Players who had stints with Mets and Yanks

June 13th, 2023

NEW YORK -- For more than six decades, the Mets and Yankees have coexisted fewer than 10 miles apart across the East and Harlem Rivers. Because of it, they’ve shared plenty of experiences, from the now-defunct Mayor’s Trophy Games to the 2000 Subway Series and other Interleague matchups.

They also share parts of their DNA. Entering the first matchup between the two clubs in 2023, 155 players have suited up for both the Yankees and Mets. Some were replacement-level or otherwise forgettable, but a good many were significant players for one or both franchises. Here’s a look at some of the most prominent players to appear in both the Bronx and Queens:

Mets: 1987-92, 2003
Yankees: 1995-2000

No one has had as much success with both the Yankees and Mets as Cone, who contributed multiple All-Star seasons to each. Kansas City’s third-round pick in the 1981 MLB Draft, Cone came to the Mets in a steal of a trade, then proceeded to go 80-48 with a 3.08 ERA over the next six seasons. Multiple trades later, he wound up with the Yankees at the 1995 Trade Deadline.

In the Bronx, Cone reestablished his New York excellence, going 64-40 with a 3.91 ERA over six seasons, winning half a dozen playoff games and four World Series rings, tossing a perfect game and pushing himself to borderline Hall of Fame contention. Cone finally returned to the Mets as a free agent at the end of his career but didn’t last long at age 40. All told, he produced 20.3 WAR with the Yankees and 19.4 with the Mets.

Mets: 1984-94
Yankees: 1996-97, 2000

While the Yankees and Mets can both lay claim to some of Cone’s finest seasons, Gooden’s exclusively occurred in Flushing. A teenage phenom, Gooden won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1984 and an NL Cy Young Award the following season, going 58-19 with a 2.28 ERA over a spectacular three-year stretch to open his career. Even as injuries and off-field demons began to interfere, Gooden still mustered successful seasons, winning 157 games with the Mets before his 30th birthday.

His tenure with the Yankees began only after he was suspended for the 1995 campaign. Despite being a shell of his former self by that point, Gooden became notable across town for the no-hitter he pitched in 1996 -- easily the highlight of a sometimes-bumpy comeback story.

Mets: 1983-90
Yankees: 1995-99

Another poster child of the late-80s Mets, Strawberry dominated during his time in Flushing, bursting onto the scene as the 1983 NL Rookie of the Year before reeling off seven consecutive All-Star appearances. He hit between 26 and 39 home runs each year, leading the league in that category in '88. In so doing, he became -- like Gooden -- one of the most important players on the Mets’ '86 World Series championship team.

Also like Gooden, Strawberry battled demons off the field, but Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was willing to give him a chance at the end of his career. By that point, Strawberry was no longer the force he had once been in Queens, but he stuck around long enough to win three more World Series rings, even clubbing three home runs during a dynamic performance in the 1996 American League Championship Series.

Mets: 1999-2001
Yankees: 2002-03

Unlike many others on this list, most of Ventura’s best years didn’t occur in New York at all, but instead in Chicago. He’s best known in Queens for his walk-off “grand slam single” in 1999 NLCS Game 5, though Ventura was about far more than that single iconic moment. His ’99 season was the best of his career, as Ventura hit .301/.379/.529 with 32 homers and 120 RBIs to finish fourth in NL MVP voting. When the Mets dealt Ventura to the Yankees for David Justice after the 2001 season, it was one of the rare prominent trades between those two organizations. Justice never took the field for the Mets, who dealt him to the A’s a week later, but Ventura gave the Yankees an All-Star season in 2002.

Yankees: 1998-2004
Mets: 2006-07

Hernandez is the first player on this list who was clearly more prominent in the Bronx than Queens. A key international signing before the 1998 season, “El Duque” won 49 games over his first three regular seasons and postseasons with the Yankees, winning three World Series titles in the process. Renowned for his abilities under pressure, Hernandez went a remarkable 7-0 with a 1.22 ERA over his first eight playoff starts, averaging more than seven innings per outing. He signed with the Mets before the 2006 season and enjoyed a fine first summer across town, but a calf injury suffered on the eve of the postseason prevented him from adding to his postseason successes.

