New York Mets: The 25 Best Outfielders in Club History
The New York Mets have had some of the better outfielders in the league during various eras within their 50-year history.
Some of the Mets' outfielders have been pure sluggers, some have been Gold Glove Award winners, and others have been more known for their speed. Nonetheless, all of these players have made significant contributions to both the Mets and all of baseball during their respective careers.
With this being said, here are the top 25 outfielders in Mets history.
25. Carl Everett
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Controversial and outspoken outfielder Carl Everett spent three seasons from 1995-1997 as a Met and became one of the most promising players on the team during those years. In 1995, he emerged midseason as the starting right fielder by finishing with a .260 average, 12 home runs and 54 RBI in just 79 games.
Everett had a terrible season in 1996, as he spent time on the disabled list and only had one home run and 16 RBI that year. He didn't get along with teammates and manager Dallas Green, and was nothing but trouble at the time. He demanded a trade that year, which didn't end up happening.
Everett bounced back in 1997, though, as he found a lot of playing time thanks to Lance Johnson's shin splints and Butch Huskey being a defensive liability. He led the Mets that year with 17 stolen bases and hit 28 doubles, 14 home runs and drove in 57 RBI.
This season was going much better for Everett until August when a Shea Stadium child care worker noticed bruises on Everett's five-year-old daughter. Both of Everett's children were placed in foster care, but later were returned to Everett and his wife, even though one daughter said she didn't want to live with Everett. This incident did not sit well with the Mets' front office, and Everett got traded to the Astros in the offseason for John Hudek, who pitched for the Mets briefly in 1998.
24. Benny Agbayani
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One Met that made the most of his short stay with the team at the turn of the century was Benny Agbayani.
Agbayani, a Hawaii native, first came up in 1998 and batted just .133 in 15 at-bats. Once he got called up again in 1999, Agbayani got off to an amazing start by hitting 11 home runs by the All-Star break, which is the second best for a Mets rookie behind Ron Swoboda's 15 home runs in 1965. He finished the season with a .286 average, 14 home runs and 42 RBI in 276 at-bats. He batted .300 in the 1999 NLDS, but just .143 in the 1999 NLCS.
In 2000, Agbayani finally got an everyday job as the Mets' left fielder once the veteran Rickey Henderson got released. He batted .289 that year with 15 home runs, 60 RBI and a .391 OBP. He started off the season once again with a bang when he hit a grand slam in the second game of the season.
In Game 3 of the 2000 NLDS, Agbayani hit the biggest homer of his career when he blasted a walk-off home run in the 13th inning off Aaron Fultz of the Giants. He then went on to bat .353 in the NLCS and .278 in the World Series.
After a decent 2001 season in which he batted .277 with six home runs and 27 RBI, Agbayani got traded the following offseason, along with Todd Zeile, to the Rockies. He spent some time with the Rockies and the Red Sox before playing in Japan for six years. He made an appearance at Citi Field in 2010 as part of the 2000 Mets' 10th anniversary celebration.
23. Danny Heep
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While the Mets of the mid-1980s were known for the depth of their lineup, their bench depth was actually pretty good as well. One big reason for that had to do with the bat of outfielder Danny Heep.
Heep was acquired by the Mets in 1983 in a trade with the Astros for Mike Scott. Most of Heep's at-bats came off the bench, but he played occasionally in the outfield as well.
Heep had a decent season in 1983 with a .253 average, eight home runs and 21 RBI. His 1984 season was not as good, as he only had one home run and 12 RBI to go along with a lowered .231 average.
He redeemed himself in 1985, though, by batting .280 with seven home runs and 42 RBI. In 1986, Heep helped the Mets win the World Series by batting .282 with five home runs and 33 RBI. He got one hit in four at-bats during the 1986 NLCS, but struggled in the World Series by only getting one hit in 11 at-bats.
After getting his first World Series championship, Heep signed with the Dodgers in 1987 and won another ring a year later.
22. Mike Cameron
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Mike Cameron's stay with the Mets was very brief, but he definitely made the most of his time in New York.
Cameron signed a three-year contract prior to the 2004 season to become the Mets' new center fielder. With Mike Piazza having a down year and the rest of the Mets' offense struggling for the most part, Cameron became one of the Mets' few offensive bright spots.
Despite batting just .231 for the year, he led the team with 30 home runs and 76 RBI. Not surprisingly, Cameron also led all Mets batters with 143 strikeouts, which he has always been known for. Nonetheless, the fact that Cameron was the Mets' best hitter in 2004 should not go unnoticed.
In 2005, the Mets signed outfielder Carlos Beltran to a seven-year contract. As a result, Cameron was moved to right field. Although his average went up to .273 that year, his production decreased significantly as he finished with just 12 home runs and 39 RBI.
He missed the first month of the season with a wrist injury but suffered a much scarier injury in August when he and Beltran had a head-on collision in a game at San Diego. After suffering a concussion, plus fractures in his nose and both cheekbones, Cameron was forced to miss the rest of the season to recover.
