Ranking the New York Mets' Top 25 Catchers of All Time

Jennifer KhedarooContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2014

Ranking the New York Mets' Top 25 Catchers of All Time

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The New York Mets have had some of their greatest players come from the catcher position.

    From the beginning of Mets history to present day, it is evident that these players are often team leaders.

    These catchers also show how the game has changed. Most of the players on this list were lacking offensive power. But it's noticeable that the Mets have evolved from being interested in a more defensive catcher to a catcher who is well-rounded.

    Alas, there are steroid users (ahem ahem Hundley, Lo Duca) listed because of their impact on their teams. But of course, fan favorites such as the great Jerry Grote, Gary Carter and Mike Piazza are held in the highest regard.

    The rankings are based on how long each player spent with the Mets. Additionally, I explore how they have been able to contribute to the team offensively and/or defensively.

     

    All stats and rankings are from Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

25. Johnny Stephenson

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    Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1964-1966

    Batting average: .196

    Fielding percentage: .977

     

    Johnny Stephenson played for a few teams over a decade, including the Mets early on in his career.

    He was a backup catcher who clearly had ups and downs throughout his career.

    One of his downs included being the last batter in Jim Bunning's perfect game. Still, Stephenson can be considered a decent left-handed catcher.

    His batting average while with the Mets was a measly .196, with a .277 slugging percentage and .527 OPS. Stephenson played multiple positions for the Mets, including third base, outfield and catcher.

    At the end of the day, the Mets have always preferred a defensive catcher rather than a catcher who was better offensively. So although Stephenson wasn't as good as many of the players on this list, he certainly fit the bill for what the Mets wanted.

24. Robert Dale "Hawk" Taylor

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1964-1967

    Batting average: .213

    Fielding percentage: .975

     

    Robert Dale "Hawk" Taylor arrived in New York in 1963. He stayed with the Mets until 1967, right before J.C. Martin arrived on the New York scene.

    With the Mets, he had a .213 batting average, a .324 slugging percentage and .567 OPS. In four years with the team, Taylor had way more playing time than five years with the Milwaukee Braves.

    He played in 183 Mets games compared to 67 Braves games. He also had 435 plate appearances for the Mets, while only having 117 with the Braves.

    The benefit of having Taylor was that he could play multiple positions. He played outfield and first base, along with being the Mets' catcher.

23. Clarence "Choo-Choo" Coleman

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    Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1962-1963, 1966

    Batting average: .205

    Fielding percentage: .976

     

    Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman arrived in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies back in 1961.

    The rest of his career, three years, was spent with the Mets.

    Coleman was a .205 hitter with the Mets. He slugged for .281 and had an OPS of .572. He wasn't a great hitter, but he tried to make it as a strictly defensive player.

    Coleman told George Vecsey of the New York Times that he was often able to catch low pitches because of "moving quickly using both hands."

    In 1962, he was charged with just one error, when first baseman Marv Throneberry missed a pickoff signal from Coleman.

    With a consistently low batting average and defensive errors being committed more and more, Coleman was replaced by Jesse Gonder.

22. Charlie O’Brien

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    Mark D. Phillips/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1990-1993

    Batting average: .212

    Fielding percentage: .986

     

    Charlie O'Brien was traded to the Mets in August 1990 where he was a starting catcher and eventually a backup catcher to Todd Hundley.

    O'Brien hit for a very low average. A .212 batting average is never desirable, especially if it's coming from a player who is expected to play almost everyday. For two out of four years with the team, he hit for an average under .200. In 659 plate appearances, there were only 123 hits.

    But like most of the Mets catchers throughout their history, O'Brien was a defensive catcher.

    In 1990, O'Brien led the National League in caught stealing percentage with 45.7 percent. He managed to be ranked second and fourth in caught stealing percentage over the next couple of years. In 1991, he was ranked fifth in double plays turned by a catcher with seven.

21. Joseph Clifton "J.C." Martin

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    HH/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1968-1969

    Batting average: .219

    Fielding percentage: .995

     

    After a long stint with the Chicago White Sox, Joseph Clifton "J.C." Martin moved to the Mets in 1968. He spent two years in New York and even won a World Series championship before going to the Chicago Cubs.

