The Mets have had a lot of great players in their organization throughout the years. Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, David Wright, Richie Ashburn — wait what was that last one?
Yup, in 1962, the future Hall of Famer and Phillies legend joined the Mets for his 15th and final year in the big leagues. In his age-35 season, he wasn’t great by any means, but he marked the first of many stars to play for the Mets either before or after the prime of their careers.
So, what’s the best lineup we can make out of players that make you go, “oh yeah, I forgot he played for the Mets?” It’s pretty good, and Ashburn doesn’t even make the cut.
Catcher: Yogi Berra
It’s pretty common knowledge that Yogi Berra managed the Mets from 1972-75 and was a coach before that, but did you know he also suited up for the Mets in the decade prior? After an 18-year career with the New York Yankees from 1946-63 where he won 10 rings and made 18 All-Star games (there was a four-year stretch with two All-Star games), he became the manager of the Yankees. However, after he was fired following one season and hired by the Mets to be a coach in 1965. He made four appearances as a player that year as well, going 2-for-9 and scoring a run, so he did technically play for Orange and Blue.
Honorable mentions: Joe Torre, Sandy Alomar, Rick Cerone
This was Yogi Berra, as manager of the Mets, reacting to a call that went against his team in the 1973 World Series. https://t.co/xAPrvFq3DY
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 23, 2015
First Base: Eddie Murray
Eddie Murray is an Orioles legend. He’s a Rookie of the Year, eight-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner and member of the 500 home run club. And, from 1991-92, he played for the Mets. After 13 years in Baltimore and three years in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, he went to Queens for his age-36 and age-37 seasons. He was solid, posting an OPS+ of 113 and hitting 43 home runs in 310 games for the Metropolitans. As another Hall-of-Famer, he’s an easy choice.
Honorable mentions: Mo Vaughn, Jeff Conine, Adrian Gonzalez
Happy Birthday, Eddie Murray! The former @Mets 1B and HOFer turns 63 today. In two seasons with the @Mets (1992-1993), Murray batted .274 with 43 HR and 193 RBI. He also hit his 400th career HR as a member of the @Mets. #MetsRewind #LGM pic.twitter.com/cE8WC1yjvw
— Mets Rewind (@metsrewind) February 24, 2019
Second Base: Roberto Alomar
Just like his father Sandy, Roberto also spent some unremarkable time playing for the Mets, though Roberto lasted a bit longer than Sandy’s 15 games. In his season and a half in New York from 2002-03, Alomar posted an OPS of .703 and OPS+ of 88. Coming off a season where he made an All-Star game, won a Gold Glove and finished No. 4 in the AL MVP voting, he did not live up to any expectations. He brought none of that superstardom that helped him make 12-straight All-Star games, win 10 Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. As soon as he joined the Mets, he never accomplished any of that again.
Honorable mentions: Carlos Baerga, Larry Bowa
#ThrowbackThursday to 04/14/2002 when Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (using Hall of Famer Mike Piazza’s bat) went 3-for-4 (including 2 home runs) and knocked in 4 runs to help lead the Mets to a 6-4 victory over the Expos.@Robbiealomar @AlomarSports https://t.co/qmGkRtiEV4 pic.twitter.com/dDCKMDINe8
— Brad Badini ⚾️ (@celeBRADtion) February 7, 2020
Third Base: Jeff Kent
Kent is the first of the bunch to play with the Mets before he became a star, playing parts of five seasons in Flushing before he became known as the other MVP in San Francisco not named Barry Bonds. He was OK with the Mets, hitting .279/.327/.453 over his time with the club, but it was nothing compared to the player he was when he left — the one that won the MVP in 2000. And yes, I know he was primarily a second baseman, but he did have over 1,000 innings at third in his career and most of that came when he was with the Mets, so that’s good enough.
Honorable Mentions: Juan Uribe, Justin Turner
09/13/1992: Dick Schofield and Jeff Kent turned this amazin’ double play. (Other cameos include former-Cy Young Award-winner Dwight Gooden pitching, Hall of Famer Eddie Murray at 1st base and a younger Gary Cohen making the call).#Mets @garykeithron https://t.co/mANzagGIqM pic.twitter.com/Lh3Y1fbEZM
— Brad Badini ⚾️ (@celeBRADtion) February 22, 2020
Shortstop: Julio Franco
Even though what he might be most known for happened while he was with the Mets — hitting a home run at age-47, the oldest to ever do it — he only actually played in 135 games across two seasons in Queens. His prime came way back in the late 80’s and early 90’s with the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers, making three All-Star teams, winning five Silver Sluggers and even winning a batting title. He was a great shortstop in his hay day, and the perfect fit for this team.
