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.
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.
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.