Mets Merized Online » history Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:09:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 11 Best Mets Who Didn’t Play in the Postseason Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:00:20 +0000 bernard-gilkey

Think of any of the Mets’ all-time great players.

Chances are you probably thought of someone like Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright or maybe one of the team’s current young aces. All of these players– and pretty much anyone typically considered to be in the Mets’ pantheon of greats– played in the postseason.

But for a team that has missed the playoffs 45 times in 54 postseasons, acknowledging only stars for playoff teams while leaving out the Mets who never got to October leaves out a lot of history. The Mets have had a strange existence in that they don’t make the playoffs very often, but they make them often enough that any decent player who’s on the team for a couple of years of time will probably get there at least once. For example, the Mets’ top 19 hit leaders have all played in the postseason for the team, as have their 12 winningest pitchers.

So making a list of top Mets players without postseason experience is kind of a difficult task. With this being the case, this list is going to be defined as players who played a minimum of three seasons with the Mets and how they performed did during their time with the team– no matter how short of a time that was. So here are the 11 best Mets who never played in the postseason:

Honorable mention: Lance Johnson

Johnson only played a year-and-a-half with the Mets, but his 1996 season was one of the best in club history. That year, he set Mets team records for hits (227) and triples (21) in a season while batting .333/.362/.479. He was traded to the Cubs in 1997, and never really replicated that success after that.

11. Dave Kingman

“Kong” was like a worse version of Adam Dunn. He hit 154 homers in 664 games with the team, but batted just .219/.287/.453. He had his most Kingman season ever in 1982, when he led the NL with 37 homers but batted just .204.

10. Steve Henderson

Henderson is probably best remembered for being a part of the “Midnight Massacre” that sent Tom Seaver to the Reds, but he was actually very good for the Mets. He owned a .287/.360/.423 slash and a 120 OPS+ from 1977-1980. Henderson was one of the few bright spots of the worst trade and era in Mets history.

9. Bernard Gilkey

Gilkey’s most memorable moment in a Mets jersey was his cameo in “Men In Black.” But perhaps it should be his 1996 season.

That year, Gilkey batted .317/.393/.562 with a .955 OPS, 155 OPS+, not to mention the fact that he hit 30 homers and drove in 117 runs. He never replicated this success, however, and was traded away in 1998.

8. Ron Hunt

Hunt was the first star in Mets history. He batted .282/.344/.379 from 1963-66, and was the first Met to start in an All-Star game. He did this in 1964, when Shea Stadium hosted its only Midsummer Classic.


7. John Stearns

Stearns set the NL catcher’s single-season steals record in 1978 with 25 stolen bases. He also has more hits than any Met who did not play in the postseason with the team, although he did eventualy appear as the Mets’ bench coach in 2000.

6. Frank Viola

The Mets acquired the 1988 AL Cy Young winner from the Twins at the trade deadline in 1989. He would stay with the Mets until 1991, and made two All-Star teams. Viola had his best season in Flushing in 1990, when he went 20-12 with a 2.67 ERA. No Met would win 20 games for another 22 years after Viola accomplished this feat.

5. Bret Saberhagen

Saberhagen is one of the few guys from “The Worst Team Money Could Buy” who was as good as advertised. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner with the Royals went 29-21 with a 3.16 ERA with the Mets from 1992-95. His best season came in 1994, when he went 14-4 with a 2.74 ERA and an eye-popping 11.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It’s too bad fellow big-ticket acquisitions Bobby Bonilla and Vince Coleman didn’t live up to the hype like Saberhagen did.

4. Craig Swan

Swan did pitch in three games for the Mets at the end of the 1973 season, but did not pitch in the postseason. So he makes the list.

Swan played with the Mets from 1973-1984, and was their best player in the dark ages of Mets history– the late-70s and early-80s. From 1978-82, Swan went 39-37– which is even more impressive considering that the Mets had a .402 winning percentage during that stretch. He also posted a 3.12 ERA, and led the NL in ERA in 1978 with a 2.43 mark. So Swan can take the claim as the best player during the worst period in Mets history.


3. Todd Hundley

A lot of people forget how great Todd Hundley was at his best, especially since the guy who played catcher after him got a little bit more attention.

Hundley was the Mets’ starting catcher from 1992-1998, and kept getting gradually better until he exploded onto the scene in 1996. That year, he set a franchise single-season record with 41 home runs, a record that still stands. He followed that season up with a 30-homer campaign in 1997. He hit for elite power over these two years all while posting a .265/.373/.550 slash line and a 144 OPS+.

But an injury in 1998 made him expendable, which led to the Mike Piazza trade. He was then traded to the Dodgers the following offseason for Roger Cedeno and Charles Johnson, ending one of the more forgotten Mets greats’ time in New York.

2. Johan Santana

Santana was supposed to be the final piece that made the Mets a legitimate World Series contender. He wasn’t, but he provided the Mets with two of their most memorable moments in recent memory: A three-hit shutout of the Marlins on short rest to keep the Mets alive in 2008, and the team’s first no-hitter. That no-hitter alone makes the trade and his contract worth it.

Santana’s time in New York was derailed by injuries and collapsing Mets teams, but he was actually as good as advertised through his first three seasons in New York. He went 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA from 2008-2010, and finished third in Cy Young voting in 2008. Then came the injuries, which forced him out of the 2011 and 2013 seasons and hampered his play in 2012. These injuries also helped keep the Mets out of the playoffs during Santana’s time in the Orange and Blue.

1. R.A. Dickey

Dickey came to the Mets as just another Triple-A pitcher, but left them as one of the most beloved players in team history.

Despite playing just three seasons in Flushing, Dickey’s name makes several entries into the Mets’ record books. R.A. has the fourth-best ERA among qualifying Mets pitchers, the fifth-best WHIP, and the fifth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio.

And his 2012 season is one of the best by a pitcher in Mets history. He went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA that year, becoming the first Met since Frank Viola in 1990 to win 20 games. Dickey also took home the NL Cy Young Award that year, making him just the third Mets pitcher to win the award. The other two are Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden, so yeah. That’s pretty good company.

While Dickey shined with the Mets, the team never finished within more than 12 games of a playoff spot. This must not have been fun while he was with the Mets, but it does make him the best Mets player who never played in the postseason.

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Addison Reed Was One Of Our Top Performers In 2016 Sat, 31 Dec 2016 18:49:52 +0000 addison-reed-2

When we look back on the 2016 season, one player we won’t soon forget is right-handed reliever Addison Reed. Only just turning 28 three days ago, Reed was one of the top setup men in all of baseball last season and he delivered one of the best seasons for a reliever in Mets franchise history.

