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My Favorite Met

NostraDennisFriday, December 15, 2006
By NostraDennis


Each of us has his or her own personal history with the Mets. First memory of the team...first game watched on TV...first game seen in person...first souvenir (mine were those flimsy plastic "batting helmets", which I never noticed until too late came with a warning not to use them in the course of an actual baseball game)...first brush with greatness, meeting an actual player...highest high...lowest low. Some of these histories go back to the Polo Grounds days; that would include those of us who know what the Continental League was. Other histories are as recent as last October. If this is you, then welcome to the club, rookie. For those of you who might be blog-trolling and are fans of some other team, the same is true for you.

Whether you've been a Mets fan for four months or forty-four years, though, there's no denying that each of us has a favorite Met. In my mind, I often parse this question into several segments: favorite Mets player of all time, favorite Mets player on the current roster, favorite living Met, favorite deceased Met, favorite pitcher, favorite hitter, even favorite coach. So, who's your favorite Met? More important -- WHY is he your favorite Met?

There are no wrong answers here. Heck, one of my favorite blog posters is "KingmanFan", and I really didn't appreciate Kong's skill all that much. As a general principal, any player whose weight exceeds his batting average exempts them from my "favored player" status. Dave Kingman's highest average as a Met was the .238 he slugged in 1976.

For me, it's not about being the best player. It's easy to root for a Seaver, a Carter, a Piazza, a Wright. I always seem to gravitate my affections towards the guy whose name and uni number won't be found on ten thousand backs in the seats at Shea. Kind of like how my favorite Billy Joel song never seems to be the Billboard chart-buster; it's usually the fourth cut on Side B, like "Vienna", "Zanzibar", "Sleeping With the Television On". They're my personal songs, and nobody else knows about them. Some of my favorites weren't the 25th best player on the roster, but they weren't the media darlings, either.

It's not always about personality, either. I know for a fact that there are many Mets whom I loved watching at bat or on the mound in their prime, but with whom I wouldn't enjoy tipping back an adult beverage or three today. The same is true, I'm sure, of today's club, though you wouldn't be able to tell it from the outside looking in. The '06 Mets look like a couple dozen guys who genuinely have fun playing a kid's game, and for the most part, have fun around each other.

It's unfair, too, for a chance encounter with a player to forever color your opinion of him, but that's human nature. If Bret Saberhagen was having a bad day when I got that autograph from him at some car dealer in Suffolk County in 1994, then he would forever have been a slimebag in my book. Fortunately for Bret, he wasn't, so he isn't, not to me. Every major league player lives with the pressure of being on their "A" game when it comes to social interaction every day of their career. Only those who spend every day with a guy can make a sound call as to whether he's a jerk or not. This includes fellow players, team staff, and beat writers, and excludes virtually everyone reading this blog. Most of those lucky souls aren't telling, either, at least not until the book deal comes through at the end of their career.

Since I'm 46 years old, I like rooting for athletes older than me. This restricts me to George Foreman, Morten Andersen, and Julio Franco, although El Duque probably comes close, if we can ever find his papers. I knew I was old when I bought a pack of baseball cards in 1990 and saw Steve Avery was born in the 70's. The seasoned citizens of baseball appeal to this old fart.

I also appreciate versatility. Kevin Mitchell playing six different positions in one season; Luis Aparicio playing all nine in one game; Jose Canseco pitching (okay, maybe not that one). Howard Johnson moving from short to third to the outfield and back to short because that's what the team needed. That kind of "put me in, coach" mentality that some players lack makes me like those who've got it a whole lot more.

So who's your favorite Met, right now all-time, and why? I'll tell you mine, but I want to hear from y'all first.

About Dennis McCarthy: I was born in the Bronx in 1960, but moved to Long Island four years later. I became a Mets fan in '69, thanks to my Aunt Ellen, who still lived in the Bronx.   Read More -->

Comments (18)

Current Favorite Met: I know he's also a superstar, but Jose Reyes. How can anyone not like this guy? (except for Carl Crawford.) Not only is he extremely talented, but I'm not sure I remember the last person who seems to be having so much fun every single second he's on the field. Sure, he gets paid richly, but there's no doubt in my mind that Jose Reyes is a guy who grew up loving to play baseball and loves playing it more than ever on the major league level. He also even made Kaz Matsui do something I actually liked: that little funny hand thing. That was the only good think Kaz Matsui ever did as a Met. He is not my favorite Met.

