All-Time Team of New York Mets Killers
Some players nearly could have been elected to the Hall of Fame simply based on their production against the New York Mets.
Every player has a stadium they prefer to hit at, or perhaps a mound that they find it easy to succeed on. Apparently, some players enjoyed hitting at Shea Stadium a bit too much.
For whatever reason, certain players have had a knack for punishing the Mets at the most inopportune times.
Here is the all-time list of Mets killers.
Catcher: Joe Torre
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While most young baseball fans of this generation will associate Joe Torre exclusively with his tenure as the manager of the New York Yankees, it is hard to ignore the tremendous career that he had as a player.
He quickly became an All-Star caliber catcher, however, and was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals due to a dispute with the manager.
During his tenure with the Cardinals, Torre won the 1971 National League MVP and became a real menace to the Mets.
He compiled 30 home runs against the Mets in his career, and it would have been much more had he not been traded to them in 1975.
Eventually, Torre was switched to third base as he got older and his production slipped from behind the plate.
During his Mets career he is most known for hitting into four double plays in one game, with Felix Millan singling before him in every at bat.
First Base: Willie Stargell
The late Willie Stargell had a tremendous career and is one of the most under-appreciated superstars in baseball history.
Wilver Dornell Stargell played his entire 21-year career for the Pittsburgh Pirates when they were busy dominating the National League.
Stargell led the Pirates to six NL East titles and two World Series titles, in 1971 and 1979, and was named the co-MVP in 1979.
The first home run in Shea Stadium was hit by Stargell, which should have been a sign of things to come.
He ended up torching the Mets for 59 more home runs, by far the most any opponent has hit against them.
Second Base: Chase Utley
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The hard-nosed—sometimes dirty—Chase Utley had one of the most dominant five-year stretches of any second basemen in Major League Baseball history.
Five top-20 finishes in the NL MVP is nothing to scoff at.
Much of that success, however, came at the hands of the New York Mets.
Over his career, Utley has torched the Mets to the tune of 27 home runs with 69 RBI and a .901 OPS in 119 games started.
The pinnacle of his domination of the Mets came in 2009, when he hit nine home runs at Citi Field in nine games. No Mets player hit more than nine home runs at Citi Field, and they happen to play 81 games there.
Utley is now on the back-end of his career, having suffered multiple serious injuries, which might mean his Met-killing days are over.
For Mets fans, that cannot come a moment too soon.
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins
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Jimmy Rollins could enter this list based on his performance in 2007 alone.
He began the bitter rivalry between the Mets and Phillies by declaring that the Phillies were the "team to beat" in the NL East.
It was a big deal at the time considering the Mets had ran away with the division the prior season, finishing 12 games ahead.
The proclamation was appearing foolish on September 12, when the Mets sat a comfortable 7.5 games ahead of Philadelphia.
Rollins put the Phillies on his back from that point forward which propelled the Phillies into first place and ultimately won him the NL MVP.
It was infuriating to witness his prophecy come to fruition, especially with his machine-like efficiency at the plate.
"J-Roll" has not come close to approaching his MVP numbers, but he continues to do damage against the Mets.
For his career, he has hit 24 home runs against the Mets in 190 career games.
Third Base: Chipper Jones
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The fact that Chipper Jones named his son "Shea" pretty much sums up his level of success against the club.
Chipper has had himself a borderline Hall of Fame career, compiling some of the best numbers of any third basemen in history.
Much of Chipper's success has been against the Mets, as he has hit 49 home runs against them.
In recent years, injuries have hampered his production, but nobody will forget the thorn that he was during his prime years from 1996-2001.
Fans went to great lengths while attempting get into Chipper's head. The crowd at Shea often chanted "Lar-ry", the given name of Chipper which he dislikes.
In 1999, one fan actually held a doll wearing Jones' jersey while being hung from a noose.
Clearly, none of it worked as Chipper has made a career dominating the Mets and putting a damper on their playoff hopes year after year.
Leftfield: Pat Burrell
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For a pretty pedestrian big league player, Pat Burrell sure played like Babe Ruth against the Mets.
The big right-handed hitter was the first overall pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1998 draft out of the University of Miami.
He made his first splash against the Mets in the 10th inning of a game while facing Armando Benitez. The home run gave the Phillies a win and was a trend among match ups between these two.
The next night, Burrell hit a grand slam against Armando Benitez, which was another jaw-dropping moment in Mets' history.
Burrell continued to slay the Amazins' and finished his career with 42 home runs against the Mets. His next most against an opponent is 26 against the Florida Marlins.
This makes him the most inexplicable Met-killer of all-time in my opinion. He continuously hit back-breaking home runs, including multiple times during the 2007 collapse.
Now he is retired, and will be left with the dilemma—why could he not produce against any other team?
Center Fielder: Shane Victorino
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Plenty of players have hit more home runs or driven in more runs against the Mets, but perhaps nobody was as pesky as Shane Victorino.
During the Philadelphia Phillies' run of NL East titles from 2007-2011, Victorino appeared to have a hand in every rally and make a standout defensive play every game.
For his career, he has compiled a .281 batting average with 60 runs scored against the Mets with 11 home runs.
He has the knack for timely hits, and has spoiled many potential Mets' victories with base hits.