Reed’s 1.97 ERA ranked tenth in the majors for relievers and was the tenth best for a single season in Mets history. His 0.940 WHIP ranked even higher, finishing sixth in MLB and the best ever for a Mets reliever in a single season. His dominance doesn’t stop there, as Reed’s 2.6 WAR ranked sixth among MLB relievers and was second in team history for a reliever. Only  Kenley JansenAroldis ChapmanAndrew Miller and Dellin Betances produced a higher WAR in 2016.

There were many doubters when Sandy Alderson offered Addison Reed salary arbitration after what was an overall mediocre season in 2015.  However, Sandy made the right call and the team struck gold with a shutdown setup man who will now be asked to step in and close games in the absence of Jeurys Familia.

I’ll go one further and say that without Reed, the Mets don’t even sniff the postseason last season and that he was more valuable than our closer, Familia himself.

Right-handers hit .208 against him, but if the opposing manager sent up a left-handed pinch hitter, they hit just .203 against him.  Reed did not give up an earned run in May or July.  Before the All Star break he pitched to a 2.16 ERA, and remarkably he improved on that, pitching to a 1.75 ERA after the break.

A big part of Reed’s success came from his career high groundball percentage (57.4%), but he also found success in pounding the strike zone this year with the third highest strike percentage (71.8%) of any pitcher that threw at least 40 innings. That helped to produce a 10.5 strikeout rate and a 7.0 K/BB rate – both career highs and top five in the majors for relievers.

Could Reed maintain this level of excellence in 2017? I don’t see why not although a little return to the mean wouldn’t diminish his value to the team one bit. Reed is expected to earn about $10.2 million in arbitration next season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he and the Mets were to work out a 2-3 year deal despite Sandy Alderson’s aversion to multiyear deals for relievers.

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Yankees Sign Aroldis Chapman For 5 Years, $86M Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:42:42 +0000 aroldis chapman

According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the New York Yankees have signed free agent closer Aroldis Chapman to a 5 year, $86 million deal.

This makes Chapman, 28, the highest paid closer in history with an average annual salary of $17.2 million. The previous record was set just a few days ago by Mark Melancon and the Giants, but this contract is 39% more lucrative.

The deal includes an opt-out after three years and a full no trade clause during that time. During the final two years of the contract, however, he only has a limited no-trade clause.

In 2016 for the Yankees and the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, Chapman went 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA. In 58 innings he struck out 90 batters and walked 18, pitching to a phenomenal 0.862 WHIP.

Chapman once again joins Dellin Betances at the back end of a strong bullpen.

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Collins May Not Retire After 2017 Season Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:40:00 +0000 terry-collins

In a interview with Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily NewsNew York Mets manager Terry Collins reiterated that the reports of him possibly retiring after the 2017 season were premature.

Here is what Collins told Ackert, ”There’s all of us standing here today, who knows if we’re all going to be here next year? You don’t. When the season is over, I will sit down and hopefully it’s in November next year, and analyze where I’m at because I still feel great.”

The 67-year old Collins’ contract runs out at the conclusion of the 2017 season after receiving a two-year contract extension following the Mets 2015 World Series run.

Original Report – Nov 4

Christian Red of the New York Daily News caught up with New York Mets manager Terry Collins last night at the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter’s 22nd annual Lou Gehrig’s Sports Award gala. They touched on numerous topics including how long Collins intended on managing the Mets.

Collins had this to say about his future with the Mets:

“If we win, and things are going good, and I feel as good as I do today, I’ll manage as long as I can. This is a great place to manage.”

Last month it was reported that 2017 could possibly be the final year that Collins managed the Mets. Collins has gone 481-491 in six seasons with the Mets including two straight playoff appearances. He has the chance next season to be the first manager in franchise history to make three straight playoff appearances.

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The Binghamton Mets Are Now the Rumble Ponies Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:52:52 +0000 cwwjf46uoaazcxs

The Binghamton Mets have been renamed the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The renaming of the team was part of the new affiliation agreement between the Mets and Binghamton’s new owner John Hughes.

As Hughes told WBNG, “What I’m looking to do is strengthen the ties between the team and the community. I want the community to really be able to identify with this team, as well as this team be a proud representative of the Binghamton heritage, the Binghamton name and have something the community can relate to.”

With that the soon to be former B-Mets had a contest where fans could submit suggestions for what the new team name should be. The finalists were:

  1. Bullheads
  2. Gobblers
  3. Rocking Horses
  4. Rumble Ponies
  5. Timber Jockeys
  6. Stud Muffins

The Bullheads were a reference to the catfish that are in the nearby Susquehanna River, and the Gobblers were in reference to the turkey hunting that occurs in the area. The final four submissions were a nod to the fact that Binghamton considers itself the “Carousel Capital of the World.” As noted, and frankly unsurprisingly,

Accordingly, the 2017 season will be the inaugural season of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The new team colors will be red, blue and silver. A tribute to the Triple Cities’ carousel heritage, the “Binghamton Rumble Ponies” is a herd of fierce horses that no carousel center pole can contain.

Binghamton has been the Mets Double-A affiliate and played at NYSEG Stadium since 1992.

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Alderson Unconcerned About Who’s Not Here Sat, 10 Sep 2016 14:32:59 +0000 sandy alderson

Recent history tells us when Mets’ brass speculates on the return of injured players, it usually takes longer than announced. So, when GM Sandy Alderson refused to comment Friday on the progress of Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz, I can’t help but conclude they aren’t coming back anytime soon.

“I’m not going to talk about them,” Alderson said. “The players who have gotten us here are the players who are healthy and the players who have performed. It doesn’t do anybody any good about talking about when, or if, certain players are going to come back.”

DeGrom threw on flat ground Friday. He’ll throw on flat ground again in a couple of days. Then, in a few days, he’ll throw off the mound, which should be in a week.

So, with me doing what Alderson won’t, I’m guessing the Mets will skip deGrom’s spot in the rotation at least twice.

Matz, who will throw off the mound Saturday, is slightly ahead of deGrom. Assuming all goes well, he’ll go off the mound again in several days. The best case scenario for him will be after next weekend’s series against Minnesota.

Figuring that time frame for both, each could get about two or three starts before the end of the season.

Until then, the Mets will continue with Robert Gsellman, who have up four runs Friday in Atlanta, and Seth Lugo, who has a blister and will be pushed back to Sunday.

“We have the players who we have,” Alderson said. “We hope they continue to do the same job they’ve done. It’s really not constructive to talk about the players who aren’t here, or the players who aren’t close to being here. Talking about injuries is history.”

The operative words being “aren’t close to being here.’’

If they were, Alderson would have said so. Right?

