The New York Mets have disappointed as of late, but they do have some historic players. Take a look at the best players in team history.
As we wait for the front office to make some meaningful moves and the 2018 season to start, let’s take a look at the greatest Mets of all-time.
- Years played with the organization
- Awards and accomplishments with the Mets
- Individual statistics as a Met
1. Tom Seaver
12 years, 198-124, 2.57 ERA, 3045.2 IP, 2541 SO, 1.076 WHIP, 76.1 WAR
If you were to ask any Mets fan or baseball fanatic who the greatest Met of all-time was, 99.9 percent would say Tom Seaver. I cannot disagree with the 99.9 percent and Seaver has the numbers to prove it. In his 12 years as a part of the organization, he had a losing record just once, when he returned to the team in 1983 at the age of 38. Seaver only threw less than 200 innings once as Met in 1977, when he was traded to Cincinnati midseason.
He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1967, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, a 10-time All-Star (in 12 seasons with the Mets), and eight times received votes for NL MVP, finishing second in 1969 to the great Willie McCovey. He was also part of the “Miracle Mets,” that ’69 team that went on to win the World Series. Seaver also sits atop the franchise leaderboard in pitcher WAR, ERA, WHIP, wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, games started, complete games and shutouts. Quite the career.
2. Dwight Gooden
11 years, 157-85, 3.10 ERA, 2169.2 IP, 1875 SO, 1.175 WHIP, 41.6 WAR
Oh, what could have been. That is what is thought about most when it comes to Dwight Gooden, whose drug use derailed what looked like a sure-fire Hall of Fame career.
“I never thought I would make it to 50,’’ he told the New York Post‘s Kevin Kernan in 2014.
He was the youngest player to ever appear in an All-Star Game, doing so at the age of 19 in 1984, the same year he became the youngest player to win the Rookie of the Year Award.
A year later, he became the youngest pitcher to win 20 games and the Cy Young Award with one of the best seasons a pitcher has ever had, going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA, a 0.965 WHIP and 267 strikeouts over 276.2 innings of work, tossing 16 complete games.
3. Darryl Strawberry
Eight years, 252 HR, 733 RBI, .263/.359/.520, 191 SB, 1025 H, 36.5 WAR
Strawberry is in the same “what could have been” category as Gooden. Both players had outstanding careers but had the potential to be so much better if drugs didn’t interfere. Strawberry barely gets the edge over the number four player because he was a part of the 1986 World Series team.
In 1983 Strawberry was the NL Rookie of the Year. He was also a seven-time All-Star with the Mets, he received MVP votes in three years with the team—finishing second behind Kirk Gibson in 1988—and he was a two-time silver slugger with the Mets. Gooden is first in Mets’ history in homers, adjusted OPS+, intentional walks, and sacrifice hits. He also ranks second in franchise history in WAR among position players, slugging percentage, runs batted in, and at-bats per home run.
4. David Wright
13 years, 242 HR, 970 RBI, .296/.376/.491, 196 SB, 1777 H, 49.9 WAR
I have never been a fan of David Wright, but there is no arguing that he is among the greatest ever to wear a Mets’ uniform. A World Series ring keeps him stuck below the top three.
He is first in WAR among position players, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, runs batted in, walks, extra base hits and times on base. Wright is second in franchise history in games played and home runs. If he can find a way to stay healthy he has the chance to break the home run record as he is only 10 homers behind Strawberry. Named team captain in 2013, Wright has made the All-Star team seven times, he has received MVP votes six times, and has won a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award twice in his career.
5. Mike Piazza
Eight years, 220 HR, 655 RBI, .296/.373/.542, 1028 H, 24.5 WAR
Mike Piazza is arguably the greatest hitting catcher of all-time. If he had spent more years with the Mets or helped them win a World Series, there is a good chance that he would be higher on this list. With that being said Piazza still had an outstanding Mets career.
Piazza was a six-time All-Star with the Mets, he had MVP votes in three years with the team, and he was a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He leads the franchise in slugging percentage while being second in OPS. Piazza is also third in franchise history in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, adjusted OPS+, and at-bats per home run.
