By Barry Duchan
My thanks to those who have suggested I write a book based on my remembrances of the Mets' early years and the many would-be prospects who played for the Mets. The problem with writing a book without judicious research, that is, one primarily based on recollection, is that unless the author is already well-known, there probably won't be much of a market for it. Another problem is that I know absolutely nothing about the "business" of publishing a book (other than what I've seen in movies such as Hoax, which I suppose isn't the best example).
Really, the book I'd love to be able to write is one for which I am clearly unqualified. It would be called something like "Trying To Build The Mets - The Inside Story of Every Mets' Trade Between 1961 and xxx". Of course, I could list all the deals, and comment on them, but what's really needed is a look at the genesis of each deal as well as others that may have been discussed, but were never consummated. Only an "insider" could attempt to do that.
For example, I could report that on December 6, 1966, the Mets obtained Don Bosch and Don Cardwell from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dennis Ribant and Gary Kolb and comment (as I already have) that even though Cardwell made this deal a positive one for the Mets, the trade was primarily about Bosch, and he, of course, was a huge disappointment. What I DON'T know, but would love to find out is:
- Which team initiated the discussion?
- Did the Mets offer Ribant to any other team, and if so, what were they offered in return?
- Did the Mets insist on Cardwell as an integral part of the trade?
- Had the Mets targeted any other centerfielder before deciding on Bosch?
Now, multiply those questions times every significant deal the Mets made from Bob Miller for Harkness and Burright through Nolan Ryan +++ for Jim Fregosi, and you'd have the book I'd truly be proud to write. But unfortunately, I don't have the knowledge to do it, and it's a good bet no one else does, either.
So, I'd settle for something like "Blockbuster - The Inside Story Behind The Biggest Baseball Trades Of The Last Fifty Years" and be content to read about the Frank Robinson trade, Kuenn for Colavito, endless trades between the Yankees and Kansas City A's, etc. expecting that Ryan-Fregosi, Piazza from the Marlins to the Mets, and Keith Hernandez for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey would have a place in the book.
Meanwhile, if anybody really knows or can cite a book that relates the background story of any of the above-mentioned trades, please pass that information along. I need some good summer reading.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published on May 24, 2007. - M.S.