Mets Uniform Numbers: The Best For Each One, Numbers 0-33

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Some Mets uniform numbers are more recognizable than others.
Some Mets uniform numbers are more recognizable than others.

Mets uniform numbers have changed constantly. There are a few that are iconic in franchise history, with four numbers having been retired by the team. Each number has had one player rising above the rest to have worn it. Here, we will begin a series to reveal who the best Mets players were while wearing each Mets uniform number.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #0: Rey Ordóñez

There have only been three Mets to ever wear this uniform number. Ordóñez’s bat was basically non-existent during his career, but he was a fantastic fielder. During his time in Queens, Ordóñez only amassed a 0.9 rWAR and a .594 OPS, but he racked up three Gold Gloves and 10.2 dWAR. He made many highlight-reel plays and helped the Mets reach the playoffs in 1999 and 2000.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #1: Mookie Wilson

Most fans know Mookie Wilson for hitting the ground ball that went through Bill Buckner‘s legs in the 1986 World Series. Wilson was a solid contributor during his tenure in Flushing, putting up 20.8 rWAR and stealing 281 bases, which is the second-most in franchise history. With Wilson’s help, the Mets were able to enjoy some success during the 1980s, including two NL East crowns and a World Series title.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #2: Dominic Smith

The Mets have had 25 players wear this uniform number, but none had particularly long stints with the team. While Smith has only worn number two for one season, he has raked since dawning the number. In 2020, Smith hit a scalding .316/.377/.616 (169 OPS+) with 10 homers, 21 doubles, and 42 RBIs in 199 plate appearances. This is expected to be the first of many dominant seasons for Smith.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #3: Bud Harrelson

Similarly to Ordoñez, Harrelson makes this list not for his bat, but for his strong glove. During his 13-year career in Queens, Harrelson was a two-time All-Star, a Gold Glover, and had 18.7 rWAR. He won a World Series in 1969 and won another ring as a coach in 1986.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #4: Robin Ventura

Robin Ventura only spent three seasons with the Mets, but he was very good during that stretch. He hit .260/.360/.468 (113 OPS+) with 77 homers and 265 RBIs while also racking up 11.0 rWAR. Ventura was particularly strong in 1999, when he hit finished sixth in MVP voting, won a Gold Glove, and hit .301/.379/.529 with 32 homers and 120 RBIs. His signature moment came in the 1999 NLCS when he hit the famous “grand-slam single” to keep the Mets alive in the series.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #5: David Wright

No surprise here, Captain America is easily the best in franchise history at this number. David Wright was most Mets fans’ favorite player during his career. He is the franchise leader in position player WAR, runs scored, RBIs, hits, walks, doubles, extra-base hits, and total bases. He also ranks second in home runs and fourth in stolen bases. Wright was a seven-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glover, and won two Silver Sluggers. Furthermore, Wright finished in the top-ten in MVP voting four times and had a 30-30 season in 2007.

Unfortunately, injuries caught up to Wright and forced him to retire following the 2018 season, derailing a career that looked bound for Cooperstown. One day, his number will definitely be retired by the team.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #6: Wally Backman

Eventually, this spot will probably get taken by Jeff McNeil, but for now, this spot belongs to 1986 World Series champion Wally Backman. The fiery second baseman spent nine seasons in Queens and led the team in batting average during the 1986 season. He racked up 11.6 rWAR and his 106 steals rank ninth in franchise history.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #7: Jose Reyes

From 2006-2011, Jose Reyes was one of the most electrifying players in baseball. During that stretch, Reyes was a four-time All-Star and hit .297/.354/.458 (115 OPS+) with 67 homers, 278 steals, and 19.0 rWAR. In 2011, Reyes won the NL Batting Title, which earned him and nice contract in free agency. Overall, Reyes leads the franchise in steals with 406 and triples with 113. He was one of the key reasons why the Mets were able to make it to the NLCS in 2006.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #8: Gary Carter

