Well here we stand, as this – the first week of this countdown is about to come to a close.We have seen the likes of Felix Millan, Cliff Floyd as well as Craig Swan, Todd Hundly and Ron Swoboda take their respective places on this countdown – voted by you the readers of this blog as well as rabid Mets fans in general. As I compiled all of the data from your votes I was very surprised on who made it as well as who didn’t make the cut. It also surprised me how high some players ranked as well as how low some other players did.
This next player’s rank truly surprised me. He was one of the most beloved Mets to ever come from the ’80′s and I know for a fact that we were all upset when he was traded to the Phillies along with Roger McDowell for the underwhelming Juan Samuel. That’s right folks I introduce to you coming in at number 45 of this Countdown Lenny ” Nails“ Dykstra !!!
Dykstra was drafted by the Mets in the ’81 amateur draft in the 13th round. He was considered a highly touted prospect while he was in the minors. During the ’83 season , he led the AA in at-bats, runs, hits as well as triples and batting average. He would also lead the league in stolen bases with 105. He was named the Carolina League’s MVP that season.
He would rise quickly to the majors, making his debut in 1985. Dykstra was promoted to the Mets when Mookie Wilson was injured in a freak accident , sending him to the disabled list . Lenny would get many starts in center-field . In the ’86 season, Lenny was platooned with Mookie in a center-field platoon with Wilson, but Wilson would once again head to the D.L. when he suffered a eye injury during spring training drills. Dykstra began the season as the everyday center-fielder and batted lead off . In the middle of the season, the Mets released the their malcontent left fielder, George Foster. With Foster gone, Wilson would take over left field.
Dykstra earned the nickname “Nails“ from the New York Mets faithful because of his all out ” balls to wall ” play and his ability to scare the opponents when he was running the bases.
Lenny was a catalyst during that post season . He seemed to always be in the middle of rallies whether it was against the Astros or the Red Sox. I mean who could forget that to hit a lead off home run against the Sox in the World Series? In my opinion in my 38 years on this Earth – and yes I know I am biased that was the best World Series ever!
Lenny would be a catalyst for the Mets for three more season. It was a shock to the fan base when he was traded on June 18th 1989 with McDowell for Samuel as mentioned earlier.
It would come to the surprised of no one when he was named by the Mitchell report as a user of steroids. Dykstra still denies the charges to this day.
It is also common knowledge that since the collapse of the economy a few years ago, Lenny – once a highly respected businessman has filed for chapter eleven and has scores of creditors , as well as employees suing him for money owed.
In his five years with the Mets, he had a total of 30 home runs and 153 RBIs while batting a collective .278. He also had a total of 116 stolen bases to go along with 104 doubles and 17 triples.
Tomorrow we will feature at number 44 one of the most prolific power hitter in Mets history.
And with that said….. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!
Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today include:
Today would have been the 73rd birthday from one time Mets middle reliever, Bob Moorhead (1938) . Moorhead was the first reliever ever used by the Mets, appearing in their first game ever in relief of Roger Craig. He would appear in 38 games that inaugural season, but he wouldn’t make it make to the big leagues until 1965 when he appeared in nine games.
Late season call up from the ’96 season, reserve catcher Charlie Greene is 40 (1971).
The New York Mets released middle reliever, Rich Sauveur on January 23, 1992. Sauveur would last on the Mets roster for less than a month, but I guess when your ERA is 10.80 while pitching 3.1 innings in six appearances you would expected to be demoted to the minors.
The Philadelphia Phillies signed middle reliever, Yorkis Perez of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 23, 1998.
The Houston Astros signed long time Mets captain, John Franco of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 23, 2005. Franco’s days as a effective reliever, coupled with the fact that then new General Manager , Omar Minaya was trying to rid the clubhouse of ” clubhouse lawyers” and did not ever open contract talks with Franco. John would be released by the Astrosby mid season. He has been a frequent visitor to both Shea Stadium as well As Citi Field since his retirement.
New York Mets signed free agent Ricardo Rincon on January 23, 2008. Rincon would finally be promoted to the big club that September. He too proved to be part of the problem in that shaky pen that cost the Mets a shot at the post season. In eight games at middle relief he had a ERA of 4.50 while pitching only four innings.
And while you spend the day stocking up on beer and deli provisions for today’s Jets – Steelers game ( Go Jets !!!) , just remember that there are just 68 more days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami and only 75 days to go until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn bought out the entire Meat and Deli department of his local Piggly Wiggly for tonight’s game. No he isn’t throwing a party – it’s all for him !!!!