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Take a look at some of the Mets collectibles I have in my home.

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Updates

(New York Mets)

(New York Mets)

2020 Season

Season Preview: The Mets have an everyday lineup and bench full of talented hitters, including Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Ahmed Rosario and JD Davis. The pitching staff is led by Jacob deGrom, but beyond him there are many question marks. New manager Luis Rojas will have to get the best out of every player on the team for the Mets to make the playoffs.

2019 Season

September 28, 2019: Pete Alonso homered against the Braves to set a new record for home runs by a rookie, with 53. He broke the mark set last year by Aaron Judge of the Yankees.

July 7, 2019: Pete Alonso became the first NL rookie to his 30 home runs before the All-Star break.

June 22, 2019: Pete Alonso set a new NL record for home runs by a rookie before the All-Star break, with 25. He broke the mark set in 2017 by Cody Bellinger.

April 3, 2019: Jacob deGrom threw his 26th quality start in a row. That tied a record set by Hall of Famer Bob Gibson in 1968.

Season Preview: A huge trade with the Mariners landed All-Star Robbie Cano and closer Edwin Diaz, who join catcher Wilson Ramos among the newcomers at CitiField in 2019. The pitching rotation features Jake DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard. The Mets plugged important holes in their lineup, so if they can stay healthy they should be part of a tight NL East race.

2018 Season

Season Recap: For a brief moment early in the season, the Mets had all five of their top-rated starters—Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zach Wheeler in the rotation together. Unfortunately, injuries, inconsistency and a trade of Harvey broke up the “big five” and the Mets finished 4th in the NL East. Of the five, deGrom had the best year, but struggled to win as the offense struggled to score. Among the few bright spots were solid year from outfielder Brandon Nimmo and shortstop Amed Rosario.

September 11, 2018: Jacob DeGrom set a new record when he held the Marlins to two earned runs. It was the 26 start in a row he had allowed two runs or less. The old record was set in 1910.

Season Preview: Mets fans are still waiting for their five great pitching stars to be healthy at the same time. Sometime in 2018, they will see Noah Syndergaard, Jake DeGrom, Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, and Steven Matz take the mound on consecutive days. It’s the offense that worries new manager Mickey Callaway. Sluggers Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Michael Conforto have all battled injuries and inconsistencies. And no one is sure who the team’s first baseman and catcher will be. On paper, the Mets have a playoff club. In reality, it is anyone’s guess.

2017 Season

Season Recap: Few teams have ever suffered more injuries to key players than the Mets did in 2017. Jeurys Familia, Yoenis Cespedes, and Noah Syndergaard missed major time, as did several other stars. The good news for Mets fans was the performances of young position players Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith.

July 24, 2017: Jose Reyes stole his 500th base in a game against the Padres. Only 38 other players had reached that mark.

2016 Season

November 1, 2016: The Mets looked dead halfway through the season as injuries struck their talented pitching staff. Rookies Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman stepped up under pressure, while the New York bullpen was great all year. The Mets earned a spot in the Wild Card game, but lost to the Giants on a ninth-inning homer.

May 7, 2016: Pitcher Bartolo became the oldest player to hit his first major league home run. He was 42 years 349 days old when he homered against the Padres.

2015 Season

Season Roundup: The Mets won the NL pennant for the first time since 2000. Four young power pitchers led the way—Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Jeurys Familia. The team’s offense got a boost from Yoenis Cespedes, who went on a home run tear after joining the Mets in July. The big story in New York was the power explosion by Daniel Murphy, who hit home runs in six straight playoff games to help his team reach the World Series. Although they held leads in four games, they lost to the Royals 4 games to 1.

July 12, 2015: Kirk Nieuwenhuis belted three homers in a game against the Diamondbacks. He was the first Met in history to hit three home runs in a home game.

June 28, 2015: Steven Matz became the first pitcher in history to drive in four runs in his first game. Matz defeated the Reds 7–2.

April 5, 2015: Matt Harvey takes the mound for the Mets after missing a year with an arm injury. He leads a pitching staff that includes veterans Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon, and rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom. The team’s offense will depend on sluggers David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Michael Cuddyer.

2014 Season

November 15, 2014: Jacob DeGrom was named NL Rookie of the Year. He edged Billy Hamilton of the Reds.

