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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Filling Out the All-Time Mets Roster

Bravo, pretty much without exception and with only limited debate, for the 50th Anniversary Mets’ All-Time Team as revealed Sunday night at the 92nd Street Y and broadcast Thursday night on SNY. The committee empowered to choose the all-timers — Howie Rose, Gary Cohen, Marty Noble, John Harper, Mike Vaccaro and Mike Lupica — gave us a starting eight, a righty and lefty starting pitcher, a righty and lefty reliever and a manager. Its choices were as justifiable as they were fairly predictable.

Mike Piazza (catcher), Keith Hernandez (first base), Edgardo Alfonzo (second base), Darryl Strawberry (right field), Tom Seaver (righthanded starter), Jerry Koosman (lefthanded starter) and Roger McDowell (righthanded reliever) are precisely where we left them from the 40th Anniversary All-Amazin’ Team that was voted on by the fans in 2002. No reason to change any of those selections emerged in the intervening decade, though my one quibble might be with McDowell over Armando Benitez. If you’re measuring Met accomplishments in gross tonnage, Benitez has McDowell beat fairly cold. But if you’re the type who insists on using the net method of accounting — that is, deducting points for the Armando implosions that remain painfully clear and present in the Metsian memory — well, McDowell is your man, as he was the committee’s. (Perhaps the management of the 92nd Street Y pleaded with Howie, Gary, et al, to not pick Benitez so their facility wouldn’t be subject to the ire of rioting Mets fans.)

Cleon Jones (left field) was robbed in 2002, when the ballot asked for three outfielders and ignored positions, thus leaving the door open for Lenny Dykstra to steal Cleon’s slot. That historical injustice has since been corrected. No left fielder in Mets history has touched Cleon for longevity or impact — and I’m not just saying that because I shared pizza and conversation with the man last week.

Jose Reyes (shortstop), David Wright (third base) and Carlos Beltran (center field) didn’t exist for our intents and purposes ten years ago. Their respective arrivals and flourishings between 2002 and now are gratifying to consider since it would be unnerving to think the Mets don’t keep coming up with better all-timers all the time. (It is, however, unnerving to realize this trio played together for most of seven seasons yet made one postseason, but that’s another story.)

Wright’s on the verge of owning most Met records that don’t involve speed, yet he vamoosed past Howard Johnson pretty quickly. Reyes, despite being in kind of an all-timers’ limbo in light of his present business address, thoroughly supplanted the steadfast Bud Harrelson with a series of seasons unimaginable for shortstops of Buddy’s era (when Buddy was certifiably among the best at his craft). Beltran somehow lacks the innate ur-Metness of his All-Amazin’ counterpart Mookie Wilson and, for that matter, Wilson’s “all-time” predecessor Tommie Agee, but made up for it by being probably as fully formed an everyday player as the Mets ever had in his prime. Bittersweet to watch HoJo, Buddy and Mookie step aside — just as it was to see Agee give way to Mookie and Gary Carter take a bit of a back seat to Piazza — but Excelsior is the motto of New York State, so ever upward.

Except where lefty reliever was concerned, where the committee did a chronological U-turn, tossing All-Amazin’ choice John Franco out of the car and anointing Tug McGraw in his stead. Given that Franco, who was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery when the 2002 vote was taken, pitched 80.1 more Met innings in 2003 and 2004 and Tug hadn’t thrown a pitch for our side since 1974, this change of heart was rather surprising. It definitely went against the prevailing Department of Franco vibe that pervaded the Mets’ treatment of their hometown boy during his extended tenure with the club and it flat out dismissed a shisl of saves.

But it’s the right call. Put aside Tug’s XXL place in the Met mythology and just look at what he did as a fireman in the heart of his career here, from 1969 to 1973. “Closer” has replaced “fireman” in the baseball vernacular since Tug left and went away, but really, there’s a difference. Relief aces of McGraw’s day literally put out figurative fires. It didn’t matter what inning it was and it didn’t matter how many innings it took. The sport was just getting used to the bullpen being something more than a court of last resort. Tug was pretty close to a pioneer of modern relief pitching and a very successful one at that.

Then bring over Tug’s XXL place in the Met mythology, and you wonder what we were thinking when we didn’t give him the nod in 2002.

