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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Welcome, THB Class of 2021!

Great, there will actually be a season! Which means we have business to attend to — extending a slightly overdue welcome to 2021’s matriculating Mets, who are now in The Holy Books!

(Background: I have three binders, long ago dubbed The Holy Books by Greg, that contain a baseball card for every Met on the all-time roster. They’re in order of arrival in a big-league game: Tom Seaver is Class of ’67, Mike Piazza is Class of ’98, Noah Syndergaard is Class of ’15, etc. There are extra pages for the rosters of the two World Series winners, the managers, ghosts, and one for the 1961 Expansion Draft. That page begins with Hobie Landrith and ends with the infamous Lee Walls, the only THB resident who neither played for the Mets, managed the Mets, nor got stuck with the dubious status of Met ghost.)

(If a player gets a Topps card as a Met, I use it unless it’s a truly horrible — Topps was here a decade before there were Mets, so they get to be the card of record. No Mets card by Topps? Then I look for a minor-league card, a non-Topps Mets card, a Topps non-Mets card, or anything else. That means I spend the season scrutinizing new card sets in hopes of finding a) better cards of established Mets; b) cards to stockpile for prospects who might make the Show; and most importantly c) a card for each new big-league Met. Eventually that yields this column, previous versions of which can be found hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, here, here and here.)

The 2021 Mets employed a stunning 42 new players, smashing the club record of 35 set back in 1967 and coming within three of tying the number of new players used in 1962, when every Met was by definition a newcomer. 1967 was a transition year, one marked by a new GM, a change of organizational philosophy and a restlessness with what had come before, but 2021 was just a perfect storm of weird. Basically, everybody got hurt and the team zoomed through interchangeable players at the margins, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and just winding up with a lot of bottles filled with water.

You might want to make reading this post a multi-day affair, because that’s sure as hell how I’m going to write it. Let’s go!

Kevin Pillar: So I was wrong. Pillar arrived with billing as a useful late-inning defender if no longer the center-field wizard he was a step or two ago, but after watching his first few weeks in Queens I told everybody who’d listen and a few people who wouldn’t that he was a Jonah, a sink of do-nothingness who’d drag the whole season down with him to hell if not excised from the roster posthaste. Then, one night in Atlanta in mid-May, Pillar took a Jacob Webb fastball to the face, a frightening incident I watched from a San Francisco bar that had me instinctively out of my chair and standing up close to the TV, anxious to glean as much info as I could. Pillar was OK, thank goodness, and showed not just grit but also grace in returning, going out of his way to reassure a distraught Webb that these things happen. Did he have a great year? Not really, but he showed me pretty emphatically he’d never deserved the Jonah tag I’d stuck on him in a fit of April pique, and that’s not a bad lesson. 2022 Topps card in which — appropriately — he’s scaling an outfield wall. Can’t tell if he’s going to catch anything, though.

Francisco Lindor: Why does every highly heralded Met arrival have to get hazed by not only the fans but also fate? Lindor arrived pre-anointed as a superstar, delivered from the backwater that is Cleveland to become an MVP candidate and a million-watt matinee idol, and at least for his first year was neither. (By the way, Cleveland is a perfectly fine town and this well-worn Gotham narrative makes us look like assholes.) There was the deeply weird rat-raccoon postgame Pravda after his contretemps with Jeff McNeil, but more than that there was the fact that Lindor looked lost at the plate — he didn’t raise his average above the Mendoza line until friggin’ June 2. If you want to look on the bright side — and given that monster contract, we all better — he turned things around after that, only to have his season derailed by a nagging oblique injury, because 2021. Even while slumping at the plate, Lindor was the busiest, savviest, most go-go infield captain the Mets have had since Keith Hernandez, and that’s something. A bad year isn’t destiny, but why does this stuff always happen to us? Some 2021 Topps insert using the ’92 design; at least his smile looks MVP caliber.

