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Mets Get the Past Right

Four for four: the Mets went 4-for-4 today. They resumed baseball activities with a bang.

The long-rumored, long-postponed, long-hidden Mets Hall of Fame announced its class for 2010, its first class in eight years, and it’s a doozy. It’s so good I have this feeling I’m writing one of those “wouldn’t it be nice?” fictional blog posts, except it really happened.

They’re inducting four Mets icons into the Hall [1] come August 1…August 1, not April 1. No foolin’. To be enshrined are:

• Dwight Gooden
• Darryl Strawberry
• Davey Johnson
• Frank Cashen

I told ya 4-for-4. These are the four I would have put on my ballot had anybody asked me. These were the four I was planning on suggesting in the next righteous-fan piece that I’m happy to report I do not have to write. The Mets actually convened their Hall of Fame committee as promised [2] and the committee did the exact right thing. They tabbed their two most overdue players and two most overdue guiding lights. They burnished the legend of 1986 perfectly.

The pitcher and the rightfielder who symbolized the journey from last place to first place. The manager who steered the ship in the right direction. The general manager who rebuilt the ship. Eight years since the Mets last paid proper attention to their past, they get back in the game with a bang.

There was no need to wait. I don’t mean they shouldn’t have put the Hall of Fame aside after 2002 (even though they shouldn’t have); I mean they shouldn’t have schlepped out induction for these four Mets one year longer. It’s a wonderfully crafted quartet, these men’s Mets accomplishments intertwined as they were. You can’t imagine the ’84, ’85 or ’86 Mets without Darryl and Doc. You can’t imagine them having come together without Davey or Cashen. Each of them is among the best the Mets have ever had at their particular jobs. Gooden was as great as any Met has ever been for a significant period of time. Strawberry was as spectacular as any Met has ever been for the length of a Met career. No conversation of Met managers can go more than two paragraphs before Johnson is mentioned. And go find me someone who put an organization together from ruins the way Cashen did.

This is exciting. This is genuinely exciting for a Mets fan who’s been waiting for the team to recognize itself. We recognize them far too often for the train wreck they’ve become in the moment. I love this chance to recognize them for the glory they achieved and the idea that they might achieve more of it.

Let’s Go Mets!