Around the Diamond – Left Field

As we continue our Mets Around the Diamond feature, we now come to Left Field.

During the Mets’ 52 year history, there have been 25 everyday left fielders. Not so bad compared to center and right field.

cleon jonesThe following are the ten players who have played the most games in Left Field for the Mets in franchise history.

10 – Benny Agbayani (2000-01). Benny played 234 games in Left (198 starts). In 2000, he batted .289 with 15 HR and 60 RBI.

9 – Frank Thomas (1962-63). Frank played 253 games in Left Field (251 starts). In 1962, he hit had a solid season for the Mets, batting .266 with 34 HR and 94 RBI.

8 – Jason Bay (2010-12). Hard to believe that Jason played in 280 games in Left (267 starts) for the Mets, isn’t it? In 2011, he hit .245 with 12 HR and 57 RBI.

7 – John Milner (1972, 1976). John played in 283 games in Left (271 starts). He was also in the top 10 in games played at First Base. In 1976, he hit .271 with 15 HR and 78 RBI.

6 – Bernard Gilkey (1996-98). Bernard played 363 games in Left (347 starts). In 1996, he hit .317 with 30 HR, 117 RBI, and 108 runs scored.

5 – Cliff Floyd (2003-06). Cliff played 443 games for the Mets in Left (437 starts). In 2005, he had his best season for the Amazins, batting .273 with 34 HR and 98 RBI.

4 – Steve Henderson (1977-80). Hendu played 482 games in Left Field (480 starts). In 1980, he hit .290 with 8 HR, 58 RBI, and 23 stolen bases.

3 – George Foster (1982-85). George played 617 games in Left (610 starts). In 1984, he hit .269 with 24 HR and 86 RBI.

2 – Kevin McReynolds (1987-91, 1994). McReynolds played 758 games in Left (732 starts). In 1988, the underrated Met hit .288 with 27 HR, 99 RBI, and 21 stolen bases.

1 – Cleon Jones (1968-71, 1973-74). Cleon played 800 games in Left (717 starts). In 1969, he hit .340 with 12 HR, 75 RBI, and 94 runs scored.

About Roger N - Big Mets Fan 128 Articles
Roger is a lifelong Mets fan since 1981, now married with kids and still knows that there is no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark with your child. Growing up, he wanted to be either the Second Baseman for the Mets - or their statistician. Follow him at @BigMetsFan1. email him at metsfanontwitter@aol.com
  • Captain America

    Moises Alou?

  • Does anyone else get depressed at these lists??

  • 2aSupport

    What of him? He played in about 100 games or so….

  • Benny

    Ricky Henderson and Endy Chavez.

  • Benny

    Honorable Mention!

  • john q

    I’m kind of shocked George Foster is 3rd on this list?? I must have blocked his time with Mets completely out of my memory. And then it’s been a massive revolving door since McReynolds left in ’91.

    I wouldn’t say McReynolds was underrated on the contrary I’d say he was kind of overrated. He had a very good 1988, after that his numbers started to decline every year. Lifetime Mets: .272/.331/.460 isn’t that great for a left fielder. Then he was a pretty lousy fielder. Also, they gave up way too much in that trade to acquire him. K. Mitchell won the mvp in 1989 and was a better ballplayer then McReynolds. They would have been better off keeping Mitchell and sticking him in left.

  • SRT

    I’m with you on they would have been better off keeping Mitchell for a few more years.

  • john q

    That was all about getting rid of Mitchell because the Mets Brass were afraid his tough gang related childhood would adversely affect Gooden and Strawberry. The irony is that Gooden and Strawberry didn’t need Mitchell to totally screw up their careers. They did perfectly well screwing up their careers on their own.

    It also seemed like race played a part in that trade as they traded away the young former black gang member in Mitchell for the more conservative quite white guy from Arkansas. Again, the irony is that McReynolds was kind of a jerk and could be sullen with the fans and NYC media and Mitchell went on to be win the MVP and be a massive fan favorite in San Francisco.

