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MLB History: Mets All-Time Starting Lineup (1969-2021)

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In this MLB history article, I will be creating the Mets All-Time Starting Lineup based on time with the franchise, offensive and defensive metrics, and accolades won while with the team. Let’s get right into it.

MLB History – All Time Mets Lineup

Catcher: Mike Piazza

While Gary Carter did make four all-star appearances for the Mets and was a major factor in the 1986 World Series victory, Mike Piazza had much better offensive numbers, even if he was slightly behind Carter in terms of his defense behind the plate. Piazza’s offensive numbers with the Mets were a .296/.373/.542 split and Piazza played more seasons as a Met. Piazza also two more All-Star selections as a Met than Gary Carter had, so he gets the nod at the position for our all-time Mets lineup.  

First Base: Keith Hernandez

Pete Alonso may one day claim this spot as the best first baseman in franchise history, but for now, Keith Hernandez is the clear choice at first base for the Mets, since he was great offensively and defensively. Hernandez’s offensive numbers as a Met were .297/.387/.429, which are definitely solid statistics.

Hernandez is the clear choice among Mets’ first basemen, as he is always in the conversation for the MLB’s best defensive first baseman of all-time. Finally, Hernandez won five Gold Glove Awards in addition to his three All-Star selections and a Silver Slugger Award in 1984 during his time in New York.

Second Base: Edgardo Alfonzo

Edgardo Alfonzo narrowly beats out Wally Backman for this spot at second base since he has slightly better offensive numbers than Backman and better defense at the position. Backman’s offensive numbers as a Met were .283/.353/.344, which is slightly worse than Alfonzo’s .292/.367/.445. 

The big difference between the two in terms of hitting statistics is the slugging percentage, as Backman was not a power hitter (Mets high of 3 HR – 1982). Alfonzo hit 27 home runs in the 1999 season and 25 in the following season, so his overall slugging combined with his strong defensive statistics such as a 99.3% field rate in 1999 is above Backman. Finally, Alfonzo was selected for the All-Star game during his career (2000) and he won a Silver Slugger Award in 1999, so he gets the nod for the all-time best Mets second baseman.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes

Maybe Francisco Lindor can become the best shortstop in franchise history, but for now, Jose Reyes is the choice at third base. Reyes was selected to four All-Star Games due to his superb abilities at the plate and on the basepaths. At the plate, Reyes led the league in batting average in 2011, led the MLB in triples during four different seasons, and led the league in hits in 2008. Reyes is also among the best shortstops in recent MLB history (since 2000).

He also won a Silver Slugger Award in 2006. On the basepaths, Reyes stole 60 bases in 2005, 64 bases in 2006, 78 bases in 2007, and 56 bases in 2008. He did not leave the Mets after the 2011 season in good terms, but we can still recognize his accomplishments that he had with the franchise. 

Third Base: David Wright

David Wright does not face much competition at the position, as he was selected to seven All-Star Games and he has a pair of Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards. Also, he was a team leader, deemed the captain in 2013, and spent his entire career as a Met. Without a doubt, Wright will start at third base on this all-time Mets team.

Right Field: Darryl Strawberry

Darryl Strawberry was part of the 1986 World Series team, but his consistent hitting over his eight seasons as a Met is what earns him his spot as the best right fielder in franchise history. He was selected for eight All-Star Games in his career, and seven of them were during his time in New York. Strawberry also twice won the Silver Slugger Award.

A stat that highlights his gift for hitting would be his 7.3 oWAR (offensive wins above replacement) in 1987, as it shows his high offensive value. Ultimately, Strawberry hit 252 home runs in eight seasons with the Mets, and he had five consecutive seasons with over 20 homers and over 20 stolen bases. this includes his 39 homers and 36 stolen bases in 1987, therefore, Strawberry wins the spot in right field for the all-time team.

Center Field: Carlos Beltran

Even though Mookie Wilson may be the more sentimental choice for the Mets starting lineup, including the game-winning hit in game six of the 1986 World Series, Carlos Beltran did produce at a higher level than Wilson when comparing their careers in New York. 

If you look at the numbers, Carlos Beltran is the clear choice. In six years with the Mets, Beltran put up some impressive numbers: 839 Games, 3,133 AB, 551 Runs, 878 Hits, 149 HR, 559 RBIs, 100 SB, 449 BB, and a .280/.369/.500 hitting split. 

In contrast, Mookie Wilson’s numbers are 1,116 Games, 4,027 AB, 592 Runs, 1,112 Hits, 60 HR, 342 RBIs, 281 SB, 240 BB, and a .276/.318/.394 hitting split. It could go either way between these two talents at the center field position, but I will select Carlos Beltran for the all-time starting lineup.

Left Field: Cleon Jones

I mentioned Cleon Jones in my article about the 1969 New York Mets because he was a huge part of the reason that the team made the improbable push to win the World Series. Jones played twelve seasons for the Mets, with 1,201 games, 4,223 AB, 563 runs, 1,188 hits, 93 HR, 91 stolen bases, 355 BB, and a .281/.340/.406 hitting split. For the 1969 team, Jones had a batting average of .340, making him a big factor in their World Series victory. For these reasons, Jones gets the slot.

Pitcher: Tom Seaver

Another player who was mentioned in my 1969 New York Mets article, Tom Seaver, was the first truly great Met. There was a reason that his nicknames included “The Franchise” and “Tom Terrific,” as they highlight his greatness. Seaver was a 12-time All-Star, a 300-game winner, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is also among the top pitchers in MLB history.

Seaver’s number 41 is the only number to be retired by the Mets. Seaver had his best seasons in 1969, where he had a 2.21 ERA and 25 wins, and 1971 when he had a 1.76 ERA, 20 wins, and 289 strikeouts. Seaver also won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1967 and the Cy Young Award in 1969, 1973, and 1975.

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2 comments

  • Mike Wallach says:

    Ben, I must admit that as a lifelong Met fan (12 years old in 1969 and living bicycle distance from Shea) – your selections are pretty solid. However, and you knew that was coming, it’s hard to argue against Miracles. When Miracles happen – they, perhaps weren’t meant to be – but they did and must be accepted for what they were. So, whether, it was chemistry, all the players playing as good as they could or simply a Miracle – I give you the 1969 starting Met Team along with a couple of substitutes that one couldn’t live without,
    ie…
    Catcher – Jerry Grote
    1st Base – Donn Clendenon
    2nd Base – Ken Boswell
    3rd Base – Ed Charles
    Shortstop – Bud Harrelson
    Left Field – Cleon Jones
    Center Field – Tommie Agee
    Right Field – Ron Swoboda
    Starting Pitchers – Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry & Nolan Ryan
    Relievers – Tug McGraw & Ron Taylor
    The Bench – Duffy Dyer (C) , Ed Kranepool (Infielder), Art Shamsky (Outfielder)

    Let me end with one last comment …
    Laughable – Perhaps – but – nonetheless – The 1969 World Champions with 100 wins – The Miracle Mets

    “You Gotta Believe”
    Mike Wallach, Managing Director of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum

  • Robert B Brown says:

    What about for closer: Orosco? Franco?

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