All Our LeBron’s Have Left Too

An article by posted on July 10, 2010

I really feel for the Cleveland Cavalier fans today.  Their Franchise has scorned them and moved on to a bigger and brighter stage.  Cleveland fans who really have had nothing but heartbreak for as long as I’ve been alive (39 years) have suffered the ultimate blow. 

I thought last year was rough when C.C. Sabathia was pitching against Cliff Lee in the World Series.  And you know what??  It was bad.  It was awful.  But LeBron scorning them on national TV, without so much of a heads up has got to hurt.  And though Mets fans have never been publicly betrayed the way James betrayed Cleveland, there is an unfortunate similarity.  Who is our greatest player never to leave?

Think about that for a second.  Who are the greatest batter and pitcher, that has only played for the Mets?  The answers may surprise you, but it will certainly depress you. 

For this game, I am excluding all current players, because we really have no idea if they will stay Mets forever.  While David Wright seems entrenched, you never know what the future will bring.  In 10 years, my nephew Adam Aller may decide he wants the position, and Wright may have to pull a Keith Hernandez and finish his career in Cleveland. 

So who is the best Met player of all time?  Probably Ed Kranepool.  Kranepool was with the Mets from 1962-1979.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like Ed Kranepool.  I still remember in little league when my coach asked me what # I wanted to wear and I said, “#7.”  The coach said, “Mickey Mantle?”  And I responded, “Ed Kranepool!”  I still wear #7 to this day.  I am an Ed Kranepool fan. 

But the best ever??  Kranepool doesn’t exactly have the same baseball-cred as Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken, Lou Gehrig, Mike Schmidt and Johnny Bench.  Those were elite players that through thick and thin stayed with their club.  But we gots Kranepool!

Well OK, the Mets are really a pitching franchise anyways.  But we all know Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack left the Amazin’s at some point of their career.

Can I get a Ron Darling at least??  Sorry, he got traded to Montreal and ended his career in Oakland.  How about Craig Swan?  That’s a great guess, but sadly, he pitched two games and five innings for the Angels in 1994.  Don’t even think of Sid Fernandez, he pitched six innings with the Dodgers before ever becoming a Met, and then finished off his career with a bunch of different teams.

So who is this all-time Met pitcher?  The Met pitcher that is better than Seaver, Gooden, Ryan, Koosman etc.??  Well advanced statistics are going to say Bob Apodaca.  He pitched in five seasons for the Mets, from 1973-1977.  But I cant get over year one for the former Mets pitching coach.  He had an E.R.A. of infinity!!  And though he finished strong with a record of 16-25, and eventually lowered his career E.R.A. to a very good 2.86,  I’m more inclined to give the nod to the legendary Jeff Innis.   

Innis pitched in 7 seasons for the Mets, from 1987-1993.  His record was very Apodaca like at 10-20, but he had a very respectable 3.05 career E.R.A.

But whether its Apodaca or Innis, those luminaries don’t really match up with Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, or Sandy Koufax.

So while Seaver and Daryl Strawberry may not have had an hour long special on ESPN announcing their move away from the Metsies, the fact remains the Mets history is a little less than fulfilling.

So this is a public plea to Fred and Jeff Wilpon, think long and hard before you either trade, or let David Wright, Jose Reyes, Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese walk.  With apologies to Kranepool, Apodaca and Innis, I’d sorta like a Forever Met to emerge.

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