Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Since their inception in 1962, lots of incredible players have donned the orange and blue. Below, the All-Time 25-man roster is unveiled.
But first, some rules...
In order to be eligible for the team, a player must have spent a solid chunk of his career in Queens and experienced part of his peak during that time. That means Pedro Martinez and Nolan Ryan won't be in the starting rotation and Willie Mays won't be patrolling center field.
Also, the bullpen will not be made up of all closers and the bench will be players who were often used in a reserve role -- not the second-best All-Time Met at each bench position.
Since we're looking back and can't yet look back on a 26-man roster (the new normal whenever the 2020 season starts), this roster will stay at 25.
And now, the Mets' All-Time Team...
Catcher: Mike Piazza
Aside from the ace of the pitching staff, this was the easiest call to make.
While there is sentimentality when it comes to Gary Carter -- who was a co-captain with the Mets, helped them win the 1986 World Series, and is a Hall-of-Famer -- the answer here is Piazza.
The greatest hitting catcher ever who has a Mets cap adorning his plaque in Cooperstown, Piazza hit .296/.373/.542 with 220 homers in 972 games over eight seasons in Queens and was the backstop during two of their most exciting playoff runs ever.
First Base: Keith Hernandez
A true difference-maker on both sides of the ball, the arrival of Hernandez via trade in 1983 helped revitalize the franchise.
Keith was a clutch performer, team captain, and heart and soul of the mid-to-late '80s squad.
Both Carlos Delgado (who hit 104 homers in four seasons with the Mets) and John Olerud (whose departure after 1999 hurt in a big way) deserve mention here, but neither played with the Mets long enough to challenge Hernandez for this honor.
Second Base: Edgardo Alfonzo
Part of the Greatest Infield Ever with Olerud, Rey Ordoñez, and Robin Ventura, Alfonzo was the perfect sidekick to Piazza in the late 90s-early 2000s, and put up one of the best offensive seasons ever by a Met.
In 2000, Alfonzo slashed .324/.425/.542 with 25 homers and 40 doubles for a Mets team that advanced to the World Series.
Unfortunately, injuries started to derail Alfonzo's career shortly after the 2002 campaign.
Shortstop: Jose Reyes
When it comes to electricity on the field in a Mets uniform, there was nothing quite like Reyes from 2005 to 2011, when his mix of speed and extra-base power combined to make him one of the best players in baseball.
A typical Reyes season during his peak meant a high batting average and on base percentage along with 15-to-20 triples, 30-plus doubles, 55-plus stolen bases, and the daily sight of him turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples.
The gear Reyes hit when rounding second and heading to third was a true sight to see.
Third Base: David Wright
The Captain and a career-Met, Wright was arguably on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory when injuries -- including chronic spinal stenosis -- derailed his career when he was still in his early-30s.
Still, Wright is the Mets' All-Time offensive leader in most categories, and his final career totals with the Mets (even weighed down by his final injury-plagued seasons) are spectacular.
Wright hit .296/.376/.491 with 242 homers, 390 doubles, and 970 RBI in 14 seasons. And his No. 5 will almost certainly never be worn by any Met ever again.
Left Field: Cleon Jones
An integral part of the 1969 Miracle Mets, Jones spent 12 of his 13 big league seasons in Queens, hitting .281/.340/.406 in a shade under 1,200 games played.
Jones also caught the final out of the '69 World Series in left field, clenching it moments before thousands of fans rushed the field.
Center Field: Carlos Beltran
Arguably the best two-way player in Mets history, Beltran was one of the best fielding center fielders ever and one of the best all-around hitters in baseball during his time with the Mets from 2005 to 2011.
Beltran's smooth style was a joy to watch, and his 2006 season -- when he slugged close to .600 and crushed a then-team-record-tying 41 homers -- was incredible.
That he won't get to write a second chapter with the Mets as manager is unfortunate. But if Beltran makes it to the Hall of Fame, it could very well be with a Mets cap on his plaque.
Right Field: Darryl Strawberry
A Rookie of the Year and seven-time All-Star with the Mets during his eight seasons there from 1983 to 1990, Strawberry's sweet left-handed swing electrified Shea Stadium and helped the Amazins turn the corner on the way to contention.