Mets: 2005-11
Yankees: 2014-16

Beltrán spent much of the prime of his career in Flushing, contributing four All-Star seasons as he mostly made good on the seven-year, $119 million deal the Mets offered him to come to New York. Criticism has always followed Beltrán for the called strike three he took to end the 2006 NLCS, but his overall production level was high -- and the Mets were able to trade him for Zack Wheeler at the end of his contract. Years later, at age 37, Beltrán extended his career as a solid regular for the Yankees, chasing a ring there for three seasons before finally receiving one with the Astros in '17.

Yankees: 2010-13
Mets: 2014-17

From 2011-12, Granderson hit 84 home runs with the Yankees, taking advantage of the new ballpark’s short porch in right field -- a paradise for left-handed sluggers, unlike his old home at spacious Comerica Park in Detroit. Granderson’s strong performances, along with his reputation as a caring teammate and clubhouse presence, prompted the Mets to sign him as a free agent after his contract expired. While he wound up being a shade less productive across town, Granderson nonetheless was a positive contributor on and off the field, particularly during the Mets’ World Series run in '15.

Yankees: 1985-89
Mets: 1999-2000

Another player better-known for his time elsewhere -- in this case, Oakland -- Henderson nonetheless stole 326 of his record 1,406 career bases with the Yankees, and 42 with the Mets after turning 40. Henderson was still very much in his prime during his time in the Bronx, clubbing 78 home runs with the Yankees and posting an .850 OPS as he bolstered his Hall of Fame resume. Henderson later served as a first-base coach and baserunning instructor in the Mets organization.

Yankees: 1987-89, 2005
Mets: 1998-2004

Statistically, Leiter was one of the finest pitchers in Mets history, which takes some doing in an organization that has produced Tom Seaver, Jacob deGrom, Jerry Koosman, Gooden and others. Leiter produced 28 WAR and a 124 ERA+ over his seven seasons in Flushing. He wasn’t as effective as a youngster coming up with the Yankees, nor during his cameo back in the Bronx in 2005.

Yankees: 1976-88
Mets: 1992

Randolph would barely be remembered for his brief Mets tenure if not for the fact that he also managed the team from 2005-08, overseeing one of the most fruitful periods in franchise history but also two memorable September collapses. As a player, Randolph was all Yankees, serving as captain for three seasons, hitting .275 and stealing 251 bases.

Yankees: 1946-63
Mets: 1965

Put Berra in the same category as Randolph. A Yankee for nearly his entire Hall of Fame career, Berra signed on with the Mets as a 40-year-old coach in 1965, but he actually made four appearances as a player. Berra wound up the Mets’ manager for five seasons during the 1970s, winning the NL pennant in '73.

Yankees: 2005-13
Mets: 2019-22

One of the most productive second basemen in Yankees history, Canó developed into a star during its “Core Four” era, making five All-Star teams and winning a World Series title in 2009. Six years after signing as a free agent with the Mariners, Canó returned to New York in Brodie Van Wagenen’s oft-criticized first trade as general manager, which looked even worse after Canó received a one-year suspension for a PED violation following the 2020 season. Canó returned to the Mets in 2022 but was released after just 12 games before making appearances with the Padres and Braves.

Yankees: 2011
Mets: 2014-16

Colon’s lone season with the Yankees helped him revive his career following a series of injuries, but his three-year stint with the Mets turned him into a cult hero. It was with the Mets that Colon became one of the most successful 40-something baseball players of the modern era, winning 44 games with a 3.90 ERA. His bullpen cameo in the 2015 postseason was helpful; his home run in San Diego in 2016 was legendary.

Other noteworthy players to appear for both the Yankees and Mets: Bobby Abreu, Armando Benítez, Dellin Betances, Rick Cerone, Tony Clark, Tyler Clippard, Todd Frazier, Dave Kingman, Lee Mazzilli, Bob Ojeda, John Olerud, Jesse Orosco, David Robertson, Gary Sánchez, Gary Sheffield, Mike Stanton, Ron Swoboda, Ralph Terry, Todd Zeile.