Gary Carter wasn’t as good in New York as he was in Montreal, but he still had an impact. He made four All-Star Games while hitting .249/.319/.412 (104 OPS+) with 89 homers, 349 RBIs, and 11.4 rWAR. Carter won three Silver Sluggers with the team and was a key member of their 1986 championship team.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #9: Todd Hundley

Some will knock on Hundley’s performance because he was dealt performance-enhancing drugs from clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. This allegedly happened right before Hundley hit a then-franchise record 41 homers in 1996. Overall though, Hundley was a productive player during his time in Flushing. He was a two-time All-Star, hitting .240/.323/.438 (104 OPS+) with 124 homers, 397 RBIs, and 9.2 rWAR.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #10: Rusty Staub

“Le Grand Orange” had two stints with the Mets and was productive in both of them. He hit .276/.358/.419 (119 OPS+) with 75 homers, 399 RBIs, and 6.8 rWAR across his nine seasons with the team. He was a fan-favorite and helped guide the team to an NL Pennant in 1973.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #11: Wayne Garrett

Garrett spent eight seasons with the Mets and was a member of their 1969 World Series-winning team. He wasn’t much of a hitter, but he drew more walks than strikeouts for his career. For the Mets, he had a .237/.348/.343 (95 OPS+) batting line and a solid 13.9 rWAR.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #12: Ron Darling

Darling wore a few different numbers during his Mets tenure, but he wore 12 for his most successful years. He wore it during a strong five-year stretch in which he went 74-43 with a 3.32 ERA (104 ERA+), a 1.263 WHIP, and 832 strikeouts. He was an All-Star in 1985 and won a ring as a key member of the 1986 rotation, a year in which he also finished fifth in Cy Young voting. Darling is now a member of the Mets’ broadcast crew.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #13: Edgardo Alfonzo

Alfonzo was one of the Mets’ best hitters during one of their more successful stretches in franchise history. During his eight years in Queens, Alfonzo hit .292/.367/.445 (113 OPS+) with 120 homers, 212 doubles, 538 RBIs, and 29.6 rWAR. “Fonzie” also was an All-Star in 2000, won a Silver Slugger in 1999, and finished in the top-15 of MVP voting three times.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #14: Gil Hodges

Gil Hodges was an original Met in 1962, however, he makes this list for more than his playing abilities. When Hodges took the helm as the Mets’ manager in 1968, they were the laughingstock of baseball. In 1969, just his second year as manager, Hodges led the Mets to 100 wins and a World Series title. Unfortunately, Hodges passed away in 1972 at the age of 47. In 1973, the Mets retired number 14 in Hodges’ honor.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #15: Carlos Beltran

Beltran‘s Mets tenure is forever clouded by him striking out to end the 2006 NLCS. This one at-bat shouldn’t define Beltran’s time with the Mets. He is arguably the greatest free-agent signing in franchise history. He made five All-Star Games, won three Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers. Beltran’s Mets totals include a .280/.369/.500 (129 OPS+) batting line, 149 homers, 100 steals, 559 RBIs, and 31.1 rWAR. In 2006, Beltran tied Hundley’s mark of 41 homers and finished fourth in MVP voting.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #16: Dwight Gooden

If it weren’t for his off-the-field issues, Dwight Gooden could be in the conversation for Cooperstown. He burst onto the scene in 1984 as a 19-year-old, winning Rookie of the Year and finishing second in Cy Young voting.