    He had a .219 batting average, .316 slugging percentage and a .597 OPS. Clearly, that wasn't very impressive.

    Martin had two big moments in the postseason of 1969. In the first-ever NLCS game, Martin had to pinch hit for Tom Seaver. He did so successfully, as he drove in two runs. The Mets went on to win the game and the series against the Braves.

    In the World Series, as he was pinch hitting for Tom Seaver again, Martin laid out a bunt. On his way to first, he was hit by the ball. But he was not ruled out because the umpires did not feel that he intentionally interfered with the play.

    Because of Martin, extended running lanes were added to every MLB ballpark.

20. Junior Ortiz

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    Richard Drew/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1983-1984

    Batting average: .236

    Fielding percentage: .973

     

    Junior Ortiz originated from Puerto Rico and played for the Mets in 1983 and 1984.

    Although Ortiz had been playing somewhat well for most of his career, he had a little dip in numbers for the Mets. In 108 games, Ortiz had a batting average of .236, a slugging percentage of .264 and an OPS of .522.

    He backed up Ron Hodges for most of 1983. Behind the plate, he threw out 25 percent of would-be base stealers, according to CenterfieldMaz.com.

    Ortiz would go on to have the most double plays turned as a catcher, as well as the highest caught stealing percentage and fielding percentage in 1993. But with the Mets he was a light-hitting backup catcher.

19. Chris Cannizzaro

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    Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1962-1965

    Batting average: .236

    Fielding percentage: .985

     

    Chris Cannizzaro was an original member of the 1962 Mets (as seen above).

    In four years with the Mets, he hit a dismal .236 with a .282 slugging percentage and a .594 OPS. He did show some promise in 1964, with a .311 batting average over 60 games. He actually led the team in batting averages that season.

    But that batting average quickly dipped to .183 over 114 games in 1965.

    Defensively, he was much better. Of course, he did struggle here and there, though.

    However, he did have some strong points. He had the National League's second-most assists from a catcher in 1965 with 69. He was also ranked No. 5 in 1965 with eight double plays turned.

    And although it was hard to catch balls at the Polo Grounds due to a huge white sign in the background, Cannizzaro knew he had something special.

    "But as far as throwing I had one of the best arms in the National League by far," Cannizzaro told Sandy Burgin of MLB.com. "You don't go to the big leagues when you're 20 years old if you can't do something."

     

18. Alex Trevino

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1978-1981

    Batting average: .262

    Fielding percentage: .979

     

    At the age of 20 in 1978, Mexican-born Alex Trevino made his debut with the Mets.

    Whereas most of the Mets catchers throughout the years were more defensively skilled, Trevino was better offensively. Although, he was by no means an amazing hitter.

    Five years with the Mets, Trevino had a .262 batting average, .304 slugging percentage and a .611 OPS.

    As the Mets wouldn't be World Champions for another six years, Trevino wasn't a part of any monumental moments. His biggest offensive play probably came in Philadelphia on June 28, 1980. He managed to get a game-tying single in the eighth inning, which eventually led to a 5-4 Mets win over the Phillies. Trevino contributed to a doubleheader sweep.

    Trevino eventually left the Mets in 1981. He returned for a short while in 1990 but ended up going to the Cincinnati Reds where he finished out the year and his career.

17. Jesse Lamar Gonder

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    Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1963-1965

    Batting average: .271

    Fielding percentage: N/A

     

    Jesse Lamar Gonder was traded from the Reds to the Mets on July 1, 1963.

    Gonder was a good hitting catcher in the Yankee organization back in 1960-1961. However, the Yanks found no use for him as they already had two Yankee greats, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard.

    So in 1963, Gonder went to the Mets, who needed a catcher.

    In three years with the Mets, Gonder produced a .271 batting average. He had 14 home runs, 155 hits and 59 RBI, according to UltimateMets.com.

    Gonder wasn't particularly well-known for his role as a Mets catcher. This Great Game explained that although Gonder was a decent hitter, he possessed low defensive skills behind the plate. If Gonder had been a better defensive player, the Mets could've kept him around.

    He was eventually traded by the Mets to the Braves on July 21, 1965.