James McCann: Sturdy catcher came over from the White Sox after a pair of solid seasons and looked more like the guy the Tigers had been happy enough to let go of, hitting approximately 485,912 balls into the ground over the course of a nightmare year. That brought the usual grumblings that Tomas Nido should catch, a fantasy that Nido inevitably squelched once given a run of playing time, as has been true with the Mets’ catching corps basically since Mike Piazza got old. McCann has three years left on his contract; should he falter again, the fanbase will be scouting Francisco Alvarez’s trips to the bathroom and water fountain at Binghamton. 2022 Topps card, since the names of the players on Topps’ 2021 cards were impossible to read without a magnifying glass.

Trevor May: Burly, brainy reliever came over and was OKish in the pen, mixing reliable stretches with streaks in which he gave up way too many walks and homers. At least he was forthright about things when they went awry. He’s a smart guy, but identifying what’s wrong and fixing it are very different things — not just for May but for the entire human race, if you’ll forgive an existential aside. 2021 Topps card. You can’t read his fucking name, so just trust me that it’s him.

Aaron Loup: The Mets’ signing of this veteran lefty elicited mostly shrugs, but he was unhittable out of the pen, finishing the year with an 0.95 ERA (no, not a typo) and actually making people feel fondly towards Busch Light despite the fact that it’s not anything a sensible person should put in his or her mouth. Loup then signed with the Angels, perhaps because the Mets were a rudderless fiasco for a crucial stretch of the offseason, perhaps because he didn’t like New York, or perhaps because he’s wise enough to know that bullpen seasons are strands of spaghetti that tend not to stick to the same wall twice. You’ll see that 0.95 ERA pop up on SNY leaderboards for years and say, “Oh yeah, remember that?” It’s an anticlimax, but he gets a Topps Total card in which he’s a Padre.

Jonathan Villar: Wound up playing a lot more than envisioned after J.D. Davis’s season turned to dust, and acquitted himself well, playing a not-bad third and showing both power and speed. That’s the kind of performance that can be part of a championship season when everything else goes right; unfortunately for the Mets nearly everything else went wrong, so Villar’s 2021 will be remembered in a “well, it wasn’t his fault” way by the hardcore and forgotten by everyone else. Here’s wishing him well wherever he lands. 2021 Topps card in a Photoshopped Mets uni.

Albert Almora Jr.: Always a good defender, Almora had teased Cubs fans with his offensive potential but never delivered on it, walking the forlorn road from prospect to suspect to someone else’s project. His time with the Mets was misbegotten from the jump, as there really wasn’t anything he could do that Kevin Pillar couldn’t. Anyway, he made some fine defensive plays early in the season, didn’t hit a lick, got hurt and that was that. Feels like everybody involved would have been happier if we’d just skipped the whole thing. 2020 Cubs card.

Jacob Barnes: The first pitch he threw as a Met was a 95 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate in Philly that J.T. Realmuto hit to the Azores for a three-run homer. Whoops! Old Topps Heritage card where he’s a Brewer.

Joey Lucchesi: After never finding a place in San Diego and feeling pretty chapped about it, Lucchesi escaped to the Mets and looked like a steal in the early going, showing off a promising “churve” but also exhibiting a dispiriting habit of getting pinata’ed the second time through the batting order. But in late May something clicked and Lucchesi put together an excellent month even as everything was tumbling down around him. His teammates rallied around him too, flashing the churve symbol in an effort to get baseball to recognize the pitch on scoreboards. (Yes, that was the churve symbol and not the sign for “white power,” which was a good thing for the obvious reasons and also because 2021 was enough of a drag as it was.) This feel-good story then screeched to a halt in June when it turned out Lucchesi needed Tommy John surgery. Yeah, it was that kind of year. 2021 Topps card. It’s a horizontal, which isn’t as bad as white-power signs in big-league dugouts but should still be decried.

Taijuan Walker: A rising star with the Mariners not so long ago, Walker’s career followed a distressing but all too familiar pattern: injuries and scuffling followed by repeated changes of address, a character arc that might be called “Didn’t you used to be … ?” The Mets were his fourth organization in three years, and Walker was running out of time. But his arc was about to change: Walker’s elbow had finally healed, he’d used his time in the baseball desert to learn the valuable lessons young flamethrowers don’t yet realize they need to know, and he was ready to remind everyone of who he used to be. When Jacob deGrom turned down a chance to pitch in the All-Star Game, Walker (who’d donned Turk Wendell’s old 99) was a very worthy replacement. A nice story, but alas, the season had a second half. Everything that had come together came back apart, and Walker ended the year with as many wins as he’d had at the break. What happened? Maybe the increase in innings was too much, maybe hitters figured out Walker’s new wrinkles, maybe the first half’s good fortune was balanced by its second-half opposite, or maybe it was a little bit of everything. I’d like to know; the Mets and Walker would like to know too. 2022 Topps card.