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The Mets’ 2016 Rallying Cry Tue, 06 Sep 2016 16:48:35 +0000 1973 mets yogi tug mcgraw milner

We all remember or have heard the legend of Ya Gotta Believe. How the 1973 Mets, racked by injuries all season, in last place on August 30, went on a blistering tear in September and broke the tape by the thinnest of margins.  Their 82 wins were tied for the worst ever to qualify for the post-season, and just enough to clinch the NL East one day after the regular season was scheduled to end.

So it occurred to me: this team facing similar circumstances to ‘73 needs their own rallying cry to supplement Yo’s awesome walk-up music, The Circle of Life (you will remember the ‘99 team adopted as its theme, Who Let the Dogs Out).  And it wasn’t until about the fifth time I uttered it to myself as events unfolded over the last couple of weeks that the realization came upon me:  The slogan for this team has been hiding in plain sight:

Hey, You Never Know. (kudos to the NY State Lottery).

I mean, with 80% of our once-in-a-generation stable of young rotation studs on the shelf, and 7 of 8 opening day starting players missing huge chunks of the season, we shouldn’t even be in the running right about now.  I don’t really want to even get my hopes up for a trip to October.

But…..this Seth Lugo kid actually looks OK – how could he have put up those nightmare numbers in Vegas?  Where the heck did this guy Robert Gsellman come from?  Is Joe Hardy (of Damn Yankees fame) on his way?

Reyes Jose

Is Jose Reyes really injecting new life into this team?  Are Grandy and Bruce ready to really, finally break out?  Is Wilmer actually hitting righties? Is this team actually doing some timely hitting?  Is their swagger back?  Their run of 12 wins in 16 games begs these questions.

But is all this enough for them to scratch and claw their way to a single elimination game and a chance to play up with the big boys?

Hey…you never know, now do you?

After the ‘73 Amazins’ iced their trip to October with a victory before a reported 1900 fans (though it was likely closer to 500) at Wrigley Field (scene of many a Mets’ conquest over the years), no one remembered all the injuries or cared that they had staggered through five dismal months, or even that they had a woeful offense typified by the lightly regarded (read AAAA-quality) Don Hahn in the leadoff spot and CF.

No, they only cared that the Mets were en fuego at just the right time, and that they had Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack lined up to face the Big Red Machine and, hopefully, the defending champion A’s, giving them a punchers chance against clearly superior teams.  They rode that wave all the way to the 7th game of the World Series.

Is a puncher’s chance not the perfect description for this team’s pursuit of the playoffs right now?

Sure, even with an entirely enviable schedule the rest of the way – only three games against winning teams, as opposed to 15 for the Cardinals – the team could revert to its historically bad situational hitting.  The only two reliable guys in the bullpen could get worn out. The “ReplaceMets” chariots could turn back into pumpkins.  Of course, in amazing Mets fashion, this trio has formed an acronym identical to the most primal team cheer – LGM – no longer standing just for Let’s Go Mets, but for at least the immediate future, Lugo, Gsellman & Rafael Montero.

robert gsellman 2

It’s becoming conventional wisdom that whatever Frank Viola is endowing these young pitchers with in that pitchers’ graveyard in the desert, where what happens in Vegas – in a pitching sense – apparently doesn’t stay in Vegas, well, as per When Harry met Sally, we’ll have what he’s having.

September is generally replete with minefields, but you never know, because you only need to be hot right now, without regard to either the future or the past.  It’s all about the couple of dozen games dead ahead.

You never know, because last year this same group, or close to it, in the lineup, bench and bullpen, came up huge when it counted the most.

You never know, because this is a franchise defined by being an underdog.  Not because they haven’t had strong, even powerful teams, but because underdog is in the franchise DNA.  They were overwhelming underdogs last year.  In fact, they have been underdogs, by my figuring, for all but seven of the 54 years of their existence (1970, ‘86-’88, ‘92, ‘07, ‘16).

Admittedly, it requires a mental adjustment for a team favored to win their division (and their fans) to embrace the role of the little engine that could, but at this point, it’s whatever gets you through the night, and on to the promised land.

Analogies to ‘73 and history in general are, of course, only so instructive, because historical facts can often turn out to be just historical anomalies, and are not necessarily normative or predictive. As a simple example, the Red Sox were never going to beat the Yankees when it counted or win a World Series again…because they had not done either in 86 years.  Then 2004 happened.  Since this is a presidential year, one might remember back to when Gerald Ford was surely going to beat Jimmy Carter in a presidential race because a shorter candidate had never beaten a taller candidate.  But Carter won, and nobody discusses height any more in presidential races.  Because what was once true is, well, no longer true.

Whether you believe history repeats itself, or, per Henry Ford, that history is bunk, embrace this team, once considered a powerhouse but now reduced to an upstart.  A division title is not in the offing, but it was only two years ago that the last team in, the second wildcard (the Giants) won the World Series.  And just ten years ago, the Cardinals went all the way after winning a paltry 83 games.  Don’t we remember.

Hey, you just never know.

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Neil Walker Activated, T.J. Rivera Optioned to Vegas Fri, 26 Aug 2016 18:15:26 +0000 neil walker

Update 2:00 PM August 26th -

The Mets have announced that Neil Walker has been activated from the paternity list with infielder T.J. Rivera being optioned back to the Las Vegas 51s.

Rivera went 0 for 4 in his second stint with the Mets and is now hitting .314/.306/.371 in 36 plate appearances at the big league level.

Original August 25th - 

Second baseman Neil Walker will return from paternity leave on Friday, manager Terry Collins confirmed on Friday. Neil and his wife Niki celebrated the birth of their newborn daughter Nova on Tuesday.

Walker, 30, has been raging hot this month, batting .403 with a .448 on-base and .677 slugging while hitting five homers. He’ll rejoin the team as they begin a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

The Mets promoted T.J. Rivera from Triple-A to temporarily replace Walker on the roster, and it’s most likely that he’ll return to Las Vegas once Walker is activated on Friday.

Original Report – Aug 21

Second baseman Neil Walker returned to action on Saturday after missing four games with a sore lower back. He picked up right where he left off going 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the Mets’ 9-5 win over the San Francisco Giants. He also impressed in the field, making two wide ranging diving stops to prevent a couple of base hits with runners on base.

Walker, 30, has been raging hot this month, batting .403 with a .448 on-base and .677 slugging while hitting five homers.  His 22 home runs this season are the second-most he’s hit in his career and the third-most by a Mets second baseman in franchise history. Only Edgardo Alfonzo who hit 27 homers in 1999 and 25 home runs in 2000 had more.

A free agent at season’s end, Walker  is batting an NL-leading .455 (35-77) with two doubles, one triple, six home runs, 14 RBI and 14 runs scored in his last 19 games dating to July 27. He also has a .488 OBP during that stretch which is fourth in the majors.