16. Brian Schneider

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 2008-2009

    Batting average: .244

    Fielding percentage: .996

     

    Brian Schneider came to the Mets in November 2007 after being traded with Ryan Church in exchange for Mets prospect Lastings Milledge.

    Schneider spent two seasons and 169 games with the Mets. He had a .244 batting average, a .356 slugging percentage and a .680 OPS.

    He was also the first Mets player to score a run at Citi Field.

    Schneider was a great veteran presence on the team. He worked with young pitchers like Mike Pelfrey. Schneider was also a great defensive catcher.

    He had the fourth-highest ranking in the National League in 2008 when it came to caught stealing percentage. He picked off 33.3 percent of runners attempting to steal a base.

    Schneider moved on to the Phillies before retiring. Although he didn't spend much time with the Mets, he was a bright spot when he was around and healthy.

15. Ramon Castro

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 2005-2009

    Batting average: .252

    Fielding percentage: .991

     

    You may or may not be surprised by this choice. After all, when he signed with the Mets in 2005, Ramon Castro was much older than many of the other players on this list. He was 29 years old and backed up Piazza.

    Once Piazza left the team after the 2005 season, Castro was overlooked by management, that brought in Paul Lo Duca from the former Florida Marlins. Lo Duca had replaced Castro on the Marlins previous to Castro signing with the Mets. Ouch!

    When Lo Duca left following 2007, Brian Schneider was named the new Mets catcher, again Castro was overlooked. The problem with Castro is that he's had a problem of keeping healthy over the years. Castro battled injuries throughout most of his career, including a hamstring injury in 2008 which limited his playing time.

    While with the Mets, he hit for a .252 batting average, .452 slugging percentage and a .774 OPS. He also had 121 RBI and knocked in 33 home runs for New York.

    After being traded to the White Sox in 2009, Castro struggled a bit. But he caught Mark Buehrle's perfect game on July 23, 2009.

    In 2012, the Mets toyed with the idea of bringing back Castro in order to back up and mentor young players, including Josh Thole, according to a tweet by ESPN's Adam Rubin.

    Castro didn't return to the Mets. He hasn't played a MLB game since 2011.

14. Josh Thole

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 2009-2012

    Batting average: .261

    Fielding percentage: .992

     

    The Mets drafted Josh Thole in the 2005 Major League Baseball draft.

    Thole was brought up to the big leagues in 2009, even though the catcher told Adam Rubin of New York Daily News, “My throwing is still coming along. There’s no question about it."

    Four years with the Mets and he was hitting .261, with a .331 slugging percentage and .664 OPS. He was a decent hitter for the Mets although sometimes he was quite streaky.

    Thole has had some difficulties with fielding, such as giving up the 16 passed balls, the most in 2011. But as a Met, he worked extremely hard to secure the starting catcher position. In fact, he had the third highest fielding percentage for catchers with .997.

    A major moment in Thole's time with the Mets was June 1, 2012. That was the day Johan Santana pitched, and Thole caught, the first no-hitter in Mets history. It was the best game to show Thole's abilities to call a game and work with a pitcher.

    On December 2012, the Mets traded Thole, along with R.A. Dickey and Mike Nickeas to the Toronto Blue Jays. In the trade, the Mets got catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who the team is hoping to be the future of the Mets.

13. Paul Lo Duca

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 2006-2007

    Batting average: .297

    Fielding percentage: .988

     

    Paul Lo Duca spent just two seasons with the Mets.

    He was a great offensive catcher, with a .297 batting average, 103 RBI and 284 hits, including 57 doubles. In 2006, he was second in the National League with 802 putouts and was fifth with 27 baserunners caught stealing.

    But Lo Duca had a miserable time with the New York media. While on the team, he was publicly humiliated when the media publicized an affair and a gambling scandal.

    When he left the Mets, Lo Duca was left embroiled in an even bigger scandal. He was named as a steroid user in the Mitchell Report. While with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lo Duca was referred to Mets clubhouse employee and dealer, Kirk Radomski, by former Met Todd Hundley.

    On page 209 of the Mitchell Report, it is shown that the Dodgers knew Lo Duca was taking steroids at one point. In fact, once he stopped using the steroids, Dodgers officials discussed trading him because he wasn't as productive as he used to be.