That leaves manager, and that one was, if not utterly unwarranted, then something of a shock, because it is so at odds with the Met mythology. Davey Johnson was selected ahead of Gil Hodges, a reversal of the call from the 40th anniversary. Neither Gil nor Davey has managed a single Mets game since 1990, so it can’t be recent successes or failures responsible for the switch. And given the demographics of the committee, it’s not like there’s a generational disconnect at work. These guys know from Gil Hodges and his sainted perch in family lore.

Yet they picked Davey anyway, which wasn’t a bad pick. It may even have been the right pick. Davey managed more winning seasons than any Met skipper and won more games than any Met skipper. The indisputable best concentrated stretch in Mets history, when the Mets won between 90 and 108 games for five consecutive seasons, made the playoffs twice and won the World Series once, had Davey Johnson at the helm.

It’s still weird, though, because Gil Hodges is Gil Hodges, and 1969 is 1969, no matter how much 1986 is 1986. All these years, Gil has been everybody’s reason 1969 occurred, including the players who did the actual playing. Davey gets plenty of credit in the 1986 retellings, but not quite with that molder-of-men reverence Gil does. Nevertheless, a sterile, objective reading of their bodies of Met work reveals it as not particularly close: 1 to 1 in world titles and each with a massive turnaround in his portfolio, but Davey holds the significant edge (6 to 3) in winning records and it’s Davey by a mile in having his team either in a race or winning it every single year he was permitted to manage from beginning to end.

But Gil is Gil and 1969 is 1969. That’s what it comes back to. In a very loose historical analogy, it’s Gil as the mythic Lincoln, stoically guiding the nation through its essential and definitive struggle before being cut down too soon, versus Davey as FDR, who smilingly led America to triumph in the face of depression and war yet still engenders enmity in those predisposed to find fault with his philosophies and/or style (with father of our franchise Casey Stengel as George Washington and Bobby Valentine a complex LBJ figure). Usually Lincoln wins the historians’ polls as greatest president, as if you can determine that sort of thing like it’s college football. Once in a while FDR beats him out. Of course you’d be hard-pressed to imagine the United States without both of them embroidered into our heritage.

So Davey Johnson (1984-1990) is our 50th Anniversary manager and we know our key players. What we don’t have is a full roster for Johnson to manage.

What say we get him one?

Though Davey was confined to a 24-man attack in managing the 1986 Mets to a world championship — dominating the National League along the way as no Mets team before or since has — we’re going to give him the standard 25. We know who’s starting for him, and we’ll even do him the great favor of crafting a lineup for him.

Reyes SS (B-S; 2003-2011)
Alfonzo 2B (B-R; 1995-2002)
Hernandez 1B (B-L; 1983-1989)
Piazza C (B-R; 1998-2005)
Strawberry RF (B-L; 1983-1990)
Wright 3B (B-R; 2004-Present)
Beltran CF (B-S; 2005-2011)
Jones LF (B-R; 1963, 1965-1975)

We’ve got a guy who once hit .340 batting eighth, so we’re in pretty good shape. I originally had Carlos second, Cleon seventh and Fonzie eighth, but Fonzie was the ideal No. 2 hitter and Beltran switch-hitting in the seven-hole breaks up righties Wright and Jones. Should Davey want to juggle these guys, he’s not going to get shortchanged.

But, y’know, these guys can’t be expected to play every single day. Certainly we need more than two starting pitchers and two relievers. Of course Seaver is our No. 1 and Koosman is our No. 2, just as they were in tandem so often from 1968 to 1977.

And our No. 3 starter? I know what you’re thinking…and let me steer you away from it. What I want to do with this roster is not simply stock it with the runners-up from the 50th Anniversary balloting. That would be easy but also misguided. Carter as a backup catcher? John Olerud as a reserve first baseman? Buddy as Jose’s caddy?

Let’s get real and stay real. I don’t want to do a “second team”. I want to construct an all-time Mets roster that reflects 50 years of who played for the Mets and how they played. I want guys who fit the roles that remain unspoken for. So, no, we don’t just slot Felix Millan in as our second second baseman, we don’t tell Kevin McReynolds to go in for defense in left and, sorry, we don’t simply lay in Doc Gooden to pitch after Koosman.

