By: Stuart Hack

A Different Spin on the All-Time Mets Team


As a Met Fan for almost a half century, I have my own ideas for my All Time Mets Team.  My team isn’t based on numbers (ironic coming from an accountant), it’s based on my memories over the years.  So without further ado, here we go:

First Base – Keith Hernandez.  A case could be made for Keith based on stats and the 1986 World Championship but my memory of Keith would be him charging a bunt, more often than not throwing the lead runner out at second or third base.  He was also the first real piece of that 1986 team as the Mets acquired him kicking and screaming in 1983.

Second Base – Felix Millan.  He makes my team not for anything he did when he played but for waving at me at the 1983 Old Timers Game at Shea Stadium.  I was sitting in a friend’s box and we were waving at the 1973 team as they took the field for their 10th Anniversary.  Felix was the only one who waved at me.

Shortstop – Bud Harrelson.  Growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s like I did, it was very easy to be a Tom Seaver fan.  I was always drawn to Harrelson as kind of an underdog.  My first Met T-Shirt was a number 3 Bud Harrelson.

Third Base – David Wright.  He won me over last year when he came back from injury.  While he has lost a lot of his playing skills, he showed so much as a Team Leader.  You saw how the rest of the team responded to him and don’t forget his little talk with Noah Syndergaard in Spring Training.

Left Field – Dave Kingman.  When I first became a Met Fan, power was not a strong point for them.  In fact the 1971 team’s Homerun leaders had 14.  The arrival of Dave Kingman in 1975 changed all that.  For the first time the Mets had a player that you stopped what you were doing when they stepped up to the plate.  In 1976 Kong had 32 homeruns on July 19 (my birthday) when he jammed his thumb diving for a line drive.  He only hit 5 Homeruns the rest of the season.

Center Field – Mookie Wilson.  Mookie won me over in1983 when on numerous occasions he would score from second on a ground out.  He was always smiling and it was most appropriate that he was the one who hit the ground ball to Buckner.

Right Field – Rusty Staub.  To me he was the first professional hitter the Mets had.  Had he not broke his hand in 1972 or jammed his shoulder in 1973 who knows what numbers he would have given the Mets but more importantly perhaps another World Series.

Catcher – Duffy Dyer.  He was the first Met I got to see in person.  It was 1972 at JC Pennys.  He signed a ball and my yearbook although he didn’t say much to me.  1972 was also the year he received significant playing time as Jerry Grote was injured.  Honorable mention here goes to Ron Hodges who my father referred to as ‘Young Ron Hodges’ and would never tell me why.  Also, John Stearns who along with Ray Knight are the two Mets I would want with me in a fight.

Right Handed Starting Pitcher Doc Gooden.  I never saw anything like the 1985 season.  What I remember most is opposing teams getting second and third with no outs and Doc just raring back and shutting them down.

Left Handed Starting Pitcher Jon Matlack.  Although I was right handed, his was the motion I mimicked the most.  In 1972 he won his 15th game late in the season which the 9 year old me thought was life and death since a friend told me that the requirement for top rookie was winning at least 15 games.  In 1973 he shut down the Reds in the playoffs and could have been a MVP World Series Candidate has Felix Millan not let that ball go through his legs in Game 1.

Right Handed Relief Pitcher Roger McDowell.  He could go multiple innings on demand and was also the infamous ‘second spitter’ on the famous Seinfeld episode.  Weird to see him as a Pitching Coach on the Braves.  I almost expect him to put a hotfoot on a Pitcher to get him going.

Left Handed Relief Pitcher Jessie Orosco.  He was the Class A pitcher the Mets got for Jerry Koosman in 1979.  He seemed to pitch forever, in fact I think I saw him pitching to Shoeless Joe Jackson recently in a semipro game.

Manager Gil Hodges.  The Mets have had Managers that were good tacticians and some that could relate to players.  Davey Johnson, Bobby Valentine and Terry Collins knew how to get the most out of their players but as far as strategy they lacked.  This is why I am going with Hodges.  I never heard a bad word about him as manager although of course I was a little kid at the time.

About Stuart A. Hack

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