentry
40. Bartolo Colon
41. Tom Seaver

42. Ron Taylor
43. R.A. Dickey
44. David Cone
45. Tug McGraw

46. Oliver Perez

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 18 Darryl Strawberry

This is the one the Mets got right. After drafting Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson and then Tim Foli over Thurman Munson, the Mets had the first overall pick in the 1980 draft, and they selected Darryl Strawberry, a high school player so good he was dubbed the black Ted Williams.

The Mets needed to nail that pick because more than anything, they needed hope. Strawberry came to the Mets on the heel of Grant’s Tomb and was brought to the team by a new ownership group with a new GM Frank Cashen. To help turn the franchise around, they needed to nail this pick. It soon became evident they did.

Strawberry was first called up to the Mets in 1983, less than three full seasons after being drafted. He’d hit his first career homer to the opposite field marking the first of what was a Mets record 26 homers from a rookie:

During that 1983 season, Strawberry would set nearly every Mets offensive rookie record and nearly all of them stood for almost 40 years. In that season, he’d become the first ever Mets offensive player to win Rookie of the Year. Mostly, as noted, he presented a sense of hope. That season not only brought Strawberry, but also Keith Hernandez. Finally, the Mets had top end talent to help bring the Mets to true contenders.

Strawberry had all the tools to be a great baseball player. Power, speed, and an incredible arm. While there personal issues which held him back from realizing his full potential, he was a great player with the Mets providing them with a threat in the middle of the lineup.

While he improved in the 1984 and 1985 seasons and was named an All-Star, it was really the 1986 season where we saw Strawberry become all he could be. This began a three year period where he was possibly the most feared slugger in the National League. During that time, he led the National League in homers and wRC+, and he led all the majors in SLG.

It wasn’t just that he hit homers. He was also getting important hits for those Mets teams. Quite possibly, the first truly big homer in his career was in Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS. The Mets were trailing 4-0 in the bottom of sixth, and they were facing falling behind 2-1 in the series with Mike Scott returning for Game 4. In that inning, after the Mets scored their first run, Strawberry hit a game tying three run homer off Bob Knepper.

As big as that homer was, Strawberry hit an even more dramatic homer in Game 5. In the bottom of the fifth, Nolan Ryan was no-hitting the Mets. In that game, Ryan was throwing the type of no-hit stuff which would eventually make him a legendary Hall of Famer. He would only give up two hits that day. Fortunately for the Mets, one of those hits was a Strawberry homer:

This should not be understated. If not for Strawberry’s two homers in this series, it is very likely the Mets don’t win that series. The same can be said for Strawberry’s drawing two key walks in Game 6 which led to runs being scored. It was also his lead-off double in the 16th which led to the pennant clinching rally.

Like most of the Mets, it took Strawberry some time to get going in the World Series. The sensitive Strawberry was always upset he had been taken out of Game 6, and he was upset he didn’t get to contribute to that rally. Notably, Kevin Mitchell had come up in his spot in the order as he had been double switched out of the game in the ninth. He would make up for it in Game 7 by hitting an absolute moon shot in the eighth inning and taking his time around the bases:

The Mets would not return to the World Series after that, but even with his personal life falling apart, it is difficult to blame Strawberry for that. Over the ensuing two years, he again was an All-Star, and he would finish in the top six in MVP voting.

In 1987, he and Howard Johnson became the first Mets to join the 30/30 club. When Strawberry accomplished the feat, he became the first ever left-handed hitter in the National League to accomplish the feat. He was the first to do it in any league in the post World War II era.

As big as an accomplishment as that was, he was even better in 1988 leading the league in homers, SLG, OPS, OPS+, and wRC+. Remarkably, that would land him his first ever Silver Slugger award. To this day, it is still surprising Strawberry didn’t win that award. After all, he was great from day one pulling off incredible feats like hitting the roof of Olympic Stadium on Opening Day:

At that time, there was arguably no better player in all of baseball than Strawberry. While we always see his career for what it wasn’t, Strawberry was definitively on a Hall of Fame pace during his time with the Mets.