Trevor Hildenberger: A side-arming righty who’d mulled being a film critic if this whole baseball thing didn’t work out, Hildenberger got exactly two outings as a Met, posted an ERA north of 15, and saw the credits roll while the butter on his popcorn was still hot. An old Topps Twin card; he has another one specific to a team set that I can’t find and will search for in vain until 2042, when it will cost me a fortune. Grrr.

Sean Reid-Foley: A Clark Gable mustache and a bouncer’s tattoos made Reid-Foley a distinctive sight even before taking his stance on the mound, a vaguely sumo crab stance accompanied by a stare in at the catcher. After replacing Jacob Barnes on the roster he was a strikeout machine, meaning he also instantly replaced Jacob Barnes in our hearts. Alas, Reid-Foley’s early success ended, his elbow began barking, and he wasn’t seen again after June. TLDR version: “He was a relief pitcher.” Some old Topps insert, as a Blue Jay.

Stephen Tarpley: The Holy Books indicate he pitched for the Mets, so I guess he did. Topps Total card as a Marlin. I do remember that part: It was a hasty eBay transaction to keep a Yankees card out of THB.

Jose Peraza: A nomadic utility infielder in terms of both position and address, Peraza arrived at the tail end of April and logged more time than either he or the Mets had expected, showing solid instincts afield and proving a clutch bat off the bench. But he was a better suited there than as an everyday player: He put up a WAR of 0.0, which is a statistical synonym for “overexposed utility guy.” Just got a 2022 Topps Heritage card as a Met, which makes zero sense seeing how he’s now a Yankee minor leaguer, but is a boon to The Holy Books.

Patrick Mazeika: Ended 2020 as a Mets ghost, and between his pedestrian minor-league numbers and the fickle fortunes of backup catchers, I feared his chance to escape ectoplasmic purgatory might have come and gone. But in 2021 Mazeika reappeared and became a cult hero, collecting a game-winning fielder’s choice against the D’Backs in his second at-bat and getting his uniform ripped off in celebration. It was the start of an unlikely and thoroughly wonderful stretch in which Mazeika somehow collected three RBIs, two of them walk-offs, before getting a big-league hit. (We’ll come back to this point later.) There weren’t too many of those hits — the highlight was probably a home run against the Rays on an otherwise dismal day — but who needs those (or uniform tops) if you can supply enough well-timed worm-killers? 2022 Topps card. It might be the only one he ever gets, but it’s one more than I figured he would, and that’s a nice story.

Jordan Yamamoto: A fitfully promising Marlins castoff, Yamamoto was acquired for depth, pressed into service as the starting rotation’s body count climbed, pitched OK in a couple of cameos, and then got hurt and tossed on the IL discard pile himself. This capsule biography could be copy-pasted quite a bit. 2020 Topps card as a Marlin.

Tommy Hunter: You know storm clouds are gathering when guys like Hunter appear on the roster. I say that not with malice but with a veteran fan’s sad wisdom, and I doubt Hunter would disagree: A husky hurler in his mid-thirties, Hunter is in the autumn of his career, riding waiver wires as a wise head attached to a potentially useful body, to be called on in a team’s hour of need. That time came for the Mets in May, and Hunter did well before (inevitably) getting hurt: He turned in eight scoreless innings and collected a long-awaited first big-league hit. His delight in that hit will stay with me long after I’ve forgotten the rest. 2021 Topps Heritage card as a Phillie.

