It has been four years of frustration and heartbreak since Endy's catch. And this year? Spring training is a week away, and most of the news about the Mets has to do with their ownership's deep entanglement in the Bernie Madoff scandal. There is no better time to reminisce about the good days, precious few they may be, and take a look back at the best players in Met history.
Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest posted his list of the Top 50 Mets of All Time, with Seaver at #1 (obviously) and Bud Harrelson at #50 (way too low, in my opinion). Given the Mets' ignominious history, a list of 50 is pretty ambitious. But this is not a bad list, although I would quibble with the order, and there are a few disappointing omissions (Ron Hunt, Dave Kingman, Wally Backman, Felix Millan). Some on the list did little with the Mets but seemed to have snuck in based on their fame with other teams (Nolan Ryan, Jeff Kent, Bret Saberhagen). Kevin McReynolds, John Franco, Al Leiter and Tom Glavine are way too high (not to mention Armando Benitez, who I would rather not mention). Harrelson, Jerry Grote and Cleon Jones are way too low.
For what it's worth, here's my top ten:
1. Tom Seaver
2. Mike Piazza
3. Darryl Strawberry
4. Jerry Koosman
5. Dwight Gooden
6. Keith Hernandez
7. Cleon Jones
8. David Wright
9. Howard Johnson
10. Edgardo Alfonso
[Read more after the break]
And my next 15, in no particular order: Bud Harrelson, Gary Carter, Jesse Orosco, Tug McGraw, Jon Matlack, Ron Darling, Jerry Grote, Mookie Wilson, Jon Olerud, Jose Reyes, Sid Fernandez, Carlos Beltran, Rusty Staub, David Cone and Al Leiter. Some sentimental favorites who miss my top 25: Tommie Agee, John Milner, Hubie Brooks and Lenny Dykstra.
Ed Kranepool deserves a mention, if not an honorable one. He was a Met from their first year in 1962 until 1979. He was on the '69 Miracle Mets and, given his longevity, he is close to the top in many of the team's all time statistical categories. I don't include him in my top 25 because he was a pretty marginal player, God bless him, and took up a lot of at bats that might have been more productively used by others.
And, finally, Johan Santana. Hopefully this great pitcher will get healthy soon and pitch his way up the list.
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