Following Sunday’s game, Walker is flying home to be with his wife Niki for the birth of the couple’s first child, a daughter. Doctors are going to induce labor on Monday and then Walker will go on the paternity list until Friday when the Mets take on the Phillies at Citi Field.

Walker will miss the upcoming Cardinals series in St. Louis which begins on Tuesday after a day off on Monday. There’s a good chance we might see T.J. Rivera back for that series, unless the Mets decide to carry an extra reliever for those three games and turn to Wilmer Flores to play second base.

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Talkin’ Mets: Most Disappointing Season Ever? Can Cespedes Bring it Home? Sun, 21 Aug 2016 15:39:01 +0000 tim teufel yoenis cespedes

Today I have an early edition of the podcast. James Flippin of WOR Radio joins me. James is the producer for the Mets pre and postgame show as well as the Sports Zone.

The Mets’ 2016 season has turned into a mini-disaster. Is this the most disappointing season in team history? Let’s take a closer look as I break it down to a  pre and post 1986 examination.

Why is the media defending Terry Collins? You all know my position on Collins and why I want him fired. What will change in 2017 with Collins at the helm? Are you ready to bet that a healthy Mets team will be fully prepared and managed properly for another run?

Finally, Yoenis Cespedes is being asked to “carry” the Mets the rest of the way. Even if he does will he return next season? A long-term commitment to Cespedes has ramifications for the future. Assuming Jay Bruce is back for another year where does that leave Michael Conforto? Another year at Triple-A? Trade bait? This is a tricky situation for a player the Mets almost can’t let walk.




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Familia Notches 50th Consecutive Regular Season Save Sat, 23 Jul 2016 04:32:07 +0000 jeurys familia

It may not have been the prettiest save you ever saw, but closer Jeurys Familia extended his incredible streak by recording his 50th consecutive regular-season save on Friday night in the Mets’ 5-3 win over the Miami Marlins.

The Mets All Star closer got into trouble and allowed a run in the ninth, but in his usual style he amped up the adrenaline, closed the game out, and preserved the victory

Familia’s regular season saves streak is the fourth longest in major league history, trailing only Eric Gagne (84), Tom Gordon (54) and Jose Valverde (51).

The last time Familia had a blown save was nearly a year ago on July 30, 2015, when the Padres scored three runs in the ninth capped by a Justin Upton go-ahead home run.

Familia, the MLB saves leader, now has 34 saves in 34 chances this season, with a 2.58 ERA, 1.261 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings pitched.

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Prominent Writer Asks Piazza About Steroid Use During HOF Conference Call Sat, 16 Jul 2016 14:30:54 +0000 mike piazza

A week from Sunday, Mike Piazza will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, officially cementing his place among the game’s greatest players. Surely, the days and weeks leading up to the ceremony would be a time for the former All Star to celebrate, to relive and remember his greatest accomplishments and contributions to New York sports lore.

Perhaps not. Yesterday, Piazza had his obligatory Hall of Fame conference call with the media, an opportunity for the writers to get quotes for their feel good stories about the player being inducted.

But someone always has to spoil the fun. Yesterday, that person was former New York Times baseball reporter Murray Chass, who started off the questioning with a good old fashioned gut punch, asking Piazza point blank about his steroid use. Ever composed, Piazza responded, “I have addressed that many times in the past, sir.”

This isn’t the first time Chass has come after the former Mets backstop. In 2013, the writer published this scalding piece about Piazza, attacking his book  as “a work of fiction” and his reputation as a clean ballplayer. Chass insists that Piazza cheated. However, reasoning is somewhat twisted. His key piece of evidence comes from his locker room observation of Piazza’s back acne. Yeah, you read that right.

People, this is why we can’t have nice things.

The greatest offensive catcher in baseball history had his baseball legacy and personal character challenged because of back acne. Seriously?

Seriously. Chass, in addition to writers Joel Sherman and Jeff Pearlman all cite Piazza’s unfortunately placed acne as the smoking gun indicating his steroid use. How else could a catcher drafted in the 62nd round because of a favor called in by his father become a baseball legend?

The narrative just doesn’t fit.

According to the BBWAA Hall of Fame Election rules, a player is to be judged on his “record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

New York Mets - 2003 Season File Photos

Over an impressive 16 year career, the 12 time All Star batted .308 while slugging .545 with a catcher’s record 427 home runs. Statistically speaking, he is the greatest offensive catcher of the past century.

His epic home run against the Braves in the first game played at Shea after 9/11 can be considered one of the most significant events in New York sports history. That fateful blast united a city and gave fans who had no reason to be happy something to smile about.

Not to be lost in his tangible achievements, Piazza was also known as a great teammate and a leader in the Mets’ clubhouse who had the utmost respect for the game.

Given the criteria for induction, Piazza checks all the boxes. Nowhere does it state that suspicion of cheating constitutes a breach of the game’s integrity.

On January 6th, 2016, 83 percent of baseball’s most esteemed writers decided that Piazza belongs among the game’s greats. Their votes echoed the sentiments of millions of baseball fans across the nation.

Unfortunately, Murray Chass cannot let go. He refuses to let Piazza and his supporters revel in achieving baseball’s greatest accomplishment. While he may view his intentions as a noble effort to keep the Hall of Fame exclusive and pure, his attempted slander of Piazza reflects poorly on only one person, himself.

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Talkin’ Mets: Let’s Take a Break! Mon, 11 Jul 2016 00:43:18 +0000 Reyes Jose

The first-half of the 2016 season is in the books and we take a look at the state of the Mets at the break. After losing 3 of 4 to the Nationals, I talk about some of the revisionist history going on with the Mets not signing Daniel Murphy.

Mets reporter and fan Rich Coutinho of 98.7 ESPN talks about the biggest surprises and disappointments of the first half, and what to expect from the Mets in the second half. Chris the Teacher gives a book review of Lenny Dykstra’s book “House of Nails,”




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Know Your Stats: Weighted On Base Average (wOBA) Thu, 23 Jun 2016 20:00:28 +0000 yoenis cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes is the current team leader in wOBA with a .395 mark.

For the next few days, I will be bringing back my “Know Your Stats” series that I began a few years back to highlight some important sabermetric stats and concepts. Earlier today, we went through OPS and OPS+. Now we continue with wOBA…

Perhaps the best way of describing weighted-On Base Average (wOBA) is to describe the faults of some of the traditional hitting statistics first.

