I always tell my friends who are Yankee’s fans, it’s easy to be a Yankee fan. Everything is handed to you. To be a Met fan it takes a certain rare, albeit hopeful, yet borderline delusional personality. The Yankee’s are like the older brother that grew up a Hilton to the Mets kid who grew up in an orphanage.
Ok that’s a bit extreme but the Yankees always seem to get all the attention. It takes guts to be a Met fan. We EARN our attention, both in good and bad ways but we do earn it.
The first week of the season is behind us and the Mets definitely earned their record of 2-4 against those National League East , ahem, juggernauts, Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals.
Even Johan Santana took his dose of Kryptonite against the Nats with a loss on Sunday, giving up a grand slam in the first inning. At least the Mets were kind enough to allow me to enjoy the rest of the day promptly.
Some of you may already want to throw in the towel. The calls for Manuel and Minaya’s head are on the streets. I for one will abreact these dark emotions. Big word huh? It’s a coping mechanism, so says my therapist. Not that a Met fan would actually see a therapist.
Anyway, the main topic of this off-season was the pitching staff, or as I like to call it, One Man and a Little Hazy. So in keeping with my therapist’s desire to keep me rooted in the here and now, I give you my All Time Mets Pitching Staff’s…plus one.
Staff ace, the real Mr. Met, Tom “Terrific” Seaver. I can easily wow you with his stats, 311 career wins, 2.86 career ERA, 3640 strikeouts. Three time Cy Young award winner. I much rather do this. In the time Tom Seaver was a Met from 1967 to 1977, including his return in ’83, the team won 936 games. Tom Seaver won 198 of them. That’s about 21% of the time the Mets won, it was due to George Thomas Seaver. No pitcher with a team as umm, eclectic as the Mets could have done more. Semper Fi Mr. Met.
Backing up Seaver I give you Dwight Eugene Gooden. Perhaps the biggest icon the team had since Seaver himself, the Doctor racked up insanely impressive numbers. He set the rookie record for strikeouts with 276 in 1984 while winning the Rookie of the Year. His follow up season the Doctor earned the Cy Young award by way of the pitching Triple Crown, leading the NL in Wins, K’s and ERA. His off field troubles are the only thing that kept Doc out of Cooperstown. Bittersweet memories fade hard.
Rounding out the top three I have Nolan Ryan. Now some of you might not think Ryan should be considered since he’s so synonymous with Texas. I can’t hold that against you but how can the Mets not include this Hall of Famer, arguably one of the best pitchers ever, at their number three starter? 7 no hitters, including one at the ripe old age of 44. He’s tied with Bob Feller for most one hitters with 12. He’s the All Time leader in strikeouts with 5714, and yes the Mets traded him in 1972 for Jim Fregosi. Just to let you know, Omar Minaya was 14 years old. It happens.
Towing the rubber is our number four pitcher, Johan Santana. Johan is one of the best left handed pitchers in the game today. He averages about 15 wins a season, an ERA around 3+, and well over 200 K’s a year. A two time Cy Young award winner, Johan will hopefully be a cornerstone for the franchise for years to come. That’s of course until they trade him to Cincinnati for…oh wait, we’d never do that.
Rounding out the staff is tough. Usually the 5th starter on a club wears the oft overused title of “journeyman” or “quality arm”. However, this is my fantasy and I’m going with Jerry Koosman. Granted all you Coneheads are freaking out now. It’s ok have a Zoloft, yummy. Jerry Koosman along with Tom Seaver, practically saved the Mets from complete obscurity. “Cool Hand” Kooz won 140 games as a Metropolitan with an impressive ERA of 3.09. He will be remembered for his incredible 1969 season where he went 17-9 with a 2.28 ERA and 6 shutouts. Not too bad for a 26 year old.
Closing it out I give you Mr. Brooklyn himself, Johnny Franco. If there ever was a Met that was more New York than Franco, I don’t think I ever met him. He looked like the guy who could be sitting next to you in a bar in Queens but he pitched like the guy who should be in the Hall of Fame. With 424 career saves, the most by a left handed reliever, John was the brick wall, all 5 foot 10, 170 pound frame, the Mets could ever want. While Tug made us all remember that “Ya Gotta Believe” John Franco made hitters say “Fuhgettaboutit” and go home, bat dragging behind them.
Well there you have it. My All Time Mets Pitching Staff…plus one. We’re a week in and sure we’ve seen the team sputter a bit. Look at the bright side seriously; we got Jose Reyes back and Carlos Beltran is around the corner. Have some faith! Or have a good therapist that doesn’t mind prescribing good meds, we have a long way to go.