Beloved Mets Nut-job Lenny Dykstra
Two months after winning the 1986 World Series, the Mets traded hugely talented and hot-headed Kevin Mitchell to the San Diego Padres for boring and much less-talented Kevin McReynolds.
Mitchell went on to hit 47 home runs, win the Most Valuable Player award and lead the San Francisco Giants to the pennant in 1989.
It was the first of many moves where the team rid itself of ballplayers who were deemed problematic, while trying to replace them with solid citizens. In terms of improving the team, the strategy was a failure.
After losing the 1988 NLCS to the Dodgers, Cashen struck again.
Between June and December of 1989, the Mets traded away Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell, Mookie Wilson and Randy Myers.
All but Mookie were considered problem children.
Pitcher David Cone, after he was traded to the Blue Jays in 1992, nailed it when he called the move: “The end of the arrogant Mets, the end of the mid-'80s, flourishing Mets. Well, yeah, the heart and soul was bred out of it……."
Of the 23 players to appear in the 1988 NLCS, 10 were gone by the end of the next year. They took their personalities with them, and left Mets fans with a team of bland oatmeal.