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New York Mets: Top 10 Third Basemen in Team History

Shale BriskinContributor IIIJuly 18, 2011

New York Mets: Top 10 Third Basemen in Team History

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    Part seven of the greatest Mets in team history takes us to the third basemen.

    For many years, third base had been a running joke for the Mets. In fact, 142 players so far have appeared in at least one game at third base for the Mets. The Mets were never able to establish a consistent starter at third base during the 1960s and 1970s. There were some "starters," more or less, but the Mets were always trying to find someone better, even though that did not always work.

    Starting in the 1980s, the Mets were finally able to find some steady production from their third basemen, a trend that continues to this day with David Wright potentially playing his entire career as a Met.

    Wright had gotten off to a mediocre start this year, with a .226 average, six home runs and 18 RBI in 39 games before he was told that that he had a stress fracture in his lower back. He has now been out for the past two months, but hopefully, he will be back on the field by August.

    In his absence, Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy have both found ample time at third base and have been producing better than originally expected.

    With this being said, here are the top 10 third basemen in Mets history.

10. Ty Wigginton

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    Starting off the list is Ty Wigginton, who did not even last two full seasons as a Met. Then again, another young third baseman named David Wright was still developing in the minors, so Wigginton was called up to play the position until Wright was ready. This goes to show how much of an overall lack of talent the Mets really had at third base over the years.

    Wigginton originally was called up in 2002. He was mostly around to replace injured players on a temporary basis. He played in just 46 games that year and batted .302 with six home runs and 18 RBI. He also had a .354 OBP and a .526 slugging percentage, all despite drawing just eight walks in 124 plate appearances.

    After the Mets declined to re-sign Edgardo Alfonzo, Wigginton became the everyday third baseman for the Mets in 2003. During his first full season, he batted .255 with 36 doubles, 11 home runs and 71 RBI. Once again, Wigginton was aggressive at the plate, as illustrated by drawing only 46 walks in 619 plate appearances.

    Although Wigginton slumped in a way during 2003, he got off to a great start in 2004. By the end of July, Wigginton had a .285 average, 23 doubles, 12 home runs and 42 RBI. However, by then, David Wright was waiting in the wings and the Mets felt they had no choice but to trade Wigginton so Wright could play every day at the major league level.

    On July 30, 2004, the Mets traded Wigginton and two minor leaguers to the Pirates for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger. One of those minor league players the Mets traded away happened to be Jose Bautista, who is now the Blue Jays' star right fielder.

    Wigginton spent the rest of 2004 and 2005 with the Pirates before signing a one-year contract with the Rays in 2006. He played mostly first base and second base with the Rays. After the 2006 season, Wigginton signed a new three-year contract with the Rays. This turned out to be short-lived, though, as Wigginton was traded once again at the trade deadline to the Astros for another former Met, Dan Wheeler. Wigginton played mostly third base with the Astros and hit well during the latter part of 2007, as well as 2008.

    After the 2008 season, the Astros did not offer Wigginton a contract, so he signed a two-year contract with the Orioles. He earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as the Orioles' lone representative. He did not even have a starting position on Opening Day, but worked his way into the lineup thanks to his hitting.

    Following the 2010 season, Wigginton signed a two-year contract with the Rockies, which is is the team he plays for today. He has now become a platoon player and can fill in at various positions.

    Although his Mets tenure was very brief, Ty Wigginton was one of the more promising young third basemen the Mets have had.

9. Lenny Randle

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    Another Met who had a brief, yet productive tenure with the Mets was Lenny Randle.

    Randle was originally drafted by the Washington Senators in 1971. A year later, the Senators relocated and became known as the Texas Rangers. He spent the next two years shifting back and forth between the minors and the majors before having a breakout season in 1974. At the time, Randle was playing second base, third base and the outfield. He played all three of those positions in 1975 before becoming the starting second baseman in 1976.

    On March 28, 1977, Maury Wills' son, Bump Wills, was named the starting second baseman for the Rangers following the end of spring training. After hearing this, Randle approached his manager, Frank Lucchesi, and ended up punching Lucchesi in the face. Lucchesi ended up needing plastic surgery to repair his cheekbone. For his actions, Randle was suspended 30 days without pay and fined $10,000. Before this suspension was complete, Randle was traded to the Mets for Rick Auerbach at the end of April.

