I’m very happy that John Franco has become the latest member of the Mets’ Hall of Fame. He is more than deserving of the honor, having pitched 14 seasons with the Mets and becoming the franchise’s all-time saves leader. However, I am surprised by the fact that Franco was inducted this year, when there is another reliever who’s been waiting longer and is equally, if not more deserving of enshrinement into the team’s hallowed Hall. My friends, where’s the love for Jesse Orosco?
When John Franco became the Mets’ all-time leader in saves in 1994, he broke Jesse Orosco’s record. Prior to 1984, when the Mets became a perennial contender, Orosco was the sole bright spot on a last-place team.
In 1983, he went 13-7 with a 1.47 ERA and 17 saves. He actually led the team in wins that year despite pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. For his efforts, Orosco made his first All-Star team, finished 3rd in the Cy Young vote and actually finished 17th in MVP despite playing for a 94-loss team. The following year, Orosco became the first Met to surpass 30 saves in a single season and was voted to his second All-Star team, the first reliever in franchise history to make multiple trips to the Midsummer Classic. Two years later, Orosco made the final outs (and taught us all how to toss our gloves in the air in celebration properly) in both the NLCS and the World Series.
From 1981-1986, Orosco was 43-36 with a 2.31 ERA and 91 saves. Think about that for a second. He had a 2.31 ERA over a six-year span, a period in which he tossed 483.2 innings. This is not a small sample of innings. Simply stated, Jesse Orosco was one of the most consistent and effective relievers in Mets history.
It might be said that Franco’s selection was made so that each of the past two Hall of Fame classes wouldn’t focus so much on the 1986 team, what with Davey Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Frank Cashen getting the call in 2010. But Mookie Wilson (1996), Keith Hernandez (1997) and Gary Carter (2001) were selected consecutively (no Met was selected from 1998-2000). Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman were also selected in consecutive years when they got the call in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
John Franco is the last Mets pitcher to win a World Series game, as he was given credit for the victory in Game 3 of the 2000 World Series. Jesse Orosco is the last Mets pitcher to be on the mound when the Mets won a World Series. There’s a big difference between winning a World Series game and winning a World Series.
Look, I have no problem with John Franco making it into the Mets’ Hall of Fame and I congratulate him for becoming the 26th Met to receive the honor. But he shouldn’t have been selected before Jesse Orosco. Orosco had just as many accomplishments as a Met as Franco did, but he’s been waiting for the Hall honor longer than Franco did. Hopefully, the Mets will get it right and induct Orosco next year. He’s sure waited long enough to get that call.