My New York Mets All-Time Starting Lineup
Baseball is my passion, or as Nick Turturro says,"I breathe baseball!" For the last 25 years the focus of that passion has been the New York Mets. So this list is MY ALL-TIME lineup.
These are the players that have been the objects of my man-crushes and the guys who have been the driving force behind this fan's highs and lows, (Oh, so many lows...).
The Mets' pick at catcher is easy mostly because he is the greatest offensive catcher of all time: Mike Piazza.
Honorable Mention: Gary "the Kid" Carter
At first base the Mets have had some standout players like John Olerud, Eddie Murphy, and Carlos Delgado. But the class act of first baseman in Mets history was Keith Hernandez.
Hernandez is (not maybe...is) the best defensive first baseman to ever play the game. He won't make the Hall of Fame but he should, even if it's completely based on his defensive prowess (he holds the record for most Gold Gloves by a first baseman (11)).
But most people don't realize that Hernandez was also a lifetime .300 hitter, won an MVP ('79), and was second in MVP voting in 1984.
Honorable Mention: John Olerud, Carlos Delgado
At second base the Mets have had some real winners, guys like Robbie Alomar, Jeff Kent, and Wally Backman. But the All-Time Mets 2B has to be Edgardo Alfonzo.
Kent, Luis Castillo, and Backman each have a couple of good years as Mets starters, but Alfonzo put up solid numbers over a greater span of time. He could have had a more productive career had his back not given out on him.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Kent, Wally Backman
This is actually harder than it seems. While David Wright is an elite player in Major League Baseball, and one of the best 3B in the game today, the Mets have some history at third base.
Wright has only been the Mets full-time 3B for five seasons, which just happens to be the amount of time ('87-'91) that Howard Johnson put up some pretty great numbers for the Mets too.
If I were to choose today (which I am) it would be Wright by a hair—but if you look at those numbers HoJo has a pretty strong case.
Honorable Mention: Howard Johnson
Shortstop is probably the All-Time Mets weakest position, but with the rise of Jose Reyes the All-Time Mets have now filled that gap nicely.
The speedster has the talent to be one of the best in the game today, he just has to put it all together.
Honorable mention: Bud Harrelson
Darryl Strawberry is the franchise leader in all-time HR and RBI and fourth in SB.
He was a five tool player who had the talent to be one of the greatest players of all time, but for his penchant for cocaine.
Even with the drug-shortened prime of his career his numbers with the Mets are stunning.
Honorable mentions: Rusty Staub, Ron Swoboda (for one catch in 1969)
One of the best all around players in the game today, Carlos Beltran, is spectacularly underrated by most in the Mets fanbase. He is often viewed as overrated and overpaid, when in truth, he is as advertised.
The best defensive CF in the game for most of his career, he hits for power and average, and is the most successful base stealer in the history of the game. He is a four time All-Star, holds three Gold Gloves, and one Rookie of the Year award.
Honorable Mention: Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dykstra
His most famous moment as a Met showed him scampering down the first base line as the weak ground ball he had hit found it's way through the legs of Red Sock first baseman Bill Buckner.
Like Buckner, however, Mookie Wilson should not be judged by this single moment in time. Throughout his Mets career Wilson had been a good hitter and a very good defender with a ton of speed.
In fact, had that ball not found it's way between Buckner's legs Wilson probably still would have beaten him to the bag.
Honorable Mention: Cleon Jones
There is no debate about who goes in this slot as the greatest Mets starter of All Time. It has to be "Tom Terrific"!
This is not to say that there haven't been some tremendous Met Pitchers, there have been: Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Brett Saberhagen, David Cone, Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Al Leiter, and more.
Tom Seaver was on a whole 'nother lever, and he pitched almost his entire career with the Mets.
Honorable Mention: Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman
The greatest Met reliever of All Time is...John Franco. Franco's long tenure (and great accomplishments) with the Mets helped to make him one of the most beloved sports figures in Mets baseball history.
He was a reliable arm out of the bullpen, and a consummate team leader in the clubhouse. Today's Mets club wishes it had a player of Franco's character lending his voice to the team right about now...
Honorable Mention: Jesse Orosco, Armando Benitez