He followed it up with the greatest pitching season in franchise history, going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA (229 ERA+), a 0.965 WHIP, 16 complete games, and 268 strikeouts in 276.2 innings (8.7 K/9). He cruised to the NL Cy Young Award and finished fourth in MVP voting. Overall, Gooden’s numbers with the Mets include a 157-85 record, a 3.10 ERA/2.77 FIP (116 ERA+), a 1.175 WHIP, and 1,875 strikeouts. He also made four All-Star Games and was a World Series champion in 1986.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #17: Keith Hernandez

Hernandez was one of the most consistent hitters for the Mets during their stretch of success in the 1980s. During his seven years in Flushing, Hernandez hit .297/.387/.429 (129 OPS+) with 80 homers, 468 RBIs, 26.6 rWAR. Hernandez also made three All-Star Games, won five Gold Gloves, and won a Silver Slugger while walking more than he struck out. Since his retirement, Hernandez has joined Darling in the Mets’ broadcast booth.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #18: Darryl Strawberry

Strawberry had a similar ascent to Gooden, winning Rookie of the Year in 1983. Strawberry was a seven-time All-Star with the Mets, a two-time Silver Slugger, and a World Series champion. He hit .263/.359/.520 (145 OPS+) with 252 homers, 191 steals, 733 RBIs, and 36.6 rWAR. He is the franchise leader in homers and hit at least 25 homers in every season with the team.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #19: Bob Ojeda

Ojeda was fantastic over his five years with the Mets. He pitched to a 3.12 ERA/3.34 FIP (112 ERA+) and a 1.182 WHIP over 764 innings. Ojeda never made an All-Star team, but he finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 1986.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #20: Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson was a dynamic player during his prime with his power-speed combination. During his nine years with the team, HoJo hit .251/.341/.459 (124 OPS+) with 192 homers, 202 steals, 629 RBIs, and 22.0 rWAR. He was a 30-30 player three times and led the NL in homers and RBIs in 1991. Johnson made two All-Star Games, won two Silver Sluggers, and finished in the top-ten in MVP voting three times.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #21: Cleon Jones

Cleon Jones spent 12 seasons and Queens, putting up a .281/.340/.406 (111 OPS+) batting line with 93 homers, 182 doubles, 521 RBIs, and 18.1 rWAR. In 1969, Jones led the team in batting average at a .340 clip and made his lone All-Star team. He also caught the final out of the 1969 World Series.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #22: Al Leiter

Al Leiter was the ace of the late 1990s-early 2000s Mets that contended. During the seven years he spent with the team, Leiter went 95-67 with a 3.42 ERA (124 ERA+), a 1.300 WHIP, and 1,106 strikeouts in 1,360 innings (7.3 K/9). He was an All-Star in 2000 and finished sixth in Cy Young voting in 1998.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #23: Bernard Gilkey

Most of Gilkey’s success with the Mets came almost entirely in his monstrous 1996 season. In that season, Gilkey hit a strong .317/.393/.562 (155 OPS+) with 30 homers, 44 doubles, and 117 RBIs. Gilkey also put up 8.1 rWAR that season, which is the second-highest single-season total in franchise history. Gilkey’s production lagged in the following two seasons, but his 1996 season makes him deserving of this spot.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #24: Art Shamsky

Shamsky only played in four seasons with the Mets, but he was a key member of the 1969 team. During those four seasons, Shamsky hit .266/.341/.432 (117 OPS+) with 42 homers, 162 RBIs, and 5.8 rWAR.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #25: Pedro Feliciano

You probably didn’t expect to see a reliever on this list, but there haven’t been many great Mets that wore 25. Feliciano was a very dependable member of the Mets’ bullpen, so much so that he was nicknamed “Perpetual Pedro.” Feliciano led the majors in appearances three consecutive seasons from 2008-2010 and set the franchise record for appearances in a season with 92 in 2010. He also had a solid 3.33 ERA, a 1.376 WHIP, and 350 strikeouts in 383.2 innings pitched (8.2 K/9).

