New Year’s Day will mark the 120th anniversary of the formation of New York City as we know it, when Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens officially became part of New York City. To note the occasion, it might be fun to assemble a lineup of Mets who were born in the city. The parameters will be based on performance as a Met only, and the player must have played at least one game at the position he is assigned. He had to have been born in Gotham, so no suburbanites for this team. Part I will cover the infielders and the catcher.
1b… Ed Kranepool, born in the Bronx in 1944, was signed by the Mets in their initial season. The long-time Met played from 1962-1979, with a few options to the minors at times during that span. He did make the All-Star team in 1965, back when the team was a perennial 100 game loser and each team had at least one representative. He did have a pretty good run from 1974 to 1977 when the left-hander was mostly platooned. His line in 1975 was .323/.370/.409, that was probably his best season.
2b… T.J. Rivera, another Bronx native, was born in 1988. Rivera is a scrappy infielder who went undrafted out of college. He worked his way through the farm system and has been a Met since the 2016 season. He did play a role in getting the Mets into the postseason in 2016 with a .333/.345/.476 slash line, in the small sample of 33 games. He played 73 games this past season with a respectable line of .290/.330/.430.
SS… Ted Schreiber, born in Brooklyn in 1938. Schreiber’s MLB resume is skinny, he played 38 games for the terrible 1963 Mets, and that was his only season in the majors. Nine of the games were at shortstop, and he had a 1.000 Fld%. His batting line of .160/.236/.160 explains why his MLB career was so brief. I could not find any other New York born Met player who played short for the team. My original thought was that it might be Shawon Dunston at short, he played that position for the Cubs. Although he played for the Mets for a while in the 90’s, he did not play shortstop for the Mets.
3b… Bobby Bonilla was born in the Bronx in 1963. After a sterling career with the Pirates he signed with the Mets and played from 1992-1995, sometimes outfield but also at third. Although most Met fans may think of his long running contract that is still being paid off, he did have some productive years for the Mets. In 1994 he played in 108 games, mostly at third in that strike-shortened season, and had a fine slash line of .290/.374/.504. Another contender for the spot was Brooklyn native Joe Torre, who did play some third base for the Mets at the end of his career.
C… Paul Lo Duca, born in 1972 in Brooklyn, but raised in Arizona. Most of his MLB career was with the Dodgers, so Lo Duca played just two years for the Mets, in 2006 and 2007. In 2006 he played 124 games with a .318/.355/.428 slash line. He made the All-Star team that year as the Mets made their postseason run that fell just short of the WS.
Part II, coming up next week, will show the selections for the outfielders and pitchers.