In 60 years of Mets baseball, many players that were seen as “fan favorites” were likable players who did not perform extremely well on the field. However, the mid-2010s brought about a player that would be a solid addition to the lineup, while also being one of the most likable players in the history of the game. Over a four-year tenure with the Mets, Curtis Granderson was one of the most beloved players the Mets have ever had. Granderson was not only a key piece in the Mets World Series run in 2015, but Granderson loved the team, the city, and especially the fans.
The First Impression
Granderson came to the Mets in the 2013-14 offseason, signing a four-year contract. Granderson came over from the Yankees and made sure to state that “real New Yorkers were Mets fans” in his introductory press conference. That statement alone could have made Granderson an all-time fan favorite for the Mets, however, Granderson brought more to the Mets than just talk.
On the Field Ability
Granderson came in and immediately took over the leadoff role for the Mets. He was a spark to start the game, and even had some pop in his bat to get the Mets going early on. Granderson could have taken any spot in the batting order and made an impact, however the Leadoff spot that he had been in while playing for the Tigers and Yankees seemed to suit him perfectly in Queens. With little other protection for Granderson in the lineup, he would slash .227/.326/.388, but was still able to hit 20 home runs and drive in 66 runs from the leadoff spot. Granderson would improve over his next 2.5 seasons with the Mets, with his best season coming in 2015.
The Playoff Run
The Mets had no expectation of making a run in the 2015 season, but after the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline, the Mets went on a magical run, eventually losing in the World Series. However, Cespedes did not take the Mets to the World Series all by himself (although it may have seemed like it). While Cespedes was the key in the Mets’ second-half run, it was the solid and clutch play of the veterans and role players that kept the Mets in the hunt. Starting with Granderson in the leadoff spot, the Mets lineup took off, and the team seemed to have forgotten how to lose. When the Mets came into the playoffs, Granderson shined in a tough NLDS matchup with the Dodgers. Granderson would have an OBP close to .500, while also driving in five runs from the leadoff spot. Granderson would struggle in the NLDS, however, he would find himself again in the World Series and be a bright spot for a Mets team that would otherwise be lackluster.
What Really Made the Man
However, Granderson became a fan favorite for aspects of himself outside of his performance on the field. Granderson was an incredible leader and mentor to younger players. Granderson never shifted blame on another player, and never made issues or arguments public. Granderson was able to communicate calmly and effectively with any player on his team. Granderson would consistently receive rave reviews from teammates and coaches about how important he was to a clubhouse, while also never getting caught up in the fame and fortune of being a professional athlete. While not only being a clubhouse favorite, Granderson was also known for his off-the-field presence, winning MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award in 2016. Granderson was an incredible human, offering his help to children in need with any opportunity he could.
Anywhere he went, Curtis Granderson seemed to bring joy, enthusiasm, and leadership. Nobody would ever say a bad word about Granderson, and for good reason. Curtis Granderson is one of the greatest human beings in all of baseball’s history, and his ability on the field made him that much more of a fan favorite.
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