In a different world, Strawberry stays with the Mets after the 1990 season instead of bolting for the Dodgers, avoids off-the-field issues, and continues on his course to the Hall of Fame.
In this world, we'll have to settle for his still-tremendous Mets career that included a club-record 252 home runs.
1. Tom Seaver
The Franchise, Seaver was not only the best Mets pitcher ever but one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball.
Seaver won three Cy Young awards with the Mets (1969, 1973, and 1975), and helped lead New York to the World Series title in 1969 and within a game of a second World Series title in 1973.
His career ERA in 12 seasons with the Mets was 2.57.
2. Jacob deGrom
Unlike Seaver, deGrom came out of nowhere -- a converted shortstop who was initially called up to help the bullpen in 2014 but instead immediately became one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.
Winning back-to-back Cy Young awards in 2018 and 2019, deGrom became the first Met ever to accomplish that feat.
In just six seasons with New York, deGrom's numbers are staggering: A 2.43 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 1,255 strikeouts in 1,101.2 IP.
3. Dwight Gooden
The "K Korner" was born at Shea when Gooden burst onto the scene, and he spun two of the most dominant seasons ever in 1984 and 1985.
In '85, Gooden won the Cy Young after putting up this ridiculousness as a 20-year-old: 1.53 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 268 strikeouts in 276.2 IP.
Like Strawberry, it's hard not to wonder what could've been with Gooden, whose battles with substance abuse began to impact his career in 1987.
4. Jerry Koosman
Seaver's wingman, Koosman was a force in his own right during the 12 years he spent with the Mets from 1967 to 1978 -- posting a 3.09 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in over 2,500 IP.
His most dominant stretch came from 1968 to 1971 (including tossing a complete game in Game 5 of the 1969 World Series as the Mets won their first title).
5. Sid Fernandez
Fernandez is often overlooked, but he shouldn't be.
During his 10 seasons with the Mets from 1984 to 1993, Fernandez and his "rising fastball" posted a 3.14 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 1,449 batters in 1584.2 IP.
Fernandez wasn't in the Mets' 1986 postseason rotation that featured Bob Ojeda, Dwight Gooden, and Ron Darling, but he made arguably the most important relief appearance in team history in Game 7 of the World Series against the Red Sox.
Taking over for Darling with the Mets trailing, 3-0, in the fourth inning, Fernandez fired 2.1 innings of no-hit ball while walking one and striking out four to keep New York in the game.
Closer: Billy Wagner
During his four seasons with the Mets (he lost another to injury), Wagner -- who should be in the Hall of Fame but has so far been snubbed -- was his regular unbelievable self, firing 100 mph fastballs as he posted a 2.37 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while striking out 230 batters in 189.2 IP.
Setup Man: John Franco
The kid from Brooklyn had a 3.10 ERA in 14 seasons with the Mets and amassed 276 saves along the way, eventually becoming a setup man during a career that lasted 21 years.
Middle Relievers: Armando Benitez, Jesse Orosco, Roger McDowell, and Tug McGraw
Benitez gets a bad rap and will never be forgiven for blowing Game 1 of the 2000 World Series. But he was mostly dominant as a Met. Look at his numbers. Seriously, go look.
Orosco was splendid during his eight seasons with the Mets, posting a 2.73 ERA and closing out the NLCS and World Series in 1986.
McDowell (as the glue of the 1986 bullpen) and McGraw (originator of the "Ya Gotta Believe" rallying cry) round out the middle relief group.
Long Man: Rick Aguilera
Aguilera was a starter/reliever hybrid for the Mets from 1985 to 1988 before becoming a full-time reliever in 1989 and eventually moving on to the Twins, where he became one of the best relievers in baseball. He's the perfect man for this job.
Todd Pratt (catcher), Dave Magadan (first base), Juan Lagares (outfield), Luis Guillorme (infield) Rusty Staub (pinch-hitter)
The Mets' All-Time bench consists of a catcher who had huge playoff moments in 1999, the backup to Keith Hernandez, one of the best defensive center fielders in team history, one of the smoothest-fielding infielders the team has ever had (Rey Ordoñez was a starter and doesn't qualify for the bench), and the beloved Le Grand Orange.