    On January 9, 2013, after the Baseball Hall of Fame decided not to elect anyone, Lo Duca came clean. He tweeted, "I took PEDs and I'm not proud of it..but people that think you can take a shot or a pill and play like the legends on that ballot need help."

    It's actually quite sad that, even though Lo Duca was involved in such scandal, he could still be considered one of the better Mets catchers offensively.

12. Jason Phillips

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 2001-2004

    Batting average: .262

    Fielding percentage: .996

     

    On September 19, 2001, Jason Phillips made his debut as a Mets catcher. Although he was used as a first baseman as well, his primary job was to be the backup to Piazza.

    Phillips played in 264 games for the Mets. Although he had limited playing time in 2001 and 2002, he had a breakout season in 2003. Phillips was able to play 119 games and had a .298 batting average with a .442 slugging percentage and .815 OPS.

    Phillips even looked patient at the plate, with 39 walks and 50 strikeouts in 453 plate appearances.

    However, the next season, when Phillips was awarded more playing time, he failed to put up good numbers again. His batting average dipped from .298 to .218, and his hits production went from 120 to 79.

    Eventually the Mets saw no use for him and acquired Ramon Castro and Mike DiFelice to back up Piazza. But when he was on the peak of his career, this goggle-glasses wearing catcher was one of the best Mets offensive catchers.

11. Todd Pratt

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 1997-2001

    Batting average: .265

    Fielding percentage: .990

     

    Todd Pratt began playing for the Mets in 1997.

    However, he kept losing out for the starting catcher or backup catcher positions for years. In 1999, he finally became the sole backup catcher to Piazza.

    That same season, he played in 71 games and racked up a .293 batting average. Overall as a Met, Pratt had a .265 batting average .414 slugging percentage and .769 OPS.

    In 2000, Pratt played in 80 more games. Although his batting average sunk to .275, he was still a decent offensive catcher. He also managed to hit eight home runs in 2000, a career high.

    However, Pratt lost his job once more. This time it was to Vance Wilson in 2001. Wilson had proven himself to be the better alternative as the backup catcher to Piazza. Therefore, Pratt was sent packing to the Phillies.

10. Todd Hundley

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    David Seelig/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 1990-1998

    Batting average: .240

    Fielding percentage: .992

     

    Todd Hundley began his career with the Mets and played with the team for most of the 1990s. His father was a former MLB player, and Hundley wanted to follow in his footsteps.

    But for the first few years in the majors, Hundley didn't look like he had a bright future, Prior to 1995, Hundley had continually low batting averages. And before 1996, he never got 100 hits in a season.

    In 1996, Hundley exploded. He hit for a batting average of .259 with a .906 OPS and 112 RBI. He also had a career high of 41 home runs.

    But, this certain burst of talent has now been linked with steroids.

    According to page 163 in the Mitchell Report, Radomski supplied Hundley with steroids a few times beginning in 1996. Before taking steroids, Hundley hit no more than 16 home runs in a single season. After taking the steroids in 1996, he hit 41 home runs.

    Now, he can chalk it up to the fact that he didn't suffer an injury 1996 compared to his previous injury-ridden seasons. Hundley can also say that year by year he was improving on hitting and fielding.

    In fact, Hundley hasn't come out and admitted to using steroids.

    It's hard to excuse steroid users, and it's even tougher to name Hundley as one of the greatest Mets catchers. He did put up the numbers, however. I think it's safe to say we're all glad Piazza replaced him though, right?

9. Vance Wilson

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 1999-2004

    Batting average: .254

    Fielding percentage: .992

     

    Vance Wilson's major league debut was on April 24, 1999, for the Mets. He was predominantly a backup catcher for Piazza.

    Wilson wasn't a great hitter. In six seasons he only had 165 hits. He had a batting average of .254 with a slugging percentage of .283 and an OPS of .558.

    The 2003 season provided some career highs for Wilson. Firstly, it was the year that he saw much more playing time. He hit eight home runs and had 38 RBI. He wasn't able to repeat that performance for the rest of his career.

    But more importantly, Wilson was a great defensive backup catcher. For instance, he had the National League's highest caught stealing percentage with 49.

    Injury forced the Mets to trade Wilson off to the Detroit Tigers before the 2005 season.

