David Wright's final game in a Mets uniform this weekend will truly mark the end of an era. Drafted by New York with the 38th overall pick in 2001, Wright debuted three years later and helped raise a cellar-dwelling club back to prominence. Wright not only became the captain; he'll
David Wright's final game in a Mets uniform this weekend will truly mark the end of an era. Drafted by New York with the 38th overall pick in 2001, Wright debuted three years later and helped raise a cellar-dwelling club back to prominence. Wright not only became the captain; he'll endure as one of the most popular players in the Mets' history.
He was undoubtedly also one of the Mets' most talented players, particularly among those who came up in the club's farm system. As Wright bids adieu to the diamond, here is where he stands among the Mets' best homegrown players. We're looking only at players whose major career contributions came specifically in a Mets uniform, meaning those whose stars shined brightest elsewhere -- including Nolan Ryan, Lenny Dykstra and Scott Kazmir -- are not included.
(Players are ranked here by their Wins Above Replacement (WAR) while wearing a Mets uniform, as provided by Baseball-Reference.)
1. Tom Seaver (78.9 WAR)
The Mets' acquisition of Seaver's draft rights in 1966 (after Commissioner William Eckert voided his original contract with the Braves) might be the most fortunate stroke in team history. His trade to the Reds 11 years later is the most unthinkable. But in between, Seaver became about as synonymous with his team as any player in the 20th century.
"Tom Terrific" paced the National League in strikeouts five times, claimed three ERA titles, earned the 1967 Rookie of the Year and three Cy Young Awards in Queens. But perhaps most notably, he raised the Mets -- the league's laughingstock since their inaugural season in '62 -- to a miracle World Series title in '69, and within a game of another championship in '73. Seaver was the only Baseball Hall of Fame member with a Mets cap on his plaque until Mike Piazza's induction in 2016, having earned over 98 percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America's vote.
2. David Wright (50.4 WAR)
Wright ranks as the Mets' all-time leader in hits (1,777), RBIs (970), runs scored (949), total bases (2,945), extra-base hits (658), doubles (390) and walks (761). His 242 home runs also rank second behind Darryl Strawberry, and his 196 stolen bases rank fourth. The first World Series homer at Citi Field belongs to him, and Wright was the Mets' first homegrown superstar to play at their new park.
3. Dwight Gooden (46.4 WAR)
Gooden's only full season in Class A ball, in which he struck out 300 batters at just 19 years of age, was enough to convince the Mets to put him on their Opening Day roster in 1984. What followed next was one of the most celebrated rookie seasons in history: A 17-9 record, 2.60 ERA and a Major League-most 276 strikeouts. Gooden's follow-up in '85 was even better, as the flame-throwing righty captured the Majors' pitching Triple Crown (24 wins, a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts) and recorded the highest bWAR in the Live Ball Era. Drug abuse would rob Gooden of some of his peak seasons, but he remains one of the most physically gifted pitchers to ever climb a big league mound.
4. Jerry Koosman (37.0 WAR)
Koosman's origin story with the Mets had a bit of Hollywood flair: He was discovered on an Army base in Texas by the son of a Shea Stadium usher, and later was kept on the roster only because he owed money wired to him by the team after a car accident. Koosman took advantage of that opportunity, adding a curveball to his repertoire and shaping himself into one of the franchise's best southpaws. The Minnesota native received MVP votes in 1968 and '69 with ERAs of 2.08 and 2.28, respectively. Koosman was brilliant in the Mets' World Series breakthrough in '69, holding the Orioles to just four runs over 17 2/3 innings while winning Game 2 and the decisive Game 5. The lefty finished second in the '76 Cy Young vote at age 33, and retired in '85 as the franchise's second-winningest pitcher behind Seaver.
5. Darryl Strawberry (36.6 WAR)
The Mets landed one of the 1980s' most imposing sluggers when they selected Strawberry with the first overall pick in the 1980 MLB Draft. The Crenshaw kid with a beautiful, looping left-handed swing was in the Majors three years later and pulverized runs while earning eight straight All-Star Game selections in nine years from 1984-91. No player hit more home runs than Strawberry's 252 from his rookie season through the end of '90 campaign (his last in Queens), and he placed in the top 10 in NL MVP voting on three occasions in that span. Straw's power proved clutch in the Mets' World Series run in '86, during which he crushed two homers against the Astros in the NLCS and added another in New York's memorable seven-game Fall Classic triumph over Boston.
6. Edgardo Alfonzo (29.7 WAR)
The Mets signed an 18-year old Alfonzo as an undrafted free agent in 1991, likely unaware that they had just locked down a cornerstone of their celebrated turn-of-the-century clubs. His two-run homer against the Reds in a winner-take-all Wild Card tiebreaker in 1999 is fondly remembered in Queens, as was his two-homer performance the very next night -- including a tie-breaking, ninth-inning grand slam -- against the D-backs in Game 1 of the NLDS. Alfonzo knocked more clutch hits in the following year's NLDS and NLCS, helping the Mets claim their first NL pennant since '86.
7. Jose Reyes (27.2 WAR)
Reyes might be the most exciting position player to wear a Mets uniform, based on the electrifying speed and athleticism he brought to the field in his prime. Rising up the Mets' system alongside Wright, Reyes paced the NL with 60 steals and 17 triples in 2005 before raising his game to another level the following season. The shortstop earned his first All-Star selection and finished seventh in MVP voting after hitting .300 and leading the Majors with 17 triples and 64 steals. Reyes shattered Roger Cedeno's franchise record with 78 steals in '07, and currently ranks as the club's all-time leader with 113 triples and 408 steals while residing in the top five in several other offensive categories.
8. Jon Matlack (26.6 WAR)
Taken with the fourth overall pick in 1967, Matlack proved to be the perfect complement to aces Seaver and Koosman in the early 1970s. The southpaw spent four years in the Mets' farm system before debuting in '71, and then claimed the NL's Rookie of the Year honors after going 15-10 with a 2.32 ERA. Matlack famously returned from a hairline fracture in his skull from a line drive in less than two weeks in '73, and came up big in that year's postseason. Pitching for Yogi Berra's "Ya Gotta Believe" Mets, Matlack shut down Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" with a two-hit shutout in Game 2 of the NLCS and then allowed just four earned runs over three starts in New York's seven-game loss to the A's in the World Series.
Matlack shared All-Star Game MVP honors with Bill Madlock in 1974 and finished sixth in the NL Cy Young vote in '76. His 3.03 ERA as a Met ranks fourth among starters in the franchise's all-time annals.
9. Jacob deGrom (25.9 WAR)
As proven in 2018, deGrom's best might still be yet to come. After claiming the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year with a 2.69 ERA across 140 1/3 innings, the flame-throwing righty helped lead the Mets to the '15 pennant with 14 wins and 205 strikeouts -- along with stellar outings in both the NLDS and NLCS. deGrom followed up with 15 wins in '17 before compiling a transcendent year in '18, in which he broke a Major League record for consecutive starts in which he allowed three runs or fewer.
10. Mookie Wilson (20.8 WAR)
Wilson has a special place in baseball lore for hitting the "little roller" that went through Bill Buckner's legs and turned the tide in the 1986 World Series. But his impact went beyond Game 6. Wilson starred for former Yankees great Bobby Richardson at the University of South Carolina before signing with the Mets in 1977, and stole 160 bases over four years in the Minors before getting his chance in '80. He hit a pair of walk-off homers the following season as he settled in to center field and became a fixture in the Mets' high-octane lineup in the mid-1980s. Wilson retired as the Mets' all-time leader with 281 steals, later surpassed by Reyes.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.