The New York Mets have their own Hall of Fame with plaques and stories in Citi Field. Mind you, these are not retired numbers; they are Mets Hall of Fame members.

When Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets (including the Wilpons), they created the Mets HOF. And of course, Joan Payson was the first inductee.

The current NYM HOF is made up of the characters one would casually reel off when asked about the greatest Met players of all time, with a few surprising exceptions. For starters, the first nine inductees,through 1984, barely played for the Mets. Gil Hodges managed just 167 plate appearances. Hodges and Casey Stengel were the early inductees involved in the team, and both for their managerial and public relations roles.

The first players inducted were in the landmark season of 1986, and those two players were not your first guesses. Maybe your third and eighth. To be fair your first guess was still an active player. In 1986, the Mets inducted Bud Harrelson and Rusty Staub. That is not to say these two aren’t deserving. It is just a little surprising.

The late 80s Mets were celebrated and the Mets HOF inducted someone practically every year:

1986: Bud Harrelson, Rusty Staub
1988: Tom Seaver
1989: Jerry Koosman
1990: Ed Kranepool
1991: Cleon Jones
1992: Jerry Grote
1993: Tug McGraw

A pretty good run that really recognized the Mets players of the previous great teams, and, it should be noted, electing the best players in Mets history at that point.

The strike in 1994 and 1995 meant the owners were not celebrating players for anything, retired or not. But it was not for long – 10 years had passed without a title, so it was a good time to celebrate the 1986 Champs.
1996: Mookie Wilson
1997: Keith Hernandez

Then another few years off.

2001: Gary Carter
2002: Tommie Agee

Not another person was inducted for eight years. Possibly due to the planning of moving from Shea to Citi Field, but also likely due to owners that just didn’t care. Once Citi Field was built, the shiny new building added a section for plaques and ceremonies, and what better way to kick off the grand opening than with the current legends:

2010: Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Davey Johnson, Frank Cashen
2012: John Franco
2013: Mike Piazza

Then bizarrely, management takes *another* eight years off. Technically the Wilpons only took seven years off. As they worked on selling the team to Steve Cohen. Cohen immediately began adding to the HOF.

2021: Ron Darling, Jon Matlack, Edgardo Alfonzo

And for 2023:

2023: Howard Johnson, Al Leiter, Gary Cohen, Howie Rose

All in all, a well-chosen crew for the Mets history. You may have noted a glaring omission, and the likelihood is waiting for the 2024 Cooperstown ballot to be created, and potentially announced before adding David Wright to the Mets HOF. The presumption is his number will be retired in a grand fashion.

There are several others who sit high on the Mets all-time WAR list. So far the Hall includes WAR ranks 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20.

The key players for the 1969 Mets with Agee and Grote, plus the Mets lifer in Kranepool are the players who don’t make the WAR list, along with Staub, whose ties to the Mets were more than as a player.

The rest of the top 20 players who are missing, and should get their deserts include Sid Fernandez, David Cone, and John Stearns. Jacob deGrom is fourth all-time, and likely would have made it to second if he had stayed. He will get his plaque a few years after he retires in 2033 or so. The last two players outside the circle, who are top 10 players for the Mets have big red flags preventing them from getting recognized in the near term: Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.

Congratulations to Johnson and Leiter – well-deserved.

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