These are ESNY’s rankings for the players who made life utterly miserable for the New York Mets and their fans.
5. Outfielder — Pat Burrell
Moments like these were common occurrences for Pat Burrell. Like many Mets killers, Burrell was an above-average player, but he wasn’t an All-Star caliber player. He spent most of his career as power-hitting left fielder.
However, he was a different beast when he faced the Mets. Burrell played exactly 162 games against the Mets in his career and boy did he kill them. He hit .245/.358/.517 with 42 home runs, 20 doubles, two triples, and 106 runs batted in. Burrell always found a new way to torment the Mets. Whether it was late-inning home runs, or simply getting on base to start a rally. There are few who did it better than he did.
4. Starting Pitcher — Jim Bunning
On Father’s Day in 1964, Jim Bunning did something that no Mets pitcher has ever done, he threw a perfect game. It wasn’t the first time the Mets had been no-hit, but this one hurt more. When Sandy Koufax did it in 1962, it was almost expected. The Mets were the worst team in baseball, of all-time, so when Koufax threw the no-hitter it was almost ho-hum.
In 1964, the Mets still weren’t good, but they weren’t bottom of the barrel anymore. So when Jim Bunning threw his perfect game it was a sign that the Mets weren’t anywhere close to being a good team. It was a shot to the heart.
That game isn’t the only reason that Bunning makes this list though. He came out and pitched against the Mets 36 times in his career. In those 36 starts, Mets hitters couldn’t touch him. They hit a paltry .208/.262/.311 against the Hall-of-Famer. In his 36 starts against the Mets, he only allowed 77 runs or 2.13 runs per start. Bunning may not have faced the Mets his entire career like some others, but when he did, he dominated them like no other pitcher did.
3. First Baseman — Willie Stargell
Willie Stargell simply clobbered the Mets. In the first game ever at Shea, Stargell recorded the first hit in the stadium’s history, a home run. He would then pile on with a double and two singles. That was only one sample of his domination of the Mets. In his 20 season career, Stargell played in 249 games against the Mets. He hit .287/.366/.576 with 60 home runs, 44 doubles, seven triples, and 182 RBIs. He just demolished the team every time they faced off for 20 years. It’s almost like the Hall-of-Famer was made to specifically abuse the Mets.
2. Second Baseman — Chase Utley
No play more perfectly epitomizes Chase Utley and the Mets than his slide in game two of the 2015 NLDS. He broke Ruben Tejada’s leg on this play, ending his season. It was a dirty slide that he had no business making, and thankfully MLB made sure that slides like this one were illegal after the season.
This was only at the end of Utley’s career though. He tormented the Mets his entire career, mostly as a member of the Phillies. He has always been a pain in the Mets side. He even felt the need to make sure that fans know that he truly hates the Mets.
Utley played 194 games against the Mets over his 16 season career. In those games, Utley hit .287/.374/.526 with 39 home runs, 46 doubles, four triples, and 119 RBIs. The numbers don’t lie, Utley killed the Mets for the majority of his career. He was the leader of the team responsible for the most painful modern Mets memories.
The collapses of 2007 and 2008 had a lot to do with the Mets’ inability to win games in September, but don’t discount the Phillies. They had some magical runs in those Septembers and Utley was right in the middle of it all.
There may not be a single player who orchestrated so many painful memories and openly hated the team as much as Utley. Still, there’s one player who stands head and shoulders above everyone else int his debate.
1. Third Baseman — Chipper Jones
There was only ever one man who could top this list. Chipper Jones is the Mets killer. There is no one else. Chipper played the Mets 245 times in his illustrious career. In those games, Chipper hit an absurd .309/.406/.543 with 49 home runs, 46 doubles, four triples, and 159 RBIs. Every time the Braves needed a big hit against the Mets, Chipper would come up to bat. It was uncanny, almost like it was preordained.
Chipper and Mets fans have almost the opposite relationship that Utley and Mets fans have. Mets fans even cheered for him when his career was coming to an end. Chipper returned in kind naming his daughter Shea because of how much he enjoyed playing there. It was a love-hate relationship between him and Mets fans, but there was never any real animosity. It was always contained to the field.
If Utley is the guy Mets fans love to hate than Chipper is the guy fans hate to hate because there was never much animosity between him and the fanbase. That’s why it made hating him and his dominance so much more painful. Chipper truly is the greatest Mets killer of all-time.