    After arriving in New York, Randle played mostly second base until manager Joe Frazier was fired. When Joe Torre replaced him, he put Randle at third base after third baseman Roy Staiger had struggled at the plate. Randle went on to have one of the more productive seasons for the Mets in a year that was characterized by a lot of chaos. Randle finished the year with a .304 average, five home runs, 27 RBI, 33 stolen bases and a .383 OBP.

    Randle, however, failed to have the same success in 1978. His average dropped significantly to just .233 and he ended the year with two home runs, 35 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Randle was then released by the Mets after spring training in 1979.

    After his release, Randle spent time in the minor leagues with the Giants and Pirates' affiliates before his contract was purchased by the Yankees. He then appeared in just 20 games for the Yankees as an outfielder.

    Randle spent 1980 with the Cubs and 1981-1982 with the Mariners before spending the 1983 season playing in Italy. He was the first American-born player to do so. He tried to make a comeback bid in 1985 with the Angels, but was unsuccessful and he then retired.

    Despite his short tenure with the Mets, Randle's 1977 season was very good, considering all the events that happened that year. As a result, he was certainly one of the Mets' better third basemen during the 1970s.

8. Hubie Brooks

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    Next on this list is Hubie Brooks, who spent most of his time as a Met as the starting third baseman in the early 1980s.

    Brooks made his debut in 1980 and batted .309 with one home run and 10 RBI during his September call-up. He then became the Mets' starting third baseman for the next four seasons.

    In 1981, he batted .307 with four home runs and 38 RBI. In 1982, Brooks' average dropped to just .249 and he finished with only two home runs and 40 RBI. Despite batting .251 in 1983, Brooks became a more productive hitter, as shown by his five home runs and 58 RBI that year.

    Brooks finally started to turn the corner in 1984. He raised his average up to .283, hit 16 home runs and drove in 73 RBI as the Mets all of a sudden turned into a serious contender.

    Brooks' 1984 production was enough for him to be traded to the Expos, along with Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans in the deal that brought Gary Carter to the Mets.

    Brooks started to find more success with the Expos, whom he spent 1985-1989 with. He made the All-Star team in 1986 and 1987 and won two Silver Slugger Awards in 1985 and 1986.

    After spending 1990 with the Dodgers, Brooks returned to the Mets in 1991 when the Mets traded Bob Ojeda and Greg Hansell for him. This time around, Brooks played exclusively in right field following Darryl Strawberry's departure. He batted just .238 that year, but hit 16 home runs and drove in 50 RBI as the Mets suffered a collapse and failed to finish in at least second place for the first time since 1983.

    After the 1991 season, the Mets traded Brooks to the Angels for backup outfielder Dave Gallagher. He spent 1992 with the Angels and 1993-1994 with the Royals before retiring.

    During his time with the Mets, Brooks also set the Mets' longest hitting streak at the time at 24 consecutive games. Mike Piazza tied this record, but in 2007, the veteran Moises Alou broke the record and finished with a 30-game hitting streak.

    Hubie Brooks was not the best third baseman the Mets have had, but he was a steady contributor for the Mets in the early 1980s and made a somewhat successful comeback with the team in 1991. Furthermore, many fans will remember Brooks as the main player the Mets traded to get Gary Carter.

7. Ed Charles

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    Known as "The Glider", Ed Charles was a mainstay at third base for the Mets during the late 1960s and was a member of the 1969 championship team.

    Charles was originally drafted by the Braves in 1952, but spent a lot of time in the minor leagues due to the presence of star third baseman Eddie Matthews. Before the 1962 season, Charles was traded to the A's. He had a solid rookie season and stayed with the A's until he was traded to the Mets on May 10, 1967 for Larry Elliot.

    During Charles' first season as a Met in 1967, he batted .238 with three home runs and 31 RBI. He immediately became the starting third baseman. He was also, at the time, the oldest player on a very young team.

    In 1968, Charles led the Mets with 15 home runs. He also had a .276 average and 53 RBI. A year later, Charles became a platoon player and only started against left-handed pitchers, while Wayne Garrett started against right-handed hitters. For the season, Charles batted just .207 with three home runs and 18 RBI. Charles hit his final major league home run during the division-clinching game against the Cardinals' Steve Carlton.

    Charles played in four of the five World Series games and scored the winning run from an Al Weis single in Game 2. However, after the season was over and the Mets won the World Series, Charles decided to go out on top and retired.

    Since retirement, Charles has made occasional appearances at Shea Stadium and now Citi Field. Older fans will always remember him as part of the 1969 team.

    Ed Charles was not the most flashy third baseman, but he was certainly a key member of the 1969 championship team.

