On Saturday night, when the New York Mets face the Angels at Citi Field, Terry Collins will pass Davey Johnson with his 1,013th game as the Mets manager. This will make him the leader in franchise history in games managed as he is in his seventh season in the dugout.The date was November 23, 2010, at Citi Field, a press conference was held to announce the newest manager of the New York Mets. On that day, Terry Collins was announced as the 20th manager of the franchise.
It was the start of a new era and a new identity for a franchise that was struggling on and off the field.
Fast forward to 2017. It is seven seasons later and Collins is about to achieve a personal and an organization’s milestone. When the Mets take the field tonight against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels, Terry Collins will manage his 1,013th game with the team and become the all-time leader in games managed with the organization.
Entering the night, his overall record with the Mets is 498-514 and for his managerial career in 13 seasons, his record is 942-948. This is a moment that a lot of people probably thought would never happen. When he took the position for the 2011 season, Collins only signed a two-year deal. The thought might have been for the elder Collins to act as a caretaker until the team was ready to win, and then find a better person for the job.
It turned out this whole time, whatever situation was the case, that Terry Collins was the right man for the Mets in this specific time for the franchise. He put his past managerial experiences from Houston and Anaheim behind him and became a different person in the dugout when he came to the team.
“I got around some very, very good people and I changed the way I went about things, which I think helped,’’ Collins said to the New York Post. “I became a much better communicator with the players.’’
He accepted some new ways about how the game was going and how front offices do business and it has all paid off.
The early days of the Collins regime were not easy. The farm system was thin, the big league roster wasn’t where it needed to be and it didn’t put Collins in a position to succeed in the standings. He succeeded elsewhere early on with whatever he was given; those players gave a full effort each and every night.
During that span over 2011 and 2012, Collins first two seasons in the dugout, saw Jose Reyes win a batting title, Johan Santana pitch the Mets first no-hitter, and R.A. Dickey win the Cy Young award. The work of the front office was also noticed through strong drafts and trades. Key deals at the trading deadline including the game-changing acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes in 2015 along with other veterans. Future assets were acquired over the years that have led to the recent success. Many of those players are on the current roster in 2017.
The time in New York has been special for Terry Collins. He also let the patience of rebuild be worth the wait as he got to manage in the postseason for the first time in 2015 helping lead the Mets to the National League pennant and a World Series appearance. Last season, the Mets also made the postseason which was a loss in the National League Wild Card game to the Giants.
He is looking to take the Mets to October baseball for the third straight year season which would be a first in franchise history.
Managing in baseball is never easy and over the course of seven years, Collins has dealt with it all. Over the past few seasons, the Mets have had to deal with a number of injuries on the roster to various key players. As difficult as it has been, the Mets have found ways to get through it all and maintain staying competitive.
He looks at these milestones as a tremendous honor for him and also credits General Manager Sandy Alderson for the environment he has created that has led to this success.
“I got good players, they are fun to be around. I got good coaches,” Collins said. “One thing I truly believe in, Sandy has built cohesiveness. You don’t have everybody looking over their shoulder all the time and I saw that work for years. All the years I was with the Dodgers they only had two managers.”
Taking on the role as a manager of a baseball team and specifically a New York baseball team is never an easy task. This is a market whether you are with the Mets or the Yankees that you expect to win and will be questioned on everything.
Adam Rubin, who spent 15 years covering the Mets full-time for ESPN New York and the New York Daily News, says Terry Collins was his favorite manager to have worked with.
“He genuinely tries to be helpful and respectful, while understanding his primary obligation is to the team. If you listen to his postgame press conferences, he addresses reporters and even those around infrequently, by their first names. He has certainly defused situations through his rapport with the New York media.”
Rubin is now a contributing writer to SNY’s MetsBlog along with his main role as the Assistant Athletic Director of Strategic Communications at New York Institute of Technology.
In addition to already achieving these milestones, Collins will also most likely earn his 1,000th career win as a Major League Baseball. His 942 career wins as a manager has him 58 wins shy of that milestone which he should earn later this season. When that happens, he will join an exclusive club that only 64 other individuals have accomplished as a manager in Major League Baseball.
Congratulations to Terry Collins on his accomplishments in the dugout as he and the Mets look to add to those achievements this season.