Jake Hager: Hager made his big-league debut with the Mets on May 15, got his first hit on May 21, and was designated for assignment on May 22. If that sounds like a lot, consider Hager’s recent transaction history: Signed a minor-league deal with the Mets on Jan. 9, 2020; lost a season to the pandemic and became a free agent on Nov. 2; resigned with the Mets on Nov. 4; turned in the week recounted above; claimed off waivers by the Brewers on May 25; designated for assignment on June 18; claimed off waivers by the Mariners on June 22; designated for assignment on July 27; claimed on waivers by the Diamondbacks on July 30; appeared in nine games for Arizona while being sent down twice; outrighted to Triple-A on Sept. 12; became a free agent on Nov. 7; resigned with Arizona on Dec. 1. So many W-2s! 2019 card as a San Antonio Mission.

Johneshwy Fargas: A good spring training turned this minor-league speedster into a fan cause celebre ahead of the 2020 season, but COVID happened and then Fargas entered 2021 behind both Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora on the defensive-outfielder depth chart. Come May, though, the Mets had become a MASH unit and the roster was just a few transactions away from “first 26 fans get to play,” so enter Johneshwy at long last. His week in orange and blue was a successful one, with hits in five of seven games, but a collision with the Citi Field wall put him on the shelf (2021, oof) and when he returned it was as a Cub. Represented by one-quarter of a minor-league Stolen Base Leaders card, because his cheapest standalone card is somehow $15 on eBay and even my fanaticism has its limits.

Khalil Lee: A Royals prospect turned suspect, Lee came to the Mets in one of those three-way transactions that’s generally more interesting to parse than to see play out. After an early-season stint as a ghost, Lee made his debut during May’s rosterpalooza and the NOT READY signs were flashing red: He struck out in his first eight big-league plate appearances. This cruel stretch ended in dramatic fashion, though, as Lee’s first big-league hit was a double roped into the corner in extra innings in Miami, the decisive blow in one of those trench-warfare Mets-Marlins games that should be prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. Lee then struck out a whole bunch more and was returned to Syracuse, but cut down the Ks and had one of the better second halves in the system. He’s not yet 24, so he still has time. Got a 2021 Topps Update card capturing him celebrating a victory; as a bonus, it shows Johneshway Fargas jogging in next to him. Hey! I can just buy another copy of that one!

Cameron Maybin: Well-traveled veteran arrived during rosterpalooza and collected one hit in 33 plate appearances, perhaps hampered by the giant fork sticking out of his back. 2020 Topps card as a Tiger.

Brandon Drury: Nine of 2021’s new Mets had previously logged time with the Blue Jays, which is a little weird. Drury was one of them, a depth piece called upon during rosterpalooza and one of the year’s success stories. He was deadly as a pinch-hitter, hitting .367 in 30 ABs, rode a few hot streaks and was a lot better in the field than we’d been led to expect. Drury moved on near year’s end to make room for Robert Gsellman, but if every transaction had worked out that well we might have tarted up the blog design with bunting and trophies and other good shit. 2020 Topps card as (you guessed it) a Blue Jay.

Yennsy Diaz: Former Blue Jay arrived without a card available for The Holy Books, so I drew my own — complete with a smile and a word balloon saying Hi! — and posted it on Twitter, a moment of whimsy that Diaz retweeted approvingly. Because of this, no one is ever allowed to say anything bad about him. Walked 12 in 25 innings, which helped contribute to a 5.40 ERA and a -0.2 WAR. Now has a real card as a 2018 Midwest League Top Prospect.

Billy McKinney: It was a tumultuous year for the former Blue Jay, who got off to a hot start with the Brewers before cooling off and winding up with the Mets during rosterpalooza, which worked out pretty well at first and then inevitably less so. The Mets designated McKinney for assignment and he wound up playing in the postseason for the Dodgers. A guy you’ll miss on future roster quizzes. 2021 supplied a lot of those guys! 2020 Card as a Blue Jay.

Mason Williams: Genial-looking once-upon-a-time Yankees prospect helped hold the fort for a stretch in June, which is all you can fairly ask of someone who’s settled into life as a Quad-A player. Does anyone remember Wilfredo Tovar returned to get a paycheck as a 2021 Met? No really, that happened. 2021 Syracuse Mets card.