Admittedly, starting rotations sometimes are bountiful and you can have a handful of aces (and every starter should pitch like an ace no matter what their reputations say about them), but for our purposes, that would feel like cheating. Doc was an ace, let him stay an ace. What we need behind Seaver and Koosman are legitimate No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 starters, Met pitchers who pitched and pitched well in those roles. I’d also like to give Davey a rotation that goes righty-lefty-righty-lefty-righty, because that seems helpful.

That said…

All-Time No. 3 Starter: Rick Reed (RHP). Perfect guy for the assignment. Used to pitching in the shadows of bigger names, great control, fearless, different look from the harder-throwing Nos. 1 and 2 pitchers, postseason and pennant race experience.

All-Time No. 4 Starter: Sid Fernandez (LHP). Generally shoved down the rotation in his day because he was a little erratic to go along with being incredibly baffling to hitters. We’ll err on the side of his endless potential and occasional actual greatness here. (Jon Matlack was a little too highly thought of in his heyday to be considered a four.) If we’re in a World Series and we need an extra arm out of the pen in Game Seven, you know on whom we’re calling.

All-Time No. 5 Starter: Jim McAndrew (RHP). This is a tricky position, because we’re asking for a solid contribution from something of a fringe rotation member. But that’s a No. 5 starter for you, and McAndrew had enough stuff to come through often enough and was able to handle being bumped when off days and rainouts made it necessary. (If we wanted a third lefty, we might opt for Glendon Rusch in this spot, but we’re opting for a third righty.)

So our rotation is…

Tom Seaver (1967-1977, 1983)
Jerry Koosman (1967-1978)
Rick Reed (1997-2001)
Sid Fernandez (1984-1993)
Jim McAndrew (1968-1973)

I think we’re gonna get some quality starts. But we’re still gonna need a bullpen, and we have the foundation of a fine one, with Tug McGraw at the back end and Roger McDowell either setting him up or picking him up based on matchups. That gives us seven pitchers altogether, leaving us with the question of how many more we’re going to need. Our rule is we work with our Mets as we know them, and we know Davey Johnson never carried twelve pitchers and won the World Series with only nine. We’ll take our cue from the 1986 Opening Day roster and go with ten.

We have McGraw and McDowell for the eighth and ninth, more or less (each came in earlier as needed), but who else?

All-Time Workhorse: Turk Wendell (RHP). Eighty games for the 1999 Mets. Seventy-seven games for the 2000 Mets. Used in every conceivable pre-save situation. And what a fit with the self-described flake McGraw and practical joker McDowell. No better middle reliever in Mets history (and he might have been an out-of-the-box choice as RH RP for the All-Time team, or at least a more intriguing if mostly save-free nominee than Skip Lockwood or Neil Allen).

All-Time Lefty Specialist: Dennis Cook (LHP). Cook gets the nod over rubber-armed Pedro Feliciano for two reasons: he didn’t seem as risky a proposition against the occasional righty batter and he broke a literal 15-year string of failure where Met lefty specialists were concerned. Playing an important role in two postseasons was great, but expunging the ghosts of Gene Walter and Doug Simons was immense. (He’s also capable of pinch-hitting, though Bobby V never used him in that capacity.)

All-Time Swingman: Terry Leach (RHP). Just as McAndrew could help out in the bullpen, Leach could slip into the rotation, which he did with élan in 1987 as starter after starter went down and Leachie stood tall. Second games of doubleheaders are his. Plus the submarine delivery is a bonus to unleash on the mound, and we can count on him for those games that require long relief in the third or the thirteenth.

Our bullpen, then, is…

Tug McGraw (1965-1967, 1969-1974)
Roger McDowell (1985-1989)
Turk Wendell (1997-2001)
Dennis Cook (1998-2001)
Terry Leach (1981-1982, 1985-1989)

The only thing we don’t really have in our relief corps is a high-volume strikeout pitcher. The best Met relievers I ever saw in that regard were two closers who lost the committee vote: Benitez and Randy Myers, when they were setup men. But because their primary roles in their Met careers were as closers, it seems fudging it to rewrite history and make them seventh-inning pitchers or the like. Besides, the more you rely on hard throwers to get key outs, the more it seems to burn you. We’ll trust these guys to throw it and our outstanding defensive team to catch it.

With ten pitchers and eight positional starters, we need to build a seven-man bench for Davey, with several spots cast by easily defined role.

All-Time Backup Catcher: Todd Pratt. Tank caddied dutifully and boisterously for Mike Piazza, so why mess with a good thing (no offense, Duffy Dyer). We already know he can hit a big home run in the biggest of situations.

