New York Mets Still Looking for First NL MVP Winner

Jonathan RagusCorrespondent IJune 19, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 11: Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets hits an RBI double in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 11, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Team Has Come Close Only Three Times in Its History

The New York Mets are now in their 48th season of existence and although they’ve had some great moments and great players, they still have never had a pitcher throw a no-hitter in their uniform. That is a well-known fact.

There is one other fact that is not so well known, though: They still have never had one of their players named the National League’s Most Valuable Player.

The MVP is the one individual trophy that no Met has ever grasped. They’ve won Cy Youngs, Rookie of the Year awards, and Gold Gloves but never the prestigious MVP.

In fact, they’ve come close (second) only three times in 47 seasons:


Ryne Sandberg, Chicago—326 votes; Keith Hernandez, New York—195 votes.

Sandberg is a Hall-of-Famer now, but back then he was just coming into his own. He was the centerpiece of the Cubs’ resurgence from fifth to first in 1984.

Keith Hernandez was a former MVP winner (1979) who came to New York begrudgingly in a trade the year before and dragged the Mets kicking and screaming to a 90-win season.

Their numbers weren’t all that different. Sandberg hit .314 with 19 HRs and 84 RBIs. Hernandez hit .311 with 15 HRs and 94 RBIs. Both won Gold Gloves at their respective positions.

Sandberg was a runaway winner since the Cubs bested the Mets by six and a half games in the NL East in 1984.


Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles—272 votes; Darryl Strawberry, New York—236 votes; Kevin McReynolds, New York—162 votes.

Kirk Gibson surprisingly upset the Mets’ big two even though his regular-season numbers were not very MVP-like (25 HRs, 76 RBI, .290 BA).

As it turned out, Gibson would end up validating his MVP status by ripping two big HRs against the Mets in the NLCS and then by taking Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley deep in Game One of the World Series—perhaps the greatest walk-off home run in baseball history.

In 1988, Strawberry finally was showing the world what he could do. He was having that “monster year” he kept promising. In just one more at-bat than Gibson, he hit 39 HRs and drove in 101 runs. His low average average may be what hurt him (.269).

What also hurt Strawberry was the strong season by his teammate, Kevin Mc Reynolds, who stole some votes away from him. The right-handed hitting McReynolds was just the compliment the Mets needed to brace the the left-handed bat of Strawberry.  McReynolds batted .288 with 27 HRs and 99 RBIs in 1988.

Conventional thought was that the Mets were more of a complete team than the Dodgers and neither Straw nor McReynolds were as valuable to the Mets as Gibson was to the Dodgers.


Willie McCovey, San Francisco—265 votes; Tom Seaver, New York—243 votes.

The Mets were all the rage in 1969 and Seaver’s 25-7 record with 208 Ks and a 2.21 ERA was a big reason why.  The Mets won 100 ballgames, the most in the National League in 1969.

The San Francisco Giants finished second by three games to Hank Aaron’s Atlanta Braves in the NL West.  McCovey had a real “monster season” in 1969.  In the era of the pitcher, “Stretch’ whacked 45 dingers and drove in 126 runs while batting .320.

In a close vote, the writers chose the hitter over the pitcher. No one knew it at the time that this would be the closest the Mets would ever come to winning the MVP to this date.

How the Mets Have Fared in MVP Voting 1962-2008

Year    Total    Mets Players Receiving votes
1964    1         Ron Hunt—25th place
1967    2         Tom Seaver—22nd, Tommy Davis, 26th
1968    1         Jerry Kooosman—13th
1968    4         Seaver—2nd, Tommie Agee—6th
Cleon Jones—7th, Koosman—23rd
1970    4         Donn Clendennon—13th, Agee—19th
Bud Harrelson—20th, Seaver—29th
1971    2         Seaver 9th, Harrelson—22nd
1972    3         Seaver, Tug McGraw, Rusty Staub (tie 25th)
1973    3         Seaver—8th, McGraw—15th, Harrelson -29th
1975    3         Seaver—9th, Staub 14th, Dave Kingman 19th
1976    2         Koosman—14th, Kingman—18th
1983    2         Jesse Orosco—17th, Keith Hernandez—21st
1984    2         Hernandez—2nd, Dwight Gooden—15th
1985    3         Gooden—4th, Gary Carter—6th, Hernandez—8th
1986    6         Carter—3rd, Hernandez -4th, Ray Knight—14th
Roger McDowell—17th, Lenny Dykstra—19th
Bob Ojeda—21st
1987    2         Darryl Strawberry—6th, Howard Johnson—10th
1988    4         Strawberry—2nd, Kevin McReynolds—3rd
David Cone—10th, Randy Myers—16th
1989    1         Howard Johnson—5th
1990    2         Strawberry—3rd, Gooden—14th
1991    1         Howard Johnson—5th
1994    2         John Franco—20th, Bret Saberhagen—22nd
1996    2         Todd Hundley—19th, Lance Johnson—19th
1997    1         Edgardo Alfonso—13th
1998    1         John Olerud—12th
1999    3         Robin Ventura—6th, Mike Piazza—7th
2000    2         Piazza—3rd, Alfonso—15th
2001    1         Piazza—13th
2005    4         David Wright—19th, Cliff Floyd—26th
Jose Reyes—30th
2006    4         Carlos Beltran – 4th, Reyes—7th, Wright—9th
Carlos Delgado—12th
2007    3         Wright—4th, Reyes—16th, Beltran—20th
2008    5         Wright—7th, Delgado—9th, Johan Santana—14th
Beltran—21st, Reyes—24th


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