2013 MLB All-Star Game: Who Would Be the Mets' Most Worthy Ambassador?
Now that the 2012 MLB All-Star Game has come to an end, it's time to start looking forward to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game which will take place at Citi Field in New York. Citi Field of course is the home of the New York Mets, and it will be the first time the Mets will host an All-Star Game since 1964. That year, of course, was the Mets' inaugural season at their former home, Shea Stadium.
In this past All-Star Game, Hall-of-Famer George Brett, arguably the greatest player in Royals history, was the Team Ambassador for the event and did a great job in this role. As the 2013 MLB All-Star Game gets closer and closer, the Mets will have to choose an official Team Ambassador of their own for the event.
Here are the five most worthy candidates for Mets' Team Ambassador for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.
1. Tom Seaver
The most recognizable choice for Mets' Team Ambassador for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game would be Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.
So far, Seaver is the only player to go into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Mets player, and is still recognized as the greatest player in Mets' history.
At 67 years of age, Seaver is still doing well. Although he now lives in California full time, he still makes at least a few appearances in New York every year and will certainly be at Citi Field during next year's All-Star Game.
Besides spending the first 11 years of his 20-year MLB career with the Mets and winning a world championship and three NL Cy Young Awards while doing so, Seaver has contributed to other aspects of the Mets' organization over the years. He was one of the Mets' announcers from 1999-2005, and has been one of the Mets' ambassadors since 2006.
While Seaver might be the oldest of these candidates, he certainly has the most experience, and would be very worthy of being the Mets' Team Ambassador for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.
2. Rusty Staub
Another worthy candidate is Rusty Staub, who is in his thirteenth season as a Mets' ambassador.
Staub had two stints with the Mets during his playing career. His first stint was from 1972-1975, when he became one of the Mets' first offensive stars and was one of the biggest offensive contributors during the Mets' journey to the 1973 World Series. Staub then returned in 1981 and spent the rest of his career with the Mets as a pinch-hitting specialist before retiring after the 1985 season.
A year later, Staub got inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame and has since been as charitable to New York City as anyone. He created the New York Police and Fire Widows and Children's Benefit Fund Foundation in 1986 and made great efforts after the 9/11 attacks.
Over the years, Staub has made many charitable appearances both at Shea Stadium and Citi Field. He has been around the Mets' organization for such a long time and he would certainly be worthy of being the Mets' Team Ambassador for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game because he has a lot of experience in running events and being helpful to anyone in need.
On the other hand, Staub is not one of the Mets' biggest historic icons, and that could hurt his chances of being the Mets' Team Ambassador next year. Nonetheless, if he is selected, there is no doubt that he will certainly be quite deserving of the honor.
3. Mookie Wilson
Yet another current Mets' ambassador that would be worthy of being the Mets' Team Ambassador at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game is Mookie Wilson.
The ultimate hero of the 1986 World Series, Wilson may only be in his first season as a team ambassador, but has been associated with the Mets not just as a player, but ever since his retirement. In 1993, Wilson was named a member of the Mets' Community Outreach Department and became a minor league instructor as well until becoming the Mets' first base coach prior to the 1997 season. He remained in that post through the entire Bobby Valentine era, which lasted through 2002.
From 2003-2004, Wilson managed the Kingsport Mets of the Rookie-level Appalachian League before becoming the Brooklyn Cyclones' manager in 2005. He then re-appeared as the Mets' first base coach in 2011 before being the ambassador he currently is. Even when he wasn't coaching, Wilson still made multiple appearances to Shea Stadium and Citi Field during various events and has always stayed very close to the Mets' organization.
While Wilson has a deep connection with the Mets and their fans, he isn't the most likely candidate to become the Mets' Team Ambassador at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. Despite that, he should still be considered for the honor. However, if he does get selected, he would do his job as well as anyone because Wilson has always made great efforts in everything he has done throughout his life.
4. John Franco
The fourth and final current Mets' ambassador is their former longtime closer John Franco, who was recently inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame this past June.
Franco spent 15 years with the Mets from 1990-2004. No Mets pitcher has appeared in more games and saved as many games as him. He was probably the most recognizable player on the team during the mid-1990s, as the Mets at the time searched for an identity. He was also very involved with the MLB Player's Union as the Mets' main representative for many years.
Franco is currently in his fourth year as a Mets' ambassador, and has been actively involved in many charitable events during this time. As a lifelong New Yorker and Brooklyn native, Franco has a particularly special connection with the Mets and New York City itself. He was very involved in the efforts following the 9/11 attacks, which hit him hard because his father was a fireman for many years.
Ever since retiring, Franco has made quite a few appearances at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, mostly for charitable events, but has always maintained his connection to the Mets, his favorite team growing up, and the Mets' fans.
Franco would be a very worthy choice to be the Mets' Team Ambassador at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, especially because he is a lifelong New Yorker and knows the city as well as anyone. What might hurt his chances of getting this honor is that he is not the most recognizable Met of all time among fans of other teams and he is not a Hall-of-Fame player yet.
Regardless, Franco is almost as deserving as Seaver for the honor to represent the Mets at next year's Midsummer Classic, and if he is the not the ambassador itself, he will still find a way to make significant contributions for the event.
5. Mike Piazza
If Bud Selig and MLB are looking for a more recent Mets icon to be the Mets' Team Ambassador for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, Mike Piazza would definitely have to be the Mets' most recent superstar and would be certainly worthy of the honor.
Piazza spent the 1998-2005 seasons with the Mets and led them to a postseason appearance in 1999 and a World Series appearance in 2000. The latter portion of his Mets' years were not as memorable, but he represents the late 1990s and early 2000s more than any other Met.
Ever since retiring after the 2007 season, Piazza has made quite a few appearances at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, most notably at Shea Stadium's final game and Citi Field's first ever game. He may not be a team ambassador right now, but this is mostly because Piazza has entered a new stage in his life. He has two young daughters and enjoys being a full-time father now that he is retired.
Piazza, though, remains connected with the Mets and their fans. He has already indicated that he will enter the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Met, which will hopefully occur in his first year of eligibility in 2013. It would be quite special if Piazza could represent the Mets at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game as the Mets' team ambassador, and then get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame just two weeks later.
Even if Piazza does not ultimately get selected as the Mets' team ambassador, he will play a large role in the event itself. For years, Piazza has played in the Legends and Celebrities Softball Game, which occurs the Sunday before the All-Star Game each year. Piazza did not happen to participate this year though because he decided to attend the ESPY Awards that day instead.
If any former Mets superstar represents the last 10 to 15 years, it is Piazza without question. He would definitely be deserving of being the Mets' Team Ambassador at next year's Midsummer Classic, but no matter what, he will still attend and participate in many of the events.