All-Time Pinch-Hitter Deluxe: Rusty Staub. This is Rusty Staub II, if you will, the 1981-1985 edition who excelled coming off the bench for four managers, the last of them Davey Johnson, which means we’re not counting on the younger, lither Rusty of 1972-1975, though we are permitted to know that redhead lurks within. He can still play a little first and some outfield in an extreme marathon, but he’s on this team for one big reason. When we look down the bench for a lefty bat late in a game, it’s Staub we want…and it’s the older, more…substantial Staub we’ll see putting on those black batting gloves. The Mets have been blessed with phenomenal lefty PHs dating back to Ed Kranepool in the ’70s (he batted .447 as such from 1974 through 1977) and running through Matt Franco, Lenny Harris and Marlon Anderson. But the absolute presence of Rusty Staub is too alluring to ignore.

All-Time Fourth Outfielder: Endy Chavez. We don’t expect Davey to need to pull Cleon in the second games of any doubleheader blowout losses to the Astros (we don’t expect many losses at all from our All-Time team), but it’s a long season, and everybody needs a blow. In 2006, Endy filled in smoothly at all three outfield positions throughout the year and when called upon to start in left in the NLCS, he caught on pretty well. Can hit a little, can run a good deal and his fielding is just about without peer.

The defined roles taken care of, we need to fill the less obvious niches on the All-Time roster. We don’t have any backup infielders yet. We don’t have a strong righty bat. We don’t know if it will ever come up in a game situation, but we don’t have an emergency catcher. We could definitely use some versatility. And you know Davey would love to spring a couple of surprises on the opposition.

Hmmm…

All-Time Utilityman: Melvin Mora. This is the Met version of Melvin Mora, not the one who started at third base for the Orioles for a decade or so (nice trade, Steve Phillips). This is the Melvin Mora plucked from obscurity just in time to rescue the team that ignored his existence most of 1999 and the Melvin Mora who played three infield and three outfield positions as a Met before being sent away in the middle of 2000 (did we mention nice trade, Steve Phillips?). Our Melvin Mora bats right, can run, can throw, can hit an occasional homer, can do whatever it is Davey needs. He might also elicit trade offers from other GMs, but our All-Time executive, Frank Cashen, isn’t going to listen to any of them. (He’s also not going to hire Steve Phillips to do as much as wash his car.)

All-Time Secret Weapon: Kevin Mitchell. Again, this is the Kevin Mitchell the Mets knew, so we’re not shoehorning an MVP onto our bench — we don’t know he’s going to be an MVP. We’re having faith in a righty-swinging rookie who only Davey seems to understand can do and will do anything he is asked. This is the Kevin Mitchell who played six positions (including shortstop, for goodness sake) in 1986 and got big hits, especially with two out in the bottom of the tenth. We think he’ll be a good influence overall.

All-Time Disgruntled Versatile Reserve: Joel Youngblood. Every team needs someone who thinks he’s being overlooked, underestimated or generally getting the shaft. This was Joel Youngblood from 1977 to 1982. He got his shots as an everyday player and sometimes played very well — made the All-Star team in 1981 with a .359 average despite not having had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title at the time — yet the Mets were always bringing in what they figured was a better option, like a Claudell Washington or an Ellis Valentine. Youngblood would get moved out of whatever position in which he’d recently settled because he could play just about anywhere, if not field as well as he did when they simply left him alone in right, where he displayed the best outfield arm the Mets ever employed. In the meantime, the man could hit with some power (16 home runs in 1979) and run, albeit with reckless abandon (32 stolen bases in 57 attempts in ’79 and ’80). Joe Torre and George Bamberger could never quite make the most out of him, but we’ll bet Davey Johnson could channel his aggravation beautifully.

All-Time Supersub: Rod Kanehl. My head tells me Bob Bailor or Joe McEwing if we need someone who can play anywhere competently and bust out occasionally, but what the hell? This is the All-Time team and the All-Time team can handle a dash of sentimentality out of its 25th man, .577 OPS be damned. What’s the point of celebrating the Mets’ 50th anniversary without an Original Met, and they didn’t get much more original than the Met who played seven positions, legendarily took one for the team with the bases loaded, made a proto-Endy catch in center field in one epic 1964 game, inspired the very first banner was raised by a Mets fan at the Polo Grounds — a bedsheet that paid homage to HOT ROD — and whom Casey Stengel himself described as “the guy who busts his ass for me.” Hot Rod will do the same for Johnson.