Batting average, for all its history, fails on numerous fronts. For one, it values all hits equally, from an infield single to a home run. It also doesn’t include walks, which, however unexciting, undeniably contribute to a team. On-Base Percentage does a little bit better, adding walks to batting average, but again values a walk and a home run as the same. Slugging percentage attempts to weigh certain hits as more valuable than others, but fails to include walks and doesn’t weigh hits properly. A triple, for example, is not worth three times as much to a team compared to a single. We know this because of linear weights, which show that a triple does not create a run expectancy three times greater than one created by a single. Before we get to wOBA, it’s important to understand one very important thing about linear weights, which will clear up the somewhat confusing formula. Take a look at this excerpt from Fangraphs’ library:

There is nothing arbitrary in the exact weighting we have of a home run relative to a triple, or a ground ball to a line drive. Years upon years of data allow us to convert back and forth, or up and down with ease. A common complaint with modern sabremetrics is the bewildering array of fractional coefficients that dot the scene, but if you look at a formula that’s based on linear weight, don’t see them as confusing numbers. Instead, look at them as relative values, derived through years of baseball being played.

Essentially, the coefficients in wOBA come from the decades of baseball history that show us how singles, doubles, triples, home runs, walks, and HBP affect a team’s run expectancy. When you look at the wOBA coefficients, they intuitively make sense before you even look at what the linear weights tell you. A walk is worth slightly less than a single because a single moves runners over two bases more often. Just as eras change, wOBA can slightly change from year to year, although nothing really changes that significantly. You can see the constants going back to 1871 here. Here is the current wOBA formula:

wOBA = (0.688×uBB + 0.719×HBP + 0.878×1B + 1.245×2B + 1.576×3B + 2.030×HR) / (AB + BB – IBB + SF + HBP)

More Thoughts

  • wOBA is a context-independent statistic meaning a walk with the bases loaded and a walk with the bases empty are weighted the same, just like most traditional statistics we deal with.
  • wOBA and its park-adjusted, indexed counterpart wRC+ are the gold standard for publicly-available offensive statistics.

In Context

woba chart 3 woba chart 1   woba chart 2

Further Reading

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Measuring the Disappointment of the 2016 Mets Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:00:58 +0000 terry collins

There have certainly been many disappointing seasons in the Mets’ 54 year history.  Some that fell below already low expectations, others in which the fresh promise of winter never materialized, and yet others in which they failed to build upon the success of previous seasons.

Of course, it’s that last category that marks the 2016 Mets to date. Only once in franchise history has the team achieved back-to-back trips to the post-season.  But certainly, with an already legendary young pitching staff and an offense projected as better than average, finishing among the top five teams in the National League seemed a very low bar for this season to assure a second straight post-season appearance.

Apparently not.  Not a one of us saw this mighty struggle coming, and no matter how events transpire from here, June 19 will mark rock bottom for this squad.  Getting swept three games at home by a last place team in the early stages of rebuilding, and scoring but four runs in the process, leaves us stunned and speechless.

So without becoming residents of panic city, it is fair to ask where this squad – to date – ranks in the pantheon of Mets’ disappointments.  At or near the top, you’d have to say.

The early ‘90’s Mets, for whom there were high hopes, famously became the worst team money could buy, but those teams had never proven they could win to begin with.  Likewise, the performance of the ‘01-’04 teams never approached expectations predicated on their lofty payroll.  But in both cases, you got the sense those teams were constructed as though they were in a fantasy league.

At the same time, the fact that this ‘16 team is coming off a season for the ages hardly means automatic success when you consider franchise history.  For with the lone exception of the ‘97-’00 era in which they ascended from mediocrity to the Subway Series, this franchise has never been good at building upon success.

The miracle of ‘69 was followed by a forgettable and disappointing ‘70 (3rd place, 83 wins).  The Ya Gotta Believe run to the Fall Classic in ‘73 (albeit with an 82-80 record) was followed by a 5th place finish and a 71-91 record in ‘74.  Following the championship year of ‘86 and a franchise record 108 victories, the ‘87 Mets won just 92 games and were eliminated from the race just before an expected showdown series with the Cardinals on the season’s last weekend.  They did win the NL East in ’88, but lost in the NLCS, and that was the end of their run.

Of course, nothing will equal the shattering experience of 2007, when the team that had made it to within one game of the World Series in ‘06 collapsed in historic fashion.  Much like this year’s squad, that team suffered through a horrendous June swoon, losing 14 of their first 19 games, portending a slow motion train wreck (losing 12 of 17) to end the season.

asdrubal cabrera

This ‘16 team has plenty of time to recover, but the bottom line disappointment of this team failing to even make the playoffs would likely equal that of nine years ago.

It is possible that things could – somehow – get worse from here, but in that case we will just shake our heads and point back to 6/19 and say we knew it was coming.  Or this could be a “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” moment.  Who really knows?  This is baseball, a game famously described by Bart Giamatti as “designed to break your heart.”

There is a temptation to blame injuries, but only losers do that.  We can blame the manager or the hitting coach, but they are the same guys who were in place during the magical run of 2015.  We can exercise 20-20 hindsight and say the General Manager is responsible, but he’s the same guy that salvaged last season with a series of moves that revived a moribund team.  And few people complained about the moves he made over this winter.

Sometimes change for the sake of change is the right prescription, but one never knows unless and until such change takes place.  The manager is not currently in danger of losing his job.  The hitting coach, who knows?  Our brittle catcher will return today.  The shuttle between Vegas and Citi Field will likely be activated.  Other moves will certainly be made.  But sometimes there is simply no accounting for a fall from lofty heights.  Sometimes you just have a lousy season.

Just ask the 2015 Nationals, whose similarities to the 2016 Mets are cautionary.  They were coming off a divisional crown, hailed as having a starting rotation for the ages and a more than adequate offense, suffered injuries to key players early on and never got untracked. They were a consensus pick to win the World Series, but never came close to fulfilling their promise.

Let us hope the very team we vanquished last year, and which is now well on their way to returning the favor, will not ultimately serve as the model for the 2016 Mets.

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June 1, 2012: Remembering Johan Santana’s No-Hitter Wed, 01 Jun 2016 16:07:22 +0000 St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets

Johan Santana took the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals four years ago today on June 1, 2012 and tossed one of the most memorable games in New York Mets history.

It was a beautiful Friday night, and as a Mets fan, before every game you always think to yourself: “Maybe tonight will be the night they finally do it.” Because up until that point, no Mets pitcher had ever thrown a no-hitter (as we all know).

So Santana is dealing, and he is setting down these Cardinal hitters and escaping each inning unscathed, despite allowing a few walks.

It didn’t get serious for me until after he finished off the sixth inning. “Johan only has nine more outs to go. There’s a real possibility we might see history tonight.” I said to myself.

Then in the seventh inning, Mike Baxter made that magnificent catch going back on a line drive blast off the bat of Yadier Molina. I watched as Baxter slammed against the left field wall and injured his shoulder with that incredible grab, a sacrifice that would end up sidelining him for two months.

After that game-saving play, I knew… I could feel it… Every no-hitter has that one outstanding defensive play to keep the no-hitter intact. (See Dewayne Wise, Hunter Pence, Steven Souza).