8. Barry Lyons

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 1986-1990

    Batting average: .240

    Fielding percentage: .972

     

    Barry Lyons was drafted by the Mets in 1982. He was a great hitter in the minor league system. By 1984, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the South Atlantic League.

    But something was missing when he arrived at the big leagues. Suddenly he was just a solid defensive catcher, but his hitting disappeared. Gone were the days that he was hitting around a .300 batting average.

    Throughout his career with the Mets, he never hit over a .255 average.

    Because he couldn't hit, he was often overlooked for the starting catcher position once Gary Carter was let go. The starting position went to Mackey Sasser because he was a better hitter than Lyons.

    But Lyons was still the traditional defensive catcher that the Mets usually go for. Lyons could've had a long, successful career with the Mets if he had known to hit as well as he could field the ball.

7. Donald Robert "Duffy" Dyer

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 1968-1974

    Batting average: .219

    Fielding percentage: .992

     

    After being drafted by the Mets in 1966, Donald Robert "Duffy" Dyer made his major league debut on September 21, 1968. For seven years, he made a name for himself while backing up Jerry Grote.

    Dyer played 23 games behind the plate, which contributed to the 1969 Miracle Mets team. You know, the ones who won the franchise's first World Series title!

    In 1972, while Grote was battling injuries, Dyer stepped up to the plate. He played 94 games that year, the most in a season as a Met. He hit for a .231 batting average, a .375 slugging percentage and a .675 OPS. But even more so, Dyer hit eight home runs in 1972, the most he ever hit in a single season throughout his career.

    Dyer was more of a defensive catcher than an offensive one, but still he managed to hit 16 home runs out of the park while playing for the Mets.

    Defensively, Dyer's best year also had to be 1972. He led National League catchers in double plays with 12 and in baserunners caught stealing with 40, per Baseball-Reference.com. Dyer also finished second in the national league with 61 assists, and he was third with a .996 fielding percentage.

    Although he moved to Pittsburgh in 1975, Dyer remains one of the better Mets backup catchers who performed well when he was needed.

6. Mack "Mackey" Daniel Sasser

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 1988-1992

    Batting average: .283

    Fielding percentage: .985

     

    Mackey Sasser was traded to the Mets in 1988.

    He was a backup catcher to Gary Carter although he did get plenty of time to play. In 1,002 plate appearances for the Mets, Sasser had a .283 batting average, .403 slugging percentage and a .712 OPS.

    In 1990, he was ranked fifth in the National League among catchers in caught stealing with 38.

    1990 was the first and last 100-game season Sasser had. He also his chance to showcase his offensive power that year. In 288 plate appearances, Sasser had 83 hits, six home runs, 15 walks, a .307 batting average, 14 doubles and 41 RBI.

    Sasser had put up good offensive numbers each season. He had some miscues defensively, such as committing the most errors as a catcher in a season (14) and allowing 91 stolen bases—the fifth-most in the league.

    Ultimately his time with the Mets ended. After colliding with Atlanta Braves player Jim Presley at home plate, the incident ruined his career. Before every toss back to the pitcher, Sasser hesitated for a couple of moments. He struggled mentally and physically, and it took years for him to get over it.

    Since the accident, Sasser had never been the same player. But while a Met, he was no doubt valuable.

5. Ron Hodges

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    Frehm/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1973-1984

    Batting average: .240

    Fielding percentage: .978

     

    Ron Hodges spent his entire career with the Mets. He had his major league debut in June 1973 after both Grote and Dyer suffered injuries.

    He had some good years, and he had some bad years. In 1979, Hodges had probably his worst year as a Met. He hit for a terrible .163 batting average and a .209 slugging percentage. His best year was probably 1981. He had a .308 batting average, a .419 slugging percentage and a .794 OPS, all career highs.

    Hodges was a consistently good catcher. He did have the issue of committing too many errors some seasons. For example, in the National League, he was ranked second in 1974 and fourth in 1983 for errors committed. But for most seasons, he played average or above average.

    He played his final game in 1984.

4. John Stearns

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    Richard Drew/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1974-1984

    Batting average: .259

    Fielding percentage: .987

     

    John Stearns started his major league career with the Phillies in 1974.