When Strawberry was a Met, he made seven straight All Star Games. The one time he didn’t was his rookie year, and that year, he was the Rookie of the Year. From 1987 – 1990, he was in the top six in MVP voting three out of four years with two of those years being third or better.

In terms of Mets history, believe it or not, he is the best hitter in franchise history. Out of everyone who has played at least 500 games, his 143 wRC+ is still best. The same can be said for his 252 homers and his 108 intentional walks. Overall, he is either first or second in many categories, and he is top 5-10 in almost all of them.

This makes him the second best Mets position player of all-time. It makes him the best right fielder and left-handed hitter. It also makes him the best Mets player to ever wear the number 18.


1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez

Best Mets Of All-Time: No. 1 Mookie Wilson

With COVID19, we don’t get baseball. Instead, we have memories of baseball. Our favorite games, moments, and players. Each team has their own legends who are mostly remembered for their own contributions. In an effort to recognize that, we are going to run down the greatest players in Mets history by going through the uniform numbers.

We begin at number 1, which in Mets history has become synonymous with Mookie Wilson.

The best stretch in Mets history began with him because on September 2, 1980, he batted lead-off and played center field for the Mets. In that game, Wally Backman was also in the line-up, and with that the first two members of the 1986 World Series champion roster were in place.

Much like the Mets as a franchise, Mookie had to fight for everything he got as he was constantly being challenged for playing time. In 1986, that came in the form of Lenny Dykstra, who had a great rookie season. Mookie would eventually force his way into the lineup taking over left from the released George Foster.

That situation became all the more complicated in the subsequent offseason when the Mets obtained Kevin McReynolds from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Kevin Mitchell and prospects. Through this time, he would have to platoon, and he would be frustrated by the process seeking a trade at one point. Still, through it all, he remained a Met.

In fact, Mookie was one of the longest tenured Mets in history. When he was finally traded in 1989 to the Toronto Blue Jays, he was the longest tenured Met on the team. He was also the longest tenured Met when they won the World Series in 1986. In fact, when he departed, only Ed Kranepool, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, and Cleon Jones had played more games than him.

Over his 10 years with the Mets, he was the team’s all-time leader in triples and stolen bases. He was also third in runs and doubles. Really, at that point in Mets history, he was top 5-10 in most offensive categories. This shows how much of an impactful player he was for the franchise. That was perhaps best exhibited in his having the single greatest at-bat in team history:

In that at-bat, Mookie battled like few others we have seen in baseball history. Despite falling down 0-2 against Bob Stanley with the next strike ending the World Series, Wilson would take two pitches evening up the count at 2-2 before fouling off two pitches. The next pitch was the wild pitch.

Looking back at it, it was incredible he got out of the way of the pitch. His getting out of the way of the pitch allowed Mitchell to score from third and to permit Ray Knight to get into scoring position. He then fouled off another pitch before hitting the ball between Bill Buckner‘s legs. In that moment, the Mets made one of the greatest comebacks not just in baseball but sports history.

Mookie’s Mets contribution did not end there. He’d return to the franchise as a first base coach working on Bobby Valentine‘s staffs. On that note, he’d be standing in the first base coaches’ box during Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam single. That means Wilson was there up the first base line for two of the most improbable postseason comebacks with the Mets facing elimination.

Mookie is also the father of Preston Wilson, the former Mets prospect who was one of the headliners headed to the Miami Marlins for Mike Piazza. This only speaks to everything Mookie was. He was much more than the baseball player who got married at home plate in the minor leagues. He has been a good man and eventually became an ordained minister.

Through and through, Mookie is Mets baseball. He is an important figure in team history, and he is certainly the best ever player to wear the No. 1 in team history.