Again, legendary players like Willie Mays put up more power numbers but Victorino has been the very definition of a Met-killer through out his career.
Now playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, perhaps he will not be as much of a nightmare for Mets fans.
Right Fielder: Andre Dawson
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"The Hawk," as he was affectionately known, was recently inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
He could also be inducted into the Met-killer Hall of Fame based on his 36 career home runs against the Mets.
Dawson played most of his 21-year career in the National League, which gave him 267 career games to do damage against the Mets.
The 8-time All Star won the 1987 NL MVP with a monster year, crushing 49 home runs and driving in 137 runs, despite playing for the last place Chicago Cubs.
The fact that Dawson also hit more than 30 career home runs against the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies makes it a bit more understandable that he torched the Mets so routinely.
No.1 Starting Pitcher: Greg Maddux
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You could probably make the case that any pitcher from the Atlanta Braves pitching staff in the 1990s could belong on this list.
The ace of that staff deserves to be the ace of this list.
Aside from Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux might be the least intimidating Cy Young winner of all-time in terms of physical stature.
Standing barely 6'0 and weighing at 170 lbs, Maddux made up for his lack of size with outstanding control and mound presence.
Of his 355 career victories, 35 came against the New York Mets.
During his incredible run of four consecutive Cy Young Awards—in which he compiled a ridiculous 1.98 ERA during the "Steroid Era"—Maddux was a wizard on the mound.
He routinely baffled the Mets, especially in big games, and often did so without breaking a sweat or 90 MPH on the gun.
"The Maddog" was basically the face of the Braves dynasty which won 14 consecutive NL East division titles.
The Mets finally exercised the Maddux run of doom by defeating him in the 2006 NLDS while he was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
No.2 Starting Pitcher: Bob Gibson
How's this for a large sample size—in 385 innings against the New York Mets, Bob Gibson compiled a 28-14 record with a 2.57 ERA.
It's not quite as dominating as his 30-12 record against the Philadelphia Phillies, or his 1.12 ERA with 28 complete games during his 1968 MVP season, but still enough to garner a spot on this list.
Gibson is widely considered one of the most competitive and intimidating athletes of all-time.
Willie Mays told the story that he once approached Gibson before a game and greeted him by saying, "Hey Bob, how's it going today"? which Bob replied by saying, "I don't know, I'll let you know tomorrow."
That is a testament to his hell-bent attitude of winning, which combined with a hellacious slider to win many games over the New York Mets.
No.3 Starting Pitcher: John Smoltz
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John Smoltz could actually crack this list as either a starter or a reliever considering he won 18 games to go along with 24 saves.
For much of the 1990s and early 2000s, Smoltz was the least ballyhooed of the trio of Braves' aces due to the fact he did not win a Cy Young while Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine combined to win six.
Smoltz was the one who compiled the best postseason stats, winning 15 games against only 4 losses with a 2.67 ERA in 27 starts.
Against the Mets, Smoltz was a bulldog. He combined a mid 90s fastball with an off-the-charts slider that continually baffled the Mets hitters, even when they featured lineups of Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura and Edgardo Alfonzo.
The Mets can take solace in the fact that one of their best postseason moments occurred while he was on the mound.
During Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS, Mike Piazza hit a dramatic two-run opposite field home run to tie the score after Al Leiter put them in a 5-0 first inning hole.
Also, Pedro Martinez out dueled Smoltz on April 10th, 2005 to record his first victory in a Mets uniform. Smoltz recorded 15 strikeouts on that day, but was ultimately bitten by a Carlos Beltran home run to dead-center.
Regardless, Smoltz was another pitcher who consistently dominated the Mets through out his career and they are fortunate that trio of stars have retired.
No. 4 Starting Pitcher: Josh Johnson
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Though he is just 28 years old, Josh Johnson has already proven to be a Met-killer throughout his young career.
Johnson has been an effective pitcher no matter who he faces, but becomes a perennial Cy Young contender when facing the Mets.
In 15 starts spanning 94 innings, Johnson is 8-1 with a 2.59 ERA against the Mets.
The 6'7" righty made his impression during his rookie season in 2006 when the Florida Marlins were starting rookies all over the diamond and he came out of obscurity to post a 3.10 ERA.
Since then, Johnson has repeatedly stymied the Mets with his high-90s heat and devastating slider which has been especially tough on David Wright.
The lone victory against him was opening day 2010, when he was out-dueled by Johan Santana.
The Marlins might not still be the nightmare they were to the Mets on the final weekend in '07 and '08 but Johnson continues to be their superior.
Relief Pitcher: Armando Benitez
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Armando Benitez cracks this list for two reasons. First off, he was on the mound for some of the most heartbreaking losses of the Bobby Valentine era.
He put up some tremendous numbers—especially in 1999 when he compiled a staggering 242 ERA+—but his blown save in Game One of the World Series was devastating for the Mets morale in the series.
The second reason is that once the Mets got rid of him and the Florida Marlins took a shot, the Mets were once again at the mercy of the 6'4" closer.
Benitez converted all 10 of his save opportunities against the Mets in 2004, and finished with a 1.29 ERA on the season.
He ended up recording 14 career saves against the Mets. One can argue he had a similar effect on the Mets whether he was playing for or against them.