Due to the collision that Cameron and Beltran had, it was clear to the Mets that they could not be in the same outfield together. As a result, Cameron got traded to the Padres after the 2005 season for short-lived Met Xavier Nady.
21. Endy Chavez
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As one of the best defensive outfielders in Mets history, Endy Chavez had to fit into this list.
Signed by the Mets in 2006, Chavez batted .306 with four home runs and 42 RBI that year, but he made a huge name for himself during the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals when he robbed Scott Rolen of a home run in Game 7. He then doubled off Jim Edmonds from first base. However, the Mets ended up losing that game and their chance to go to the World Series that year.
Despite missing two months of the season with an injury in 2007, Chavez had another good season by batting .287 with one home run and 17 RBI. He then batted .267 with one home run and 12 RBI in 2008 before getting traded to the Mariners in the deal in which the Mets acquired reliever J.J. Putz.
Chavez was not the best hitter the Mets had, but every fan who followed the team in 2006 will always remember the spectacular catch he made that year in Game 7 of the NLCS.
20. Art Shamsky
The left-handed hitting Art Shamsky platooned with Ron Swoboda in right field from 1968-1971 and was one of the many critical parts of the 1969 championship team.
After batting .238 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 1968, Shamsky had a great season in 1969. Although his 14 home runs and 47 RBI that year were not a huge improvement, he did raise his average to an even .300. In the 1969 NLCS, Shamsky batted .538 as he helped the Mets win the pennant and, ultimately, the World Series.
Shamsky then batted .293 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI in 1970 before struggling all of a sudden in 1971. He was traded to the Reds following the 1971 season.
Shamsky's tenure with the Mets was brief, but he will always be remembered as one of the more important members of the 1969 Mets.
19. Roger Cedeno
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Although he had two separate stints with the Mets, Roger Cedeno makes the list simply because of the surprising season he had in 1999.
After playing with the Dodgers from 1995-1998, Cedeno was traded to the Mets for Todd Hundley and minor league player Arnold Gooch. He was not expected to play quite often, but after Bobby Bonilla began to struggle, Cedeno quickly became the everyday right fielder. He made the most of his opportunity too by batting .313 with four home runs, 36 RBI, 90 runs scored, a .396 OBP and a then-Mets single season record 66 stolen bases.
Cedeno played well in the 1999 postseason by batting .286 in the NLDS and .500 in the NLCS. He also got his stock high enough to be traded to the Astros in the offseason as the Mets acquired Mike Hampton and Derek Bell.
After spending 2000 with the Astros and 2001 with the Tigers, the Mets decided to re-sign Cedeno for a three-year contract. This time around, though, Cedeno did not live up to his expectations.
His average dropped to around .260, and he did not have the speed he did in 1999. In fact, Cedeno became such a disappointment in his second stint that he did not even get to finish it out as a Met. He got traded to the Cardinals right before the 2004 season began. The Mets were forced to eat the remainder of Cedeno's contract in the process.
Nonetheless, Cedeno had a great season in 1999 and became a promising player at the time.
18. Bobby Bonilla
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He may not have been one of the most beloved players in Mets history, but Bobby Bonilla was one of the brighter spots during the forgettable 1992 and 1993 seasons. After signing a then-lucrative five-year, $29 million contract, he hit 19 home runs and drove in 70 RBI in 1992, and hit 34 home runs and drove in 87 RBI in 1993.
However, most of Bonilla's Mets years will be remembered for him being a distraction and causing controversy with the fans and media. He was finally traded away in 1995 only to reappear in 1999 as a reserve outfielder. Furthermore, due to a clause in his contract after getting waived following the 1999 season, the Mets will now be paying Bonilla more than $1 million every summer through 2035.
17. Cliff Floyd
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One of the Mets' better outfielders in the 2000s, Cliff Floyd would have fully lived up to his expectations had injuries not limited his time as much as they did. Despite the injuries, Floyd put up some good numbers for the Mets from 2003-2006.
After signing a four-year deal to become the Mets' new left fielder prior to the 2003 season, Floyd batted .290 for the year with 18 home runs, 68 RBI, a .376 OBP and a .518 slugging percentage before an Achilles injury forced him to miss a month late in the season.
In 2004, Floyd missed the first month of the season with a quadriceps injury, but batted .260 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI after he returned to the lineup.
Floyd finally put everything together in a healthy 2005 season. While Carlos Beltran and his new contract got the most attention of any Mets player that year, Floyd actually had one of the best offensive seasons for the team. He batted .273, led the team with 34 home runs and was second in RBI with 98.
In 2006, while the Mets ran away with the NL East title and made a deep postseason run, Floyd was once again hampered by injuries. He missed a month with Achilles tendinitis and was limited to just 12 at-bats in the postseason, including just three in the NLCS. He finished the regular season with a .244 average, 11 home runs and 44 RBI.
Floyd signed with the Cubs in 2007, which ended his time as a Met. Despite all the injuries, he was still one of the more productive Mets outfielders in the 2000s.
