david wright mets
Syndication: NorthJersey

The National Baseball Hall of Fame made headlines Tuesday night. Third baseman Scott Rolen squeaked in by getting 76.2% of the votes (75% is needed). He’s just the ninth third baseman to be enshrined in Cooperstown. His election will also make it even more painful for Mets fans regarding fellow third baseman, David Wright. Let me explain.

Wright’s case is already agonizing because his career was cut short due to injury. Between 2004 and 2013, you could argue the right-handed hitter was on a Hall of Fame trajectory. He had seven All-Star Game appearances, two Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and three top-10 finishes in National League MVP voting.

During this 1,374-game period, Wright averaged 22 home runs, 34 doubles, 88 RBI, 85 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases while slashing .301/.382/.506. This included six campaigns of 20-plus homers (two with 30-plus) and five seasons of 100-plus RBI. Wright also completed a 30-30 season in 2007.

But after 2013, things started to unravel for Wright from the standpoint of health. He appeared in 134 games in 2014 (his age-31 campaign) but was a shell of his former self. Wright hit .269/.324/.374 with eight homers and 63 RBI in 586 plate appearances. He then appeared in just 77 regular-season games between 2015 and 2018 before officially hanging up his spikes.

The start of his career may help him stay on the ballot for more than one year (he needs to get 5% of votes to stick around). But, it’s hard to see how he eventually gets elected by the writers.

Now that Rolen is in, it’ll make Wright’s time on the ballot that much more agonizing because their overall production was quite similar for a significant period. On all Baseball-Reference player pages (toward the very bottom), there is a section for “Similarity Scores“. Here’s the explanation of it:

Similarity scores are not our concept. Bill James introduced them in the mid-1980s, and we lifted his methodology from his book The Politics of Glory (p. 86-106). To compare one player to another, start at 1000 points and then subtract points based on the statistical differences of each player.

Can you guess who Wright is most similar to between his age-28 and age-33 seasons? Yea, Scott Rolen:

Mets fans already wonder what could’ve been if Wright stayed healthy. His debut on the Hall of Fame ballot will just be a reminder of that. In an ideal world, Rolen being part of the 2023 class would’ve paved the way for Wright having a legitimate case to eventually get in.

That (most likely) won’t be the case, though. Even with an abbreviated career, Wright is Mets royalty and is littered across most position-player leaderboards. He’ll be in the Mets Hall of Fame at some point, and his number 5 should get retired in the near future. Those are tremendous honors he surely won’t take lightly. However, it’s hard to not wonder what could’ve been if his career ended differently.

Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.