The Baseball Night in New York panel weighed in on former Met and current YES network commentator David Cone's recent comment that the the 1998 Yankees were better than the 1986 Mets.
"Who's better, the '98 Yankees or the '86 Mets?" Cone asked himself before answering his own question. "Darryl Strawberry was on our bench. Enough said, right? That's how deep the '98 Yankees were. ... there's never been a better roster constructed."
The responses from the SNY panel:
Nelson Figueroa: '86 Mets - Calling the starting rotation "one of the greatest of all-time" and noting that anyone in the lineup would "literally, punch you in the face," Figueroa chose the Mets. "You're looking at 12 years later, Darryl Strawberry was with the Yankees. It's a totally different player," Figueroa said.
Jon Hein: '86 Mets - "If we're playing one game, my money is on the '86 Mets," Hein said, adding that he feels the '98 Yankees had an easier path -- pointing out that the Mets had to get through Astros RHP Mike Scott in the NLCS and topple the Red Sox in the World Series.
Sweeny Murti: '98 Yankees - Murti's argument centered around the '98 Yankees having four eventual Hall-of-Famers, compared to just one for the '86 Mets. He also cited the fact that the Yankees never faced elimination in the playoffs.
While it was nice for Cone to use for effect, Strawberry -- who starred on the '86 Mets 12 years prior -- wasn't really a bench player for the Yankees in 1998. He was their DH for 81 games, and appeared in 101 games for them overall. He was also 36 years old in 1998, far removed from his prime. So what Cone thought was a clever remark really wasn't.
Cone, who was speaking at the BBWAA awards dinner, where he accepted an award alongside Yankees GM Brian Cashman, was on the 1998 Yankees, but not on the 1986 Mets.
Cone was acquired by the Mets from the Royals before the 1987 season, and played for them from 1987 to 1992, when he was traded to the Blue Jays. He pitched for the Yankees from 1995 to 2000.
The 1986 Mets, who beat the Red Sox in 7 games in the World Series, went 108-54 during the regular season. Their starting rotation featured Dwight Gooden, Bob Ojeda, Ron Darling, and Sid Fernandez. Aside from Strawberry, their offense was anchored by Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Lenny Dykstra.
The 1998 Yankees, who beat the Padres in 4 games in the World Series, went 114-48 during the regular season, beating the hell out of the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the process -- going 11-1 against them. Their starting rotation featured Cone, Andy Pettitte, David Wells, and Orlando Hernandez. Their offense was anchored by Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Paul O'Neill.