16. Butch Huskey
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Although he was given a lot of criticism by many people, including fans, the media and even his own coaches, Butch Huskey was still a solid outfielder for the Mets in the mid-1990s, despite a disappointing end to his Mets tenure. When he was cold at the plate, he was ice cold, but when he was on fire, he could hit the ball a mile at any given moment.
Originally drafted by the Mets in 1989, Huskey made his major league debut in September of 1993. However, he, along with the rest of the lineup, did not get any hits as the late Darryl Kile threw a no-hitter that day.
After spending all of 1994 in the minor leagues and only receiving a brief September call-up in 1995, Huskey finally got to spend regular time in the major leagues in 1996. He was originally going to compete with Edgardo Alfonzo for the third base job, but when Rey Ordonez emerged with his spectacular defense at shortstop, manager Dallas Green altered the defensive alignment by putting Jose Vizcaino at second base and Jeff Kent at third base.
To reward Huskey for his hitting, he was given the everyday right-field job, despite barely ever playing in the outfield. Huskey ended up struggling in the outfield and was replaced by more natural outfielders, like Carl Everett and Alex Ochoa.
However, after Rico Brogna's season ended due to an injury, Huskey started playing first base regularly for the rest of the season. Huskey finished the 1996 season with a .278 average, 15 home runs and 60 RBI.
In 1997, Huskey was originally the starting third baseman, but he struggled defensively, got benched in favor of Alfonzo and soon found himself back in right field. This season, though, would become his breakout and most successful season.
He batted .287 with 24 home runs and 81 RBI. While 1996 stars Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson and Todd Hundley were expected to carry the Mets offense once again, Gilkey and Johnson did not find as much success, and Hundley hit well until his elbow injury got the best of his season.
As a result, Huskey stepped up and became one of the better hitters on a Mets team that finished with a winning record for the first time since 1990. His average, home runs and RBI totals were all within the top three of all Mets hitters that year.
1997 was also a special year for Huskey as Jackie Robinson's No. 42 got retired across all of MLB. Huskey, who had been wearing 42 since 1995, was allowed to keep wearing the number as part of a grandfather clause. Huskey had always looked up to Robinson and was honored to be able to don the jersey number. Another highlight for Huskey that year occurred in September when he became just the third player to ever hit a home run into the 600 level of Veterans Stadium.
At just 25 years old, scouts were already comparing Huskey to Mark McGwire. With Hundley expected to miss at least half of the 1998 season, Huskey was expected to carry the Mets offense for the time being. Huskey, though, did not live up to these expectations at all. He spent some time on the disabled list and finished his 1998 season with a .252 average, 13 home runs and just 59 RBI.
By the end of the 1998 season, the Mets' front office had given up on Huskey and decided to trade him to the Mariners in the offseason. Huskey's career was never the same after that. He spent time with the Mariners, Red Sox, Twins and Rockies before retiring prior to the 2001 season at just 29 years old. Nonetheless, Huskey delivered the Mets a great season in 1997 when the team desperately needed it.
15. Bernard Gilkey
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Bernard Gilkey was one of the best outfielders to wear a Mets uniform in the 1990s, despite the fact that he turned out to be a one-year wonder for the team.
After spending the first six years of his career with the Cardinals, Gilkey was traded to the Mets prior to the 1996 season in the walk year of his contract. Gilkey then went on to make the most of his contract season.
Gilkey emerged as one of the National League's top hitters in 1996 by finishing with a .317 average, 108 runs scored, 181 hits, a Mets-record 44 doubles, 30 home runs, 117 RBI, 73 walks, 321 total bases, a .393 OBP and a .562 slugging percentage. He also had 18 assists from left field. For some reason, Gilkey got snubbed from the 1996 NL All-Star team, but he still had one heck of a career season that year.
Thanks to his career season, Gilkey was rewarded with a new four-year, $20 million contract from the Mets. He was expected to continue to put up similar numbers in 1997, but thanks to these expectations, his 1997 season looked more disappointing than it actually was.
Gilkey struggled during the early portion of the season but still had 18 home runs and 78 RBI. However, his average dropped significantly to just .249. Gilkey's 1998 season was much worse, though, and he ended up getting traded to the Diamondbacks in July. He never found his 1996 success again for the rest of his career.
14. Lance Johnson
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Another Mets outfielder who had a career season in 1996 was the "One Dog" himself, Lance Johnson.
After spending the first eight seasons of his career with the White Sox from 1988-1995, Johnson signed with the Mets prior to the 1996 season. Johnson was already known around the league as a speedster and someone who could really accumulate a lot of triples. Johnson had led the American League in triples from 1991-1994 and brought the same kind of success to the Mets in 1996.
Johnson finished the 1996 season with a .333 average, 117 runs scored, 227 hits, 31 doubles, 21 triples, nine home runs, 69 RBI, 50 stolen bases, 327 total bases and a .362 OBP. The runs scored, hits, triples and total bases all became single-season records at the time. The 227 hits and 21 triples still stand as records today. Johnson made his only trip to the All-Star Game that year and even started in place of an injured Tony Gwynn.
