Reese Kaplan -- Is Pete Alonso's Rookie Season the Best Mets Accomplishment Ever?


Over the Mets’ 57-year history there have been a number of outstanding accomplishments by individual players and by the team itself.  I got to thinking about these things as Pete Alonso crashed homers 46 and 47 on Monday night which makes the 50 HR club no longer a pipe dream but most definitely a strong possibility of happening.  He’s already smashed the team individual home run record of 41 set by Todd Hundley and tied by Carlos Beltran.  Although the Mets are club more known for pitching than hitting, you’d think that with some of the bats they’ve had available like Dave Kingman, Carlos Delgado, Mike Piazza, Gary Carter and others that crossing the 40 home run threshold would not have been such a rare occurrence. 

Suppose things progress on the current pace and not only does Alonso reach 50 HRs, but actually gets to 53 which would set a new major league rookie HR record, bypassing Aaron Judge’s accomplishment of 2017.  How would that rank with other big Met accomplishments?

Tom Seaver’s 1969 Campaign

The Cy Young Award winner went 25-7 with a 2.21 ERA.  He ticked the boxes for both winning a lot of games and a low ERA.  However, in addition, for good measure, in 273 IP he struck out 208, only allowed 202 hits and notched an unheard of 18 complete games. 

The Cleon Jones 1969 Season

During that same season the Mets got their single season batting record when outfielder Cleon Jones batted .340 while walking more often than he struck out.  The run production numbers were somewhat ordinary with 12 HRs and 75 RBIs, but back then the pre-steroid and pre-juiced ball era those numbers were pretty good. 

The 1969 World Championship

Rather than singling out one player for accomplishment, maybe the best we saw of the Mets was them going from worst to first, dropping game one against the heavily favored Orioles but then reeling off four straight for an achievement many put ahead of the moon landing that same year. 

Tom Seaver’s 1971 Campaign

Although he finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting, by many metrics he was actually better in 1971 than he was in his award -winning seasons of 1969 and 1973.  He was a 20 game winner for the 2nd time.  His ERA was just 1.76 and he aggregated his highest-ever strikeout total of 289 while again completing 18 games.

Dwight Gooden’s 1985 Season

With no apologies to Tom Seaver, Gooden smoked him in his second season.  He was 20 games over .500 with a 24-4 record, a 1.53 ERA, struck out 268, had a WHIP under 1.000 and still completed 16 games in the era after relievers came into prominence.  He won the Cy Young Award, of course.

The 1986 World Series

This team was out front almost from the beginning of the season, ran through the playoffs rather easily (though the Mike Scott game against the Astros was certainly cause for some hair-pulling).  Then came Game 6 of the World Series when it looked as if all of that great baseball would go for naught.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The Johan Santana No-Hitter

For a club that’s featured such illustrious pitching over its long history, it was unfathomable to think they had never before had a no-hitter until June 1st of 2012 when facing Adam Wainwright (a bitter 2006 pill to swallow), Santana did it.  The 8-0 victory required 134 pitches and likely ruined his arm as he was never the same again but the lift it gave the team after 50 years of waiting for a no-no was probably something worth happening.  Had manager Terry Collins lifted him before the 9th, he likely would have been hanged (and not just in effigy). Replays that are now a part of the game did not exist then officially, or the no-hitter wouldn’t have existed when Cardinals hitter (and former Met) Carlos Beltran hit a ball down the line officially ruled foul but was indeed fair.  

The R.A. Dickey Cy Young Season

Omar Minaya’s scrap heap pickup of a sore-armed pitcher forced to go to the unpopular knuckleball to salvage his career, R.A. Dickey had a season no one could have dreamed possible when at age 37 in 2012 he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and an almost unbelievable WHIP of just 1.053 throwing a pitch that goes in directions no one knows when it leaves his hand.  Knuckleballers are notorious for high walk rates but Dickey limited free passes to just 2.1 per 9 IP.  He was, of course, shipped off to Toronto after that magical season. 

The Jacob deGrom Cy Young Season

Just last year Jacob deGrom was cursed with no run support in his starts.  Consequently, his 10-9 record wasn’t going to impress anyone, but he pitched to juiced-ball ERA of just 1.70 while striking out nearly 6 times as many as he walked.  He was completely masterful in his performance and was rightly rewarded with a lucrative contract extension. 

So what accomplishment is the greatest?  I’m going with Doc Gooden’s magical 1985 season but you could easily make a case for Pete Alonso.  He's going to smash other great debuts like Mike Trout and Fred Lynn.  

Let's also remember that today is September 11th, if you'll forgive the verbiage appropriation, a day that will live in infamy.  Many lost their lives in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.  Let us not forget.  


Tom Brennan said...

I go with Gooden. Just 20, he had one of the greatest seasons in pitching history.

Second, Pete. To do what he has done as a rookie is stunning.

Next...Seaver’s 25-7 1969 season. He led the team that stunned everyone. But it was his 3rd year, so I give the edge to Pete.

John From Albany said...

Bless you Reese. Wish the Mets would wear the first responder hats tonight. Least they could do.

Tom Brennan said...

I will never forget being on the Brooklyn Bridge, crossing to Brooklyn minutes before the lockdown, and while near the top of the bridge, hearing a loud crack, and turning to see the first tower collapse. Horrible. Never again.

Mack's Mets © 2012