With Youngblood and Kanehl making the cut, every year in Met history but one is represented on the All-Time roster. Apologies to the 1994 Mets, particularly Joe Orsulak, whose quiet classiness didn’t quite make up for his frankly ordinary production between 1993 and 1995, which in turn didn’t make enough noise to fit in among Davey’s brassy bunch.

Gil probably would’ve taken Joe, if that’s any consolation.

Bench:

Todd Pratt (B-R; 1997-2001)
Rusty Staub (B-L; 1972-1975, 1981-1985)
Endy Chavez (B-L; 2006-2008)
Melvin Mora (B-R; 1999-2000)
Kevin Mitchell (B-R; 1984, 1986)
Joel Youngblood (B-R; 1977-1982)
Rod Kanehl (B-R; 1962-1964)

Ladies and gentlemen, your complete All-Time 50-Year Mets Team.

47 comments to Filling Out the All-Time Mets Roster

  • George

    What is Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey’s role in team history?

  • ian

    mcandrew? who had one winning year out of six with the Mets? you are kidding, correct? why not craig swan?

    • The role calls for a pure back-of-the-rotation guy, who, if somebody is very good — or the team is kind of bad — is not gonna be back there for long. Swan was the ace of some lousy Mets teams. McAndrew, who was a far better pitcher than wins and losses indicate, fits that bill: spot-starter, live arm, as good as you could hope for in a typical year out of a No. 5.

      Picture this roster as having only so high a payroll, and they’ve lavished plenty on the starting lineup plus Seaver and Koosman. All the other pitchers can’t be Gooden, Santana and, well, Swan.

  • um…wow. i like it. i could never have done this. you should be on the selection committee next time. heck, I’d love to hear Howie Rose and Gary Cohen making selections for these full-roster roles too.

  • JoeNunz

    Great job Greg. Well, except for Todd Pratt. I always hated Todd Pratt. You could have taken Ron, just so we’d have a Hodges on the team.

  • No team needs to carry more than ten pitchers, ever. A starting pitcher should go into a game assuming he’s going to go nine, and like Early Wynn, staring down any manager who tries to take him out. With the current trend in managing, all too often you’re going to wind up in a spot where you have to use your eleventh or twelfth-best pitcher. The 1951 Giants won with a stretch drive that basically used a three-man rotation — Maglie, Jansen and Hearn. And if Leo had to go to the bullpen he like as not called on Hearn, Jansen or Maglie.

  • Alvin

    Choosing Davey over Gil is heresy. And Stupid. Yes Davey won more games, but look at the roster he had. Gil won with a team that in the previous seasons were the dregs of the NL. Who knows how many WS the team would played in had Gill stayed alive. But here is the flaw in the argument for Davey based on W-L record. He had a team that should have won at least 1 or 2 more WS, yet failed to do so. Granted a lot of the reason was not his direct fault. Their were bad trades and injuries. The drug use in the clubhouse is something he could have had a handle on, but he could have done only so much. Nevertheless the mid 1980’s Mets should also been known as a team that severely underachieved when they should have had a historic run like the 90s Braves and Yankees.

    Davey over Gil. Geez.

  • jon

    You let the committee off too easy on the farce of the McDowell selection. A thing like this either has integrity or it doesn’t. Good effort otherwise, I can live with the controversial manager and 5 starter choices for now.

    • Righty reliever ballot could have found room for Ron Taylor — and how poor an investment was Frankie Rodriguez that he couldn’t beat out Allen or Lockwood?

  • McDowell threw five of the most pressure-packed scoreless innings in Mets history in Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS and he got the win in Game 7 of the World Series. If Armando were involved, I think either the Astros get their first pennant or the Red Sox end their curse before it even became known as a curse. No, my problem with this list is with Jon Matlack not being on it. Much as I love Rick Reed, Matlack blew him–and most opposing batters–away. And he was number three in the rotation for at least part of his career behind Seaver and Koosman, the Aramis behind Porthos and Athos in the Three Muskateers rotation that was as good as any team in baseball in the pitching-rich 1970s and has no peer in Mets history. And I’m with Greg on McGraw and Hodges. One earned it and other was robbed.