6. Wayne Garrett

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    One of the most well known Mets on the 1969 championship team, Wayne Garrett would go on to become one of the better third basemen in the early years of the Mets' history.

    Garrett first came up as a rookie in 1969 and platooned with Ed Charles at third base. Because Garrett was a left-handed hitter, he had the majority of playing time at third base, but he also played a good amount of second base that year as well. For the season, Garrett batted .217 with one home run and 39 RBI.

    Garrett's hitting improved a lot in 1970, as he raised his average to .254 and had 12 home runs and 45 RBI. Garrett only played in 56 games in 1971 due to military duties that caused him to miss part of the season. This would certainly explain why he batted just .213 with one home run and 11 RBI.

    While Garrett was developing, the Mets at the time always felt the constant need to upgrade at third base. However, many of these efforts did not pay off. Joe Foy and Jim Fregosi both did not turn into long-term fixtures and Garrett was still the third baseman after all that time.

    In 1972, Garrett did not have a particularly good season. He batted just .232 with two home runs and 29 RBI. However, he improved significantly in 1973 with a .256 average and a career high 16 home runs and 58 RBI.

    Garrett continued his hitting in 1974. He finished the season with 13 home runs and 53 RBI, despite seeing his average drop down to .224.

    Garrett regressed offensively in 1975. Although he raised his average to .266, his home run and RBI totals dropped to six and 34, respectively.

    In 1976, Garrett was batting .223 with only four home runs and 26 RBI before he and Del Unser were traded to the Expos on July 21 for Jim Dwyer and Pepe Mangual. This trade was not a particularly good one for the Mets, as Dwyer and Mangual both contributed minimally and had short stays in New York.

    Garrett spent the rest of 1976, as well as 1977 and part of 1978 with the Expos before moving onto the Cardinals for the latter part of 1978. He then played two seasons in Japan before retiring.

    Since retiring, Garrett has made some appearances at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, including the 40th Anniversary celebration in 2009.

    Wayne Garrett's numbers were not spectacular, but he was a steady contributor to the Mets' success in 1969 and the early and middle 1970s.

5. Edgardo Alfonzo

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    He may be the greatest second baseman the Mets have ever had, but originally, Edgardo Alfonzo was a very good third baseman.

    One of the most popular Mets during his time, Alfonzo could hit for both power and average. He ran the bases intelligently and was always one of the best defensively from both a fielding and throwing perspective. 

    Alfonzo broke into the majors in 1995 as a utility infielder. At just 21 years of age, Fonzie batted .278 with four home runs and 41 RBI. He played mostly at third base, but also filled in at second base and shortstop. However, his season was cut short due to a herniated disk and he missed the last months of the season because of it.

    In 1996, with Rey Ordonez as the new shortstop, Jose Vizcaino shifted to second base and Jeff Kent moved to third base, Alfonzo was the one left on the bench. His average fell to .261 and he finished with four home runs and 40 RBI. After Kent and Vizcaino got traded, Alfonzo played more at second base. 

    In what turned out to be his breakout season, Alfonzo became the starting third baseman in 1997 once Butch Huskey was permanently moved to the outfield. Alfonzo hit .315 that year with 10 home runs, 72 RBI, 27 doubles and a .391 on-base percentage. At this point, Alfonzo became one of the most promising young players on a much improved Mets team.

    In 1998, Alfonzo followed up his breakout season with another solid season. He batted .278 with 17 home runs, 78 RBI and 28 doubles. 

    In 1999, Alfonzo shifted to second base when Ventura arrived and went on to have his best season. He set career-highs with 27 home runs and 108 RBI and won his first and only Silver Slugger Award. He also had 123 runs scored, 191 hits, 41 doubles, a career high 315 total bases and a .385 on-base percentage. He had many clutch hits and set a Mets record by going 6-for-6 with three home runs and scoring six runs in a game against the Astros. He even appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover as part of the "Best Infield Ever."

    In 2000, Alfonzo set a career-high with a .324 average to go along with 25 home runs and 94 RBI. He also had 109 runs scored, 176 hits, 40 doubles, a remarkable career high .425 on-base percentage and a career high .542 slugging percentage.

    He made his only All-Star team that year and was clutch once again in the postseason. Many fans would point to Mike Piazza's success as the reason why the Mets made the World Series that year, but Alfonzo's significant contributions were just as critical.

    In 2001, Alfonzo failed to duplicate his 1999 and 2000 success. His average fell to just .243, and he only had 17 home runs and 49 RBI. He missed almost a month with a lower back strain.

