Dwight Gooden and the Top 15 Starting Pitchers in New York Mets History
The Mets have had their fair share of good pitchers over their 38 seasons. From the days of the "Miracle Mets" with "Tom Terrific" and Jerry Koosman, to the 1986 team with "Doc" Gooden and Ron Darling, to the most recent World Series run in 2000 with Al Leiter and Bobby Jones, the Mets have fielded many good pitchers.
These and many other fantastic pitchers earned the Mets World Series championships in 1969 and 1986 to go along with National League pennants in 1973 and 2000.
This season there is a power vacuum with ace Johan Santana out with an shoulder injury. The team is hoping that knuckleballer R.A. Dickey or Mike Pelfrey can fill the void until Santana's expected return around the All-Star break.
I have created a list of who I think are the top 15 starting pitchers in the history of the New York Mets.
Tie 15: Mike Pelfrey
The infamous hand licker, Mike Pelfrey burst onto the scene with the Mets in 2006, going 2-1 in his first four starts with a 5.48 ERA. Pelfrey was basically an ace for the Mets last year after Johan Santana went out with a shoulder injury.
His 2010 first half was fantastic, going 10-1, but he recorded a much more average 5-8 in the second half. That makes 2010 the best year of his career so far. He is known for balking and has the honor of being the only Met besides Al Leiter to balk three times in one game.
In the coming year the Mets are hoping that "Big Pelf," along with R.A. Dickey, will be able to hold down the rotation until Santana can return in mid-July. If Pelfrey continues to pitch on this course, he could very easily move up this list in years to come.
Tie 15: John Maine
Although John Maine can't pitch past the third inning any more due to his recurring injuries, he was pretty good when he could pitch.
The Virginia native was traded to the Mets by the Orioles along with Jorge Julio for Kris Benson in early 2006. After his first couple of appearances for the team, Maine pitched a complete game shutout against the Astros in July.
He would then pitch 17 more consecutive scoreless innings, which beat the team rookie record held by Dwight Gooden and was only 5.2 innings away from the franchise record, which was held by Jerry Koosman.
His best season would come the next year. With 2007 being his only full season, Maine went 15-10 while recording a 3.91 ERA.
Maine's future doesn't look very bright with his constant injuries, and if Mike Pelfrey pitches another year, then he will easily break this tie with Maine.
14: Steve Trachsel
Known as "The Human Rain Delay" due to his tendency to take a long time between pitches, Steve Trachsel spent only six years of his career with the Mets and still landed 10th on the franchise win list with 66.
His best season with the team came in 2003, when he went 16-10 and recorded a 3.78 ERA and 1.314 WHIP.
He is still the only Met pitcher to ever give up four home runs in a single inning and also started every one of his 160 games that he appeared in with the Mets. In his stint with the Mets he went 66-59 with a 4.09 ERA and 580 strikeouts.
13: Tom Glavine
A member of the elite 300-win club, Tom Glavine spent five seasons of his 22-year career in a Mets uniform, spending the other 17 with the Braves.
In his five years Glavine earned a 61-56 record with a 3.97 ERA and 516 strikeouts. In the playoffs he had a 2-1 record with a great 1.76 ERA in three games started. Glavine was a two-time All-Star with the Mets, going in 2004 and 2006.
Unfortunately, Glavine is mostly remembered for his terrible performance on the last day of the 2007 season. Needing a win to get into the playoffs, Tom recorded one out while giving up seven runs to the Marlins, dashing the Mets' playoff hopes.
12: Bobby J. Jones
Drafted by the Mets in the first round of the 1991 amateur draft, Bobby Jones pitched eight seasons with the Mets and won 74 games to land ninth on the franchise win list. His best season came in 1997, when he achieved a 15-9 record, 3.63 ERA, 1.241 WHIP and his first and only All-Star Game appearance.
In 2000, he pitched a one-hitter against the Giants to clinch the NLDS. That was the best postseason performance by any Mets pitcher and one of the closest things the franchise has to a no-hitter. He would then go 0-2 in his other two postseason starts that year.