  • March'62

    Actually I totally agree with the Davey Johnson selection and I am a BIG Gil Hodges fan. While Gil’s input into this team’s history is immeasurable, let’s face it, he only had the one good season. Unfortunately, he was shot in the theater and didn’t get a chance to continue his body of work (BTW, I think Frank Howard would make a better LBJ). Davey put together a run of years 1984-1988 that stack up much better than any other 5 years in Met history. If there were wild card opportunities available, the Mets would have qualified for the post-season each year.

    As far as your additions Greg – I think putting Melvin Mora and Kevin Mitchell had more to do with what they did after leaving the Mets than for what they actually did with the Mets. I think Hojo and Mazzilli deserve spots on the bench before those other guys.

    • March'62

      Oh and Yogi as Truman. I see Bobby V more as a Teddy Roosevelt. Wes Westrum as Gerald Ford…….

      • Dave

        And that would make George Bamberger Millard Filmore, maybe Art Howe is Warren Harding, Jeff Torborg would be James Buchanan.

        • March'62

          Jerry Manual as Jimmy Carter, Terry Collins as Woodrow Wilson, Joe Torre as Bill Clinton……

          • As for presidents and managers — and politics is checked at the door — a case has been made for Roy McMillan as Gerald Ford and (via a bright young man studying international history), Jerry Manuel as Woodrow Wilson (with a recent email from the same fellow suggesting a contemporary scenario besides:

            I’d say that the pursuit and capture of the First No Hitter mirrored that of Osama Bin Laden. Think about it: Both had their share of agonizing near misses (Tora Bora/Seaver) on the way to eventual success. The end of both pursuits materialized suddenly, and on the strength of the best we’ve got (Seal Team Six/ Santana). President Obama and Terry Collins alike made an excruciating decision to go in for the kill. Neither achievement came in the most efficient possible way (the downed copter/ 134 pitches). And in both cases, the end of a long period of frustration led to a spurt of optimism, which then led to a sighing acknowledgment of problems that can’t be solved in one exuberant night (Pakistan/realizing that the bullpen still exists, and is terrible).

            And of course, I found out about both events while watching the Met game.

    • There’s a scene in The Verdict in which the jury learns of some sensational piece of evidence but is then advised by the crooked judge to disregard it, which is of course impossible. Perhaps that’s so with Mora and Mitchell, but all efforts were made to keep Mora’s and Mitchell’s qualifications limited to their Met days.

  • Jon

    That Silverman fella is right about the screwing of Jon Matlack at least.

  • Andre

    So no Gary? Who would you have as 1st & 3rd base coach and hell the rest of the coaching staff as well?

    • I really like Bobby V as third base coach, though I’m not sure if that violates the spirit of acknowledging how else the rest of an individual’s Met tenure unfolded, a la the setup men who became closers. If we disqualify eventual managers as coaches, Eddie Yost seemed quite present in the third base box all those years. Bill Robinson at first, Rube Walker with the pitchers, Joe Pignatano, of course, out in the pen. Gil’s men did stick around for quite a while after Gil. Vern Hoscheit for bench coach.

  • Guy Kipp

    I’m certainly not going to quibble with the oft-forgotten and always overlooked Terry Leach on your roster. But if you want a lefty for that swingman/spot starter role, I’d say it was tailor-made for Ray Sadecki.

    • Loved Sadecki, he drew fervent consideration, as did Pat Mahomes.

    • Scott Leach

      Terry is my uncle and I want to thank you both for what you’ve said about him. He has always been my hero in baseball for persevering and overcoming the odds to have what I consider a solid major league career.

  • Dave

    Even just watching this event on TV, it was so much fun that I was surprised that the Mets thought of it. And while I was watching it I thought the team needed a utility guy, McEwing, Hot Rod, even Teddy Martinez. But the manager category…oy vey. Johnson had all the numbers, but I didn’t notice the guys from the 86 team giving him all of the credit. All Seaver, Kooz and Cleon wanted to talk about was Gil. And no disrespect intended, but nominating Casey Stengel for Mets all-time manager would have been like nominating Willie Mays in the CF category. Glad he was part of our history, but we just had the museum relic version.