Johnson was expected to continue his offensive success for the Mets in 1997, but he battled shin splints that year and ended up getting traded at the trade deadline to the Cubs in the deal that brought Brian McRae, Turk Wendell and Mel Rojas to the Mets. Before the trade, Johnson was batting .309 with 15 stolen bases. There were also rumors that he did not get along well with new manager Bobby Valentine.
Despite his Mets tenure ending all too short, Lance Johnson had one heck of an amazing season in 1996, and that alone should make him the Mets' top center fielder of the 1990s.
13. John Milner
John Milner was one of the Mets' better hitters during the 1970s. "The Hammer" split time over those years at first base and left field, but is still one of the better outfielders during the first quarter century in the history of the franchise.
After finishing second in the 1972 National League Rookie of the Year voting, Milner had a great season in 1973. He had 23 home runs and 72 RBI that year as the cleanup hitter. He followed this up with a 20-home run and 63-RBI season in 1974.
After not playing too much in 1975, Milner had two more solid seasons before getting traded to the Rangers after the 1977 season.
Over seven seasons with the team (he had 18 at-bats in 1971), Milner had 94 home runs and 338 RBI, both of which were the most of any Mets batter in the 1970s.
12. Ron Swoboda
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He may have been "Rocky" at first, but Ron Swoboda became a great all-around player for the Mets during the mid- to late-1960s.
Swoboda had a successful rookie season in 1965 and remained a great role player through the rest of the decade. He eventually platooned in right field with left-handed hitting Art Shamsky in 1969.
In September of that season, Steve Carlton set a then-MLB record with 19 strikeouts, but the Mets won that game thanks to a pair of two-run home runs by Swoboda.
Swoboda did not play in the 1969 NLCS, but he made the most of his opportunities in the World Series. He made a spectacular catch in Game 4 to end a rally, and in Game 5, he drove in the game-winning run, as the Mets won their first championship in franchise history.
11. Frank Thomas
The first notable outfielder in Mets history was Frank Thomas. Not to be confused with Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas of the White Sox in the 1990s, this Frank Thomas also happened to be one of the better sluggers of his time and set the offensive standard for the Mets.
Thomas had spent 1951-1958 with the Pirates, 1959 with the Reds, 1960-1961 with the Cubs and the latter part of 1961 with the Braves before getting traded to the Mets for a player to be named later, prior to the 1962 season.
Thomas was the starting left fielder in the Mets' inaugural game and had the best season of any hitter on the worst team in baseball history. He batted just .266 in 1962, but set the Mets' standard with 34 home runs and 94 RBI. Those two single season totals would not be surpassed until 1976 and 1970, respectively. Thomas was a pull hitter and his swing was designed for the Polo Grounds with its left field porch.
Thomas did not find the exact same success in 1963. His average only fell to .260, but his home run and RBI totals slipped to 15 and 60, respectively. He then played in just 60 games in 1964 before getting traded to the Phillies in August for Gary Kroll and Wayne Graham. Thomas had a .254 average, three home runs and 19 RBI before the trade.
Frank Thomas' Mets tenure may not have been the most memorable, but he certainly deserves credit for establishing the original offensive standard for the Mets.
10. Dave Kingman
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The No. 10 spot belongs to Dave Kingman, one of the most feared sluggers of his time and the first genuine slugger the Mets had ever had.
Known for his monstrous power and breathtaking 500-plus foot homers, "Kong" made the most of his two brief stints with the team. However, when he wasn't hitting home runs, the free-swinging Kingman always racked up a lot of strikeouts. Furthermore, his batting average and OBP were both consistently on the low side.
After spending the first four years of his career with the Giants from 1971-1974, Kingman was sold to the Mets following the 1974 season. He immediately became a force for the Mets offense by setting a then-franchise record with 36 home runs to go along with 88 RBI. During that season, Kingman split time between left field and first base.
Kingman was even better in 1976. His average rose from .231 to .238, and he broke his own record with 37 home runs. He was named an All-Star that year and started in right field during the game.
Kingman's 1977 season was rather odd. He only had nine home runs in June by the time he became part of the "Midnight Massacre." After the Mets infamously traded away Tom Seaver, Kingman was then sent to the Padres for future Mets manager Bobby Valentine.
In September, the Angels claimed Kingman off waivers and six days later, he was sent to the Yankees, where he finished the season. Although the Yankees won the 1977 World Series, Kingman was not included on the roster. That year, he became the first person in history to play in all four divisions.
Kingman then played the next three seasons with the Cubs and led the league in 1979 with 48 home runs. He then got traded back to the Mets prior to the 1981 season in an attempt by the Mets' new ownership to please the fanbase.
He had just 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 1981, but returned to his normal self the following year by hitting 37 home runs, which once again led the league, and driving in 99 RBI. In his final Mets season in 1983, Kingman batted below .200 and did not play as much, especially after the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez. He finished with only 13 home runs and 29 RBI.
