Let's face it- it's all David Letterman's fault! After all- he's the one who helped us fixate on "top 10" lists - and ever since, it's spilled over to every portion of our society. I've even seen lists that include "top 10 places to sleep in your car" and "top 10 most comfortable sweat-shirts" - so it's no surprise that these lists are now commonly used in sports discussions. Even the MLB Network gets into the act, with their "Prime 9" shows (many of which are quite interesting, I might add.)
Now lest you think I don't like these lists, let me be clear about this right now- I actually enjoy most of these lists, as quantifying things brings out the better parts of my OCD!! That being said, it was only a matter of time before these lists found their way to the New York Mets- and, lo and behold, yesterday Mike Silva of "Mike Silva's NY Baseball Digest" published his "NYBD Top 50 Mets of All Time" list - and it's an excellent list at that! (Click on the link to see it for yourself.)
I'm not going to get into an argument over "who deserved to be where" on this list, because Mike was honest right from the start when he stated that "I didn't see all of these players, and some I saw after their prime.." So before you take Mike to task, know that he didn't get a chance to see players like Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote and Tommie Agee in their prime.
What I find most interesting about this list are the connections to the Baseball Hall of Fame- those players on the list who are already in, those who are locks to get in, and those who should have - or could have- been in the HOF. Let's face it- it's the end of the year, which means we are less than a week away from the announcement of the 2011 entrants into the HOF- and many of us have Hall-of-Fame fever, anyway. Therefore, as a companion to Mike's list, here are some accompanying lists of my own.
Top 50 Mets Already in the Baseball Hall of Fame
1.) Tom Seaver- the only current player wearing a Met uniform in the hall, aka "The Franchise" - and still, some 24 years since he's thrown his last pitch, 27 since doing so "officially" in a Met uniform, he remains the most important Met, historically (and sentimentally) speaking. Although Seaver remains my favorite player of all-time, it's almost sad that the Mets still don't have anyone to rival Seaver's long-term popularity or relevance. Piazza wasn't a Met long enough; Gooden get close to reaching his potential; ditto for Straw; Wright has the potential to get there, one day, but has to remain a Met for his entire career to do so. For the foreseeable future, "Tom Terrific" will remain the king of all Met fan lists.
2.) Gary Carter - "The Kid" may have gone into the hall as an Expo, but his preference at the time was to wear NY on his cap. He didn't get his wish, but Carter will always have a prominent role in Mets lore as the catcher for the teams' second World Series winning team in 1986. Carters' unfortunate break with the organization has left some hard feelings in its wake, but he will always be the heart of the '86 team.
3.) Nolan Ryan - There's no doubt that Ryan reached greater heights as a pitcher once he left the Mets; however, he was only part of one World Series-winning team, and that was was, indeed, as a New York Met. I will always treasure that card, as the finality of "Ryan Saves The Day" meant that no one could take that World Series victory away from us - it was "saved". A year after seeing my first live Met game, I can still remember the shock and excitement that my grand-father and father felt once those miraculous Mets capped off what remains the most unlikely World Series victory in baseball history. Ryan was a valuable role player on a team of valuable role players, which is why, with only 4+ years as a Met under his belt, he remains a Met in the hearts of those of us old enough to remember him in the orange and blue.
Top 50 Mets Soon to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame
1.) Pedro Martinez - Pedro signified the "return to greatness" that all Met fans prayed for; sadly, and not his fault, but Pedro's tenure as a Met ended up representing a period of great frustration, perhaps THE most frustrating period for Met fans, as 3 years in a row - from 2006 - 2008 - the team found a way to blow it and fall short of expectations in the most frustrating of fashions. Pedro was so dominant over a 6-year period that comparisons to the great Sandy Koufax were inevitable. He's a lock first ballot Hall-of-Famer, when he ever decides (shades of Rickey Henderson) to finally retire.
2.) Mike Piazza - Not much needs to be said about Piazza, who for most fans has moved into second place in their hearts, behind only Seaver, on the all-time Mets list. He should be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and hopefully will go in as a Met; the only other hat he might possibly wear is that of the Dodgers, but he played one more season as a Met and went to his only World Series in a Met uniform. Regardless of his Dodger contributions, Piazza will always remain a Met in the hearts of NY fans!!
3.) Tom Glavine - Glavine is a born and bred Atlanta Brave who never should have left the organization. He was a great pitcher who manipulated the strike zone better than any of his contemporaries, short of one Greg Maddux. He'll be in the Hall, perhaps in his second year of eligibility, and deservedly so.
4.) Jeff Kent - One of the best slugging second basemen of all time, Kent, a Met for parts of 5 seasons, should eventually get into the Hall, if not on the first ballot. After putting up with Barry Bonds for 6 seasons, I'm sure he won't be to unhappy if he and not Bonds reaches the HOF first. Kent's 48th all-time in RBI's (1518) and his lifetime WAR is 59.4, or 155th on the all-time list. Kent moved over to first base late in his career, but he will be remembered as the rare slugger at second; for Met fans, he'll be remembered for being part of the David Cone trade.
Top 50 Mets Who Just fall Short of Being Baseball Hall of Fame Players - But Who SHOULD or COULD Be in The Hall
1.) Keith Hernandez
2.) Jerry Koosman
3.) Carlos Delgado
4.) Rusty Staub
All of these players, save for Delgado, have already had their time on the ballot and have fallen off. Delgado still has a chance to make it into the hall, but I suspect that he will end up with the likes of Dale Murphy, Alan Trammel and Dwight Evans - just short of election. I've gone on at length about why both Keith and Kooz belong in the hall - in fact, at my old blog, Mets Trades, I went on about how I thought Kooz belonged at length, back in 2006, which you can read by clicking that link. I hold out hope that, somehow, Mex will get the support from the Veteran's Committee one day soon, but the ship has sailed for Rusty and Kooz.
Top 50 Mets Who MIGHT One Day Be Voted into The Baseball Hall of Fame
1.) David Wright
2.) Johan Santana
3.) Carlos Beltran
It's far too soon to speculate about either of these 3 Mets; Wright has a long career still ahead of him, and both Beltran and Santana have been plagued by injuries recently. If both of them can rebound and put up numbers similar to prior years, and if Wright can maintain his 30-homer, 100+RBI seasons for another 7-8 years, then we may see another Met Uniform in the Hall. Of course, if all goes well, that won't happen for at least another 12-14 years, so Piazza remains the best, last hope to see another Met player in the Hall any time soon.
As this is my last post of 2010, to our wonderful readers, I wish you a Happy & Healthy 2011 and may all your dreams (especially Met-related dreams) come true!!!
To Mack, thank you so much for bringing me on-board your site, and may we have many more years as friends and co-bloggers together- you are a wonderful friend and an amazing source of Minor/Major League info and you are already on your way to a place in the Met Blogger's Hall of Fame!!!