Back in the day we were constantly told how journeyman Tom Hutton did great against Tom Seaver. And Hutton did begin his career against Seaver off strong, going 9-22 against him in his first three years. But by the end of his career, things had turned the opposite way. In his last 11 trips to the plate against Seaver, Hutton was 0-10 with a sacrifice fly. Hutton’s lifetime numbers against Seaver are much better than his overall numbers. Yet, he doesn’t crack the top 50 in best lifetime OPS against Seaver among guys with at least 10 PA against the Hall of Fame pitcher.

So, let’s take a look at some best and worst performances against some of the all-time great Mets pitchers. We’ll break it down with a minimum of 10 then a minimum of 50 PA, with the best and worst against him at those levels. The worst will ignore how pitchers did against other pitchers.

Seaver
10 PA
Best – Dickie Thon (1.917 OPS)
Best HOF – Cal Ripken Jr. (1.488 OPS)
Worst – Rob Wilfong, Rich Dauer, Rance Mulliniks (0.000 OPS)
Worst HOF – Eddie Murray (.254 OPS)

Thon went 4-9 with 2 2B and 2 HR against Seaver. He also walked twice and did not strike out. Ripken had eight hits against Seaver, with five of those going for extra bases. Of course, Ripken was in his prime when he faced Seaver, while the pitcher was in his age 39-41 seasons in these head-to-head matchups. The trio without a hit against Seaver went a combined 0-41 with 7 Ks, all by Mulliniks. Murray was 3-25, with 1 BB and 11 Ks.

50 PA
Best – Rick Monday (1.247 OPS)
Best HOF – Willie McCovey (.961 OPS)
Worst – Dal Maxvill (.262 OPS)
Worst HOF – Gary Carter (.502 OPS)

It’s kind of remarkable the success Monday had against Seaver. Not that Monday wasn’t a fine ballplayer but somehow he had 11 HR in 86 ABs against Seaver, which helped him to a .791 SLG mark. Monday’s success was even more impressive when you factor in that he struck out 29 times against Seaver. Meanwhile, McCovey did most of his damage in the 1968 and 1969 seasons. In those two years he was 9-18 with 2 3B and 3 HR. For the rest of his career, McCovey was 10-53 (.189) against Seaver. Maxvil was 4-46 with 20 Ks while Carter was glad to see Seaver go to the AL, as he was just 12-64 with one extra-base hit against his future Cooperstown teammate.

Jerry Koosman
10 PA
Best – Gary Roenicke (1.857 OPS)
Best HOF – Frank Robinson (1.400 OPS)
Worst – Tom Nieto, Oscar Gamble, Vince Coleman (0.000 OPS)
Worst HOF – Carlton Fisk (.205 OPS)

Roenicke went 10-18 with 7 XBH, including 3 HR. Robinson didn’t have a great AVG but made his hits count, as both times he got a hit they were solo homers. Koosman’s trio of hitters that he completely blanked had more star power than Seaver’s threesome. Nieto, Gamble and Coleman went a combined 0-38 with 6 Ks. And no one was happier when the White Sox acquired Koosman from the Twins than Fisk, who was 1-14 with an HBP in his career against his future batterymate.

50 PA
Best – Dave Winfield (1.274 OPS)
Best HOF – Winfield
Worst – Hal McRae (.376 OPS)
Worst HOF – Lou Brock (.415 OPS)

Koosman was happy to go to the AL, where he would no longer have to face Winfield, who went 21-49 (.429) against him as a Padre. After a two-year break, they were in the same league again after Winfield signed with the Yankees as a free agent. While Winfield did not enjoy the same success against Koosman as he did earlier, two of his four hits as a Yankee went for home runs. Meanwhile, McRae was 0-8 against Koosman as a member of the Reds. He got a hit the first time he faced Koosman as a Royal but he still ended up 6-54 (.111) lifetime against his nemesis. Brock started his career 0-9 with 5 Ks against Koosman. It didn’t get much better, as the lefty-hitting Brock finished up 15-91 (.165) against the lefty Koosman.

Jon Matlack
10 PA
Best – Sixto Lezcano (1.975 OPS)
Best HOF – Ripken (1.375 OPS)
Worst – Dave Revering, Jose Pagan, Dan Driessen (0.000 OPS)
Worst HOF – McCovey (.220 OPS)

Lezcano only faced Matlack in two seasons – 1978 and 1980. Matlack should be glad he missed him in ’79, as Lezcano went 4-8 with 3 XBH in his career. Matlack was on his last legs when he faced Ripken, who went 3-8 with 2 BB against him. Matlack’s trio of hitless wonders went 0-38 with 11 Ks. Driessen’s totals are even more hurtful, as he went 0-3 with a K in the ‘73 NLCS. With the platoon advantage against McCovey, Matlack held him to a single and a walk in 14 trips to the plate.

50 PA
Best – Bob Bailey (.991 OPS)
Best HOF – Ted Simmons (.968 OPS)
Worst – Willie Davis (.377 OPS)
Worst HOF – Johnny Bench (.491 OPS)

Bailey went 14-44 with 8 BB against Matlack, with 6 XBH. It’s too bad when the Mets were trying desperately to get a 3B that they didn’t get Bailey – he and Wayne Garrett would have made a terrific platoon. It’s with great satisfaction to say Simmons name as a Hall of Famer – almost as much as Simmons himself had when he saw Matlack on the hill. He went 20-53 (.377) against Matlack, including a .396 AVG as a member of the Cardinals. Against teams in which he had at least 300 PA in his career, Davis did his best work against the Mets. But Matlack was the exception, as he couldn’t buy a hit against him, reaching base just eight times in 52 trips to the plate. Bench was 4-10 against Matlack in ’73, one of the two good years he had against him. But in the NLCS, he was 0-4 with a K. Lifetime, Bench was 11-55 with 2 XBH – both doubles – against Matlack.

9 comments on “The best and worst hitters against Seaver, Koosman and Matlack

  • Hobie

    I remember Seaver saying how Keith Hernandez ate him up. Maybe most of that was as a Red. What were his stats vs Keith?

    • Michael

      Tom must have been thinking of someone else. Against him, Keith had a .196 BA and .547 OPS.

      • Hobie

        Ya Know, it may have been Keith who said that of Tom come to think of it.

        • Michael

          Koos owned him too: .154/.489

  • Rob

    As usual great article. Always puzzled me how mediocre players can crush great players or teams. Two points. What the heck was chipper jones on when playing the mets and what took simmons so long to get in?

    • Mike W

      I remember Ron Fairly giving Seaver a hard time.

    • David Klein

      Chipper’s career numbers look a lot like his numbers vs the Mets.

  • Eraff

    wow—is Simmons in the Hall???…I missed that, and I’ve always felt that he belonged.

    All of Johnny Bench’s contemporaries suffered in comparison—such a remarkable player

  • MattyMets

    I wonder if anyone has ever named their dog or cat Rance Mulliniks?

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