Nail-biting time as Santana gets through the eighth, and goes back out for the ninth, despite his high pitch count. He retired the first two batters with relative ease and now it was just David Freese standing between Johan and history.

St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets

When Freese struck out to end the game, it was euphoric. Nothing else mattered in that moment. After 8,019 regular season games and fifty years into the Mets franchise history, no one had done what Santana had just accomplished for the Amazins. Tom Seaver never did it, Dwight Gooden never did it, but Johan Santana on that June night four years ago, today finally did it.

What made it all the more amazing was Santana did this in first season back from a shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2011 season. It reminded fans what Santana was capable of, and brought them back to how he had consistently dominated when he first joined the Mets in 2008.

To top it all off, a Mets fan wearing a 1986 Gary Carter jersey ran on to the field after the last out and joined the Mets celebration around Santana. He was subdued by team security, but it seemed to me a sign that Carter was there that night watching over the team. He had passed away a few months prior after losing his prolonged battle with brain cancer.

This would be Johan Santana’s last shining moment as a Met however, and after a few more starts he was placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. It also marked the end of his Mets career. He re-injured his shoulder in 2013 and missed the entire year. The Mets cut him loose at the end of that season, and he hasn’t appeared in the majors since.

Terry Collins gets a lot of heat for allowing Johan to throw all those pitches to accomplish that unforgettable feat, but I don’t look at it that way. Santana was dealing all night and later said he was feeling it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m glad Santana was the one to throw it… and I’m sure he is to.

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Book Review: Game 7, 1986 by Ron Darling Sat, 28 May 2016 14:00:35 +0000 ron darling keith hernandez

Ron Darling takes a detailed stroll down memory lane for a night most Met Fans see as one of the greatest evenings in the history of the organization.  Darling, however, looks back on it differently.  Recall the events with the former Major League pitcher and current SNY analyst as he remembers not only this evening, but some of the events leading up to his fateful start against the Boston Red Sox and chance meeting with baseball immortality.

In true Charles Dickens’  Christmas Carol fashion, be prepared to walk alongside Ron Darling as he revisits the ghosts of games past and reflects upon a multitude of crucial moments that could seem ancillary to even the most perceptive of fans. You are the silent passenger in the recesses of his memory as he paints a vivid picture of the mental roller coaster ride he experienced in that 1986 Fall Classic deciding game.

ron darling game 7Eternally regal, magnanimous and dubbed by himself as solipsistic at some points, Darling delivers the unique workings of an Ivy League level thought process that preceded Game 7 in 1986.  (The G, capitalized as Darling did, to emphasize the significance)  If you are looking for the dirt about the ‘Bad Boys of Baseball’, search for another read.  Ron Darling remains impressively noble to out no one’s actions or thoughts but his own and assess no one’s process but his.

As Darling escorts you along the linear path following the final innings of Game 6, some of which he was not even in the ballpark to experience, the rain-out of the originally scheduled game 7, the moments leading up to the start time and in game analysis, be prepared to take well timed and nostalgic detours to detail some of the unique personalities that surrounded him.

From his childhood reverence of Carl Yastrzemski, his relationship with Davey Johnson, forging of an unspeakable bond with Gary “Kid” Carter, defending Tim Teufel in the infamous ‘Cooters Brawl’ in Houston, Darling explains this 1986 motley crew to the reader.

His days as the road trip DJ, friendship with Kevin Mitchell, and personality quirks of guys like Lenny ‘Nails’ Dykstra are also on display.  He takes the slightest of swipes at Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden as a result of them squandering the baseball gifts bestowed upon them, but somehow manages to do so out of extreme reverence and awe of their superior talent.

What stands out the most in this work, besides his intelligent similes and seemingly veteran prose, is how his intelligence sabotaged his performance.  Darling’s tendency to perseverate on nuance made this night even more challenging for him.  He was pitching an uphill battle and was knocked around by himself before the game even began.  Nearly thirty years later, Darling reflects on his experiences intelligently and presents an interesting juxtaposition upon its conclusion.  That is, for the rest of his life he must cope with a bad day on an epic night.

My Q & A With Ron Darling 

Chris: Mr. Darling, thank you so much for taking the time to provide answers to questions I had after reading your latest work, Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life. I really enjoyed how vividly you recalled each aspect and detail.

Chris: Was this book a cathartic experience for you? Did it help quiet the persistent reassessments that you write about so well in this work  and give you some inner peace over that night?

Ron Darling: The experience of writing the book was totally cathartic.  With 30 years as a buffer, it allowed me the chance to honestly look at success and failure and evaluate it without prejudice

Chris: The juxtaposition of the career high and the career low in one evening is interesting, can you look back on it now and enjoy the season as one whole journey and be satisfied with your role?

Ron Darling: My role is secure.  My numbers that season cement me with other talented Mets pitchers and I know that I was a big part of a great thing.  That is a great place to be.

Chris: Hypothetically, if you could give your younger self a mound visit once John Kibler gave Boggs the 1-1 pitch, what would you say to yourself to quell the emotions?

Ron Darling: I would calmly tell me that you have been great your entire life and great this season.  All of that preparation has put you here tonight.  Embrace the reality of pressure and let it carry you through this tough moment.  You were born for this moment.

Chris:After that first inning, was there any desire to tell Davey or Gary what you knew about the ball feeling ‘heavy’ in your  hand and/or your overall uncomfortable status?

Ron Darling: No, this is a solo journey.  It was a Razors Edge moment.  Can you find the power from within?  I could not.

Chris: Lastly, and respectfully, how helpful would the late Mr. Gary Carter have been for you to the process of this work? If we were still blessed with his presence, would you have consulted him for his recall to see if it mirrored yours?

Ron Darling: I would have loved to talk about this night with Gary.   I’m sure with his veteran intelligence, he would have had a better perspective than I have or had.  Miss him more now as a friend, than as a player.

Chris: Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.  Much appreciated, I wish you continued success and best of luck!

Ron Darling:Thanks for the complimentary and detailed review.  Very kind of you.

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Mets To Stream ’86 World Series Pre-Game Ceremony On Saturday Thu, 26 May 2016 23:09:13 +0000 1986 World Series - New York Mets v Boston Red Sox

The New York Mets today announced that will exclusively stream the pregame ceremony this Saturday night celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1986 World Championship Team beginning at 6:15 p.m.

The ceremony will commemorate the achievements of one of the most legendary and beloved teams in New York sports history. The Mets have invited all players from the 1986 Championship Team along with Manager Davey Johnson and staff to be a part of the pregame on-field ceremony.

