SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- David Wright was a former supplemental first-round pick coming off two solid if unspectacular full pro seasons when he arrived in the Arizona Fall League in 2003. He credits the developmental circuit for kickstarting his career to another level.The AFL honored Wright for his illustrious career, inducting
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- David Wright was a former supplemental first-round pick coming off two solid if unspectacular full pro seasons when he arrived in the Arizona Fall League in 2003. He credits the developmental circuit for kickstarting his career to another level.
The AFL honored Wright for his illustrious career, inducting him into its Hall of Fame before the Scottsdale Scorpions hosted the Peoria Javelinas in a game Wednesday night. He'll be honored with a plaque at the league's Hall of Fame display at Scottsdale Stadium, and his No. 7 jersey will be retired by the Surprise Saguaros.
Wright, Max Scherzer and Michael Trout entered the AFL Hall of Fame this year, bringing the total of honorees to 42. To qualify for the Hall of Fame, a player must spend at least five years in the big leagues and win two major MLB awards. Mike Piazza is the only AFL Hall of Famer in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, though Roy Halladay, Derek Jeter and Jose Pujols likely will join him with that dual distinction.
"I looked at the other names, and it was Scherzer, who wins the Cy Young every year and unfortunately we have to face a lot, and Mike Trout, so that's pretty good company," said Wright, who missed all of 2017 after having shoulder and back surgeries last offseason. "An incredible honor. As soon as they told me I was going to be honored here tonight, I certainly made it a priority because the Fall League has done wonders for my career. To be able to circle this date and come back and receive this award, pretty cool."
Wright played for the then-Peoria Saguaros, finishing ninth in the Fall League in hitting while posting a .341/.427/.489 slash line with two homers in 26 games. He hadn't played above Class A to that point in his career, but he jumped from Double-A to the Mets in 2004.
A seven-time All-Star, Wright also has won two Gold Gloves and a pair of Silver Sluggers. He's a career .296/.376/.491 hitter with 242 homers and the Mets' all-time leader in runs (949), hits (1,777), doubles (390), RBIs (970) and walks (761). He also ranks second in franchise history in games (1,583) and homers, plus third in batting average.
Wright said his AFL stint made it all possible.
"Between the ears I think is the biggest challenge in this game," Wright said. "It's just believing in yourself and believing you can go out there and compete against the best players in the world. That's what I felt like I accomplished, coming to the Fall League and playing as well as I did.
"That gave me the confidence the next year, and I'm up facing Randy Johnson a few months later. It was a pretty cool experience for me."
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.