When you hear the name the New York Mets what is the first thing that comes to your mind. Okay Okay except for the recent Madoff scandal and the past four years of futility . I bet your answer would be the Mets overabundance of pitching. Yes through the years the Mets have had their share of high caliber pitcher, starting with Seaver and Koosman and most recently Santana and Pelfrey.
But one of the best pitchers to ever hurl that white sphere for the Mets comes in at number 29 on this list of top 50 Mets of all time. Ladies and gentleman – David Cone.
David Brian Cone was born in Kansas City Missouri on January 2, 1963. When he was 18, David was drafted in the third round of the 1981 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by his hometown Kansas City Royals.
Cone pitched extremely well while playing for the Royals farm teams. In two seasons he would have a combined record of 22-7 with a 2.21 ERA. He would make his Major League debut as a a reliever. His first appearance came in relief of Royals ace , Brett Saberhagen.
Just before the ’87 season was to start, The Royals stupidly traded Cone to the Mets for back up catcher, Ed Hearn , relief pitchers Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo and outfielder Chris Jelic. It was Frank Cashen’s best post World Series deal. In his first season with the Mets, Cone went 5–6 with a 3.71 ERA and 68 strikeouts .
Things would all come together for Cone in ’88. He would begin the season in the bullpen, but he was added to the starting rotation that May. In his first start he would throw a complete game shut out against the Atlanta Braves. David earned a spot on the All Star team after posting a 9-2 record and a minuscule ERA of 2.52. He would finish third in the Cy Young award voting that year even though he has a awesome record of 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA .
The Mets would make the post season that year, but come proved to be ineffective in his first ever playoff start. Cone would give up five runs in two innings taking the loss. He would gain the win in game six, but the Mets would lose in game seven, eliminating them from the playoffs.
Cone spent over five seasons in his first stint with the New York Mets. He and Dwight Gooden were the anchors of that rotation. They were strike out machines in ’90 and ’91.
In 1992, Cone would be the Mets lone player to make that years All Star team. The Mets were in a state of disarray due to bad trades and horrible free agent signings along with many a scandal (including rape accusations – hmm sound familliar ?) Dave would go 9-4 with a ERA of 2.56. He would be dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for second baseman, Jeff Kent and outfielder Ryan Thompson , and the Mets would finish the season in the cellar.
Dave would be known as a hired gun after his days with the Mets. He was a highly sought after pitcher with electric stuff , and he dominated everywhere he played, including the Royals, Yankees ( where he pitched a no hitter and won championships) and Red Sox.
David was in semi retirement in 2002. In 2003, David attempted a comeback with the Mets – the team that he first found success. He made the team out of Spring Training, but his numbers were horrid. Four Starts into his comeback he would ahve a record of 1-3 with a ERA of 6.50. He promptly retired after his last game, complaining of a chronic hip problem.
Upon his retiring, he accepted a job as a analyst for the YES Network, which is owned by the Yankees.
Tomorrow we will shed some light on the number 28 player on the list, one of the starting pitchers of that formidable ’86 rotation.
And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!
Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today include :
Today would have been Mets third base coach from ’64-’65,Don Heffner’s one hundreth birthday (1911) .
Sadly on theis date in 2003, Mets reserve catcher from the ’83 team, Mike Bishop passed away.
New York Mets signed free agent shortstop, Rey Ordóñez on February 8, 1994. Damn when he took the field he was poetry in mothion. Too bad when he came to the plate he was more like a crude limerick.
New York Mets signed free agent relief pitcher, Rich Rodriguez on February 8, 2000. Rodriguez was hated by the Mets faithful, and when you look at his stats with the Mets you would know why. In 32 games for the Mets that season he would have a record of 0-1 with a ERA of 7.78. Fans were begging the Mets front office to release him. It should have come to no ones surprise that he was once a roommate of then G.M, Steve Phillips ( no wonder he wasn’t released !).
And while you sit at home waiting for pitchers and catchers to report, just remember that there are just 52 Joe Pignatano days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami and only 59 more days until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn is shopping a book to publishers detailing his seasons as a New York Met. He calls it ” Who’s On First ? – Definitely Not Mo !!”