Well the results of this years Rookie Of The Year voting was released yesterday and needless to sat I was Livid when I saw that Ike Davis came in at number seven with only two votes. Yes both Buster Posey and Justin Heyward were more deserving of the award , but I still think Ike deserved to be number three on the list.
But while I was ranting and raving about this oversight I started to wonder about some of the most overlooked Mets, you know the middle of the road, under the radar players that we remember with fondness – but get lost in the shuffle when it comes to the bigger named players who have graced a Mets uniform such as Seaver, Piazza, Wright and Strawberry. These players either played during infancy of the team ( the ’60′s), the dark days of the ’70′s and early ’80′s and the mid ’90′s when the team imploded due to a front office that was mired in turmoil.
Remember the following players that are listed are in my opinion the most overlooked. If you disagree feel free to list your top candidates.
Catcher : John Stearns. “Nails” was the true poster child of grit and intensity. But he was injured so often that he is more of a after thought when it comes to the being known as one of the better catchers in Mets history.
First base: Rico Brogna. Rico was alot like Ike Davis today,- great fielding good hitting, and had very good power. Unfortunately he was traded in the early ’90′s and his production is mostly a faded memory with the Mets.
Second base: Ron Hunt. I wasn’t born when Hunt played with the Mets but he was our first rookie to ever get a considerable amount of votes for Rookie of the Year ( he lost to Pete Rose)
Shortstop : Rey Ordonez. I know what you are saying – ” My grandmother could hit better that Rey” – and you know what you’re right. But when it came to fielding the ball , very few players at the time were better than him.
Third Base: Hubie Brooks. Hubie was a fringe fan favorite fron ’81-’84. He was a born hitter ( he had a 24 game hitting streak for the Mets) and his was sure with the glove. I think many of us were sad to see him go when he was traded to the Expo’s for Gary Carter in ’85 , but he faded from memory once Ray Knight was obtained to man the hot seat.
Left Field: Bernard Gilkey. Gilkey had only two good seasons for the Mets in the mid ’90′s before his stats plunged off the cliff, But he was one of the brighter spots of some very mediocre Mets teams.
Center Field: Kevin McReynolds.McReynolds was a very gifted power hitting outfielder who played a good outfield. Unfortunately he came off as ” passionless” and gave the impression that he would rather be elsewhere than in New York.
Right Field: Steve Henderson. “Hendu“ was beloved by Mets fans in the late ’70′s. He was a clutch hitter who made highlight reel quality plays. But injuries as well as a decline in his production stamped his ticket out of town.
Pinch Hitter : Lenny Harris . Lenny was as clutch as clutch could be when he he was sent up in the late innings with runners on base. But he will always be overshadowed by Rusty Staub.
Starting Pitcher: John Matlack : Matlack was the second Met to ever win Rookie of the Year honors, and he proved that he could hold his own in a rotation that featured Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. He lasted five years with the Mets before being traded to the Texas Rangers ( another bad trade by M. Donald Grant!) In my opinion he is far and away the most overlooked pitcher the Mets have ever had !
Reliever : Skip Lockwood. When we talk about Mets relievers the names McGraw, Orosco, Franco and Rodriguez get bandied about. But few people remember Skip Lockwood. During the mid ’70′s after the Tug was traded, Skip stepped in and became one of the most over looked closers in Mets history.
So do you agree or disagree with my list? Who would you have kept and who would you have omitted? Who would be on your list ? Remember there are no right or wrong answers – it’s all subjective.
And with that said….. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!!
Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today are:
One of the original Mets of the ’62 season – catcher Harry Chiti is 78 (1932).
Reserve outfielder from’71-74, Don Hahn is 62 (1948).
Back up outfielder during the ’76 season, Leon Brown is 61 (1949).
” Doctor K” himself – Dwight Gooden is 46 (1964) I will always remember him as a rookie and the way he just made batters knee buckle when he threw that 95 plus mile per hour fastball !
Reliever from ’01-’02, Mark Corey is 36 (1974).
New York Mets signed free agent outfielder,Kevin Mitchell on November 16, 1980.He was the original Mets gangsta !
New York Mets signed free agent reliever, Don Florence of the Boston Red Sox on November 16, 1994.
New York Mets signed free agent second baseman,Damion Easley of the Arizona Diamondbacks on November 16, 2006. He was one of Omar Minaya’s better scrap heap pick ups.
And don’t forget – 136 days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami.
143 days until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. – Mo Vaughn is waiting with baited breath !!!