David Wright: Best Met Ever?

With his third inning single last night, David Wright became the Mets’ all-time hits leader.  He did so in more than 500 fewer games, nearly 600 fewer plate appearances, and more than 700 fewer ABs than the team’s previous leader, Ed Kranepool.  Ultimately, this most recent record only scratches the surface of David Wright’s accomplishments as a New York Met.

In the eight and a half years since his MLB debut, Wright has compiled 321 doubles, 543 extra-base hits, 614 walks,  788 runs scored, 813 runs batted in, and 2,390+ total bases.  Each ranks first all-time for any player donning a Mets uniform on a nightly basis.  Wright also holds the second spot all time with a .301 career batting average.  He’s tied for third all-time in slugging percentage (.506) and fourth all-time in on-base percentage (.381).  His 203 home runs, often considered the most important statistical column, currently ranks third all-time as well.

Clearly, David Wright ranks amongst the best offensive players to ever lace up in the blue and orange, but does that make him the best of all-time?  For all the positive records Wright currently holds and/or will hold if he ends up signing a contract extension in the not so distant future, he already holds the team’s all-time strikeout record, with 1,007.  I’m sure there will be many of you who will find other reasons to deny Wright’s greatness.  Often referred to as Captain Unclutch, Wright has posted a career .294 batting average with runners in scoring position.  That includes five career grand slams and a career batting average of .331 with the bases loaded.  Certainly not the numbers of a man who can’t come through when it matters.

Realistically, I think the most logically hesitation for most Mets fans to shy away from calling Wright the best Met ever is the fact that the team hasn’t won a championship during his tenure.  Unlike Seaver, Kranepool and Ryan who were a part of the 1969 champion ship team, and Strawberry, Gooden and Carter who were a part of the 1986 championship team, Wright hasn’t been able to bring the hardware back to Queens.  Should that matter?  Maybe..maybe not..  But much like the fact the Mets won’t be headed to the playoffs may impact RA Dickey’s Cy Young bid, the players who contributed to a championship will forever hold a soft spot in the hearts of Mets fans who are fortunate enough to remember those times.

Others may argue that Wright, despite being widely considered to be the face of the franchise and captain of the team, has either been incapable or worse yet, unwilling to become the vocal leader we once anticipated.  Ultimately, Wright’s name will always be attached to what will be considered a losing era in franchise history to this point, but should that take away from what he’s accomplished?

Do Tom Seaver’s 198 wins, his 2,541 strikeouts as a Met, and his contribution towards one of only two franchise championships trump Wright’s offensive contributions which have rewritten the team’s record books?  Perhaps its a player like Mike Piazza, whose timely home runs account for some of the most significant moments in franchise history, who holds the biggest part of your Mets’ heart?  The fact is that Wright’s career numbers to date, despite the slumps, the recent injuries, and the uncertain future should without question lodge him amongst the franchise’s greatest all-time players.  However, is he the best?

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