6. Jerry Koosman
12 years, 140-137, 3.09 ERA, 2544.2 IP, 1799 SO, 1.219 WHIP, 39.5 WAR
This is where the rankings begin to get tough. The first five are almost top five on everyone’s list of Mets greats in some order. Jerry Koosman often gets overlooked because of how good Seaver and Gooden were. However, Koosman is easily the third-best pitcher after them in franchise history. He has the numbers to prove it.
Koosman was a two-time All-Star with the Mets and received MVP votes three times in his Met career. He also finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1968 behind Johnny Bench, while finishing second for the NL Cy Young Award in 1976 behind Randy Jones. Koosman is second in Mets’ history in innings pitched, games started, complete games, and shutouts. He is currently third in WAR among pitchers, wins, and strikeouts. If it was not for Koosman, the Mets may not have won the 1969 World Series. He and Seaver were a dynamic duo at the top of the Mets’ rotation that season.
7. Keith Hernandez
Seven years, 80 HR, 468 RBI, .297/.387/.429, 939 H, 26.5 WAR
Keith Hernandez isn’t a guy many remember when talking about all-time greats because he never provided much flash at the plate. However, when you look at the numbers and take into account how phenomenal he was on defense, there is no doubt he belongs in the top 10. He was also a part of the Mets’ 1986 World Series team. Keith is arguably the best defensive first baseman in the history of baseball.
Hernandez was a three-time All-Star, he won the Silver Slugger once, and he was a five-time Gold Glove Award winner. Keith received MVP votes three times in his Met career, while he finished second in NL MVP voting in 1984 behind Ryne Sandberg. He is second in franchise history in batting average, third in on-base percentage, fifth in adjusted OPS+, and sixth in WAR among position players and walks. He isn’t seventh because of his bat, but rather because of how great he was defensively. His hitting plays into as well as Hernandez is one of the best—if not the best—all-around players in Mets’ history.
8. Carlos Beltran
Seven years, 149 HR, 559 RBI, .280/.369/.500, 878 H, 100 SB, 31.3 WAR
Carlos Beltran was the definition of a five-tool player while he was with the New York Mets. He really did it all. He lands behind Hernandez because he failed to help the Mets win a World Series. Rather, he was one of the main reasons the Mets failed to win the title in 2006 when he struck out in the bottom of the ninth on an Adam Wainwright curveball. I’m still not over that and never will be. Nonetheless, Beltran had a fantastic career with the Mets.
Beltran was a five-time All-Star with the Mets, he received MVP votes in four of his years, he was a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and he won the Silver Slugger Award twice. He ranks third in franchise history in WAR among position players and fourth in OPS. Beltran is also fifth in slugging percentage and adjusted OPS+ and sixth in homers, runs batted in, and extra base hits. As much as I despise Beltran for ’06, he deserves to be in the top 10.
9. Gary Carter
Five years, 89 HR, 349 RBI, .249/.319/.412, 542 H, 11.3 WAR
When looking at Carter’s career numbers with the Mets many might be confused as to why he is top 10. For those of you that did not watch him play, or at least hear about his importance to the team, I can understand as to why you may be confused. However, if you know anything about Gary “The Kid” Carter you know he is more than deserving to be top 10. He is arguably the greatest all-around Mets’ catcher in franchise history.
Carter was a four-time All-Star with the franchise, he won two Silver Slugger Awards, and received MVP votes in two years. His importance goes beyond the numbers. He was one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, the Mets won the 1986 World Series. He was able to manage a young pitching staff, he was the life of the clubhouse, and he was clutch. Carter became a fan favorite instantly when he homered in his first game as a Met in extras to win it. In the 1986 World Series, Carter led all hitters with nine RBI. He also started the miracle comeback in Game 6 with a two-out single in the 10th inning.
10. Cleon Jones
12 years, 93 HR, 521 RBI, .281/.340/.406, 1188 H, 91 SB, 18.0 WAR
In my opinion, Cleon Jones is the most overlooked New York Met of all-time. People forget about him because he never really provided any flash. However, Jones was consistent year in and year out while being extremely versatile. Throughout his Met career, he played all three outfield positions and first base.