    Alfonzo shifted back to third base in 2002 to accommodate the disappointing arrival of Gold Glove second baseman Roberto Alomar. In what turned out to be his final Mets season, Alfonzo raised his average to .308, but his run production did not improve, as he finished with 16 home runs and 56 RBI. 

    After the 2002 season, Alfonzo signed with the Giants in 2003. He played there from 2003-2005 before moving onto the Angels in 2006. After getting released in May of that year, Alfonzo caught on with the Blue Jays, but got released again after just 12 games. In the end, Alfonzo was back in the Mets' minor league system on their Triple-A team trying to get back to the majors. 

    Since 2007, Alfonzo has bounced around and spent time with the Long Island Ducks, Yomiuri Giants and Newark Bears. 

    Although his prime only lasted around four seasons from 1997-2000, Alfonzo will always remain a fan favorite for those that were fortunate to watch him. He only spent three full seasons as the Mets' starting third baseman (1997, 1998 and 2002), but among all third basemen in Mets history, Alfonzo is definitely one of the more elite third basemen the team has had.

4. Robin Ventura

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    One third baseman that deserves more credit for his accomplishments as a Met than he has gotten is Robin Ventura.

    Before signing with the Mets, Ventura had spent a decade with the White Sox from 1989-1998. During his time there, he won five Gold Glove Awards and made the All-Star team in 1992.

    In one memorable moment in 1993, Ventura got hit by a pitch from the legendary Nolan Ryan and charged the mound. However, it was Ryan that punched Ventura six times in the head before the two were separated.

    After the 1998 season, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf stated that Ventura was supposedly "deteriorating," which would explain why the White Sox had previously tried to trade him and not renew his contract. As a result, the Mets signed Ventura to a four-year contract to be their new third baseman. Incumbent third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo was moved to second base to replace the departure of the disappointing Carlos Baerga.

    Ventura went on to have one of his best career seasons in 1999. He batted .301 with 32 home runs and a career high 120 RBI. He also had a .379 OBP and a career high .529 slugging percentage. He won his sixth and final Gold Glove Award that year. It was his first in the National League.

    Ventura provided many memorable moments that year. On May 20, he became the first player to hit a grand slam in each game of a doubleheader. He then provided the "Mojo Risin" rally cry for the Mets that year and played despite eventual torn cartilage in his knee.

    While Ventura was clutch throughout the season, his biggest moment as a Met occurred in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Braves. The Mets were down 3-2 in the bottom of the 15th in a game that was long and full of rain. Then, with the bases loaded, Ventura launched a grand slam out of the park. However, it would not end up being a grand slam because only one runner came across the plate.

    While Ventura ran to second base, backup catcher Todd Pratt hoisted him in the air, so Ventura was unable to complete his trip around the bases. As a result, the hit became known as a "Grand Slam Single." The Mets unfortunately lost Game 6 and the series after this memorable victory. Nonetheless, it was still one of the most memorable moments in team history.

    Ventura was not able to find the same level of success in 2000, as he was recovering from both knee and right shoulder surgery. He committed more errors and missed some time in July due to shoulder inflammation. Ventura's average dropped significantly to just .232, but he also had 24 home runs and 84 RBI. He had a strong finish to his season though and hit his only World Series home run against the Yankees that year.

    In his third and final season as a Met, Ventura struggled. He batted .237 with 21 home runs, but had just 61 RBI. After the 2001 season, Ventura was traded to the Yankees for David Justice, who in turn was traded to the A's for Mark Guthrie.

    As a Yankee, Ventura had a good bounce-back season in 2002 and made his second and final All-Star team. Ventura platooned with former Mets teammate Todd Zeile at third base in 2003, but he struggled that season and got traded to the Dodgers at the trade deadline for Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor.

    Ventura spent the rest of the 2003 season on the bench, but had a chance to start at first base in 2004. However, Ventura ended up being back on the bench for most of the season. He retired after the 2004 season due to arthritis in his ankle.

    After experiencing a lot of pain due to arthritis, Ventura ended up going through an ankle allograft in 2005 and is now pain-free. He made an appearance at Shea Stadium for the stadium's last game in September 2008 alongside other legendary Mets, including teammates Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, Todd Zeile, John Franco and Al Leiter.

3. Ray Knight

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    If there is one person that is associated with both the Mets and the 1986 World Series, it would be Ray Knight.

