On Sept. 29, after more than two years away from a big league diamond, David Wright will return to the Mets one last time in front of what will surely be a packed house at Citi Field. The longtime face of the franchise will end his 14-year career as one
On Sept. 29, after more than two years away from a big league diamond, David Wright will return to the Mets one last time in front of what will surely be a packed house at Citi Field. The longtime face of the franchise will end his 14-year career as one of the greatest players to ever wear blue and orange, and one of the most-beloved.
Wright's career was cut short by injuries, his health issues in recent seasons stemming from the spinal stenosis he could only do his best to manage. But at his peak, he was one of the best players in the world. Wright was a seven-time All-Star, a four-time top-10 MVP finisher and a two-time Silver Slugger and Gold Glover. He led the Mets to the National League Championship Series in 2006, and was still there in 2015 to play a big part in New York's run to the World Series.
In honor of Wright's amazing career, here are 15 things to know about what made the Mets' captain so great.
• Wright is the longest-tenured active player with one team in the Major Leagues. He's been with the Mets for 14 years, since his MLB debut on July 21, 2004. The only Met to play more years with the club is Ed Kranepool (18). Wright has also played as many postseason games, 24, as any other Met, along with Edgardo Alfonzo and Robin Ventura. And he has the club record for most Opening Day starts, with 12.
• Wright is probably the Mets' best position player in their history. He is the franchise's 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). He ranks second in home runs to Darryl Strawberry, with 242 to Strawberry's 252, and his 196 stolen bases rank fourth. Wright is also the Mets' all-time leader in game-winning RBIs, walk-off RBIs and go-ahead home runs.
• Wright's 50.4 career Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference, are by far the most of any Mets position player, and rank second in franchise history behind only The Franchise himself, Tom Seaver. The gap between Wright and the Mets' next-best position player, Darryl Strawberry, is huge -- Straw had a 36.6 WAR during his Mets tenure.
• Wright's 8.3 WAR in 2007, when he hit .325/.416/.546 with 30 home runs, 34 stolen bases and 107 RBIs while winning a Gold Glove at third base, is the highest single-season total by a Mets position player. He edges out Carlos Beltran's 8.2 WAR in 2006, when Beltran hit a career-high 41 homers, drove in 116 runs and won a Gold Glove in center field.
• Wright is one of only three Mets in the 30-30 club, thanks to that '07 season. The others: Howard Johnson (1987, '89 and '91) and Strawberry (1987). Wright in 2007 became the first MLB third baseman with a 30-30 season since Johnson, and until the Indians' Jose Ramirez joined him this year, he was the only 30-30 third baseman this millennium. In fact, Wright, Ramirez, Johnson and Tommy Harper (1970) are the only third basemen in the 30-30 club in MLB history.
• The Mets went nearly a decade from their playoff appearance in 2006, when they got within a game of the World Series before falling to the Cardinals, to their next one in 2015, when they made their first Fall Classic since the 2000 Subway Series. Wright is the only Mets player who was on both teams, 2006 and 2015.
• Wright hit the first World Series home run at Citi Field, in his first World Series at-bat in Flushing -- a two-run shot in the first inning of Game 3 against the Royals, the only game the Mets won in the 2015 Fall Classic. It was the Mets' first World Series homer at home since Mike Piazza's in Game 4 against the Yankees in 2000.
• Wright had five seasons with 25-plus home runs, 15-plus stolen bases and 100-plus RBIs. That's tied with Alex Rodriguez for the most such seasons by a third baseman in MLB history. No other third baseman has had more than two (those are Chipper Jones, Mike Schmidt and HoJo).
• Only six players at any position have had more of those 25/15/100 seasons than Wright. It's some impressive company: Rodriguez (11 total), Barry Bonds (eight), Beltran (six), Jose Canseco (six), Hank Aaron (six) and Willie Mays (six). Wright is tied with two other players at five -- Jeff Bagwell and Ken Griffey Jr.
• Wright was more than just a great hitter; he was a great defender at the hot corner, winning back-to-back Gold Glove Awards at third base in 2007 and '08. His most iconic play, though, came all the way back in '05 -- a diving, over-the-shoulder barehanded catch on a popup over his head in shallow left field in San Diego. That catch was named MLB.com's Most Outstanding Play of the Year, as voted by the fans.
• From 2005 -- Wright's first full season -- through 2010, no NL third baseman was better. Wright hit .306/.387/.515 over that span, while averaging 26 home runs, 22 stolen bases, 104 RBIs and 100 runs scored. His 30.0 WAR from 2005-10 led all NL third basemen, and trailed only Rodriguez among all Major League third basemen over that stretch.
• Even after 2010, as he began to deal with injuries, Wright continued to play at a superstar level. His All-Star 2012 season was one of the best of his career, as he hit .306 with 21 homers and 93 RBIs to finish sixth in NL MVP voting, and he was an All-Star again in 2013. Over the nine-year period from 2005-13, Wright's 45.1 WAR was second among MLB third baseman to only Adrian Beltre, and again the best of any NL third baseman.
• Forget just third basemen, though. Wright was one of the best players in the Major Leagues, period. His 30.0 WAR in his 2005-10 peak was sixth-best among all position players, behind only Jose Pujols, Chase Utley, A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and Joe Mauer. His 45.1 WAR over the longer period from 2005-13 was also sixth-best among position players, behind Pujols, Utley, Jose Cabrera, Beltre and Robinson Cano.
• Wright made seven All-Star teams with the Mets (including five straight from 2006-10), tied with Strawberry for the most of any Mets position player. Only Seaver, a 10-time All-Star with the Mets, made more All-Star teams overall. In his All-Star Game debut in 2006, Wright homered.
• Wright's stellar performances for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic earned him the nickname "Captain America."
In the 2009 Classic, Wright sent the U.S. to the semifinals with a walk-off two-run single in the bottom of the ninth against Puerto Rico. Four years later, in the 2013 Classic, Wright hit a grand slam against Italy and drove in five runs against Puerto Rico. His 10 RBIs led all players in the tournament and he was named to the All-WBC team.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.