Mets All Eclipse Team

With the solar eclipse happening, now is as good as any to create a Mets All-Time Solar Eclipse Team.  These are players who are included due to their names and not because of their exploits.  For example, the will be no Mike Piazza for his moon shots, or Luis Castillo for his losing a ball in the moon.

SP – Tim Redding

He is the great nephew of Joyce Randoph of Honeymooners fame where Ralph threatened to send Alice right to the moon,.

C – Chris Cannizzaro 

Cannizzaro is the name of a lunar crater

1B – Lucas Duda

Lucas means light giving

2B –Neil Walker

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon

3B – Ray Knight

Pretty self explanatory, first sun rays, and then night.

SS – Asdrubal Cabrera

Asdrubal means helped by Baal.  Baal is a moon god

OF – Kevin Mitchell

Mitchell was one of the 12 men to walk on the moon

OF – Don Hahn

Hahn means rooster, which is an animal that crows at sunrise.

OF – Victor Diaz

His first and last name combined translate to day conqueror, which is effectively what the eclipse does.

Lucas Duda Is Our Bill Buckner

Did you ever watch a compilation of the greatest moments in Major Leauge history?  If you have, you usually come across Mookie Wilson‘s little roller up the first base line, and as a Mets fan it brings you a smile.  If you’re a Red Sox fan, you cringe each and every time you see the ball roll through Bill Buckner‘s legs and watch a delirious Ray Knight cross home plate.

As I learned yesterday, the Mets now have their Buckner moment.

In Game Three of the ALDS between the Rangers and the Blue Jays, the score was tied 6-6 in the bottom of the 10th inning.  The Blue Jays had runners at first and second with one out.  Russell Martin hit a ball to the third base hole that seemed too slow to turn the double play.  That didn’t deter Rougned Odor.  After received the throw from Elvis Andrus, he made an offline throw to the first baseman Mitch Moreland, who was unable to handle the ball.  While this was occurring reigning AL MVP, Josh Donaldson, did not stop running.  He rounded third and headed home.  By the time Moreland would pick the ball up and throw home, it was too late.  It was just a brutal way for the Rangers to lose the ALDS.

Sure enough, everyone started comparing Donaldson to Eric Hosmer.  MLB even did a Vine comparing the two plays:

And now we know that every time a player hustles to make a play, invariably there is going to be a comparison to the infamous Lucas Duda throw home in Game Five of the 2015 World Series.

Duda deserves a better fate that this, as did Buckner.  The Mets don’t go to the 2015 World Series without him.  As we saw this past season, when Duda suffered a stress fracture in his lower back, the team missed his presence in the lineup, and yes, the team missed his defense at first base.  One throw doesn’t change what he has accomplished in his career, nor does it change how much the Mets need him back on the field in 2017.

However, that throw does define him.  Years later, all people outside of New York will know about him is he is the guy that made the poor throw.  Assuredly, someone is going to invariably blame him for blowing not just the game, but the entire World Series.  It’ll be nonsense.

As we saw in 1986, it wasn’t just Buckner.  It was Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell, and Knight not willing to go down without a fight.  It was Rich Gedman just missing a pitch, that was somehow ruled a Bob Stanley wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score.  Furthermore, it was the Red Sox who blew a 3-0 lead in Game Seven of the World Series.  Buckner’s error didn’t help things, but it wasn’t the reason why the Red Sox lost.

Last year, it was Terry Collins allowing Matt Harvey to talk him into pitching another inning.  It was then Collins sticking with Harvey too long in that ninth inning before turning to Jeurys Familia.  It was David Wright cutting in front of Wilmer Flores, to not only make a weak throw to get the out at first, but also to allow Hosmer to aggressively round an abandoned third base.  It was also the Mets offense that didn’t score any runs in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings to lead to that loss.

Like Buckner, Duda didn’t help matters, and he will be forever blamed for the loss.  Worse yet, people will forget two pretty good careers by letting their worst moments define them.  They’ll have that opportunity because their respective errors will be replayed time and time again.  In that sense, Duda has now become the Mets version of Buckner.