Honorable Mentions: Shawon Dunston, Alex Cora
April 20, 2006: Julio Franco becomes the oldest @MLB player to hit a HR when he hit a PH home run vs. @Padres. Franco was 47 years, 240 days old when he hit the homer to help lead the @Mets to a 7-2 victory over San Diego: https://t.co/ginW39IiMm #Mets #MetsRewind pic.twitter.com/cfrIT61duO
— Mets Rewind (@metsrewind) April 20, 2020
Left Field: Rickey Henderson
This is where this team shines — the outfield. In left we’ve got the legendary Rickey Henderson, the most prolific leadoff hitter and base stealer of All-Time. His record of 1,406 stolen bases will likely never be caught, and I doubt his 2,295 runs will either. As for his Mets tenure he might be best known for playing cards in the clubhouse in extra innings of Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS, but that doesn’t disqualify him from this team. Actually, it probably raises his stock.
07/25/1999: Rickey Henderson went 3-for-3 with a walk, RBI single, double and blasted a home run for his 1,000th career RBI.
The Mets won 5-1.@AmazinShea @1990sBaseball https://t.co/VHQqa84IZ5 pic.twitter.com/e1aMooi5Ba
— Brad Badini ⚾️ (@celeBRADtion) March 13, 2020
Center Field: Willie Mays
Yes, Rickey Henderson is not the best outfielder on this imaginary team. No, at one point, the Mets had the Say Hey Kid himself. After 21 years with the Giants, legend of the game Willie Mays found himself back in New York. He only played in 135 games over two seasons and wasn’t particularly productive, but he was part of the ‘73 team that made a run to the World Series. You can make an argument for Mays being the best all-around player to ever play the game, and he’s roaming center for this team.
May 14, 1972: Willie Mays returns home and makes his debut with the @Mets, hitting a HR off @SFGiants Don Carrithers. Mays’ 647th career HR broke a 4-4 tie leading the @Mets to a 5-4 win: https://t.co/JDgf7odsj7 #LGM #MetsRewind pic.twitter.com/xH0Ge0GV5q
— Mets Rewind (@metsrewind) May 14, 2020
Right Field: Gary Sheffield
Gary Sheffield isn’t quite a Hall of Famer, at least not yet. Getting just over 30% of the votes in the most recent ballot he still has a chance, but with just four years left I don’t think he gets there. Still, the fact that he’s remained on the ballot for six years is a testament to the career he had. Sheff played for eight teams in his career, but the Mets were the only franchise he spent just one season with. It were also his last season, as his 100 games on 2009 were the last he would play in the big leagues. With nine All-Star games, five Silver Sluggers, a batting title and 500-plus home runs under his belt, he’s the perfect choice to round out the Mets star-studded outfield.
Honorable Mentions: Richie Ashburn, Duke Snider, Jose Bautista, Bobby Abreu
April 3, 2009: The Mets sign 40 year-old Gary Sheffield in hopes of adding a much-needed right-handed bat to the lineup. Two weeks later, Sheffield hits his 500th career home run at Citi Field. #LGM #MetsRewind pic.twitter.com/ifHJBDG49b
— Mets Rewind (@metsrewind) April 3, 2019
LHP: Tom Glavine
I just couldn’t decide between Glavine and who ended up being the right-handed pitcher, so I decided to do both. Glavine played 22 seasons in the big-leagues, 17 of which came with the Atlanta Braves. Those 17 (well, 16, he went back to Atlanta for the final year of his career) established himself as a Hall-of-Famer, and the other five he spent with the Mets. In his years with the Braves he won two Cy Young Awards (finished in the top-three four other times) and made eight All-Star games. Oh, and he won four Silver Slugger Awards, the second-most ever for a pitcher. He still made the All-Star game twice as a Met and overall was solid, but let’s be honest, no one remembers him for what he did in the Blue and Orange. He’s a Brave through and through.
— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) August 5, 2019
RHP: Pedro Martinez
Now you see why I couldn’t decide. How do you choose between two Hall-of-Famers and two of the greatest pitchers of their generation? The Mets had both Pedro and Glavine, and they even overlapped for three years. Pedro was still a good pitcher when he was with the Mets, as he also made two All-Star games in his four seasons in Queens. Still, when you think Pedro Martinez, you don’t think Mets. First and foremost are the Red Sox, where he was for seven years right in his prime, winning two Cy Young Awards in the process. Then it’s the Montreal Expos, where he really first burst onto the scene, even winning his first of three Cy Young Awards in 1997. Then it’s the Mets — maybe — because you can make an argument that the Dodgers, where he debuted, should be next on the list. But similar to Glavine, Pedro is a Red Sox through and through.
Honorable Mentions: Warren Spahn, Orel Hershiser, Orlando Hernandez
13 years ago today the Mets signed Pedro Martinez to a 4 year, $53 million deal. He made it okay to wear goggles to a champagne shower, and for that players are forever grateful. pic.twitter.com/5FyKLSs184
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) December 15, 2017