David Wright joins Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and John Franco as the only captains in New York Mets history.
David Wright of the New York Mets officially joined crosstown rival Derek Jeter as an MLB team captain on Thursday. Both brought a lot of joy to the Big Apple early in their careers prior to getting the figurative "C" stitched on.
The timing is certainly appropriate. Wright is coming off a strong season and continuing to serve as a model ambassador for the team. He also showed loyalty by agreeing to a long-term contract with the Mets, rather than opting to test free agency.
Jeter received the news amid a modest 10-game hitting streak back on June 3, 2003.
The two announcements were long overdue and met with overwhelmingly positive reactions. Jeter was nearing his 29th birthday and Wright is 30 years old.
Continue reading to delve into much deeper comparisons.
Jeter at the championship parade following the 2000 World Series.
Derek Jeter's immense talent expedited his journey through the New York Yankees farm system. He was even named Minor League Player of the Year in 1994.
The trophy collection swelled from there.
Baseball writers unanimously voted him the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year. He appeared in the MLB All-Star Game five consecutive times between 1998 and 2002, and won All-Star Game MVP for his Midsummer Classic debut. Jeter was the AL's hits leader in 1999 and a perennial top-10 finisher in regular-season MVP balloting (1998-2001) before his captaincy began.
But wait, there's more!
The shortstop became a playoff sensation and integral component of Yankee teams that clinched championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Jeter's performance in the latter earned him World Series MVP honors. He was even productive in 1997 and 2002, when New York didn't advance past the ALDS.
Citi Field acknowledged Wright's record-breaking hit.
Unfortunately, David Wright isn't consistently surrounded by the same caliber of talent. The New York Mets nearly secured a National League pennant in 2006, but have not returned to the postseason since.
During the summer, of course, the Virginia native has had his excellence recognized. He is a six-time NL All-Star who owns two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards as a third baseman. As a 24-year-old in 2007, Wright finished fourth in the NL MVP race. He became the club's career hits leader last September.
Let's not ignore international competition. Wright is largely responsible for Team USA's success in the World Baseball Classic.
A walk-off single from him against Puerto Rico in 2009 advanced the Americans into the tournament's semifinal round. And in the more recent WBC, Wright was his country's leading run producer and unquestionably, its most effective player.
He brought a lot of publicity back to the Mets upon returning to spring training.
Wright after launching his 204th regular-season home run.
Several of their pre-captaincy stats are eerily similar.
For example, Derek Jeter had 1,416 career hits before New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner made the decision. David Wright enters 2013 with 1,426 hits (though it took him significantly more games to reach that total). In terms of stolen bases? Jeter 168, Wright 166. Also, Jeter was a nine-year MLB veteran at the time, just as Wright is now.
The power numbers obviously aren't comparable. Wright has almost twice as many home runs as Jeter did (204 to 117) and significant advantages in slugging percentage and OPS. With that approach comes a few hundred extra strikeouts. He went deep at least 25 times in five past seasons. Even through 2012, Jeter has never gotten to that mark.
Jeter, however, gained an additional half-season's worth of baseball experience—82 games, to be exact—in the postseason through 2002. During those Octobers, he maintained a .314/.385/.469 batting line. When the 2006 New York Mets went deep into the playoffs, Wright wasn't particularly great (.216/.310/.378).
Batting atop a deep lineup helped Jeter annually surpass 100 runs scored. Wright, on the other hand, has only two such seasons.
Stats alone don't make these men "captain material." Memorable moments are incredibly important.
Derek Jeter's flip play in the 2001 ALDS, his "Mr. November" home run in the ensuing World Series and his countless trademark jump-throws (via Getty Images) endeared him to the New York Yankees fanbase at an early age.
What David Wright highlights do the New York Mets cherish?
This barehanded catch from 2005 was absolutely awesome (courtesy of MLB.com). Amid a campaign that saw the Mets finish below .500, he hustled for this long-awaited single, which made him their all-time hits leader.
And there will be plenty more of Wright in New York's future. Over the winter, he agreed to an eight-year, $138 million contract extension.
He wholly deserves the money and the captaincy.