New York Mets All 50th Anniversary Team
In honor of the New York Mets 50th season and the 25th anniversary of the last Mets World Championship team, I bring you the All-50th Anniversary team.
Fifty years have brought many great memories and even more not so great ones for Mets fans like me. There was Ron Swoboda making "the catch" in the 1969 World Series. There was the "black cat" game against the Cubs in '69. Davey Johnson flying out, touching off the wild celebration after winning the World Series against the Orioles.
There was also beating the powerful Reds in 1973 to win the National League pennant. Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose duking it out at second base.
There was the day Tom Seaver was traded to the Reds in 1977.
Then there was watching a championship team start to take shape in 1984. Watching the rookie phenom Dwight Gooden make NL hitters look silly.
There was the huge disappointment of 1985, losing to St. Louis on the last weekend of the season and missing the playoffs.
Then there was 1986. The 16-inning game against the Astros to clinch the pennant and the miracle rally in Game 6 against the Red Sox. The ball going through Buckner's legs. The wild celebration at home plate. Another wild celebration two nights later after Jesse Orosco struck out Spike Owen and left Wade Boggs crying in the dugout.
There was Davey Johnson leaving Gooden in one inning too long against the Dodgers in the 1988 NLCS. There was Scioscia's homer. There was Gibson's catch.
There was Robin Ventura's 'grand slam single" in the 1999 NLCS. There was Pratt's walk-off HR to beat Arizona in the Division Series. There was the amazing comeback from being down 3-0 to the Braves and nearly forcing a Game 7 after being down 6-0 in Game 6, rallying to take the lead.
There was Mike Piazza hitting a walk off to beat the Braves the game after 9-11.
There was Endy's catch in Game 7 in 2006. There was Beltran watching strike three with the bases loaded to end Game 7.
These are the greatest players at each position in New York Mets history in this Mets fan's opinion. Hope you enjoy.
Tom Seaver: Starting Pitcher
Tom Terrific is the best starting pitcher in New York Mets history.
As a Met he was 198-124 in 12 seasons. He won the Cy Young Award in 1969 (Mets World Series Winner), 1973 (Mets lost the World Series in seven games), and 1975.
He also struck out 2,541 hitters and had a 2.57 ERA as a Met. He not only is the Mets' greatest pitcher, he is their greatest player of all time.
Honorable mentions: Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Al Leiter, Sid Fernandez, Bob Ojeda, Frank Viola, Tom Glavine.
John Franco: Relief Pitcher
A kid who grew up a Mets Fan ended up spending 14 years with them.
He had 276 saves as a Met. His Met's ERA was 3.10.
Honorable Mentions: Jesse Orosco, Roger McDowell, Nolan Ryan, Neil Allen
Mike Piazza: Catcher
This was a tough one, but Piazza gets the nod narrowly over Gary Carter.
He was the Mets' best player in one of their best eras, the late 1990s and early 2000s. Had he not been hurting in the 2000 World Series, it may have gone the other way. As it was, he made Joe Torre take out his starting pitcher in the fourth inning of Game 4 because he knew if Neagle pitched to him it was going to be a home run.
He was the man.
His Met stats include:.296 with 220 home runs. If he goes to the hall of fame in any other than a Mets hat, it will be a shame.
Honorable mentions: Gary Carter, John Stearns
Keith Hernandez: First Baseman
One of the best, he was a vacuum at first base. Nobody got a ball past him unless it was hit like a rocket. He saved infielders of hundreds of throwing errors in his career.
A textbook, three-hole hitter, he hit the gaps like few others. He hit for power when needed. He got singles when needed. He also taught young stars like Strawberry, Gooden, Darling and Fernandez how to win.
His Mets stats: .297, 939 hits, 159 doubles and 80 homers.
Honorable mentions: John Olerud, Ed Kranepool, Rusty Staub, Dave Kingman
Edgardo Alfonzo: Second Baseman
Fonzie gets the nod over Wally Backman in a close one.
He was part of the Mets infield of Olerud, Alfonzo, Ordonez and Ventura. You couldn't shoot a ground ball through the infield in those days. With Fonzie at second, the Mets also had a potent bat hitting in front of Olerud and Piazza.
He was part of the NL Pennant winning team of 2000.
Honorable mentions: Wally Backman, Feliz Millan
David Wright: Third Baseman
Third base has long been a trouble spot for the Mets. David Wright ended that.
He is the total package. The Mets are talking about trading him; this would be a mistake. He bleeds blue and orange. They need to keep him around for as long as they can.
Honorable mentions: Ray Knight, Howard Johnson, Robin Ventura
Jose Reyes: Shortstop
David Wright's running mate at shortstop, Reyes is another rumored to be on the trading block.
The Mets better think twice.
He is an All-Star for many years to come. He is a great lead off hitter and shortstop. A triples hitting machine, Reyes is one of baseball's most exciting players.
Honorable mentions: Bud Harrelson, Rafael Santana, Rey Ordonez.
Kevin McReynolds: Left Fielder
Kevin McReynolds gets the nod for left field over Cleon Jones.
McReynolds career was a bit disappointing to some, but he was a pretty good player. But as usual, when the Mets brought him in he was supposed to be the next greatest thing to hit the Big Apple.
His Mets numbers are .272 with 791 hits, 122 of them being home runs in six years.
Honorable mentions: Cleon Jones, George Foster, Cliff Floyd, Dave Kingman, Ron Swoboda
Len Dykstra: Center Fielder
The day the Mets traded "Nails" I was furious. That guy was a ball player. Nobody hustled more. Nobody chewed a bigger wad and spit all over his jersey more. Nobody was more of a pain in the opposing team's rear than Lenny.
The 1986 World Championship season does not happen without Lenny. It was Lenny hitting a walk off in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Astros in Game 3 to shift the momentum in that series. It was Lenny leading off with a bomb in Game 3 at Fenway with the Sox up 2-0 in that series.
I like to call the Phillies domination of the Mets to this day the "Curse of Nails." The two dirtiest words in the world to me: Juan Samuel.
Honorable mentions: Carlos Beltran, Mookie Wilson, Tommie Agee, Lee Mazzilli
Darryl Strawberry: Right Fielder
Straw could have been one of the great ones. But he was still plenty good as a Met.
Straw hit with power. He had speed. He had that New York media eating out of his hand. He had a flair for the dramatic. He homered in Game 7 and then pouted after the Series was over because he was pinch hit for in Game 6.
He once hit the roof in Olympic Stadium in Montreal, a titanic shot that was so long it had Ralph Kiner scratching his head.
Honorable mentions: Rusty Staub, Ron Swoboda, Shawn Green
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