Kingman spent his final three seasons mostly as a designated hitter with the Oakland A's. After playing 20 minor league games within the Giants' organization in 1987, he retired. He finished his career with 442 home runs, yet only got voted on three Hall of Fame ballots during his first year of eligibility. As a result, he became the first player with more than 400 home runs to not get a Hall of Fame induction.
Dave Kingman's Mets tenure was not the longest, and the teams he played on certainly were not particularly good, but Kingman was a fan favorite, and those who saw him will probably never forget some of the long home runs he hit.
9. Kevin McReynolds
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Kevin McReynolds was not the biggest fan favorite on the Mets, but in the late 1980s, he was definitely one of the best hitters in the league.
McReynolds was acquired in 1987 and immediately got the everyday left field job. He hit 29 home runs and drove in 95 RBI in his first season as a Met. He was even better in 1988, as he finished in third place for the NL MVP voting behind teammate Darryl Strawberry and winner Kirk Gibson. He batted .288 and finished with 27 home runs and 99 RBI that year.
McReynolds had another solid season in 1989, as both Lenny Dykstra and Mookie Wilson were traded away that season. He also became the fifth Met to ever hit for the cycle on August 1.
In 1990, McReynolds batted .269 with 24 home runs and 82 RBI. He then batted .259 with 16 home runs and 74 RBI before getting traded to the Royals the following offseason.
McReynolds would later get traded back to the Mets before the 1994 season. However, this time around, he was a reserve outfielder and batted .256 with just four home runs and 21 RBI in 180 at-bats. He subsequently retired after the season.
8. Lenny Dykstra
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One key cog in the Mets' success in the 1980s was Lenny Dykstra. He became the leadoff hitting spark plug the team needed to win. Dykstra did not play much in 1985 and finished the year with a .254 average, one home run and 19 RBI.
In his first full season in 1986, Dykstra started at center field and hit .295 with eight home runs, 45 RBI, a team-leading 31 stolen bases and a .377 OBP.
Known as Nails, his role was to get on base so the big hitters, like Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry, could drive him in. Dykstra played a solid center field and played a huge role in the 1986 World Series by hitting two very clutch home runs.
He followed up the championship season by hitting .285 with 10 home runs, 43 RBI, 37 doubles, 27 stolen bases and a .352 OBP in 1987. In 1988, he hit .270 with eight home runs, 33 RBI, 30 steals and a .321 OBP in 1988.
At this point, Dykstra was platooning in center field with Mookie Wilson, with the slugging Kevin McReynolds being a fixture in left field. With this conundrum of playing time, the Mets apparently felt that Dykstra or Wilson had to go.
As it turns out, both got traded in 1989. Dykstra, along with Roger McDowell, was sent to the Phillies for Juan Samuel in one of the worst trades in franchise history. Dykstra was batting .270 with three home runs and 13 RBI before the trade.
Dykstra spent the rest of his career with the Phillies by leading them to the 1993 World Series and becoming a fan favorite there, while Samuel was gone after the 1989 season and did close to nothing in his short stint with the Mets.
Dykstra was definitely one of the better outfielders the Mets have had, and until Jose Reyes came along, he was most likely the best leadoff hitter in team history.
7. Lee Mazzilli
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One of the best Mets outfielders and hitters in the 1970s was Lee Mazzilli. The Brooklyn-born fan favorite had two solid stints with the Mets and was one of the most popular players during his time.
Mazzilli first came up in 1976 as a September call-up. He only batted .195 with two home runs and seven RBI for the month. In his first full season in 1977, Mazzilli batted .250 with six home runs and 46 RBI.
He had his breakout season in 1978 with a .273 average, 16 home runs and 61 RBI. However, his best season was a year later in 1979 when he hit 15 home runs and put up career highs in batting average and RBI at .303 and 79, respectively. He also had 181 hits, 34 doubles, 34 stolen bases and a .395 OBP. He made his only All-Star team that year.
In 1980, Mazzilli was shifted to first base but continued to hit. He batted .280 with 16 home runs, 76 RBI, 31 doubles and a career-high 41 stolen bases.
That would be Mazzilli's last great year in his first Mets stint. In 1981, Mazzilli only appeared in 95 games due to back and elbow injuries. He only batted .228 for the year with six home runs and 34 RBI.
Right before the beginning of the 1982 season, Mazzilli was traded to the Rangers for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell, which was a trade that immediately benefitted the Mets. Mazzilli played part of the season with the Rangers before getting traded to the Yankees for the rest of the year.
After the season, Mazzilli was traded once again to the Pirates. He stayed in Pittsburgh until he was released in August of 1986. That was when the Mets wisely picked him up to add more bench depth.
After returning to the Mets, Mazzilli batted .276 with two home runs and seven RBI. He batted .400 during the World Series.
In 1987, as a part-time player, Mazzilli batted .306 with three home runs and 24 RBI. In 1988, his average fell to just .147, and he had no home runs and 12 RBI.