    But the Phillies did not need him for long. With just one game played with the Phillies, Stearns was part of a trade that sent him and a few other players to the Mets.

    Stearns started his Mets career as a backup for Grote. As a backup, he only hit for a .189 average in 1975. His hitting got worse, and soon Hodge replaced him.

    Stearns was sent to the minors, but he started hitting well there, and when he returned to the majors, he continued to hit well. In fact, he got 18 hits in his first 13 games back.

    Soon enough, Stearns became the Mets starting catcher. There he hit for a .259 batting average, .375 slugging percentage and a .716 OPS in 10 years with the Mets.

    He appeared in four All-Star Games and was a staple on the team. Behind the plate, he was a tough guy who played his heart out.

    If he would have stuck around, he could've fit in perfectly with the '86 Mets as a backup.

3. Jerry Grote

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    Harry Harris/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1966-1977

    Batting average: .256

    Fielding percentage: .992

     

    Grote was one of the Mets best catchers ever. He spent most of his career, 12 years, with New York.

    During his 1,235 games with the Mets, Grote had a batting average of .256, a slugging percentage of .329 and a OPS of .650.

    Although he suffered injuries here and there, he was always helpful to young pitchers. In fact, with Grote's leadership and defensive skills in 1966, the Mets did not lose 100 games for the first time in its history. It was also the first time the Mets didn't finish the season in last place.

    Grote was also a very integral part of the 1969 Miracle Mets. Once the Mets made it to the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Grote kicked it into high gear. He helped with calling pitches for the pitching staff. The results were astounding. The Orioles were limited to a .146 batting average throughout to the World Series, per Baseball-Reference.com.

    That was a major factor in the underdog Mets winning their first championship.

    But he was a consistent defensive catcher. In multiple seasons, the two-time All-Star made the top five in the National League for assists as a catcher, putouts as a catcher, fielding percentage as a catcher and caught stealing as a catcher.

    Grote was definitely a figure who transformed the Mets into becoming a team that would soon compete and win another World Series.

2. Gary Carter

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Years as a Met: 1985-1989

    Batting average: .249

    Fielding percentage: .989

     

    His love for the game resulted in the nickname "Kid." And although he is now in the Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo, Gary Carter will always be one of the most loved Mets players in history.

    With the Mets, he was ranked in the top six twice for RBI in the National League, as well as ranked within the top 10 for home runs hits.

    During five seasons, Carter had a .249 batting average, a .412 slugging percentage and a .731 OPS. He also belted out 89 home runs and collected 1,427 hits.

    Carter was an 11-time All-Star. He was even named the most valuable player in the All-Star Game twice.

    Defensively, he was a force behind the plate. He knew how to stop low-pitched balls, and he knew how to call games. He won three Gold Glove awards. But more than that, Carter was a team player. He especially looked after younger players like Dwight Gooden.

    Playing well into his 30s, Carter showed the world that a positive spirit and hard work brought on success. Oh, and it didn't hurt to win a World Series ring with the 1986 Mets either!

1. Mike Piazza

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    JEFF ZELEVANSKY/Associated Press

    Years as a Met: 1998-2005

    Batting average: .296

    Fielding percentage: .990

     

    The most beloved Met of all time? Well, that would be Mike Piazza.

    Mets fans adore him—and for good reason. He is one of the greatest hitting catchers in all of the major leagues.

    He had a .296 batting average in eight seasons with the team. It was the best batting average for a Mets catcher ever. He also had a .542 slugging percentage and a .915 OPS.

    Piazza has hit a MLB-record 396 home runs as a catcher. In various seasons, he has ranked in the top 10 for home runs, RBI, singles, extra base hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The list goes on!

    He has made it to 12 All-Star Games, seven of them as a Met. He was also considered within the top 15 candidates for National League MVP nine times throughout his career, four times as a Met.

    In terms of defense, Piazza played well year after year. He was consistently in the top five for putouts, assists, double plays turned and runners caught stealing.

    Time and time again, Piazza made the city of New York proud.

    In fact, all you need to do is watch him hit a home run on September 21, 2001, against the Braves. It was the score that gave the Mets the win and united all New Yorkers for some time after the tragic events on September 11.

    Oh, he definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.