Travis Blankenhorn: Designated by the Twins for assignment on May 8, by the Dodgers after three Triple-A ABs on May 21, and by the Mariners after a minor-league stint at the end of May, Blankenhorn emerged from this Hageresque odyssey to find himself a Met come June. He only hit .174, but his first career homer was a comeback-accelerating three-run blast against the Pirates in the weirdo game where Taijuan Walker kicked a fair ball out of bounds, and that ought to count for something. Topps then granted Blankenhorn a 2021 Topps Update card, leaving me equal parts grateful and puzzled.

Jerad Eickhoff: With the Mets’ rotation options down to plans requiring Greek letters, the team turned to Eickhoff and kept giving him the ball despite increasingly horrifying results — four starts and an ERA of 8.69. It reminded me of Tommy Milone’s 2017 metronome of suck, except for reasons that are possibly not scientific I loathed Milone and just felt sorry for Eickhoff. None of it was his fault, but it still wasn’t any fun to watch. 2021 Syracuse card.

Tylor Megill: Rose from the “and other names” section of the prospect rankings to a spot in the rotation when everything went to hell, and he looked like a godsend at first. But the regression was painful: Megill’s ERA climbed from 2.04 after seven starts to 4.52 at season’s end. This is pretty much Exhibit A in being asked to do too much; besides being a rookie, Megill had never thrown so many innings before, and was asked to do so after the lost season of 2020, whose effects on minor-leaguers will be debated for a baseball generation. In a universe governed by justice, Megill would start 2022 at Triple-A and proceed on his timetable rather than the Mets’. I don’t need to tell you the universe isn’t usually cooperative in such things, so I’ll remind you that it’s our job as informed fans to mind the gap. 2022 Topps insert card in the ’87 style.

Thomas Szapucki: After a Biblical run of injuries delayed his ascent to the bigs, Szapucki finally made his debut against Atlanta and allowed six runs in 3.2 innings as the Mets lost, 20-2. Oof. Adding injury to insult, he then landed on the IL and needed ulnar-nerve transposition surgery. That means he’s flushed a lifetime’s worth of bad luck out of his system, right? RIGHT? He’s only 25, which is either hopeful or ominous depending on how you see the world. Some ancient Bowman card.

Robert Stock: A ham-and-egger, Stock made a spot start for the Cubs at Citi Field in mid-June and was roughed up by the Mets, taking the loss. Three weeks later he made a spot start for the Mets against the Brewers; it didn’t go quite as badly but he still took the loss. Stock was good-humored about the whole thing, which is a useful skill as a baseball player, given that the alternative is to stare into the howling void until the light is stripped from one’s soul, leaving behind a shadowy vestige fated to wander the cosmos demanding WHY? and never receiving an answer. A long-ago Topps card as a Padre.

Nick Tropeano: The record shows he threw two innings for the Mets on July 9 in a 13-4 win against the Pirates, which I will take on faith, as I have no memory of them or him. An old card as an Angel.

Anthony Banda: This guy I remember! A lefty with glasses and a vaguely worried mien, he made his debut in the 10th inning of a hellacious game in Cincinnati with the Mets ahead 10-9 and both teams’ fanbases hiding under their beds, gave up singles to the first two hitters to leave the game tied and the Mets on the verge of defeat, somehow escaped further damage and then walked away with the win as the beneficiary of a five-spot in the top of the 11th. That was basically a season’s worth of middle-reliever angst packed into a single night. Banda’s Mets career was over before two weeks were out, during which time I bellowed “BANDA MACHO!” at the TV whenever good things happened involving him and/or as an attempt to stop bad things from happening, which a) exactly one of you will recognize as a reference to a classic album by the Figgs; and b) mostly didn’t work. Old Topps Heritage card as a Ray.

Geoff Hartlieb: Posted a 7.71 ERA with the Pirates, somehow parlayed that into a go-round with the Mets, and doubled his ERA, which seems both tough to do and ill-advised. I had to look all that up, as I wouldn’t know Geoff Hartlieb from Adam’s off ox. Given the above numbers, that’s for the best. Indianapolis Indians card snatched up on eBay.