The entire 1986 themed weekend includes:

1986 Themed Free Shirt Friday, May 27 – 7:10 p.m.

All Fans in attendance will receive a 1986 World Championship themed t-shirt presented by Dunkin’ Donuts

Super Saturday, May 28 – 6:15 p.m. 1986 Champions Pregame On Field Ceremony

6:15 p.m. for a special ceremony recognizing coaches and players from the 1986 World Championship Team presented by Verizon

Family Sunday, May 29 – 8:08 p.m. 1986 Championship Replica Ring Giveaway

The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a 1986 World Championship replica ring presented by H.L. Gross & Bro. Jewelers.

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David Wright Turns The Jeers Into Cheers Sun, 22 May 2016 02:11:22 +0000 david wright walkoff 2

Well that was fun… My first chance to watch an entire Mets game in over a week and the fates treated me to an exciting walk-off victory off the bat of none other than the captain David Wright.

What a sight for sore eyes, seeing Wright deliver the game-winning hit and being swarmed by his teammates in joyous celebration. And of course, the first one to race out of the dugout like a Cuban missile to greet Wright was Yoenis Cespedes – who happened to crush his 14th homer of the season in the 6th inning to knot the game at 4-4.

At least for one game in this home stand, Wright heard a lot more cheers than jeers from the hometown crowd. Hopefully it’s a trend that continues for the embattled third baseman who has endured plenty of agony and not enough ecstasy so far this season.

Another player who gets a lot of undeserved incoming fire from the fans, is utility infielder Eric Campbell, who was starting in place of an ailing Lucas Duda today. The regular first-sacker for the Mets continues to deal with a balky back.

Campbell got things started in the ninth when he greeted Brew Crew reliever Michael Blazek with a sharp single. Kevin Plawecki would draw a walk in one of his better at-bats of the week, and then the Brewers intentionally walked Curtis Granderson to load them up for No. 5. Bad idea. Campbell would cross the plate with the game winner after Wright delivered the big tie-breaking base-knock on a 3-0 count.

The Mets had lost seven of their last nine contests heading into this one, but with two wins down and one to go against Milwaukee, the Mets have a chance to head into DC with some much needed momentum.

And who knows, maybe we can even return the favor and take two out of three from the Nationals next week. Confidence and momentum are huge factors in this game, and I love our chances with Noah Syndergaard on the mound tomorrow.

“We’ve been struggling as a team a little bit, especially offensively,” Wright said after the game. “It’s been our game plan to try and take in the momentum so hopefully we got some on our side now.”

Today’s walk-off win was the first of the season for the Mets and their first walk-off since July 31, 2015. And what tru Mets fan will ever forget that one – Wilmer Flores‘ walk-off homer to defeat the Nationals.

Anyway, bottom line? Great Game… Great Win… Great Moment… Damn, it feels good to write something again. LGM

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Making Mets Memories Wed, 27 Jan 2016 19:08:50 +0000 Piazza portrait

Mets’ fans are finally nestled, all snug in their beds, with visions of spring training – and Mister Cespedes, and a thrilling season – dancing in their heads.

So with pitchers and catchers still maddeningly distant, and plenty of time for counting now that the dealing’s done (didn’t think I could fit St. Nicholas and (the good) Kenny Rogers in the same column, did you?), now is the perfect time to discuss something we don’t have much time to delve into during the season or even the hot stove.

Memorabilia. The things that invoke the most pleasant memories of the years invested in our Metropolitans.  From ticket stubs to game-used MLB baseballs to limited edition paintings, everyone has his or her own unique collection, be it big or small, older stuff or newer stuff, bought or caught.

I say this as no memorabilia maven, but rather as a Mets lifer with no more – or less – interest in memorabilia than the next guy, though I do value having cool Mets’ stuff enough to visit Cooperstown twice in recent years and spend hours on end leisurely strolling through and perusing the merchandise in that seamhead paradise (not to mention displaying flashy Mets license plates on two cars).

But this column is not so much about my collection as it is about yours.  It is designed to induce you to discuss in the comments section your own collection, what memorabilia you value, and why.  I’ll start the festivities.

One of the best things about being a fan of the Mets at my age is that I have witnessed the entirety of the team’s history,  And since the Mets are now entering their 55th season, this is hardly like being a lifer for all 11 seasons of the Nationals, or proud that you have been alive for all 23 seasons of the Marlins’ or Rockies’ existence.

Sure, we’re not the Yankees or Red Sox or Cardinals, but there is a real history with this franchise   An amazing one, for both better and worse.   And unlike those who were not around or too young to remember ‘69 or ‘73 or ‘86 or even 2000, having been there since it all began makes it difficult to pick between the myriad options available in the market.

For starters, I wanted to engrave in my mind the high points of Mets history, the moments that never cease to make me smile (in one case, sadly).  I was willing to pay for stuff that was well produced, framed and autographed so as to create a handsome wall in our guest room that can stand the test of wifely scrutiny (of course, it doesn’t hurt that my wife has become as big a fan as me).


And so I started with Cleon Jones’ catch on one knee to end the ‘69 series, pictured here.  It has an authentication certificate (though I’ve never really understood whether that is worth much).


The Buckner play is a must-have, but it had to be signed by both Mookie and Buckner.

Then, I added a photo that was at once memorable, heart-breaking and intensely personal.  The last great moment at Shea, Endy’s catch, which I witnessed in person from the first row of a loge box behind the plate.  That’s the one that gives me the sad smile.


The 1999-2000 team and the 2015 team have posed problems because there were not the same kind of singular moments as the other years, but here is where I got lucky.

First, a particularly thoughtful friend gave me a birthday gift with a very special meaning: a single frame screen capture from the TV feed of that magic moment, the Nieuwenhuis homer in DC in September that completed our comeback from 7-1 down and all but clinched the division…with my wife sitting directly above Kirk’s helmet and me just to the right (or her left)…reacting as the ball came off the bat.  I must get Captain Kirk to autograph it one of these days.


And now that Mr. Cespedes is on board again, cementing the metamorphosis of this star-crossed franchise that commenced when he first arrived,  I may yet go for something like this.

Of course, I could always opt for this one of the Mets winning the pennant at Wrigley Field (or maybe I’ll just send one to the Cubs’ obnoxious owner with the caption…maybe next time, you can actually win a game against us).

Ah, but then, the piece de resistance. For my 60th birthday, I was gifted the absolutely gorgeous painting of our newly elected Hall of Famer Mike Piazza pictured atop this column.  It really is mesmerizing in a Field of Dreams kind of way, and I find myself gazing at it endlessly.  I understand prints of it, signed by the artist, are going like hot cakes here. And as if its artistry wasn’t enough, it also – finally – fills in the one missing era in my collection.

The Kirk homer and Piazza portrait illustrate one important point about collecting.  You should be seeking the type of memorabilia you want and envision, but always allow for delightful surprises like these.