11: Bob Ojeda
Known as one of the great starting pitchers in the Mets' championship-winning rotation in 1986, Ojeda spent five years in New York and went 51-40 with a quality 3.12 ERA.
His best year came during the championship season of '86, when he went 18-5, recorded a 2.57 ERA and led the league in winning percentage. In the postseason later that year, Bob went 2-0 and recorded a 2.33 ERA.
10: Johan Santana
Johan Santana was acquired in a trade between the Twins and the Mets in early 2008 for four different players in the Mets organization. It turned out to be a great trade for the Mets, as Santana has become one of the best pitchers they ever had.
If he comes back healthy he could easily find himself climbing towards the top of this list in a couple years.
In his three short seasons with the team Johan has recorded 40 wins and only 25 losses to give him a .615 winning percentage.
The reason why he isn't higher on this list is because he has only spent three seasons with the team. The reason why he isn't lower is because he has been so good in those three short seasons.
Santana has an uncertain future, as he keeps on getting injured. Just recently he received shoulder surgery and is expected to return mid July, but nobody knows if he'll be able to return to his old form.
9: Rick Reed
Rick Reed pitched five quality seasons with the Mets and was a member of the team that played the Yankees in the Subway Series in 2000, in which he earned a no-decision, giving up two earned runs in six innings in a winning effort.
His best season with the team came in 1997, his first season with the team, when he went 13-9 and recorded a 2.89 ERA with a 1.042 WHIP.
He is 12th on the franchise win list and 13th on the strikeouts list. He finished his career with the Mets with 59 wins, 36 losses, 590 strikeouts and a 3.66 ERA.
8: John Matlack
John Matlack burst onto the scene in 1971, pitching in seven games and going 0-3. However, the next season Matlack went 15-10 with a fantastic 2.32 ERA, winning the Rookie of the Year Award.
His best season after that would come in 1976, when he went 17-10 with a quality 2.95 ERA, a career-best 1.118 WHIP and a league-high six shutouts.
In the playoffs in 1973 Matlack was fantastic. He went 2-2 with a 1.40 ERA and an incredible .779 WHIP, including a two-hitter against the "Big Red Machine" in the NLCS.
Over the course of his seven seasons with the Mets, John Matlack went 82-81 with a 3.03 ERA and 1,023 strikeouts. Those stats are good enough to land seventh, fourth and eighth respectively on the all-time franchise lists.
7: David Cone
David Cone was traded to the Mets in 1987 from the Royals along with Chris Jelic for Rick Anderson, Mauro Gozzo and Ed Hearn.
This would turn out to be a fantastic trade for the Mets, as after one average season his rookie year, Cone exploded in 1988 when he turned in a 20-3 record, a league-leading .870 winning percentage, a 2.22 ERA, a 1.115 WHIP and 213 strikeouts as well as earning the first All-Star appearance of his career.
Over his seven seasons with the team, Cone averaged a stellar 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings, which is a record for Mets starting pitchers. He is fifth in strikeouts and eighth on the franchise win list.
6: Ron Darling
A member of the 1986 world champion Mets, Ron Darling was a one-time All-Star and a one-time Gold Glove Award winner during his nine seasons with the Mets.
He stands fourth on the franchise list in wins with 99 wins to go along with 70 losses. He had a quality 3.20 ERA with the team and a strikeout rate of 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
His best season came in '86, when he clocked a 15-6 record with a career-best 2.81 ERA. This was also the only year in which he ever received Cy Young Award votes.
That same year he started the opening game of the World Series but lost a heartbreaker 1-0. He also pitched shakily in Game 3 but was pulled out, and the Mets were able to recover and win the game. He is also known for pitching the clinching Game 7.
5: Al Leiter
Al Leiter played for the Mets for seven years. Over the course of those seven seasons, he recorded 95 wins and 67 losses to go along with a quality 3.42 ERA and 1,106 strikeouts.
