Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mookie Not Madoff

More Ignominy
The last moment of pure joy I experienced as a Met fan was in 2006, when Endy Chavez literally, if temporarily, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a spectacular catch, leaping above the fence and snagging what would have been a tie-breaking 2-run homer in the 6th inning of Game 7 of the NLCS against the Cardinals. Three innings later, in the top of the 9th, Yadier Molina hit a ball out of Chavez's reach for a two-run home run, putting the Cards ahead 3-1.  In the bottom of the inning, with the bases loaded, Carlos Beltran looked at strike three with his bat on his shoulders to end the game and end the Mets' season.

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.

[Related posts:  Do Managers Really Matter?, Tom Terrific's Birthday, Game of Inches]


Anonymous said...

Since 1980 when the Wilpons took over complete control of the club, the Mets have consistently been in the top 5 of all teams as to payroll. During that same 30 year span the team has been to the World Series twice winning only in 1986. Watching the Yankees celebrate yet another World Championship on the field at Shea in 2000 was the ultimate humiliation for Mets fans. The Wilpons have been incompetent horrible owners!!! If, as a result of their involvement in the Madoff mess, the Wilpons are ultimately forced to sell the team then I would suggest that Bernie Madoff be elevated to somewhere in the TOP 5 of the greatest Mets of all time. In fact, he should be elected to the Met Hall of Fame and the team should pay tribute to him for the next year by wearing a patch with initials "BM" on their sleeves...Pefect!!

Anonymous said...

Lovebuggy, Jon Olerud? really?

Anonymous said...

I see a couple of glaring omissions in Ron Swoboda and Jesse Orosco..Where's Wayne Garett? Ed Charles? Al Weiss? you can pretty much skip any Met from 1975-1985 and certainly omit guys like George "give back the money" Foster, etc..My favorite Met character of al-time? Bob Murphy..I wanna play him in the Broadway version of "AMAZIN'"....

Lovechilde said...

Besides his stellar defense at 1st, for 3 years as a Met he put up some pretty great numbers. He hit .315 (.354 in 1998) with at least 150 hits, over 90 RBI (102 in 1997) and more than 34 doubles each year. And he was clutch in the 1999 playoffs. For a Met, that is pretty incredible.

Lovechilde said...

Orosco is in the top 25. Swoboda? Great catch in the World Series, and he always played with grit, but have you looked at his stats? .242 career batting average, e.g. I loved all of the '69 Mets, but Garrett, Charles and Weiss don't exactly have the numbers either to make it to the top 25. But I wholeheartedly agree that Bob Murphy needs his own special place in the pantheon of Met greats.

Lovechilde said...

Looks like I inadvertently had Mookie twice to get to 25. Who should I add to the list?

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