    They also traded away a lot of chips in that trade along with Mitchell: Abner, S. Jefferson, K. Brown (not the pitcher), and K. Armstrong. Those guys never had any MLB success but they could have kept Mitchell and used those other 4 players in a trade for someone else.

  • SRT

    ‘That was all about getting rid of Mitchell because the Mets Brass were
    afraid his tough gang related childhood would adversely affect Gooden
    and Strawberry. The irony is that Gooden and Strawberry didn’t need
    Mitchell to totally screw up their careers. They did perfectly well
    screwing up their careers on their own.’

    No argument from me on this.

    They also let the MVP of the’86 WS walk – Knight.
    Nothing like breaking down a WS championship team, right?

  • john q

    Here’s how the LF ranked according to lifetime WAR:
    C. Jones-18.2
    K. McReynolds-15.7
    B. Gilkey-10.2
    S. Henderson-9.2
    C. Floyd-7.6
    G. Foster-4.6
    F. Thomas-3.6
    F. Tatis-2.7
    T. Davis-2.7
    M. Alou-2.3
    K. Mitchell-2.3

    WAR ranking according to single season:
    B. Gilkey, 1996, 8.1
    C. Jones, 1969, 7.0
    C. Jones, 1971, 4.8
    C. Floyd, 2005, 4.6
    K. McReynolds,1988, 4.5
    C. Jones, 1968, 4.1
    K. McReynolds, 1990, 3.6
    K. McReynolds, 1989, 3.6
    J. Milner, 1976, 3.4
    M. Wilson, 1986, 3.0

    Rookie Season:
    S. Henderson, 1977, 2.6
    K. Mitchell, 1986, 2.5
    R. Swoboda, 1965, 1.6
    J. Milner, 1972, 1.5
    D. Murphy, 2008, 1.3

    HOF:
    R. Henderson, 1999-2000

    PED:
    M. Carreon, G. Sheffield.

    Longest Tenure:
    C. Jones, 12 seasons. (Nobody else even close)

    Worst Met Career:
    J. Orsulak: (-1.3)
    W. Harris: (-1.3)
    D. Napoleon: (-1.2)
    J. Valdespin: (-0.9)
    J. Reed: (-0.7)

    Worst Met Season:
    T. Hundley, 1998: (-1.3) Oh man, don’t remind me!
    M. Carreon, 1991: (-1.3)
    W. Harris, 2011: (-1.3)
    J. Bay, 2012: (-1.2)
    B. Agbayani, 2001: (-0.9)

    Best LF Trade:
    Jason Bay (2002) for Lou Collier
    Bernard Gilkey for Erik Hiljus, Yudith Orozio, Eric Ludwick.

    Wow, that pretty sad that’s all there is and considering they didn’t keep J. Bay.

    Worst LF trade:
    Jason Bay, Bobby Jones, and Josh Reynolds for Steve Reed and Middlebrook.
    Dave Kingman for Bobby Valentine and Paul Siebert.
    Kevin Mitchell, Shawn Abner, Stan Jefferson, Kevin Brown and Kevin Armstrong for Kevin McReynolds, Gene Walter and Adam Ging.

    Longest last name:
    Christensen

    Shortest last name:
    Bay

    Alliteration:
    Tony Tarasco, Shane Spencer, Billy Baldwin, Chris Carter, D.J. Dozier, Chuck Carr.

    Oldest: Gene Woodling born in 1922.
    Youngest: Fernando Martinez born in 1988.

    Oldest ever to play position: Moises Alou 2008, 42 years old
    Youngest ever to play position: Ed Kranepool 1963, 18 years old.

  • john q

    I guess in fairness Knight was done as an everyday player and 1986 was kind of a fluke. They had HOJO, Magadan waiting in the wings. I think Knight was also asking for a decent amount of money for that time period.

    That being said, I remember Knight leaving left a kind of bitter taste in peoples mouths after the ’86 WS.

    We also later learned that there was a collusion going amongst the owners so they Mets had no interest in improving their team via free agency. It’s just insane that a NY team for forego their monetary advantage to get into an collusive agreement.

  • Bubbadubbs

    You have no clue about kmac he was one of the smootest feilding leftfeilder’s the mets ever had. He also was a great hitter back in the 80’s a .270 hitter was actually good most guys were hitting .250/.260 eccept for the greats like keith,gwynn and a few others. .300 hitters were not as prolithic as they are in the last decade and a half. Gary Carter one of my favorite players ever hit like .250/260 and was considered a good hitter.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Before Beltran’s incredible year, Gilkey put up one of the best, if not the best, single seasons for an everyday player in Met history. That 96 season was incredible. In addition to the numbers posted, I think he set the franchise record for 2bs in a season.

  • john q

    Yeah, good point. That season was kind of bizarre overall because the team wasn’t very good and generation K was a huge disappointment but Gilkey had that incredible year and L. Johnson & Hundley had big years as well.

  • pastline63

    The pitching was a horror show, but we had one of the National leagues best offenses. It was another failure of the front office to fix the issue of pitching for that year.

  • pastline63

    People forget about that time period of collusion, and the Wilpons allowing that issue to hinder the momentum of the 86 season.

  • StrawberryPiazzaWright

    Kevin McReynolds was a very, very good defensive LF, and Mitchell sucked defensively anywhere they put him. Even in San Franncisco, he was a terrible fielder. He was just a bat. McReynolds was considered one of the better defensive left fielders of those days, and was no slouch offensively either, and could steal some bases as well. He was a very good clutch hitter as well. Not sure how you can say he was bad. I felt pretty confident whenever he came to bat with the game on the line in the late innings. Sorry, but agree to disagree.

  • john q

    I wouldn’t say it was a failure of the front office to “fix” pitching but rather a gross miscalculation on the readiness of “Generation K.” They were rushed to the big leagues starting in 1995. Isringhausen had very good success in ’95. Pulisipher showed good signs and Wilson was the stud rookie. Pulsipher was hurt in spring training. Izzy struggled all year and Wilson was rushed way too fast to the majors.

    Dallas Green also ruined those young pitchers by overworking them.

  • john q

    McReynolds was a very good fielder when he was young with the Padres but his fielding numbers started slip when he joined the Mets. There’s nothing backing up the point that he was a “very good” fielder with the Mets.

    He went from below average to slightly above average fielder during his tenure with the Mets. I’ll take back that he was “lousy,” he was basically “average” slightly below average overall during his tenure with the Mets.

    Agreed, K. Mitchell was a lousy fielder. But I never stated that that he was a good fielder.

    You’re severely underrated K. Mitchell. McReynolds never came anywhere near to approaching Mitchell’s 1989 or 1994 offensive numbers.

    Yeah, Mitchell was just a “bat” that just happened to hit 47 HR and slug .635 playing home games in Candlestick Park and he won the MVP award. The only player to hit 47 HR+ for the Giants in Candlestick Park up until that point had been Willie Mays. Mitchell had another good year with the bat in 1990. He had two very good seasons in limited duty with the Reds in ’93-94.

    He was on the verge of having his greatest season in 1994 before the strike happened. He 30 HR in only had 310 at bats in 1994. That would have been a 50+ HR season without the strike. Plus he hit .326 that year and had a .429 on base%.

    I didn’t say McReynolds was “bad” I said he was “overrated.”

    .273/.331/.463 from 1987-1991.

    WAR numbers post trade:

    K-Mac:17.6 WAR
    K. Mitchell: 26.8 WAR

  • john q

    Bernard Gilkey was easily the best fielding LF the Mets have ever had over an extended period.

    K-Mac’s fielding with the Mets was overrated.

    Yeah, you’re right that a .270 hitter meant more in that low run scoring environment of the late 1980’s. But K-Mac didn’t draw many walks and a .270 batting for a predominately offensive position like LF isn’t that great.

    Gary Carter was a catcher so you have to put his BA. in perspective of the position. Gary Carter was actually a very good hitting catcher with the Expos his numbers started to slip in 1987 with the Mets. He was actually pretty awful from 1987-1989.

  • ParisWilponCOO

    A bunch of millionaires get together to restrict the availability of a service- call it a union, it’s legal. Another bunch of millionaires get together to try to fight the first group and keep from overpaying for services- that’s “collusion”.