So now it’s time for you to weigh in.  Have you kept some or all game scorecards, if you actually produced any?  Do you keep some or all of your ticket stubs?  Do you prefer enlarged autographed pictures of memorable moments in Mets’ history, as I do? Or do you prefer autographed balls, or team photos, or bobbleheads, or something else?  Do autographs matter to you or not?  Where do you display your wares?  Do you have a lot of stuff from other teams?

And if applicable, just how tacky does your wife think your collection is?

Let the memories flow!


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Who Will Be The Next Mets Hall of Famer Sun, 10 Jan 2016 17:53:45 +0000 alg-piazza-seaver-jpg

There was a long 23 year wait between the induction of Tom Seaver and the induction of Mike Piazza to the Hall of Fame.  While I’m still overjoyed at Piazza entering the Hall of Fame as a Met, I’m curious if the Mets will have to wait another 23 years for another one of their players to go in as a Met.

Looking over the future years’ ballots, there are some former Met players like Jason Isringhausen who are eligible. However, it’s not likely any of them will be elected. Furthermore, if they are elected, they will most likely not be inducted as a Met. Therefore, if we don’t want to wait another 23 years, we’re going to have to look at active players; preferably those towards the end of their careers.

As it so happens, it has been reported that Carlos Beltran may retire at the end of the 2016 season. That would mean he could be inducted anywhere between 2022 – 2032. Could Beltran be the next Mets Hall of Famer within the next six to 16 years?

I’m getting ahead of myself here, first let’s determine whether or not Beltran has a legitimate case for being a Hall of Famer. I’d argue he is.

tron carlos beltran

For his career, Beltran has hit .280/.355/.490 with 392 homers and 311 stolen bases while playing the majority of his career at a premium defensive position. In an average season, he hits 28 homers and 101 RBI. He’s part of the 300/300 club. He’s won the Rookie of the Year, been an eight time All Star, and won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He’ should surpass 1,500 RBI and 1,500 runs scored this season. All of this is indicative of a Hall of Fame career.

The advanced stats also suggest he has a good case. On average, a Hall of Fame Center Fielder has a 70.4 WAR, 44.0 WAR7 (best seven seasons WAR combined), and a 57.2 JAWS score.

Beltran right now is at a 68.4 WAR, 44.3 WAR7, and a 56.4. JAWS. Essentially, his peak years were Hall of Fame worthy, and he’s right on the cusp of playing his entire career at a Hall of Fame level.

Even if he falls short in a few areas, he’s bound to get credit for being an incredible postseason player. He has hit .332/.441/.674 in the postseason with 16 home runs, 45 RBI, 11 stolen bases and 41 runs scored. Strikeout or not, he’s amongst the greatest postseason performers in major league history. If he retires without playing a game this season, he’s a Hall of Famer.

The next question is what hat will he wear. That’s not as clear cut. Essentially, Beltran will have three options: (1) Royals; (2) Mets; or (3) no affiliation. It’s a tough decision. He played seven years for the Royals and seven with the Mets, playing only 44 games more with the Mets. Overall, he was a better player with the Mets.


He hit .280/.369/.500 with 149 homers as a Met as opposed to .287/.352/.483 with 123 homers as a Royal. He won all of his Gold Gloves as a Met, and he appeared in five of his eight All Star Games as a Met. He accumulated 31.3 WAR with the Mets and 24.7 WAR with the Royals. However, you can’t discount the potential emotional tug he may feel towards the team that drafted him. A place he won his Rookie of the Year Award.

It all got me thinking. Piazza chose the Mets, in part, due to his relationship with the fans. Like Piazza, Beltran initially had a rocky relationship with Mets fans getting booed in 2005. However, even with the strikeout, I believe things got better. He received cheers and standing ovations in his last home game as a Met. He noticed them too. He was cheered loudly at the 2013 All Star Game during introductions, and that was while wearing a Cardinals uniform. Lastly, but more importantly, Beltran said he could see himself entering the Hall of Fame as a Met.

Like Piazza, Beltran was a great Met. A very under-appreciated Met. Like Piazza, Beltran deserves induction into the Hall of Fame. When that day comes, my hope is that Beltran, like Piazza, enters the Hall of Fame as a New York Met.


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HOF Tracker: Support For Mike Piazza Slips To 87.2 Percent Sun, 03 Jan 2016 18:39:30 +0000 mike piazza

I’m not feeling as confident about Mike Piazza getting into Cooperstown this year as I was five days ago. I still believe he’ll squeak in but this latest round of public balloting hasn’t been too kind to Mikey J.

40 more ballots have become public and when you have BBWAA voters like Jon Morosi and Jon Heyman leaving Piazza off but voting for Barry Bonds and Jeff Bagwell it really makes you wonder about their decision making process.

So with 141 ballots now accounted for, or about one-third of the overall electorate, Piazza has dipped below 90 percent and is now represented on 87.2 percent of the ballots according to the most recent update by Baseball HOF Tracker.

The 2016 Hall of Fame class will be announced Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Piazza needs a 75 percent showing for election.

December 29

Here’s the latest update from the Baseball HOF Tracker, as things continue to look very good for Mike Piazza who now appears on 102 of the 112 known public ballots.

With 25 percent of the vote in, Piazza is holding steady with healthy 91.1 percent of  BBWAA voters including him on their ballots. That far exceeds the threshold of 75 percent to gain election into the Hall of Fame.

After appearing on just 57.8 percent of ballots during his first year of eligibility, followed by 62.2 percent in 2013  and 69.9 percent last winter, it looks like the BBWAA is finally coming to their senses and will get Piazza enshrined at Cooperstown in 2016.

“I was a little disappointed, I can’t lie about that,” Piazza said after last year’s vote. “I can only say that there’s been a lot of great players throughout history that have had to wait their turn. Joe DiMaggio had three ballots. Yogi Berra had three ballots. And that’s part of the process.”

“For me, it’s not really my place, I feel, to start campaigning. I can only say that I’m proud of my work and I’m proud of my career. I’ll put my numbers against a lot of players in history, and I feel that’s all I can do.’’

Piazza remains one of the greatest offensive catchers of all time, setting the MLB record of 396 home runs as a catcher while with the Mets. Over 16 seasons with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and A’s he finished with 427 homers, 1,335 RBI, and a .308 batting average. He retired with a .922 OPS and .545 slugging percentage.

A 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, he spent eight years with the Mets and helped take them to the postseason in 1999 and all the way to the World Series the following season against the Yankees in 2000.

His Herculean blasts, intensity as a player, and unwavering charisma endeared him to Met and Dodger fans, but it was his uplifting and dramatic home run following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that endeared him to a nation.

Mike has said he would go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap, becoming the first position player ever to do so.

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