    Knight originally came up with the Reds and spent 1974-1981 with the team. He did not get much playing time until 1979, when Pete Rose signed with the Phillies. He appeared in the 1980 All-Star Game, but got traded a year later to the Astros when Johnny Bench converted to third base.

    Knight played both first base and third base with the Astros and made the All-Star team again in 1982. He hit well in 1983, but not as well in 1984. As a result, the Astros decided to trade him to the Mets at the end of August 1984 for three prospects.

    Knight batted .280 in 27 games for the Mets at the end of 1984. He also had one home run and six RBI. He struggled though in 1985 while sharing third base with Howard Johnson. He batted just .218 with six home runs and 36 RBI.

    After the Mets were unable to trade Knight to the Pirates prior to the 1986 season, Knight proved his critics wrong that year. Knight got off to a great start in April by hitting six home runs and driving in 12 RBI for the month. In one of the season's more memorable moments, Knight started a bench-clearing brawl with his former Reds teammates after Eric Davis slid hard into third base while trying attempting a stolen base.

    Knight finished the 1986 season with a .298 average, 11 home runs, 76 RBI and a .351 OBP. He also won the 1986 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. However, he saved his best for the postseason. He struggled during the NLCS against the Astros, but was red-hot during the World Series.

    Knight played a critical role in Game 6 of the World Series. In the 10th inning, he drove in Gary Carter and eventually scored the winning run on Mookie Wilson's famous ground ball that skipped past Bill Buckner. In Game 7, Knight hit a tie-breaking home run, which helped the Mets ultimately win the World Series. For his efforts, Knight was chosen as the World Series MVP.

    After the 1986 season, Knight wanted to re-sign with the Mets, but the Mets were unwilling to negotiate a multi-year contract with him. Knight was heartbroken, but ended up signing with the Orioles. He became the first World Series MVP to go to a new team after winning the award.

    Knight spent the 1987 season with the Orioles, but got traded after the season to the Tigers, whom he spent 1988 with before retiring.

    After retiring, Knight briefly became an ESPN broadcaster, but soon became a coach for the Reds. He later replaced his former manager Davey Johnson as the Reds' new manager from 1996-1997. However, the Reds struggled in 1997 and Knight was fired mid-season in favor of Jack McKeon. Knight is currently a broadcaster for the Nationals.

    Knight was one of the few 1986 Mets to not appear at the 20th Anniversary Celebration in 2006. While most of those that did not attend had legitimate reasons why they could not show up, Knight later stated that he had a prior commitment, but many people have speculated that he decided not to go because he was still bitter towards the Mets for not re-signing him after 1986.

    Although his time with the Mets was relatively short, Ray Knight certainly made the most of his short stay with the Mets and became a World Series hero in 1986.

2. Howard Johnson

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    Ray Knight may have been the 1986 World Series hero, but with his departure after the season, Howard Johnson stepped into third base and became one of the best hitters in Mets history, and certainly one of the best in the league during his time.

    Johnson, who is also known by his nickname, "HoJo," originally came to the Mets in exchange for Walt Terrell prior to the 1985 season. He batted .242 that year with 11 home runs and 46 RBI while platooning with Ray Knight at third base. In 1986, Knight got more playing time because Johnson had struggled at the plate for most of the season. Johnson finished the 1986 season with a .245 average, 10 home runs and 39 RBI. He did not play much in the postseason, as Ray Knight became the World Series MVP. 

    However, Knight was not re-signed by the Mets and Johnson became the starting third baseman. He broke out in 1987 and batted .265 with 36 home runs and 99 RBI. He also added 32 stolen bases as he and Darryl Strawberry became the first Mets to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season. As a result, Johnson even received 42 points in the MVP voting. His home run total also broke a 53-year-old record that Ripper Collins had among switch-hitting National League shortstops. 

    Johnson did not find the same success in 1988, but he still hit 24 home runs despite driving in only 68 RBI and batting .230. Johnson, though, struggled late in the season and found himself playing shortstop sometimes to let the young Gregg Jefferies get some time at third base. He only had one hit in the NLCS that year.

    Johnson then continued his trend of hitting very well in odd-numbered years. In 1989, Johnson had one of his two best seasons and made his first All-Star team and even started the game at third base. His numbers that year were better than his 1987 numbers, as he became the third player in MLB history to have multiple 30 home run and 30 stolen base seasons. He finished the year with a .287 average, 41 doubles, 36 home runs and 101 RBI. He also had a career-high 41 stolen bases, 104 runs scored and a .559 slugging percentage. As a result, Johnson won his first Silver Slugger award.

