Friday, May 18, 2012

In Favor Of...

Thursday Night, SNY ran their "50 Greatest Mets" program, naturally, counting down the 50 greatest Mets players through their first 50 years. It was, for the most part, standard fare, meaning there wasn't anything surprising about it. No glaring omissions (the only notable name I thought wasn't there was Pedro Martinez, and it's really debatable as to whether or not he should even qualify), and the obvious choice at #1.

The Top 10, however, seemed to be in a rather odd order. Not that I have any real argument with who was there, because they all deserved to be there, but, for example, perhaps Edgardo Alfonzo should be in the top 10. But who, then, doesn't belong? Mike Piazza at #6 was also puzzling to me. Although he never brought a World Series Championship home, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who was as important to the Mets, particularly at the time he arrived, than Piazza (and really only Keith Hernandez comes close, and he wasn't the hitter Piazza was).

At #8 was David Wright. Behind Carlos Beltran, among others. George and I had discussed this at a game earlier this season, and earlier this week, he noted to me once again that Wright is probably deserving of being up among the Doc/Darryl level of Met Royalty, and assuming he remains a Met, will probably end up doing so whether he is a champion or not. David Wright's hit early in Friday Night's forgettable game was the 1300th of his career, placing him a mere 150 or so hits off Ed Kranepool's team record. Of course, Kranepool holds many team offensive records by virtue of being a compiler, and not necessarily an actual star, which David Wright is.

It's funny how many people have crapped on Wright over the past few years, even going so far as to say that the Mets should have let him go instead of Reyes. Although he'd had a couple of middling seasons the past couple of years, those were partially caused by injuries and the fact that he just didn't have anyone around to protect him. And he had this habit of putting too much on his shoulders. This season, he looks like the David Wright of 05-06-07. It's as though all the talk made him mad and mean, and he's come out this season ready to give his critics a giant middle finger. 

I suppose it's tough to find Wright's proper place in Mets history because his story is still being written, whereas everyone else in the top 10 has either left the Mets or is retired. But outside of the rare instances of a Darryl Strawberry or a Jose Reyes, the Mets really haven't had a great, landmark offensive player in their history. It's a team that has always built around a tradition of great pitching. This is one particular reason why I think it's important that Wright stays with the team. If he plays a 15-year career out with the Mets, he'll be the one to hold all these offensive records, and he'd be richly deserving of it. He already passed Strawberry's team RBI record this season, and he's a few years off from catching Straw's Home Run mark of 252. Kranepool's hits mark will probably fall early next season, although should he continue at his current clip, this season certainly is a possibility. He also stands to pass Jose Reyes' team Runs scored record. And I'm sure there are other marks he's well within reach of.

To this point, a World Series Championship has eluded Wright, which may hurt his overall standing. Everyone in SNY's top 5 won a Championship. But, such a standing can't solely be based on Championships. Players like Ernie Banks and Ted Williams are All-Time greats, and they spent most of their careers slogging away on lousy teams. Being probably the best offensive player in team history should count for something, and probably place him higher on this list. George believes Wright is already worthy of being on the level of Doc/Darryl, and I'm inclined to agree. By time he's done, assuming he sticks around, he could well be worthy of a Hernandez/Piazza level, and should he bring home a Championship or two, well, he could very well be in the discussion with Tom Seaver himself. Time, as always, will tell.

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