January 2014

Mets in the Hall of Fame: a larger group than you might think

Though the National Baseball Hall of Fame considers Tom Seaver the only primary Met in its annals, Seaver is far from alone in Cooperstown. Ten other Hall of Fame players wore blue and orange at some point in their careers, and when Tom Glavine (presumably) and Joe Torre take the podium this July, that number will jump to a total of 3 (not including George Weiss, an executive who was never in uniform, or Casey Stengel and Ralph Kiner, a manager and a broadcaster who only played elsewhere).

The tally:

seaverpitching

Yogi Berra (Class of 1972)
Obviously best-known as a Yankee, Berra played his final four games with the Mets in 1965, staying on as a coach and becoming their manager in 1972. He remained in that role for four seasons, winning the National League pennant in 1973.

Warren Spahn (Class of 1973)
Spahn won 356 games as a member of the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, joining the Mets in 1965 with his Hall of Fame resume already complete. He went 4-12 in Flushing at age 44, finishing out the year (and his career) with the Giants.

Willie Mays (Class of 1979)
A Giant not quite for life, Mays played out his final season and a half in New York from 1972-73. He hit only .238 with the Mets, mustering 14 home runs to increase his lifetime total to 660 — at the time the third-highest total in history.

Duke Snider (Class of 1980)
Legendary players wrapping up their careers in Flushing — seems to be a trend, doesn’t it? Following 16 Hall-worthy seasons with the Dodgers, Snider came to Queens in 1963 for one unremarkable season, then to San Francisco in 1964 for one last hurrah.

Tom Seaver (Class of 1992)
This is the one Hall of Famer Mets fans can truly call their own. Seaver rose to prominence with the Mets in the late 1960s, spending 11 years in Flushing before the ill-fated 1977 trade that sent him to the Reds. He made a Shea Stadium encore six years later, winning nine more games with the Mets for a total of 198.

Richie Ashburn (Class of 1995)
Twelve years with the Phillies, two with the Cubs and one final campaign with the Mets. But unlike the others on this list, Ashburn still had something to give when he arrived in Flushing at age 35, hitting .306 in his final big league season.

Nolan Ryan (Class of 1999)
Had the Mets not traded their homegrown flamethrower in 1971, he might have joined Seaver with a Mets cap in the Hall. As it was, Ryan went on to log another 5,000 innings or so with the Angels, Astros and Rangers, entering Cooperstown as a Ranger.

Gary Carter (Class of 2003)
Though Carter won his only World Series in New York and is perhaps most identifiable with the Mets, the bulk of his best seasons came in Montreal. For that reason, he became the first player to enter Cooperstown sporting an Expos cap.

Eddie Murray (Class of 2003)
An Orioles legend, Murray still had some pop in his bat when he came to the Mets in 1992. But he didn’t last long, playing only two seasons in Flushing before moving on to the Indians, Orioles, Angels and Dodgers.

Rickie Henderson (Class of 2009)
Henderson also had something left in the tank when he arrived in New York in 1999, stealing 42 bases in 152 games with the Mets. But that was a drop in the bucket compared to the 1,406 total he swiped over a 25-year career.

Roberto Alomar (Class of 2011)
All 12 of Alomar’s All-Star appearances and all 10 of his Gold Gloves came in the first 14 years of his career. He arrived in New York in Year 15, still durable at age 34 but a shadow of his former self.

Joe Torre (Class of 2014)
The Hall’s Veterans Committee elected Torre last month alongside Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, who will join Wednesday’s inductees on the podium come July. Despite his stellar playing career for the Braves, Cardinals and Mets, Torre became far better-known for his subsequent managerial work in the Bronx.

Tom Glavine (Class of 2014?)
We’ll know in an hour whether Tom Glavine becomes a first-ballot Hall of Famer, though it’s certainly looking that way. If it happens, it will be far more because of his 17 years in Atlanta than his five in New York.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Sage advice for Zack Wheeler: cut down on the walks

The perpetually thought-provoking site Fangraphs came out with a statistical analysis today regarding Zack Wheeler, and what he needs to do to improve in his first full big league season. The piece focused a good deal on Wheeler’s need — naturally — to keep his shoulder healthy. But it also focused on his walk rate.

wheeler_640_3r3hyxk3_fnl64bhm

Simply put, Wheeler’s middling strikeout rate (7.6) and high walk rate (4.1) put him among a group of highly-touted young pitchers with divergent career paths. Some, such as Sean Gallagher, never sorted out their control problems and suffered because of it. Others, such as David Price, cut down on the walks and turned superhuman.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s certainly worth noting: Wheeler’s future will depend in large part upon how well he pounds the strike zone.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mike Piazza on the Hall of Fame bubble

Baseball Think Factory runs a terrific little feature examining all the Hall of Fame ballots that voters have released publicly here in the Twitter age. The site just updated its data about a half hour ago, and it shows Piazza listed on 71.9% of ballots — a few percentage points shy of the 75% needed for induction.

Piazza’s main problem this year is a surplus of big-name candidates on the ballot. First-timers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas appear locks to make the cut, while second-year candidate Craig Biggio is also ahead of Piazza in Baseball Think Factory’s data.

Remember that these aren’t mere projections. Baseball Think Factory uses hard data from voters to show where each candidate stands leading up to the Jan. 8 Hall of Fame announcement. In this update, it’s 16.9% of the electorate reporting.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers