The suffering-rich tradition of the New York Mets is rivaled by few other organizations in pro sports, so it’s only natural that fans are going to lash out at some of their players. This is especially true of the many free agent acquisitions that went sour during their tenures with the Mets.
But sometimes, fans aren’t always right. Many players, like Vince Coleman, Mo Vaughn, Kazuo Matsui, and Oliver Perez, perhaps deserve that reputation. But some of these players were hated for non-baseball reasons or specific moments, and were otherwise pretty good on the field. Here are just four of those players:
1. Bobby Bonilla – He didn’t live up to the hype of his record-setting five-year, $29 million contract, but he was mostly solid during his tenure with the Mets. Bonilla hit .270/.356/.495 with 95 home runs and 295 RBI in 515 games with the Mets.
His last two seasons during his first stint in New York were particularly solid. In 1994, he batted .290/.374/.504 with 20 homers and 67 RBI in 108 games. The following year, he batted .325/.385/.599 with 18 homers and 53 RBI in 80 games before he was traded to the Orioles– those are MVP-caliber numbers.
Of course, he failed miserably during his second stint with the Mets in 1999, and yada yada yada the team is paying him until 2035.
2. Tom Glavine – Glavine is often put in the same category of players like Willie Mays or Mo Vaughn who came to the Mets long after they were productive. This isn’t really fair to Glavine; he wasn’t the Hall of Fame pitcher he was for the Braves in the 90′s, but he was mostly decent with the Mets. He was 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA and 107 ERA+. These aren’t elite stats, but they’re good for someone who was in their late-30′s. Then came the last day of the 2007 season…
3. Carlos Beltran – Many have argued that Beltran didn’t live up to the seven-year, $119 million contract he was given in 2005. Fred Wilpon thought so. This is largely due to him striking out looking to end the 2006 NLCS.
In reality, however, Beltran is one of the best players in franchise history. He is fourth all-time in OPS, fifth in slugging, sixth in homers, RBI and on-base-percentage, and eighth in runs scored. Aside from the strikeout looking, he’s far better than people give him credit for.
4. Francisco Rodriguez – “K-Rod” came to the Mets after recording an MLB-record 62 saves with the Angels in 2008. While he never put up numbers like that again, Rodriguez was not awful on the field while he was with the Mets. He compiled a 3.05 ERA and 129 ERA+, and was even named an All-Star in 2009. But he’s best remembered for being injured after assaulting his girlfriend’s father after a game — one of the most bizarre moments in Mets history.