    And on a different topic, will someone please tell our guy Frank-Frank to shut up? After a few weeks of God forbid having to share the back pages with the Mets, the Yankees don’t already have enough incentive to want to beat us, and he goes and gives them bulletin board fodder?

    • March'62

      Terry should probably have Frank retract his statement…..but we could certainly use the eggs.

    • Casey’s such a singular figure in the formation of the franchise that I was thrilled he made the ballot. If he’s off it, I suppose Yogi would’ve gotten that nomination, and his tenure ended horribly (everybody’s tenure ends horribly, though). Never brought up in Greatest Met Manager discussions: Guy who led Mets to their first division title in 18 years a mere six years ago.

      • Dave

        Your point about Casey is well taken, and he might be the only manager in the Mets’ history whose tenure didn’t end horribly unless you count a broken hip (I can’t think of another who simply retired; interim guys have always been obviously interim). But actually, said Guy who led us to our first division title in 18 years was the one I would have replaced Casey on the ballot with, even though he would have been the 4th place finisher on that list. To me, Yogi was, to keep presidential comparisons going, a George HW Bush “yeah, I guess it’s his turn” kind of manager.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Getting back to the TV Show, my guess is that there’s quite a backstory to Hank McGraw.

    But, what was his son-in-law Tim wearing as a shirt during his brief filmed thank you for his Dad??? It looked like he had just returned from a lie detector test and the electrode clips were still attached.

    • Truly great profile here of the McGraw who didn’t make the bigs. I’ve read about him for years but had never seen or heard him before. Pretty much as advertised.

      Tim must’ve been between sets. At least he deigned to stand and speak in front of a camera for 30 seconds, unlike certain All-Time catchers.

      • Ken K. in NJ

        Thanks for the link to Hank’s amazing story. Quite a story indeed, and that was 10 years ago.

  • Steve D

    So, Gil wins with a team and got the absolute best out of each them for that one year…he is given much credit, by Tom himself, for turning Seaver into a Hall of Famer…he probably had something to do with Ryan becoming a Hall of Famer. Davey took a very talented team and we are grateful for what he did, but couldn’t anybody have won with that 1986 team and maybe won another title somehow? How did Davey shape his 2 players that had more raw talent than most Hall of Famers? Gill must be the all time manager.

  • Ed Rising

    Greg good work and I appreciate this forum to discuss the merits of the SNY All Time Mets team.

    I agree with most others that Gil Hodges was deserviing of being the Alltime Mets manager for that he had a greater impact on the franchise, changing the culture and winning without superstars – other than Seaver. Like most of us, I’ve heard/seen Seaver speak of Gil Hodges in nearly every interview he has ever given about the Mets and his development as a pitcher. Watching him last night breaking down as he lovingly expresed how much Gil meant to thim and the 69’ers, and his disappointment not to be included as manager. This is a guy who spent the last 20 years advocating Gil for the Baseball Hall of Fame – Gil doesn’t even make the Mets All Time team? Yeah it doesn’t seem right. Not very “Met-like”.

    With all due respect to Davey, he was a good manager for the ’86 team and his record makes him deserving – if we are going by wins and losses.

    I gotta say i was surprised by the sense of humor displayed by Fonzie about asking if he was picked ofr 2ND or 3RD! I couldn’t believe Wright stepping on FOnzie reminding him that “I’m a 3B – stick with 2ND!” Great lines. Nice to see their personalities.

    The audience’s boos for Bobby Bonilla was hysterical. I didn’t think he belonged on the 50 greatest Mets show and I can’t see him nominated either. What no Ricky Henderson? We need card players on this team!

    I was surprised how Hubie Brooks was nominated over Wayne Garrett. Carlos Beltran makes sense unless they were able to use Mookstra as one player. Then again if we are talking about ‘team’ rather than just best players – we did need Beltran’s power.