All-Time Favorite Met: Without a doubt, John Olerud. He was not the most naturally gifted offensive player I've ever seen, but the man just worked hard, was always reliable, and just always struck me as the most classy of class acts. He is the kind of guy I'd want on any team, rather than a Barry Bonds or a Sheffield or a McGwire. Sure, those guys will rake, but it's pretty tough to root for them with their attitudes and questionable ethics. John Olerud was the easiest guy in the world to root for.

Favorite Hidden Billy Joel Songs: Laura, Get It Right the First Time, Great Wall of China

I have to go by decades for my favorites Mets. 60's-70's Tom Seaver hands down. 80's Doc Gooden though he broke my heart, and I'm still praying for him. In the 90's Todd Hundley (I'm a former catcher high school & college). 2000's I'm with you on Reyes, he makes me enjoy watching baseball as he flies around the bases and he's going to get even better WOW!. I don't have a favorite hidden Billy Joel song but Up Town Girl and Movin Out are my favs. Keep up the good work!

My favorite: Shawn Fitzmaurice.

He appeared nine games for the team in 1966, batting .154. The ultimate cup of coffee player. But I was in the stands for his first game, and the name just stuck with me.

If we mean actual players, it's hard to top Seaver. If we mean people who tend to get overlooked, there's Felix Millan; I loved the way he choked up on the bat.

Least favorite: Dave Kingman.

1970's - Lee Mazzilli..hands down. Most people told me I looked like him and I was appalled that the Mets gave his 16 to some rookie pitcher in the early 80's. I see the number 16 (or 12), I think of him. The 13 he wore in 1986 was an abberation.

80's was Straw. 90's Fonzie (13 again). Now, Wright. Although Beltran is phenomenal.

Hi NostraDennis- My favorite is hands down Keith Hernandez-he signaled the turn around from the dark days of the late 70s to the fabulous 80s for me.

All good votes, folks. Mex is on my list for sure.

There's a lot to be said for the "overcoming adversity" aspect of a player, too. John Olerud and his brain tumor, Jim Abbott and his missing hand; Curtis Pride and his deafness, John Kruk and his eating disorder...huh? Kruk was just fat? Whatever.

i loved art shamsky; tim foli was my husband's idol; then i went on to lee mazzilli (till he went over to the dark side) and i absolutely LOVE mookie and always will - i used to say billy buckner was my favorite met (just a little joke there)...there are so many for so many different reasons....now of course i love dwright and jose...

I'm going all the way back to 1963 with Ron Hunt. He was the original "Nails". Came in second for Rookie of the Year behind Pete Rose at age 22. The scrapiest player the Mets ever had. He thought nothing of taking one for the team. In his rookie year he led the team in AB (533), Runs (64), BA (.272), Hits (145), 2B(28), BB (40), HBP (13), and Sac's (14). He was second in Games Played (143, behind Jim Hickman 145), 3B (4, Hickman, 6), OBP (.334,Snider .349), and SB (5, Rod Kanehl, 6).

During my 44 years as a Met fan nobody has turned me on since Ron Hunt as does Jose Reyes.

Hunt was nails, indeed.

What's impressed me most about Reyes was how loose and fun-loving he was in the playoffs. This is SERIOUS BUSINESS, people. Time to clench the sphincter, especially for most rookies. But someone forgot to tell Reyes this.

I'm looking forward to a dozen or so more post-seasons of HOOOO-ZAY, HO-ZAY, HO-ZAY, HO-ZAY grinning and goofing in the dugout and on the field. When a man can play a boy's game and enjoy it like a boy, that just fits so well.

I am with Shari and like Keith Hernandez, my uncle broke me into baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers and he made me aware of how much a 1st baseman could add to a team by watching Gil Hodges play first, watching Keith was the same for me. He was so smooth around that bag and helped the whole infield. He was a pretty good linedrive hitter to.

My favorite all time Met never broke any records and wasn't the type of player that would fill the stadium with adoring fans. Nevertheless, he was my favorite and I enjoyed his days with the Mets. I'm talking about Dave Magadan. He was such a great guy and although all he wanted was to be regular player, he took his part-time role and gave it his all. He took so much pride in his hitting and played the game with such class. He finished his career with a .288 BA and a .390 OBP. Later on in his career he became a great pinch hitter which was only natural given his patient approach at the plate. When he finally left and went on to the Marlins and then the Padres, I always managed to glance at their boxscore just to see how he was doing.

