With Opening Day finally come (nice win!) and gone, I think it’s high time we put away our collective pessimism, our unified grumpiness as jilted Mets fans, and just have a little fun.
Opening Day happens only once a year, right? But as we pop open those adult beverages and boil the mystery meat wonders of pure hot dog goodness , I will allow each and every one of you wonderful Mets fans a chance to jump into your own personal Hot Tub Time Machine and play “What’s My Favorite Mets Lineup”.
While some of you continue to slug it out with important issues such as who pitches after Johan or when will the exit interview begin for Omar and Jerry, I for one would rather give you my favorite Mets lineup of All Time. Here we go.
Leading off and playing shortstop I give you Jose Reyes. He’s the igniter to the fire that will fuel the team. As Al Leiter once posed, “ He can go down as one of the greatest shortstops in the game”. Finally his heath is coming around and in a few weeks he should be back, anchoring the top of the lineup, amazing us with his speed and all around tremendous skills. A season with Jose batting around .285 to .300 with 15 homers 60 RBI and 50 steals should be the norm. I’ll take that any day. Period.
Batting second and playing second base I give you Edgardo Alfonzo. Some of you might say Jeff Kent and I wouldn’t beat any of you down for it, however, I’m going with Fonzie for the main reason that Kent’s biggest years had him batting behind Barry Bonds. Lets face it, Stevie Wonder would break the Mendoza line batting behind Bonds. Alfonzo, or as Gary Cohen pronounced it, Al…FUNZO, was the best number two hitter the Mets ever had. A solid .285 hitter that gave us around 15 homers and 70 RBI a year, Edgardo originally a third baseman, didn’t find his full groove until he moved to second. Smart move Al FUNZO.
Hitting third, gotta go with Mex. If Keith Hernandez played today, he’d be probably be ripped by fans for not having enough power to man first base. He was easily the best fielding first baseman ever. Nobody negated a bunt better than him or turned a double play better. A career .296 hitter with decent power, Keith would give you a season hitting around .300 with 15 homers and 85 RBI. His true worth was in his clutch performance offensively and defensively. He was the last great Met leader on the field hands down and to be politically incorrect, I loved it as a kid watching Keith sneak off to the clubhouse runway under Shea, sneaking a smoke between innings. Classic Mex.
Cleaning up I’m going with Mike Piazza. Now I loved Gary Carter don’t get me wrong. It was the trade for Carter that took the Mets to a championship level for sure. Piazza brought star power and presence to a Met team which sorely needed it in the post 1990 debacle years. In the years Mike played for the Mets he hit .296 with an average of around 27 homers and 82 RBI. He was the face of the franchise and on September 21st 2001, he cemented his name in Met history with his go ahead 2-run homer in the 8th inning propelling a team and a nation in it’s most trying time. Thank you Mike.
Batting 5th has to be the Straw that stirred the collective drinks of the city in the 1980’s, Darryl Strawberry. No player in Mets history arrived with as much expectations or excitement than Straw. He backed it up by becoming the Mets all time home run leader with 252 bombs. A swing that looked like a coiled whipping snake, that resulted in unreal power, where on April 4th 1988, Straw hit the rim of lights on the roof of old Olympic stadium in Montreal. Tres` bonne Darryl, etonnantes!
Batting 6th, David Wright. He’s the current face of the franchise. David is clearly one of the top third basemen in the game today and has the potential to be one of the greatest of all time. He averages around 23 homers and over 93 RBI a season, and he’s not even in the full swing of his prime yet. Defensively he’s a gold glover. Now it’s time to take the the reigns David. This is your team.
Batting 7th, Carlos Beltran. When Carlos is healthy he’s as complete a player as you can find. He’s a switch hitter, averaging .280 a year with 25 homers and 93 RBI with 19 steals a year. His defense is golden. You simply can’t argue that.
Batting 8th, Mookie Wilson. Mookie played for the Amazin’s in a time when they really weren’t so Amazin’. The early 1980’s had some lean years, but it did introduce Flushing Meadows to one William Hayward Wilson. Mookie was to the Mets what Jose Reyes is to them now. His enthusiasm for the game alone was infectious, but his talent on the field was simply impressive. A .276 hitter who became the all time Mets leader in steals with 281 until that crown was taken by Jose Reyes. The chant of “Mooooookie” will always ring true in the minds of all Mets fans for all time.
So there you have it. My All Time Mets lineup. In part 2 next week I’ll cover my All Time Mets Pitching rotation. Let’s wish the Mets success for the coming 2010 season. On a personal note, a year ago today I took a picture on opening day with a great man, my friend, the Fred to my Barney, my grandpa Charlie. I miss you Paba, 1921-2009.