As we get to the holidays, it may be fun to look back at the Mets All Time Leaders for different hitting and pitching categories. The Mets have a rich 54 year history with many players from different generations. Some of the leaders are obvious, but there are a sprinkling of names of players who one may not think of as a Mets career leader in a category.
John Olerud is the career leader in batting average with a .315 career average with the Mets. Olerud played three years for the Mets and had a high of .354, which was second in the league in 1998. Second and third are Keith Hernandez at .297 and David Wright at .296. Mike Piazza is fourth at .296. Who is fifth? Fifth is none other than Dave Magadan at .292. Magadan is also second in career on base percentage at .391. Olerud left the Mets after the 1999 season where he signed with the Mariners as a free agent. Olerud played extremely well with the Mets. He hit for power and drove in runs as well as had an on base percentage of over .400 in each of his years with the Mets. Olerud was replaced at first base by Todd Zeile in the 2000 season.
There are no surprises with home runs. Darryl Strawberry is first with 252, followed by Wright and Piazza with 242 and 220. Howard Johnson claims the fourth spot with 192 and Dave Kingman claims the fifth spot with 150. Kingman had two stints with the Mets in the late 70’s and early 80’s when the Mets were a bad team. Sky King was an all or nothing hitter. He hit for a low average and struck out a lot, but he was exciting when he moon shots deep into the bleachers at Shea. Kingman’s most exciting season as a Met was 1976. Kingman had hit over 30 home runs by the all start break and was a threat to Roger Maris’ home run record. He ended up with 37 that year, because as I remember very clearly, he hurt his thumb in an awkward dive to catch a fly ball.
The top five career RBI leaders are: Wright (970), Strawberry (733), Piazza (655) and Johnson (629). Ed Kranepool is fifth with 614 RBI’s. Kranepool was not a an RBI machine, but his longevity of playing 18 years all with the Mets is why he is on the list. Kranepool first came up in 1962 and played on the 1969 and 1973 World Series teams.
Jose Reyes is the career leader with 379 stolen bases. Mookie Wilson is second with 281. Third is a surprise, it is Howard Johnson with 202. People remember HoJo as a prolific home run hitter. In 1989, Johnson hit 36 home runs and had 41 stolen bases. These are Mike Trout like numbers. How much money would Johnson get today with that type of performance? Johnson was a great acquisition for the Mets when they got him from Detroit for Walt Terrell after the 1984 season.
Fans remember Strawberry, Wright, Reyes and Hernandez, but significant contributions were made by Johnson, Olerud, Magadan and Kingman. How good would the Mets be today if they had Olerud at first and Johnson at third?