Rich Hill: No, he won’t make Cooperstown, but goddamnit Rich Hill is everything great about baseball. He just turned 42, 2021 was his 17th season and the Mets were his 11th team. (He’ll pitch for the Red Sox again this season.) His stat line looks like it must reflect wars or hostage dramas, as he was basically MIA for 2010-11 and 2014-15, felled by a torn labrum, Tommy John surgery and other woes. When he couldn’t get any other offers in the summer of 2015 he became a Long Island Duck, struck out 21 in 11 scoreless innings and was almost immediately back in the bigs, point more than proven. Nothing he does looks particularly impressive, but he takes the ball when asked and gives his team a chance to win — a cliche, sure, but one that exists because of how hard it is for a big-league club to achieve that baseline with pitchers who are too young, too old or too far from figuring stuff out. Hill made 12 starts for a desperate team and only won one of them, but put up a 3.84 ERA and gave his team space to worry about the other four days. That was more than enough. 2021 Topps Heritage card as a Twin.

Akeem Bostick: If you put him in a lineup (real or police, doesn’t matter) with Stephen Tarpley, Nick Tropeano and Geoff Hartlieb I’d stare at the four of them uncomprehendingly until someone took pity on me. 2021 Syracuse Mets card.

Carlos Carrasco: Sigh. The man they call Cookie — a leukemia survivor, fan favorite, clubhouse leader and a pretty damn good pitcher — was supposed to put the 2021 Mets over the top, with many of us marveling that the team had managed to pry him away from the now-Guardians along with Lindor. But his year was a nightmare that made Lindor’s look like mild insomnia. A sore elbow and a torn hamstring kept him on the shelf until July, when the Mets’ freefall was already under way; then Carrasco’s first pitch as a Met became a Jonathan India home run … and to be honest things didn’t get a whole lot better after that. He ended up with a 6.04 ERA, chronic trouble with the first inning, and a whole lot of questions going into 2022. A 2021 Topps card in which he’s smiling, indicating he has no idea what lies ahead.

Javier Baez: Baez arrived at the deadline and was very Javier Baez, hitting mammoth home runs, fanning spectacularly, playing superlative infield defense, doing inexplicable things for reasons known only to him, and making a couple of his patented CGI-assisted impossible slides around or possibly through catchers. As a sideshow, there was the dopey “thumbs down” controversy, a spot of minor PR bother that Sandy Alderson inflated with some performative harrumphing borrowed from John Lithgow in Footloose. Baez’s time in Queens was thrilling and maddening at the same time, as Cub fans could have told us it would be. It also turned out to be brief: He’s now a Detroit Tiger and his Mets tenure feels like a weird dream, which I suppose it kind of was. 2022 Topps Opening Day card as a Met, which is also weird.

Trevor Williams: Hirsute and amply tattooed, Williams arrived along with Baez and pitched pretty well in three starts, though I confess by then I was pretty deflated about everything and no longer paying much attention. As a minor aside, in 2021 the Mets went from zero Trevors on their all-time roster to three, perhaps making the most of a heretofore unnoticed market inefficiency. 2020 Topps card as a Pirate.

Jake Reed: A sidearmer, right? Send him out to stand alongside Tarpley, Tropeano and Co. if you want to torture me further. An old Rochester Red Wings card.

Chance Sisco: Inventively monikered former Orioles catching prospect arrived in mid-August and doubled in San Francisco for his first Mets’ AB. It gives me no pleasure to report that was his only hit for the team. 2022 Topps Heritage card.

Heath Hembree: His actual first name is Richard, which is an interesting choice. He soaked up innings in garbage time when the rest of the bullpen was on the IL or in the witness protection program, which seems like faint praise but is a lot better than the alternative. By the way, his 2021 game log records him as starting the year with the Mets and seeing action on April 11 against the Marlins before going to the Reds and returning to the Mets in August. This didn’t happen, though it would have been a logical year for such a thing — the April 11th game was suspended, made up late in the season with a largely new Mets cast, and its stats retroactively attached to the earlier date. Centuries from now perhaps members of rival sects will murder each other over which day is claimed for Patrick Mazeika’s first big-league hit. Baseball is so weird. Topps Total card as a Red Sock.

