The New York Mets have been a proud franchise with a dedicated fan base since it’s inception in 1962. Over the course of a half century the franchise has seen many ups and downs, including 2 World Series titles (1969 and 1986), 5 National League Pennants (1969, 1973, 1986, 2000, 2015) and 6 National League East titles (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, 2006, 2015). In that time the Mets have had the good fortune of some of the all-time great ballplayers on their teams. Idiots Guides presents a list of 12 of the greatest New York Mets players in history. These are our considerations for the top 12, there are certainly other worthy players, but alas you can’t put everyone on the list. Enjoy!
Honorable Mention(s): Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Howard Johnson
#12. Mookie Wilson / Centerfield / 10 Seasons
Career Average: .274 Homeruns: 67 RBI: 438 OPS: .700 World Series Champion 1986 Mookie was a fixture and fan favorite while he patrolled centerfield for the Mets during the 1980’s. He is very well known as the guy who hit the ground-ball to 1st based that was misplayed by the Red Sox’s Bill Buckner, which opened the door to their miraculous comeback in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
#11. Lenny Dykstra / Outfielder / 5 Seasons
Career Average: .285 HR: 81 RBI: 404 OPS: .793 World Series Champion 1986 Lenny Dykstra was known as ‘Nails’ during his eventful and productive tenure with the New York Mets in the 1980’s. This included clutch hitting, hard-nosed fielding and a bankable hustle that epitomized New York City and the Mets team of that era. His felonious off field behavior aside, Lenny was an all-time New York Met.
#10. Lee Mazzilli / Centerfield / 10 Seasons
Career Average: .259 HR: 93 RBI: 460 OPS: .744 World Series Champion 1986 Lee Mazzilli was a New York Met for 10 of his 14 years in MLB. He was a perennial fan favorite and provided steady play year in and year out for the organization. Lee was named to the All-Star team in 1979 and has 2 World Series rings one as player (1986) and one as a coach.(2000). He is still part of MLB as a coach.
#9. Cleon Jones / Outfielder / 12 Seasons
Career Average: .281 HR: 93 RBI: 524 OPS: .744 World Series Champion 1969 Cleon Jones was an important part of the ‘Miracle Mets’ World Championship team from 1969 with a robust .340 average. In fact, he caught the final fly-ball out in their 1969 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Jones has a Rookie of the Year trophy on his mantle and is among the team’s all-time leaders in games played, hits and at-bats.
#8. David Wright / Third Baseman / 13 Seasons (Current 2016)
Career Average: .298 HR: 237 RBI: 960 OPS: .869 David Wright arrived in the Major Leagues (2004) with much fanfare as a highly touted prospect with superstar potential. It wasn’t long before he became the team leader, Captain and offensive run producer. David has 7 All-Star appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Slugger Awards and is a member of the exclusive 30–30 club. He’s been a staple of the Mets teams of the 2000’s and continues to be today even as his production slows down a bit. He also holds many team records.
#7. Tug McGraw / Starting Pitcher / 9 Seasons
Career Wins: 96 Losses: 92 Saves: 180 ERA: 3.14 World Series Champion 1969 Tug McGraw will alway be remembered for coining the legendary phrase, ‘Ya Gotta Believe’ which was the unofficial New York Mets inspirational rally for the 1969 season. He is a member of the New York Mets Hall of Fame, 2-time All-Star and 2-time World Series Champion, one with the Mets (1969) and one with the Phillies (1980).
#6. Daryl Strawberry / Right Fielder / 8 Seasons
Career Average: .259 HR: 335 RBI: 1000 OPS: .862 World Series Champion 1986 Daryl Strawberry was one hell of an athletic baseball talent, he was a true ‘5 tool’ player in the days when that combination of talent was quite rare. Opposing pitchers were confronted with a 6-foot-6 Strawberry who was among the most feared sluggers in MLB at the time. Most of his home runs were of the tape measure variety and his contributions to the Championship 1986 team are noteworthy. Even with his off field problems, Strawberry still managed a Rookie of the Year, 8 All-Star appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers and 4 World Series titles (1 Met, 3 Yankees). Strawberry’s legacy will never escape the ‘what could have been’ question however, he still managed a pretty good career overall.
#5. Dwight Gooden / Starting Pitcher / 11 Seasons
Career Wins: 194 Losses: 112 SO: 2293 ERA: 3.14 World Series Champion 1986 Die hard Met fans will never forget Dwight Gooden’s first couple of seasons with the team. Especially the 1985 season with his 24- 4 record with 268 strikeouts and a 1.53 earned run average. In short one of the most dominate pitching seasons in MLB history. Gooden’s career saw a National League (NL) Rookie of the Year Award (1984), 4 MLB All-Star games, a NL Cy Young Award (1985) and and 3 World Series Championships (One with Mets, Two with Yankees). He also has a ‘No-hitter’ with the Yankees in 1996. Dwight Gooden is a New York Met’s all-time legend.
#4. Gary Carter / Catcher / 5 Seasons
Career Average: .262 HR: 324 RBI: 1225 OPS: .773 World Series Champion 1986 Gary Carter was also known as the ‘Kid’ for his enthusiastic play that was full of joy. Carter was a heart and soul member of the champion 1986 team. He was also an 11-time All-Star with 5 Silver Slugger Awards (1981, 1982, 1984–1986) and 3 Gold Glove Awards (1980–1982). He had the game-winning hit for the Mets in Game 5 of the NLCS and started the Game 6 World Series rally against the Red Sox. Carter was a clutch player throughout his career. One of the greatest Mets of all-time which he accomplished in just 5 years time.
#3. Keith Hernandez / 1st Baseman / 7 Seasons
Career Average: .296 HR: 162 RBI: 1071 OPS: .821 World Series Champion 1986 Keith Hernandez was the rock of the Mets infield for his entire run with the team in the 1980’s. He brought a level of professionalism to each game that was infectious, or at least it should have been. In his career Hernandez was named an All-Star 5-times and won the 1979 NL MVP award (shared). He also won 2 World Series titles, one with the Mets and one with the Cardinals. His career hitting productivity was 31% above league average. Not bad. Hernandez continues to be a part of the Mets organization to this day doing game telecasts for SportsNet New York and WPIX.
#2. Mike Piazza / Catcher / 8 Seasons
Career Average: .308 HR: 427 RBI: 1335 OPS: .821 Mike Piazza’s time with the New York Mets was filled with accomplishments and success, just not that elusive World Series title. Piazza was arguably the most prolific offensive catcher in MLB history. He was a 12-time All-Star and a 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He brought the Mets to the World Series in 2000, however they fell short of the ring. It would turn out to be his only career World Series appearance. Nevertheless, Piazza was and continues to be a huge fan favorite in the Big Apple and an all-timer in Mets history.
#1. Tom Seaver / Starting Pitcher / 12 Seasons
Career Wins: 311 Losses: 205 SO: 3640 ERA: 2.86 World Series Champion 1969 Tom Seaver came to be known as ‘Tom Terrific’ as soon as his prodigious talent became obvious to all observers. His career started with National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1967 and he went on to be a 3-time NL Cy Young Award winner. Seaver is the Mets’ all-time wins leader and broke the 300 win barrier (311). He is also without question one of the greatest starting pitchers in MLB history. Tom Seaver was a 1992 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the greatest New York Met of all-time according to Idiots Guide’s analysts.