    Greg, speaking of team, I appreciate your unique way of filling out the remainder of the roster with the appropriate role players. Still I think JOH NATLACK and CRAIG SWAN would ahve been better SP choices. Swan was a 4th or 5th starter when he initially came up. JERRY GROTE would have been the perfect backup catcher. he could have caught Seaver as a personal catcher and I think he would have accepted that role. I liked Pratt, but he was really only good for that one stetch in ’00 and the homerun that won the NLDS. HOJO would have been a better choice of Kanehl What no super Joe McEwing? SCOTT HAIRSTON is making a run for 4th outfielder now, but Chavez is okay but despite his one great play in ’06, I would have preferred seeing MOOKIE WILSON in that role. I’m sorry, no Joel Youngblood. He may have been versitle, but from what I’ve read about him he was as nasty as Kingman. Give me THE KRANE – EDDIE KRANEPOOL – the man gave us 18 years he deserves a spot on this roster and he could play several roles. Like Gary Cohen, Bud Harrelson was my favorite player growing up and I miss him not being on the team – but of course REYES makes sense and is truly deserving. I have spots for Buddy and others as coaches: HARRELSON as 3B coach, STENGEL as bench coach, OJEDA as pitching coach (He talks a good game on SNY anyway), STEARNS as bullpen coach.

    The show itself was run great as i always enjoy Gary Cohen and Howie Rose together. I’d like to see them cross from TV/RADIO once in a while as these guys are true Mets fans and speak for us. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts Greg! Happy Sumnmer!

  • Ed Rising

    Just for the heck of it here is what I would consider my all time Mets team. I did take some of Greg’s concept into it with REED rather than Coney.

    Pitchers: Seaver, Koosman, Gooden, Matlack, Reed, McGraw, McDowell, Orosco, Wendell, Swan (a/k/a Swannie)
    Catchers: Piazza, Grote
    Infielders: Hernandez ALfonzo, Reyes, Wright, HoJo,Humt
    Outfielders: Strawberry, Beltran, Jones, Wilson, Kranepool, Staub, Mazzilli
    MGR: Hodges
    Coachers Harrelson, Stengel, Stearns, Ojeda.

  • Kevin From Flushing

    Mora will always get a standing o from me, but come on, he was only good for a month! A magical month to be sure, but still just a month. And how many games does he have under his Met belt, is it even 81?

    And Cook… not sure what year it was, I suppose it had to be 2001, but I distinctly remember screaming at Bobby V through the TV when he would bring in Cook to face a lefty because lefties happened to be knocking him around that year. Maybe it was a fluke, but I’m just saying…

    As for the manager debate, it depends on the team under him, doesn’t it? I think the all-time team would do well under either Davey or Gil, because their makeup is great, but couldn’t you see Gil taking Keith aside and saying “I give the orders around here, not you.”? Not sure how that would sit. Certainly if Gil said it to Delgado, there’d be a divide in the clubhouse.

    Nice under-the-radar joke about Mitchell being a good influence, and well done overall.

  • Patrick O'Hern

    Great fun post Greg. Aggie for the number 5 spot. Plus he was a great hitter. Who would be your top 2 radio and Tv guys? We have been fortunate in that position for over 50 years. Well maybe not the Lorn Brown year.

    • Aggie was strongly considered (especially for the bat), but his migration to full-time bullpen work by 1988 cooled my ardor. Plus I liked spreading the workload around chronologically.

      And since you asked about broadcasters, who could resist the chance to hear mention of Lost Nation, Iowa, once more from Bob Murphy?

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    I wonder if Howie, Gary and Kevin were embarrassed with the pick of Davey over Gil based on what the players said.

    Hernandez and Strawberry spoke nothing about Davey in their comments. On the other hand, Cleon, Koozman and Seaver couldn’t stop with their praises of Gil, Tom (as we all know) being brought to tears as he warned us he might.

    Those intangables of leadership and instilling professionalism and integrity into kids for both their career and personal lives are qualities that can never be seen in statistics. Those of us us fortunate to have been a part of that wonderful summer of 1969 know first hand how important those managerial qualities were.

    • Steve D

      Love the way you put it…Gil helped advance 2 Hall of Famers…Davey may have prevented 2…that is a net difference of 4 Hall of Famers between those two in Gil’s all too short tenure. No telling also how those 2 Hall of Famers helped countless other players as well.

  • […] An interesting spin, taking the picks, and crafting out the rest of an all-time 25 man roster. __________________ Talking Mets Baseball. A baseball blog with a Mets bias […]

  • Ed Rising

    I really don’t Davey prevented Gooden and Strawberry becoming HOF’rs. Both these men had their issues/addictions inside them and the organization did the best it could to help them rehab, and later be disciplined by the league. I think Davey could have won more world series titles. Maybe he could have kept Cone away from the press and ghostwriters, Ojeda away from his garden for a few weeks. He treated his players like men…who sometimes acted more like bad boys.