    Johnson then had a decent season in 1990. He batted .244 with 23 home runs and 90 RBI. He also had 37 doubles and 34 stolen bases. He played more shortstop that year and only batted .208 from the right side, which did not help his numbers.

    1991, though, would become Johnson's other career season. He led the National League in both home runs and RBI with 38 and 117, respectively. The RBI total set a new Mets record that Bernard Gilkey would tie in 1996, but Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura both broke that record in 1999. He made his second All-Star team and won his second Silver Slugger award. He also added 34 doubles, 30 stolen bases and a .535 slugging percentage.

    Johnson would have gotten more MVP consideration, but the Mets as a team were so bad that year that Johnson was simply a one-man show. The one downside to this season was that Johnson also had 31 errors at third base, which led to him becoming an outfielder.

    As the Mets' new center fielder in 1992, Johnson struggled at the plate and with injuries. He finished with just a .223 average, seven home runs and 43 RBI. His season ended in August after a fractured wrist.

    1993 was not much better for Johnson or the Mets. Johnson finished that year with a .238 average, seven home runs and 26 RBI as the Mets lost over 100 games. After the 1993 season, Johnson's time was up with the Mets.

    He played with the Rockies in 1994 and the Cubs in 1995, but struggled in both years as a bench player. He did not make a major league roster in 1996 and decided to retire as a Met in spring training of 1997. 

    Since retiring, Johnson has been a coach, mostly within the Mets organization. He was most notably the Mets' first base coach and later hitting coach starting in 2007 and he remained with the Mets through 2010. 

    For many years, Howard Johnson was the greatest third baseman the Mets had ever had. He was one of the best power hitters in the league during his time and was a consistent force on both very good and very bad Mets teams. However, there is someone else that is on his way to having an even better career as a Met than Johnson.

1. David Wright

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    Howard Johnson's career was certainly one of the best for a Mets' position player, let alone third baseman, but right now is David Wright's time to shine, so this is why he gets the top spot.

    Wright is the current face of the franchise and a five-tool player that may one day become the best Mets position player.

    A highly-touted prospect, Wright got called up to the Mets in July of 2004 and hit 14 home runs in just 263 at-bats. He also had a .293 average and 40 RBI. That season, Mets fans realized that their third baseman of the future was here.

    In 2005, Wright batted .306 with 176 hits, 42 doubles, 27 home runs, 102 RBI, 17 stolen bases, a .388 OBP and a .523 slugging percentage.

    He followed up in 2006 with a .311 average, 181 hits, 40 doubles, 26 home runs, 116 RBI, 20 stolen bases, a .381 OBP and a .531 slugging percentage. He made his first of five consecutive All-Star appearances that year but struggled in the second half of that season.

    Wright did not elevate himself as one of baseball's best players until 2007, when he set a career high by hitting .325 to go along with 113 runs scored, 196 hits, 42 doubles, 30 home runs, 107 RBI, 34 stolen bases, a remarkable career high .416 OBP and a career high .546 slugging percentage. He became only the third Met to have 30 home runs and 30 steals in a season (Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry were the others). He also won the first of two straight Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards that year.

    In 2008, Wright hit .302 and set career highs with 33 home runs and 124 RBI, which tied the Mets' RBI record set by Mike Piazza in 1999. He also had 115 runs scored, 189 hits, 42 doubles, 15 stolen bases, a .390 OBP and a .534 slugging percentage.

    Although 2009 was a disappointing season for Wright (10 home runs, 72 RBI), he still hit .307 to make it five straight seasons of hitting above .300. He also had 39 doubles, 27 stolen bases and a .390 OBP. However, his slugging percentage fell almost 100 points to just .447.

    Wright then bounced back in 2010 with 29 home runs and 103 RBI, though he set a career low with a .283 average and raised his strikeouts to 161. He added 36 doubles, 19 stolen bases, a .354 OBP and a .503 slugging percentage.

    So far in 2011, Wright has missed over two months with a stress fracture in his lower back. Before the injury, he was batting just .226 with six home runs and 18 RBI. Thanks to his injury, this year was also the first year since 2005 that Wright did not make the All-Star team.

    Assuming he plays with the Mets for his entire career, Wright is on pace to become not only the best third baseman in Mets history, but he may also become the best position player to wear a Mets uniform. The sky is the limit for Wright's potential, and only time will tell how successful he will be in the years to come.

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