Tom Seaver is currently the best pitcher ever to play for the Mets.
By Zach Gewelb

With the hot stove temperature still set to cool, baseball’s offseason has left fans waiting for big news to break. While we wait, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane and take a look at some Mets history.

The Mets have been around for a long time. They joined the league as an expansion team in 1962.

And since then, the Amazins’ have had a lot of great players come through Queens to don the Mets uniform.

Here are the top players at each position in franchise history.

Tom Seaver – Starting Pitcher

One of the greatest pitchers of his generation, Tom Seaver, also known as “The Franchise,” spent the first 10-plus years of his career with the Mets.

During those 10 years, he won three Cy Young awards, was named the Rookie of the Year and made nine All-Star teams.

He helped lead New York to its first ever World Series team in 1969 and tossed 171 complete games in his Mets career.

He was a no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer, receiving 98.8 percent of the vote, still the highest ever, and is the only player to ever go to Cooperstown as a Met. Seaver was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1988.

*Honorable Mention: Dwight Gooden

John Franco – Relief Pitcher

The lefty closer spent 15 years with the Mets after the team acquired him in a trade with the Reds before the 1990 season.

He was named a team captain in 2001 and complied 424 career saves, which only trails Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478) and Francisco Rodriguez (437) on the leaderboard.

Franco was eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2011, but received less than 5 percent of the vote and was dropped off the ballot. While he may not have been truly dominant, his longevity, coupled with his commitment to the Mets organization during and after his playing days, made him an easy choice.

He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2012.

*Honorable Mention: Tug McGraw

Mike Piazza – Catcher

Piazza signed with the Mets before the 1998 season.

His time with the team made him one of the most beloved Mets of all time.

Piazza, one of the greatest hitting catchers to ever play the game, was named an All-Star seven times and provided one of the great moments in franchise history when he slugged a go-ahead home run against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 21, 2001, the first major sporting event in New York following the 9/11 attack.

He stayed with the Mets until 2005 and was eventually elected to the Hall of Fame in 2016. He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2013.

*Honorable Mention: Gary Carter

Keith Hernandez – First Base

Hernandez arrived in Queens following a mid-season trade with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983. The sweet-swinging, slick-fielding first baseman made an instant impact with the Mets, and even finished second in the MVP voting in 1984.

Hernandez won six Gold Gloves in Queens and was a key member of the 1986 World Series team. He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1997 and is currently a member of the Mets’ SNY broadcast team.

*Honorable Mention: Ed Kranepool

Edgardo Alfonzo – Second Base

Alfonzo came up through the Mets system as a third basemen, but saw some time at second base upon reaching the big leagues.

He spent his first two seasons as a utility infielder before breaking out in 1997, when he hit .315 with a .391 on-base percentage. He continued to put up steady numbers throughout the remainder of his Mets tenure, which ended after the 2002 season when he signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent.

His final season in the big leagues came in 2006, but he has since transitioned to coaching. He is currently the manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ short-season Single-A affiliate.

*Honorable Mention: Wally Backman

David Wright – Third Base

Wright has been the face of the franchise since first donning the Mets uniform in 2004 and is one of the most beloved figures in the team’s history. Wright has compiled a .296/.376/.491 batting line with 242 home runs, 970 RBI and 196 stolen bases in his 13-year career. While those numbers probably don’t give Wright a ticket to the Hall of Fame, they demand respect.

His performance on the field and his leadership ability are why he was named the Mets’ captain back in 2013. Injuries have slowed down Wright since then, but he’s been the perfect ambassador for the organization and has etched his place in Mets history. Look for him, like John Franco before him, to continue to be a part of the organization after his playing days are over.

*Honorable Mention: Howard Johnson

Jose Reyes – Shortstop

Reyes joined the Mets when he was 20 years old in 2003 and electrified Queens with his speed and flare on and off the field. He stayed with the Mets through the 2011 season and left as a free agent to join the Marlins after hitting a career-best .337. He spent one year in Miami before a trade sent him to Toronto. He was dealt again in 2015, this time to Colorado, where his career hit a snag.

He clearly lost a step on the field and he was suspended under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, which led to his departure. He was released by Colorado and came back to Queens, where he played in 2016 and 2017. While he’s not the same player he once was, Mets fans will always remember Reyes’ contributions in the mid-2000s.

*Honorable Mention: Bud Harrelson

Darryl Strawberry – Outfield

Strawberry may go down as one of the best pure hitters to don a Mets uniform. He joined the big league club in 1983 and won the National League Rookie of the Year. Strawberry hit at least 26 home runs in his first four seasons before taking his game to the next level in 1987, when he set career highs in home runs (39) and batting average (.284). He also stole 36 bases, which made him one of two players in Mets history to hit at least 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases in one season.

Strawberry elected to sign with the Dodgers after the 1989 season and finished his career in the Bronx with the Yankees. But he will always be remembered one of the best players to ever wear a Mets and he was inducted to the team’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

*Honorable Mention: Carlos Beltran

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

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