Mazzilli's final season with the Mets was in 1989. He was only batting .183 with two home runs and seven RBI before getting claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays. He retired after the season.
Since retiring, Mazzilli was a first base coach with the Yankees under former manager Joe Torre from 2000-2003. He then managed the Orioles from 2004-2005. After spending 2006 as the Yankees bench coach, Mazzilli became the SNY studio analyst for Mets games. Former teammate Bob Ojeda replaced him in 2009.
Mazzilli was one of the Mets' best hitters in the late 1970s and later became one of the Mets' more reliable pinch-hitters in the late 1980s.
6. Tommie Agee
One of the greatest center fielders the Mets have had was definitely Tommie Agee.
Agee did not have a particularly great year in 1968 with just a .217 average, five home runs and 17 RBI. However, he truly arrived in 1969 when he batted .271 with 26 home runs and 76 RBI. He was a dependable leadoff hitter with power and was known for making the most spectacular catches. He hit well and made two amazing catches in the 1969 World Series that prevented a combined five runs from scoring.
Another amazing moment for Agee that year was when he hit a monstrous home run into Shea Stadium's upper deck. It was the first home run to reach the level, and a sign was soon painted to commemorate Agee's blast.
In 1970, Agee batted .286 with 24 home runs and 75 RBI. He also had a 20-game hitting streak in April and May. He followed this up with a .285 average, 14 home runs and 50 RBI in 1971. However, he missed some time due to knee injuries.
Those same injuries affected Agee in 1972 as well. For that year, his average dropped significantly to .227, and he finished with 13 home runs and 47 RBI. He then got traded to the Astros after the 1972 season for Rich Chiles and Buddy Harris.
Agee spent 1973 with the Astros and Cardinals before retiring at just 31 years old.
Agee unfortunately passed away in 2001 due to a heart attack. He was inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame a year later.
Agee was the first great center fielder the Mets had ever had and set the Mets' standard for that position.
5. Rusty Staub
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Known as "Le Grande Orange," Rusty Staub became one of the Mets' best players in the mid-1970s. He then had a successful second stint with the team as a reliable pinch-hitter.
After spending 1963-1968 with the Astros and 1969-1971 with the Expos, Staub was traded to the Mets on April 6, 1972, for Tim Foli, Mike Jorgenson and Ken Singleton. This move certainly upgraded the Mets' outfield.
Staub batted .293 with nine home runs and 38 RBI in 1972. He missed almost two months, though, with a fractured right hand.
In 1973, Staub batted .279 with 15 home runs, 76 RBI and 36 doubles. However, he was clutch in the 1973 NLCS against the Reds. He hit three home runs and drove in five RBI in the series as the Mets won the pennant that year. In the World Series, Staub batted .423 with one home run and six RBI in 23 at-bats.
In 1974, Staub's average fell to .258, but he hit 19 home runs and drove in 78 RBI. He followed this up with a .282 average, 19 home runs and a new Mets record 105 RBI, which broke Frank Thomas' single season record of 94. Staub also had a .371 OBP that year.
Unfortunately, the Mets made a regrettable move by trading Staub after the season to the Tigers for Mickey Lolich. Lolich was a disappointment in 1976 in his only season as a Met, while Staub kept hitting with the Tigers, Expos and Rangers.
After the 1980 season, Staub made Mets fans everywhere very happy by signing with the team as a pinch-hitter. As a part-time utility player and pinch-hitting specialist, Staub batted .317 with five home runs and 21 RBI.
In 1982, Staub batted just .242, but finished with three home runs and 27 RBI. Staub bounced back in 1983 with a .296 average, three home runs and 28 RBI.
Staub batted .264 with one home run and 18 RBI in 1984, and .267 with one home run and eight RBI in 1985 before retiring after the 1985 season.
Staub was inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame a year later in 1986 and became a club ambassador. He has been very active within various charities for years and makes occasional appearances at Citi Field.
Staub's tenure may have been a little too short, but he certainly made the most of his years as a Met.
4. Cleon Jones
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One of the most remembered outfielders in the first quarter century of Mets baseball will always be Cleon Jones.
Drafted by the Mets, Jones originally got called up in September of 1963, but had just two hits in 15 at-bats. He spent all of 1964 in the minor leagues before getting recalled in 1965. He played the first month of the season before getting demoted in May. He was then recalled in September and finished the year with a .149 average, one home run and nine RBI.
In 1966, Jones became the everyday center fielder for the Mets. He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting with a .275 average, eight home runs, 57 RBI and 16 stolen bases. In 1967, Jones' average fell to .246, and he finished with just five home runs and 30 RBI. He shared time in center field with Larry Stahl due to his struggles.
Prior to the 1968 season, the Mets traded for Jones' childhood friend, Tommie Agee. Agee, being a former Gold Glove Award winner was given center field, and Jones moved to left field. That year, Jones raised his average to .297, set a career high with 14 home runs and drove in 55 RBI. He also set more career highs with 29 doubles and 23 stolen bases.