November 1, 2014: Without their best pitcher, Matt Harvey, the Mets did not expect to win the NL East in 2014. However, they expected better years from their outfielders, shortstop and bullpen. All three were inconsistent. The big news in New York was the power show put on by Lucas Duda, the fine hitting of second baseman Daniel Murphy, and the quality pitching of prospects Jacob deGrom and Jenrry Mejia.

September 15, 2014: Rookie Jacob DeGrom tied a big-league record when he struck out the first 8 batters he faced in a game against the Marlins.

August 1, 2014: Pitcher Jacob deGrom was named NL Rookie of the Month for July.

March 31, 2014: The Mets will have four of the best young pitchers in baseball in their rotation in 2015—Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Jesus Montero. Only Wheeler, however, is likely to contribute in 2014. Harvey is hurt and the other two are still refining their games in the minors. As usual, the offense is led by David Wright and as usual it’s not going to win a lot of games. Newcomer Curtis Granderson shoud help.

2013 Season

October 1, 2013: The highlight of the year for the Mets was hosting the All-Star Game. The rest of the season provided more questions than answers. Rising stars Ruben Tejada, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Matt Harvey, and Bobby Parnell spent much of the year in the minors or on the disabled list. The fill-in players did a good job, but does that mean they can produce at the big-league level? The Mets will have a lot of decisions to make over the winter.

April 29, 2013: John Buck tied Johnny Bench and Charles Johnson for the most homers by a catcher in the month of April, with 9.

March 30, 2013: With Cy Young Award winner A.J. Dickey traded to Toronto, the new leader of the Mets’ pitching is fire-baller Matt Harvey. The rest of the staff is a big question mark. New York’s offense features David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Ike Davis, who had a great second half in 2012.

2012 Season

October 3, 2012: It was a tale of two halves for the Mets. On July 7, they were 46–39, a few games out of first place. From that point on, they won only 28 more games. The main highlight for New York fans was watching the amazing knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey. He won 20 games and led the NL in innings, strikeouts, shutouts, and complete games.

July 26, 2012: Rookie Matt Harvey pitched his first big-league game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and struck out 11 batters. Harvey broke Tom Seaver’s team record for most strikeouts in his first start.

June 24, 2012: R.A. Dickey set a new team record by pitching 44 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. He broke the mark set by Jerry Koosman in 1973.

June 1, 2012: Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in team history, against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets had gone more than 8,000 games without a “no-no.”

April, 2012: Bobby Parnell was the team’s closer at the end of the 2011 season. Over the winter, the Mets signed Frank Francisco and John Rauch. No matter who pitches the ninth inning for the Mets, they should have a pretty good bullpen in 2012.

More Go-To Guys

It’s a shame that Al Jackson wasn’t around for the 1969 World Series. He pitched his heart out for the Mets when they were still a struggling team. (Topps, Inc.)

Tug McGraw signed this 1966 baseball card. Did you know he is the father of country singer Tim McGraw? (Topps, Inc.)

This card of Cleon Jones is one of my most prized possessions. It’s very rare and has rounded corners, which you can’t see in this picture. (Topps, Inc.)

I always thought Howard Johnson’s nickname “HoJo” was funny. That was what everyone called the restaurant Howard Johnson’s when I was growing up. (Author’s Collection)

  • Al Jackson — Pitcher
    Born: 12/26/1935
    Played for Team: 1962 to 1965 & 1968 to 1969
    Al Jackson was one of the toughest left-handers in the NL when he pitched for the Mets. He had to be, because they didn’t score much for him. In 1962, “Little Al” threw a one-hitter against the Houston Astros, and he also beat Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals 1–0. Jackson outdueled Gibson 1–0 again in 1964. He finished his Mets career with 10 shutouts.

  • Ed Kranepool — First Baseman
    Born: 11/8/1944
    Played for Team: 1962 to 1979
    Ed Kranepool joined New York as a teenager and became an All-Star at the age of 20, in 1965. He and Donn Clendenon formed a two-man platoon at first base for the 1969 Mets. Both players hit home runs to help New York beat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series that year.

  • Tug McGraw — Pitcher
    Born: 8/30/1944
    Died: 1/5/2004
    Played for Team: 1965 to 1974
    Tug McGraw began his career as a starter and was the first Mets pitcher to beat Sandy Koufax. After becoming a relief pitcher McGraw was the star of New York’s bullpen during the team’s pennant-winning seasons in 1969 and 1973.

