By: Stuart Hack

All-Time Team Prior to Joining the Mets

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This week my all-time best Mets team by position are players that had success BEFORE arriving. A much better team than last week’s. You will see some Hall of Famers as well as players who came with such high expectations that turned into disappointments.

First Base – Eddie Murray. Many people forget Gil Hodges was an original Met as part of the team’s marketing strategy to bring in some old Brooklyn Dodgers. Carlos Delgado and Mo Vaughn had nice pre-Met careers and of course Keith Hernandez was a co-MVP and World Champ but I go with Murray here who had a Hall of Fame Career in Baltimore.

Second Base – Willie Randolph. Yankee Fans are smiling as Willie’s best years came in the Bronx. If someone was doing a similar team for the Yankees would Darryl, Doc or Cone make it? Honorable mention to two trade busts in Roberto Alomar and Carlos Baerga as well as former division rivals Tommy Herr and Juan Samuel.

Shortstop – Gary Templeton. No truth to the rumor that Gary told me if he wasn’t starting on this team then he wanted no part of it. He was considered a possibility for the Hall of Fame early in his career, however he faltered later.

Third Base – Robin Ventura. He had a nice career with the White Sox so he makes this team over Ken Boyer. I considered Joe Torre but he played other positions before coming to the Mets and in his two plus seasons at Shea played more at First Base.

Left Field – Rickey Henderson. It is hard to go against the all-time Stolen Base Leader. He also makes the Mets Card Playing team with Bobby Bonilla. MVP Winner George Foster also deserves a mention here.

Center Field – Willie Mays. It has been written that Mays time with the Mets was an embarrassment as he was past his prime. As a nine year old I was so excited to see such a great all time ballplayer on my team, I thought he could do no wrong. Of course I never saw him play during his best years.

Right Field – Duke Snider. It’s tempting to put Bobby Bonilla here since he is still on the Mets payroll. Gary Sheffield had two forty homerun seasons prior to becoming a Met but you have to wonder how much was related to PED’s. I go with Snider who played Right Field in his one season with the Mets after many years patrolling center field for the Dodgers.

Catcher – Yogi Berra. I was trying to decide between Gary Carter and Mike Piazza before realizing that Yogi had nine at bats for the Mets in 1965 before becoming a full-time coach. So another New York Yankee makes this team.

Right Handed Starting Pitcher — Pedro Martinez. This was a stacked position but two CY Youngs, one in each league sold me. He beats out Bret Saberhagen, Orel Hershiser, and Dean Chance all great pitchers but not necessarily Hall of Famers. I also want to mention Mike Torrez. Ron Darling once said that Torrez was the most helpful teammate to him when he started out. Interesting observation since Tom Seaver was on that same team.

Left Handed Starting Pitcher — Warren Spahn. Legendary pitcher for the Braves. Arguably the best Left handed Pitcher of all-time. He beats out Tom Glavine and Mickey Lolich which are probably two names that Met Fans cringe when they hear.
Right Handed Relief Pitcher Mike Marshall. He was the 1974 CY Young Award Winner with the Dodgers appearing in a record 106 games. He was down to 20 games in 1981 which was his last season in the majors spent with the Mets.

Left Handed Relief Pitcher — John Franco. He had almost 150 saves in six seasons with Cincinnati prior to coming to the Mets. Honorable mention to Joe Sambito who was the closer in Houston for a number of years.

Pinch Hitter – Rusty Staub. I had to put him here because he could have actually made this team twice. He had a nice career with Houston and Montreal before coming to the Mets in a trade in 1972 which is notable because Gil Hodges was behind that. Hodges passed away just before the trade was announced. Then after getting traded to Detroit and putting up some nice numbers as a Designated Hitter there he came back in 1981 as a role player then later a Pinch Hitter.

Manager — Casey Stengal. Ten World Championships in twelve years puts him here although I did briefly think about the legendary Dallas Green before realizing I hadn’t taken my meds.
I’d love to hear from other Met Fans as far as any players I may have missed.

About Stuart A. Hack

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