Despite these numbers, 1969 would become Jones' career season. As the Mets went on to win the World Series that year, Jones set a new Mets standard with a .340 average. He also had 12 home runs, a career-high 75 RBI, 25 doubles, 16 stolen bases and a remarkable .422 OBP. He made his only All-Star team that year.
Jones hit .429 in the NLCS against the Braves, but had just three hits in the World Series. Nonetheless, he caught the final out of the series and famously dropped to one knee.
A turning point in the 1969 season occurred in late July when Jones failed to run out a fly ball. Manager Gil Hodges then came out and walked to left field. He walked back to the dugout with Jones behind him.
People originally thought Jones was injured, but sources later believed Hodges removed Jones for a lack of hustle. Nevertheless, it was a turning point for the Mets, and it propelled them to their championship.
In 1970, Jones batted .277 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI. He then batted .319 in 1971, good enough for seventh in the National League. He tied his career high with 14 home runs and drove in 69 RBI.
Jones struggled in 1972 as he saw his average drop to just .245. His five home runs and 52 RBI that year were also on the low side. He platooned with John Milner that year in left field.
In 1973, Jones bounced back by batting .260 with 11 home runs and 48 RBI. He then batted .300 in the NLCS and .286 in the World Series. However, this time, the Mets did not finish the season with a championship.
Jones's last great year with the Mets was in 1974. He batted .282 with 13 home runs and 60 RBI. But right when 1975 started, everything went downhill.
Jones missed the first two months of the season with a knee injury, so he stayed in Florida for extended spring training. While he was there, he was arrested for indecent exposure after police found him sleeping in a van with a 21-year-old girl. The charges were later dropped, but the Mets' chairman M. Donald Grant fined Jones $2,000 for his actions, which was by far the largest fine the Mets had ever given a player. Jones was also forced to apologize at a press conference.
After returning to the field that year, Jones was batting .240 in 50 at-bats before asking for his release, which he got. He did not get along with manager Yogi Berra, and this had a significant effect as to why his Mets career ended when it did.
Jones was signed by the White Sox in 1976. He batted .200 in 13 games, got released after that and subsequently retired.
Jones was inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame in 1991. He still makes appearances at Citi Field and was there in 2009 during the 1969 Mets' 40th anniversary tribute.
Cleon Jones was one of the Mets' most dependable outfielders for a decade, and his steady contributions will always be remembered by the fans that were fortunate enough to watch him play.
3. Mookie Wilson
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At the No. 3 spot is Mookie Wilson, who became a staple for the Mets throughout the 1980s. He could play left field and center field, and was also comfortable with batting at various spots in the lineup.
Wilson was a September call-up in 1980. He batted .248 in 105 at-bats with no home runs and four RBI. He played more in 1981 and finished with a .271 average, three home runs, 14 RBI and 24 stolen bases.
However, 1982 would be Wilson's breakout season. He became the everyday center fielder and batted .279 with five home runs, a career-high 55 RBI, 25 doubles, nine triples and a career-high 58 stolen bases.
Wilson followed this up in 1983 with a .276 average, seven home runs, 51 RBI, 25 doubles and 54 stolen bases. In 1984, Wilson batted .276 with a career-high 10 home runs, 54 RBI, 28 doubles, a career-high 10 triples and 46 stolen bases.
In 1985, Wilson batted .276 for the third consecutive year, and finished with six home runs and 26 RBI. He missed two months of the season because of shoulder surgery, though.
In 1986, thanks to an eye injury that caused him to miss the first month of the season, as well as the emergence of Lenny Dykstra, the Mets had a logjam in the outfield. However, this was solved when George Foster got released later that summer. As a result, Wilson split time between left field and center field. He finished the year with a .289 average, nine home runs, 45 RBI and 25 stolen bases.
He saved his best moments, though, for the postseason. Although he batted just .115 in the NLCS and .269 in the World Series, Wilson's biggest moment also turned out to be one of the biggest moments in Mets history.
In Game 6, it was Wilson who had to leap away from Bob Stanley's wild pitch that allowed Kevin Mitchell to score the tying run. That same at-bat, Wilson was part of arguably the Mets' greatest moment ever. He hit a ground ball through Bill Buckner's legs that allowed Ray Knight to score the winning run and force a Game 7 that the Mets ultimately won. Wilson became a Met hero after the series.
Wilson batted .299 with nine home runs, 34 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 1987. He then batted .296 with eight home runs, 41 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 1988 as the Mets made the playoffs again.
As 1989 approached, the Mets decided to rebuild. As a result, Wilson was unfortunately one of the main players the Mets traded that year. He was shipped to the Blue Jays for Jeff Musselman and Mike Brady at the deadline. He then spent the rest of 1989, as well as 1990 and 1991 with the Blue Jays before retiring.
Wilson was inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame in 1996. A year later, he became Bobby Valentine's first base coach, a position he held through 2002. He then worked in the Mets' minor league affiliates before returning as the first base coach in 2011 under Terry Collins. This move definitely put some smiles on the faces of Mets fans.
