The Mets have produced only one legitimate full-bred player who resides in Cooperstown. Will Tom Seaver be the first and last Mets player in the HOF?
The Mets have been counted as a major league team for fifty-seven years. In all that time, the franchise has only Tom Seaver to count as a legitimate New York Met in the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF). Is it possible he could be the last?
Mike Piazza, for instance, played seven years with the LA Dodgers before he came to the Mets. Piazza won the Rookie of the Year award with the Dodgers and finished second in the MVP voting twice.
With the Dodgers, Piazza batted .331. and .296 as a Met. Across the board, his power stats are consistently better with the Dodgers than the Mets (OPS .966/.915, OPS+ 160/136, and Slugging .572/.542).
Joe Morgan’s experience with the Cincinnati Reds versus the time he spent with the Astros compares similarly.
Hall of Famers Who Did A Mets “Fly-By”
Oddly, several players are residing in the HOF who did a fly-by wearing a Mets uniform during their illustrious careers.
The most obvious, of course, is Nolan Ryan, whose career in its early stages sputtered with the Mets before he was traded to the California Angels.
From there, we know the story well about the 5,000 strikeouts and the seven no-hitters.
In all, there are sixteen former Mets players in the HOF, including Piazza and Ryan. Among them are Gary Carter (five years), Tom Glavine (four years), Rickey Henderson (two years), Pedro Martinez (four years), Willie Mays (two years), and Yogi Berra (four games in 1965).
But Tom Seaver is the sole Mets player in the HOF to have played and dominated as he did during his twelve seasons with the team. Seventy-five percent of his starts and innings pitched came with the Mets. Two-thirds of his wins also came with the team.
Mets With A Hall Of Fame Future?
Immediately, the name David Wright rolls off the tongue in any discussion about future Mets Hall of Famers. Without argument, Wright meets the full-bred criteria as a Met that we discussed above.
Alas, David Wright, faces an uphill battle to be elected to the HOF. The numbers are not there.
The .296 lifetimes batting is average is good enough, but the rest establishes him as an excellent but not great player.
Wright’s hits total less than two thousand (1777) – let alone 3,000 – and his 242 home runs are less than half the typical HOF bar of 500.
Wright will get some well-deserved votes for having a career cut short by injuries out of his control and for being the stand-up person and face of the Mets for fourteen years. Sad, but unfortunately, very real.
After Wright, there are no recently retired Mets I can find to warrant a mention, which brings us to the current team.
Current Mets With A Shot?
Unless he pitches till he’s forty at the pace he is establishing, Jacob deGrom will not have anywhere near the numbers pitchers need to make the Hall of Fame.
But deGrom has an excellent chance to be another Sandy Koufax as a pitcher who dominated during a shorter than usual stretch – making him impossible to ignore.
Remember, Koufax finished with only 165 wins and 2,400 strikeouts in the span of twelve seasons.
Nothing to write home about, But much like deGrom is now, Koufax was untouchable during those prime years.
Still, with only 66 wins and 1,200 strikeouts, deGrom has his work cut out for him.
Robinson Cano has the numbers (.302 lifetime and 2,600 hits), but he has played for three teams, which eliminates him as a full-bred Met.
Then, there’s Boy Wonder, Pete Alonso. One year does not make a career so that time will tell, but if Alonso can average 40 home runs for the next decade and stay with the Mets, he’ll have no problem being a serious candidate to reach the HOF.
Mets: Past, Present, and Future
The 2020 Hall of Fame Ballot has no Mets on it.
It will stay that way for the next five years until David Wright becomes eligible. And after that, who can say?
Is it by design or lousy bad luck the Mets find themselves with only Tom Seaver as the lone full-bred player to be installed in Cooperstown? I’m not sure but it’s certainly odd.
And it serves to add to the aura and intrigue surrounding baseball’s most curious team…