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #26: Dave Kingman

Dave Kingman was as one-dimensional as a player could get. He was like Adam Dunn but minus all of the walks, however, Kingman was just as bad as Dunn was in the field. During Kingman’s two stints with the Mets, he hit .219/.287/.453 (108 OPS+) with 154 homers and 389 RBIs. He made one All-Star game and routinely would hit over 30 homers per season.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #27: Craig Swan

Swan pitched on many bad Mets teams during the 1970s, but he is one of just five Mets to win an ERA, winning it in 1978. Overall, he had a 3.72 ERA with the Mets despite a 59-71 record.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #28: Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy was a defensive liability, but he could hit. During his seven seasons with the Mets, Murphy hit .288/.331/.424 (109 OPS+) with 62 homers, 228 doubles, 402 RBIs, and 13.2 rWAR. Murphy was an All-Star in 2014 and towards the end of the 2015 season, he began to develop a power stroke. This newfound power led to Murphy’s legendary performance in the 2015 postseason, in which he hit homered in six straight games. Murphy won NLCS MVP that year after he went 9-for-17 with four homers and six RBIs as the Mets swept the Cubs.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #29: Steve Trachsel

Trachsel struggled initially after signing with the Mets in 2001 and even got sent to the minors that year. He rebounded though and despite his painfully slow pace and lack of strikeouts on the mound, he became a solid contributor for the team. He finished up his tenure in Queens with a 66-59 record, a 4.09 ERA (103 ERA+), a 1.381 WHIP, and 11.7 rWAR. His 66 wins led the team during the 2000s.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #30: Michael Conforto

Conforto made the majors in 2015, just a year after he was drafted, and immediately made an impact. While playing in game four of the 2015 World Series, Conforto hit two homers, becoming the first rookie since Andruw Jones in 1996 to have a multi-homer game in the World Series.

Since then, Conforto has become one of the Mets’ best hitters. He was an All-Star in 2017 and would have been an All-Star in 2020 had it not been for the shortened season. He has a career batting line of .259/.358/.484 (128 OPS+) with 118 homers, 121 doubles, 341 RBIs, and 14.6 rWAR. The Mets hope to extend Conforto’s contract before he hits free agency after the 2021 season.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #31: Mike Piazza

During his time in Queens, Mike Piazza was the face of the Mets’ franchise. In his eight years with the team, he made seven All-Star Games, won five Silver Sluggers, and finished in the top-15 of MVP voting four times, finishing as high as third in 2000. His numbers were fantastic too, he hit .296/.373/.542 (136 OPS+) with 220 homers, 665 RBIs, and 24.6 rWAR. Piazza’s home run in the first game back in Shea Stadium after the 9/11 Attacks rejuvenated a reeling city. In 2016, Piazza was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. His number 31 was retired by the team that summer.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #32: Jon Matlack

Matlack spent seven seasons in Queens and was fantastic during that time. He won Rookie of the Year in 1972 and was a three-time All-Star. Overall, Matlack had a 3.03 ERA/2.88 FIP (115 ERA+), a 1.195 WHIP, and 26.6 rWAR with the Mets. He was also fantastic in his lone postseason, pitching to a 1.40 ERA and 0.779 WHIP in 25.2 innings.

Mets Uniform Numbers –– #33: Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey’s catastrophic downfall from 2016-2018 was heartbreaking to watch, but Mets should not overlook how exciting he was to watch from 2012-2015. During that stretch, Harvey pitched to a 25-18 record, a 2.53 ERA/2.65 FIP (146 ERA+), a 1.000 WHIP, and had 449 strikeouts in 427 innings pitched (9.5 K/9). In 2013, Harvey started the All-Star Game in his home stadium. After missing 2014 due to getting Tommy John Surgery, Harvey anchored a dominant pitching staff that led the Mets to a National League Pennant. He may have left a sour taste in the mouths of Mets fans, but Harvey’s early years with the team made his starts must-see television every time.

Mets Uniform Numbers 0-33: Closing Thoughts

Some of the players covered in this list were franchise icons, while some were just solid role players. Stay tuned for the next part of this list, as we cover more of the best players to wear each uniform number in Mets history.

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