Mookie Wilson was one of the best outfielders to ever wear a Mets uniform, and the 1986 World Series may not have been the same without him.
2. Carlos Beltran
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Although he had his ups and downs and recently just got traded away, Carlos Beltran is arguably the greatest center fielder the Mets have ever had.
Beltran originally came up with the Royals in 1998, and he was there until he got traded to the Astros midway through the 2004 season. He then had one of the best postseasons in MLB history. As a result, the Mets signed him to a seven-year, $119 million contract, which became the largest in team history at the time.
Beltran's 2005 season was rather disappointing. Despite making the All-Star team, Beltran batted .266 with just 16 home runs and 78 RBI. The Mets were expecting a lot more out of him than just those numbers. To add insult to injury, Beltran endured a scary head-on collision with Mike Cameron in San Diego.
Beltran made up for his 2005 struggles in 2006 by having one of the best single seasons in team history. He hit a respectable .275 with 41 homers, which tied Todd Hundley's team record set in 1996, 116 RBI, 38 doubles and a .982 OPS.
He won his first of three consecutive Gold Gloves, made another All-Star team and made one spectacular catch after another during that stretch. Beltran also proved to be clutch by hitting a few walk-off home runs. However, many people will remember Beltran freezing at an Adam Wainwright curveball, which ended the Mets' season that year in the NLCS.
Beltran proved his 2006 season was not a fluke in 2007. That year, he batted .276 with 33 home runs and 112 RBI. He also had a .353 OBP and a .525 slugging percentage. He made his fourth consecutive trip to the All-Star Game, won his second Silver Slugger award and won his second Gold Glove award that year.
In 2008, Beltran had another strong season. He raised his average to .284 and finished with 27 home runs and 112 RBI. He also had 116 runs scored, 40 doubles and a .376 OBP. He won his third consecutive Gold Glove Award as well.
Beltran also notably hit the last Mets home run in Shea Stadium history during the season's final game. Unfortunately, the Mets would lose that game and miss the postseason for the second consecutive season.
With the Mets moving into Citi Field, Beltran was expected to hit even better than he did in 2007 and 2008. He gave the fans what they were looking for and had a great first half to his 2009 season. He was batting .325 with 10 home runs, 48 RBI and a .415 OBP at just 81 games played before a painful knee injury ended his season.
Ironically, this injury trend became very familiar for almost all of the team's star players that year. He made his fourth All-Star team as a Met, but did not play due to the injury.
In 2010, Beltran went against the Mets' wishes and had surgery on his knee without the team's consent. His recovery process took a while, and he wasn't back on the field in a Mets uniform until right after the All-Star break on July 15.
When Beltran got back on the field, the Mets had already found a new center fielder in Angel Pagan, but because of Beltran's high profile, Pagan moved to right field so Beltran could play his natural center field. This did not turn out to be the wisest move as Beltran at times looked lost in the outfield and could not run as fast because of the knee injury.
In 64 games that year, Beltran batted .255 with seven home runs and 27 RBI. His hitting was considerably more consistent from the right side as he looked to have lost his left-handed power. Despite the .255 average, Beltran had a solid .341 OBP that year.
In 2011, Beltran was expected to get traded at the deadline if he was hitting well. Sure enough, he stayed healthy and got traded to the Giants for prospect Zack Wheeler. Before the trade, Beltran was batting .289 with 15 home runs, 66 RBI and 30 doubles. He also made the All-Star Game for the fourth time as a Met.
Beltran's legacy may be viewed more highly by some than others, but it would be very tough to argue that the Mets at one time had a better all-around center fielder than him.
1. Darryl Strawberry
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Rounding out this countdown is perhaps the greatest hitter the Mets have ever had: Darryl Strawberry.
Ever since he stepped on the scene in 1983, Strawberry became the star hitter the Mets had been craving. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award that year and became a staple in right field.
Strawberry had some very good seasons in 1984, 1985 and 1986, before taking his game to another level in 1987. He set career highs in average and home runs at .284 average and 39, respectively. He also had 104 RBI, 32 doubles and 36 stolen bases. He also had a career-high .398 OBP and .583 slugging percentage.
He and teammate Howard Johnson became the first teammates from a single year to hit more than 30 home runs and steal over 30 bases.
A year later, in 1988, Strawberry batted .269 with 39 home runs, 101 RBI, 29 stolen bases and a league-leading .545 slugging percentage. He also finished a close second place in the NL MVP voting behind Kirk Gibson and ahead of teammate Kevin McReynolds.
Strawberry's numbers fell off a bit in 1989, as he finished with a .225 average, 29 home runs and 77 RBI, but by then, he had already established himself as one of the best hitters in the league during the 1980s. Strawberry had yet another great season in 1990 by batting .277 with 37 home runs and a career-high 108 RBI.
Strawberry chose not to sign with the Mets after the 1990 season, which would become something he would regret.