Jones was also one of the key reasons the Mets won the World Series in 1969. That year he finished seventh in NL MVP voting as, hitting .340 – which ranks fourth all-time in single-season Mets’ history – with 12 homers, 75 runs batted in and a .904 OPS. He also finished the season with 16 stolen bases, 92 runs, 25 doubles, and a career-high 7.0 WAR while being named to his only All-Star Game. Jones ranks in the top 10 in hits, triples, at-bats, games played, runs, runs batted in, total bases, doubles, extra-base hits, and offensive WAR. A very impressive career.
11. Jose Reyes
11 years, 104 HR, 505 RBI, .286/.338/.438, 403 SB, 1491 H, 27.8 WAR
Reyes has had a terrific career with the Mets and it still has the chance to add to his totals if they bring him back for 2018. He has always been a fan favorite and a great clubhouse guy. It’s easy to forget how good he was in his prime.
Jose set the single-season franchise record with 78 stolen bases in 2007. He actually led the league in stolen bases each year from 2006-08. In that span, he swiped 202 bases which would put him at third all-time if he stopped there. As every Mets fan knows he did not and he set the franchise record, which currently stands at 403 stolen bases. Reyes is also the all-time leader in triples while ranking second in runs, hits, total bases, doubles, and extra-base hits. On top of that, he is top 10 in games played, WAR among position players, batting average, and runs batted in. Quite a Mets’ career for Jose.
12. Edgardo Alfonzo
Eight years, 120 HR, 538 RBI, .292/.367/.445, 45 SB, 1136 H, 29.5 WAR
Alfonzo can arguably go over Reyes or Jones. However, no ring hurts his legacy while helping Jones. He is behind Reyes mainly because he did not play as many years as Jose did, plus the fact that Reyes did it all.
With that being said, Alfonzo had a very good career with the Mets. It would have been even better if he stuck with the team. In three of his years with the Mets Alfonzo received MVP votes. He was also named to the 2000 NL All-Star team and was a Silver Slugger Award winner in 1999. Alfonzo is top five in WAR among position players, batting average, runs, and hits. He is also one of the best defensive players in Mets’ history as he ranks sixth in defensive WAR, which is the highest of on anyone on this list. In fact, the only other player on this list in the top 10 in defensive WAR is Beltran (seventh).
13. Howard Johnson
Nine years, 192 HR, 629 RBI, .251/.341/.459, 202 SB, 21.9 WAR
Howard Johnson might be the best power-speed player in Mets’ history behind Strawberry. HoJo is one of three players in Mets’ history to record a 30-30 season. In fact, Johnson is the only player in Mets’ history to record such a season multiple times, accomplishing the feat in 1987, 1989 and 1991. He was very quiet in the Mets 1986 World Series run, but he was still a part of that team.
Johnson was a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner with the Mets. He is top 10 in franchise history in WAR among position players, games, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, and stolen bases.
14. Ron Darling
Nine years, 99-70, 3.50 ERA, 1620.0 IP, 1148 SO, 1.288 WHIP, 16.1 WAR
This spot was a tough one to pick between two pitchers. It came down to Ron Darling and Al Leiter. Both had very similar numbers and were very successful with the Mets. However, I have been preaching about World Series rings and that is something that Darling has and Leiter does not.
Darling had his best years from 1984-1986 and he was one of the main reasons why the Mets were so successful during that period. In that span Darling finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1984, he was selected to the All-Star Game in 1985, and he finished fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 1986. He currently ranks top five in Mets’ history in wins, innings pitched, win/loss percentage, and games. Darling also places in the top ten in WAR among pitchers, complete games, strikeouts, and shutouts.
15. Mookie Wilson
10 years, 60 HR, 342 RBI, .276/.318/.394, 281 SB, 1112 H, 20.7 WAR
It begins to get tougher and tougher as you go down the list, but Mookie will take the last spot on this one. If it wasn’t for Mookie (and a lot of luck) there would be no 1986 World Series. Besides that one at-bat, Wilson actually had a very good series. He was tied with Strawberry to lead all players in stolen bases, he was second on the Mets in runs scored, and third with hits. It is safe to say he played a pivotal role in that World Series victory.
Mookie was the “guy” in terms of speed and stolen bases in Mets’ history before Jose Reyes came along. He held the franchise record for triples and stolen bases before Reyes claimed them for himself. Wilson is also top 10 in franchise history in WAR among position players, games played, runs, hits, and total bases.