Brad Hand: OK, so this turns out to be kind of funny. With Cleveland opting for a fire sale at the end of 2020, the Mets wanted to pluck Hand off the waiver wire. Which made sense: He’d spent years being about as reliable as a middle reliever can be. But the Mets were being sold and there was no, um, hand on the tiller, so Hand wound up with the Nationals instead, accompanied by wailing and gnashing of teeth in Queens. And then, for whatever reason, he had a horrible year, one bad enough to get him traded to Toronto and then put on waivers by the Blue Jays. The Mets grabbed him at the beginning of September … and he was lousy for them too. Y’know what? Don’t try to make it make sense — it was that kind of year. 2020 Topps card in Cleveland togs, before everything went wrong.

6 comments to Welcome, THB Class of 2021!

  • Dave

    I look forward to this entry so much every year. Sure, we all love the Seavers and Strawberrys and deGroms, but it’s remembering the Mason Williams and Geoff Hartliebs of the world that shows you bleed blue and orange.

  • open the gates

    Oh, I’ll be more than happy to loathe Eikhoff for you. Guy blew up the only game I got to bring my kids to the entire benighted season. He’s also gotta be the only guy in history to be released by the Mets 3 times in the space of a month. Take that, Tommy Milone!

    As for the other guys:

    It was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with the esteemed members of the Bench Mob. People may not remember their individual names, but Pillar, McKinney, Fargas, Mazeika, Peraza & Co. occupy a special place in this Met fan’s heart. They may have been the most Metsian aspect (in a positive sense) of the entire season. And Mr. Pillar has gained membership to the John Stearns All-Time Tough Mets Hall of Fame.

    I still think that Lindor and Carrasco will rebound to their former selves this year. They’re too good not to. Then again, that’s what I said about Bobby Alomar. And as for Taijuan Walker, I see fifth starterhood in his future. Or possibly Taiwan. But the guy did have his moments.

    There’s something poetic (literally) about Chance Cisco getting his only chance in Frisco.

    After Tylor Megill’s first few starts, I figured he was either the next Doc Gooden or the next Eric Hillman. It seems like the latter, but I’d love to be proven wrong.

    Finally, kudos to you, Jason, for completing this mammoth homework assignment. I hope they’re paying you double.

  • open the gates

    Oops, forgot a few:

    Anthony Banda may not have been the greatest reliever ever, but he had the coolest walk on music of the year. Ok, the music was James Bond and he was more Austin Powers, but it was fun. (Yes, Bond=Banda, I get it.)

    I vote Loup and Villar as the two walkaway Mets most likely to come back and haunt us. Although I wouldn’t count out Brandon Drury. Guy was channeling the second coming of Rusty for a while.

    Fun fact: the Mets have had two players named Akeem.

  • My all-time roster has Brad Hand, Rollie Fingers, and Nails, all throwing knuckleballs.

    But reading this reminds me we don’t really know why there were so many injuries in 2021. If it wasn’t just bad luck, are we in for the same in 2022? I hope not, but I worry…

  • Lenny65

    “A bad year isn’t destiny, but why does this stuff always happen to us?”

    When I first heard that we’d acquired Lindor, of course I was excited and all. But then I heard the little voices whispering in my head…”Baerga, Alomar, Baerga, Alomar”…and I thought nah, that was then, this is now and etc. But still, it is pretty weird and more than slightly disquieting.

    I love obscure Mets, always have. If I’m at a bar or something and I hear someone say “Bob Myrick” or “John Mitchell” or “Omir Santos”, I’m listening.

  • Ken K.

    I too look forward to this every year. No matter how closely I follow this team, every year there’s a Thomas Szapucki or a(n) Akeem Bostick that I have no recollection of, or at least I’ve managed to block out any recollection of.

    Every year where there is Mets Despair (i.e. just about every year with maybe 4 exceptions) I myself single out a name that represents that despair, meaning not only did I groan every time he came into a game, but I never want to hear or see his name ever associated with the New York Mets after today. This years Winner: Travis Blankenhorn.

    But where or where is the Group Shot? I think I saved a jpg of every one since you’ve been doing it. Or was a Group Shot just too unwieldly this year?