Leiter's best season came in 1998, his first year with the team, when he went 17-6 for a beautiful .739 winning percentage along with a great 2.47 ERA. He placed sixth in the Cy Young Award voting, the best placing of his career.
Then in 2000, he won 16 games to help the Mets' cause to go to the World Series. In the playoffs in both 1999 and 2000, Leiter went 0-2 in seven games started to go along with a 2.51 ERA.
He made only the second All-Star appearance of his career with the Mets in 2000. He is sixth on the Mets' all-time wins list and seventh on the strikeouts list.
4: Sid Fernandez
Sid Fernandez was a member of the world champion Mets in 1986 and played 10 seasons overall with the team.
He played a very key part in the numerous comebacks for the Mets in the 1986 World Series. Although switched to the bullpen for the Series, Fernandez was used in a couple of ball games to help secure the championship.
His best season came in 1989, when he went 14-5 for a league-leading .737 winning percentage, along with a career-best 2.83 ERA and 198 strikeouts. He was widely known for starting out the season strong; however, he would die out over the course of the season.
He had All-Star appearances in 1986 and 1987. He is fifth on the Mets' franchise win list, fourth in strikeouts and fourth in games started.
3: Jerry Koosman
Always overshadowed by another pitcher, Jerry Koosman is widely known as the No. 2 starter of the "Miracle Mets" and also known for having one of the most valuable rookie cards since he shares it with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
He spent 12 seasons with the franchise and racked up 140 wins (good enough for third on the franchise list), 137 losses (first) and 1,799 strikeouts (third). He's also started the second most games in franchise history behind only Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.
Koosman's best season came in 1976, when he went 21-10 and posted a 2.69 ERA to go along with a career-high 200 strikeouts and a second-place finish in the Cy Young voting.
In the playoffs, there was none other in Mets history that was as good as Koosman. His record in six playoff games started is 4-0 with a great 2.67 ERA and 31 strikeouts. He made two appearances in the All-Star Game, coming in 1968 and 1969.
2: Dwight Gooden
Dwight Gooden went through a lot of trouble during his 11 seasons with the Mets, but during the beginning of his career, there was almost nobody better in the league.
In his years with the Mets, Gooden recorded 157 wins, which is second in franchise history, against only 85 losses, which gave him a fantastic .649 winning percentage.
His best season came easily in 1985. This season he had a record of 24-4 with an incredible .857 winning percentage, a league-leading 1.53 ERA, a league-leading 16 complete games and a league-leading 268 strikeouts. This was also the year of his only Cy Young Award.
He was sent to four All-Star Games and won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1984. He averaged a WAR of 3.75 and also averaged 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He won the only Silver Slugger of his career in 1992. He is second on the Mets franchise list in strikeouts and third in games started.
1: Tom Seaver
Who else could have this spot but "Tom Terrific?"
He was no doubt the best pitcher to ever come to the franchise when he was signed as an amateur free agent in 1966. He won the Rookie of the Year Award when he debuted in 1967 and earned the first of his Mets-record 10 All-Star Games.
During the year of the "Miracle Mets" in 1969, Seaver went 25-7, had a 2.21 ERA and won the first of his three Cy Young Awards with the Mets. In the playoffs, he went 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA. In his seven playoff starts, Seaver had a 3-3 record, a 3.36 ERA and a Mets postseason record 46 strikeouts.
His best season came in 1971, when he recorded 20 wins against 10 losses and posted a career-best 1.76 ERA, a career-best 289 strikeouts and a career-best .946 WHIP and placed second in the Cy Young Award voting.
Over the course of his 12 seasons with the team, he set franchise records in wins (198), ERA (2.57), strikeouts (2,541), games started (395), complete games (171), shutouts (41), innings pitched (3,045.2), WHIP (1.076) and WAR (75.8). Tom Seaver became the only player on the Mets to get his number retired when his No. 41 was retired in 1988.