Call me NostraDennis the Consensus Builder.
You're all choosing a lot of the same guys I have on my list. Thus:

Favorite Mets player on the current roster: Julio Franco - I see a prominent coaching gig in his future, if he'll ever hang up the glove and spikes

Favorite living Met: Mookie - I smile just saying his name, even though his current favorite winter wardrobe is a Cards jacket

Favorite deceased Met: Gil Hodges - pure class and professionalism

Favorite pitcher: El Sid - definitely not the best Mets pitcher ever, just the one I enjoyed watching the most

Favorite hitters: Magadan and Olerud - both had lunch-bucket mentalities; they just went out and got the job done day in and day out. Of all people, Chris Chambliss of the Yankees reminds me most of this mindset. With all the crap flying around the clubhouse in the late 70's, Chambliss just went to work every day and played a solid first base, making it to the World Series three years in a row and winning two.

Favorite sluggers: Straw and Piazza - all of New York stopped what they were doing four times a game so we could see what they'd do

Favorite manager/coach: Rick Peterson comes close, but Davey Johnson does it for me. Pushed all the right buttons, and knew all the right matchups

Least favorite Mets players of all time: George Foster and Kevin McReynolds. I don't dislike either one personally; I don't know either one personally. Ironically, each turns me off for entirely opposite reasons; Foster for his obviously manufactured enthusiasm ("Let's Get Mets-merized"? Come ON!), and McReynolds for his obvious disinterest in the game he played so well. Anyone who'd rather be huntin' in Alabama than playing left field in New York makes the finals in this category for me.

Favorite Mets players of all time: Buddy Harrelson and Keith Hernandez. I'd go to war with either one in a heartbeat.

My Favorite Met is Mike Piazza . He might be an Ex Met now , but if it wasen't for him signing with us back in the Late 90's , this Franchise would of been alot worse off than it is today . To me , Mike just had a presence that made the opposition Fear him in the batters box when the Game was on the Line , and truely was a Leader for them in the Clubhouse . I like many others Met Fans , was Sad went he left us , but the Memories he gave us all will never be forgotten . Thanks Mikey !

LETS GO METS ! BELIEVE !

My four favorite Mets were Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, Mookie Wilson, and Mike Piazza. You can read my reasons for Keith Hernandez and Mookie Wilson at:

http://www.metsfanbook.com/KeithHernandez.html


http://www.metsfanbook.com/MookieWilson.html

1960s - Ed Kranepool, or "Loopenark The Great" as the sign man at Shea had me calling him towards the end of his career. An everyman journeyman who was the consistent element of the Mets from their lowest in 1962 to their peak in 1969 and beyond. Runner up - Ron Hunt.

1970s - Rusty Staub, without a doubt. The big orannge mop loping after fly balls and putting his body on the line is my most vivid memory of the 1970s teams. The day he was traded for Mickey Lolich was one of the blackest days in my entire Mets fandom. Runner up - Felix Millan. (Of course I loved Seaver, Koos and Matlack but they didn't need me to root for them as much as thee other guys did.)

1980s - I think I gotta go with Sid Fernandez. The big guy just looked so damn graceful on the mound, and his Game 7 moment is one of the least talked-about (coming in the wake of the Game 6 moment as it did) but most awe-inspiring performances in Met history. Runner up - Darryl Strawberry.

1990's - These teams didn't inspire much passion in me but all told I think Edgardo Alphonso was my favorite player. He represented the Mets of the 1990s better than anyone else. Runner up- Olerud, but he wasn't there long enough to really click with me.

Present team - Carlos Delgado. Humble, awesome, a quiet leader in so many ways. Also quite the humanitarian. Runner up - Paul Lo Duca.

Least favorite Mets - Mike Piazza, Mike Torres, Clint Hurdle.

While Tom Seaver is my hero, my favorite Met during the time I was growing up was Buddy Harrelson. Buddy played shortstop and I was 'short' so I sort of identified with him. never flashy, Buddy was scrappy, a great fielder, and a real team player. He could bunt a man over a lost art. The way he stood up to Pete Rose in the '73 Playoffs, he was our very own "Davey" versus Goliath. He was always personable, good to the fans and hey he was Seaver's roomie! With the emergence of the wonderful Jose Reyes, its a little sad to see that Buddy will be replaced down the road as the Mets all time greatest shortstop - but Buddy will be first in my heart as favorite Met.
Ed

My favorite drink is Georgi Vodka with Budweiser a distant second.

I like Emerson BOOZEr

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