Last night, SNY announced the Mets All Time Greatest Players at each position over their entire franchise history, it got me to think about just how different we all are.
Some of us lived through the Dodgers and Giants and welcomed in the new Mets because they couldn’t stand to root for the Yankees.
Some of us started watching baseball because of the 1969 Mets.
While others had early Mets memories dating to the mid 70’s anguish.
Some, like me, grew up in the 80’s and whether you were 4 or 5, or pre-teen, you remember something about those 1986 Mets.
I am sure somewhere out there Generation K was the first group of players that got some of our young readers involved in following the Mets.
Many of us became Mets fans as well because of family ties as well.
Though we are all the same because of the bond we share through the Mets, we all got here in different ways.
So as the Mets announce the BEST of the best. I couldn’t help but wonder, who were your favorites?
A player could have been your favorite just because of one season compared to others. For example, my wife will always be a Ty Wigginton fan. Was he the best 3B the Mets ever had? Absolutely not. But he’s still one of her all-time favorites.
Here are the players I chose as my all-time favorite per position.
C Mike Piazza – For my generation, Todd Hundley was probably a better option. However, I never really connected with Hundley. Piazza was everything a NY Sports fan needed, and he was everything the Mets needed. I don’t know a single Mets fan who disliked him.
1B John Olerud – I loved Olerud. He was so dang underrated as a player too. 2,239 hits lifetime with a .295 average in 17 seasons. That’s a hitter. With the Mets he was a .315 hitter and had a .425 OBP.
2B Wally Backman – You cannot dress up as Wally Backman for your first Halloween and not pick him as your favorite 2B. While I was young in 1986, I grew up watching “A Year to Remember,” and the “Wild Boys” video featuring Lenny Dykstra and Wally Backman. I identified with Backman’s style of play early in my life. He was a small, scrappy player who often left everything he had on the field.
3B Howard Johnson – This probably dates back to the days of watching that 86 VHS practically every day growing up. Whether it was Hojo’s “how to” video with Roger McDowell on creating a “hot foot” or how his HR against Todd Worrell to sweep the Cardinals, Hojo always was one of my favorites.
SS Jose Reyes – It’s hard for me to even think of another SS. I honestly wasn’t a big Ordonez fan. While they were in the minor leagues, I never really followed reports about David Wright. It was all about Jose Reyes for me. He brought so much excitement to the team and to Shea Stadium. Watching Reyes turn it on as he took 2nd on his way to 3rd was always the best part of any Mets game.
LF Cliff Floyd – I was a BIG Cliff Floyd fan. 2005 was the year of my most memorable regular season Mets game of my life. It was the mid-June game against the Angels when Marlon Anderson hit the inside the park HR to force extra innings. Then in extra innings Floyd came to the plate. I said to my girlfriend (now wife) “He’s gonna end this.” He then hit a bomb of a foul ball, and I felt deflated saying “you rarely ever see somebody hit a foul ball HR and follow it with a HR.” Then BOOM. Homerun, end of the game, I am forever proven wrong by Cliff Floyd.
CF Lenny Dykstra – Truth be told, I liked Mookie more than Dykstra but he played all over the OF that it’s hard to just call him a CF. Dykstra was always my brother’s favorite. He was similar to Backman (pre-steroids). Was never the biggest guy on the team, but always seemed to get the most out of himself. He played as hard as anybody I can remember. I was also a big Brett Butler fan, but he only played for 1 year.
RF Darryl Strawberry – Straw was my first “superstar”. He was everything a young baseball fan could have asked for. Growing up, I didn’t know of any “off the field” issues, all I knew was Strawberry could be the best ever, and he was on my favorite team.
LHP Al Leiter – A lot of pitchers could fill this spot. Santana, Hampton, Viola, Ojeda, Sid… so many to choose from. However, Leiter to me was such a gamer. He, like many of the guys on my list, never seemed like “the best”, but he always seemed to get the most out of his ability. Plus, he always seemed to want the ball or accept the challenge. He was often matched up against better pitchers, but he never used it as an excuse. Leiter won 95 games for the Mets in 213 starts.
RHP Rick Reed – I was just always a fan of Cone. Obviously many from my generation will go with Gooden, some may go with guys like David Cone or Bobby Jones as well. Truthfully, R.A. Dickey is going to grab a lot of votes in the coming years I think. For me though, Reed was probably the most underrated Mets pitcher of my generation. From 97-00, Reed had 51 wins, an ERA of 3.69 and a WHIP of 1.18. He wasn’t the best by any means, but he always seemed so consistent for the Mets.
RHP (Reliever) Turk Wendell – When the Mets acquired Wendell in 1997, I never heard of him. All I knew was the Mets traded Lance Johnson. From 98 through most of 2001, Wendell was my guy. The way he slammed the rosin bag down on the mound. The necklace he wore, the comments he’d make and his ability to get a big time out whenever the Mets needed it.
LHP (Reliever) Pedro Feliciano – I was never a big John Franco fan. He comes off as a great man, but I just never loved him as a player. For me, Feliciano was the man. He was just so good at this job. I never doubted that he could get the job done. He appeared in 408 Games from 2006-2010 with a 3.09 ERA.
Manager Terry Collins – I’ve seen Davey, Bud, Torborg, Green, Bobby V, Howe, Willie and Jerry. Growing up, I never had a connection with Davey Johnson like I did with the players. After Davey, there’s a whole lot of failure. With regards to Bobby V, I find him to be an enjoyable character, but I don’t like character managers. I went with Terry Collins because while everybody has flaws, he seems to be the most honest Manager I have seen in a Mets uniform. He also holds himself and his players accountable, while he also clearly will defend his own players to his grave. I think other than Davey Johnson, no other manager the Mets have had in my life could do the kind of job Terry has done in the last 2 years.
Those are my favorites, for better or worse. The Mets have had many players that I will always remember or think fondly of. These guys are just the cream of the crop.
So who is on your list?