  • Bud Harrelson — Shortstop
    Born: 6/6/1944
    Played for Team: 1965 to 1977
    Bud Harrelson barely weighed 150 pounds, but what he lacked in size he made for with heart. He played in two All-Star Games and was one of the most dependable shortstops in baseball. Harrelson is best remembered for his wrestling match with Pete Rose during the 1973 playoffs. He showed the Mets they could stand up to the powerful Cincinnati Reds and win.

  • Cleon Jones — Outfielder
    Born: 8/4/1942
    Played for Team: 1963 to 1975
    Cleon Jones was one of the league’s best hitters in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was in the Top 10 in batting average in 1968, 1969, and 1971. Jones was the starting left fielder for the NL in the 1969 All-Star Game and caught the final out of the World Series that fall.

  • Dave Kingman — Outfielder/First Baseman
    Born: 12/21/1948
    Played for Team: 1975 to 1977 & 1981 to 1983
    Dave Kingman was the Mets’ first great slugger. He set a team record for home runs in his first year in New York and led the NL in homers twice as a Met. In a 1976 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kingman blasted three home runs.

  • Howard Johnson — Third Baseman
    Born: 11/29/1960
    Played for Team: 1985 to 1993
    Howard Johnson was a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate. In 1987, he set an NL record for home runs by a switch-hitter with 36. He also stole 32 bases that season. In 1991, “HoJo” broke his own home run record when he led the league with 38.

  • Al Leiter — Pitcher
    Born: 10/23/1965
    Played for Team: 1998 to 2004
    The Mets traded for Al Leiter because he knew what it took to win big games. He went 17–8 with a 2.34 ERA in 1998. In 1999, Leiter shut out the Cincinnati Reds in a one-game playoff. In 2000, he helped the Mets return to the World Series for the first time since 1986.

More Fun Facts

This photo really captures the spirit of Dwight Gooden. (Black Book Partners/John Klein)

Everyone thinks Al Leiter is going to go into politics one day. I would vote him! (Black Book Partners)

  • BEST FOR LAST
    In his last start of 1990, David Cone struck out 12 batters to finish with 232—10 more than runners-up Dwight Gooden and Ramon Martinez. On the final day of the 1991 season, Cone fanned 19 batters to tie a team record and win his second strikeout crown.

  • ALL OR NOTHING
    In 1982, Dave Kingman led the NL in home runs but batted just .204. His average was lower than the NL Cy Young Award winner’s average that season. Steve Carlton hit .218.

  • WORKING LATE
    In April of 1968, the Mets lost to the Houston Astros 1–0 in a game that lasted six hours and six minutes. The only run was scored on an error by Al Weis in the 24th inning.

  • TURNING 30
    In April of 2002, Al Leiter defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks. That made him the first player in history to defeat 30 different teams.

  • FAST COMPANY
    When Pedro Martinez struck out his 3,000th batter with the Mets, he joined two exclusive clubs. Martinez was only the fourth pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks. He was just the third to reach 3,000 with more strikeouts than innings pitched. The first two to do this were Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.

  • LIGHTS OUT
    On July 25, 1977, thousands of fans at Shea Stadium were left in the dark when a blackout struck New York City. To help find their way out of the stadium safely, the players drove their cars onto the field and shone their headlights into the stands.

League Leaders

Every time Dave Kingman came to the plate, you thought he would hit a home run—that’s how powerful he was. (Author’s Collection)

Tom Seaver was the “Prince of New York City” during the 1970s. He and his wife, Nancy, looked like fashion models. (Author’s Collection)

  • Home Runs
    1982 — Dave Kingman — 37
    1988 — Darryl Strawberry — 39
    1991 — Howard Johnson — 38
    2019 — Pete Alonso — 52

  • Batting Average
    2011 — Jose Reyes — .337

  • Runs Batted In
    1991 — Howard Johnson — 117

  • Stolen Bases
    2005 — Jose Reyes — 60
    2006 — Jose Reyes — 64
    2007 — Jose Reyes — 78
    2013 — Eric Young — 46

  • Wins
    1969 — Tom Seaver — 25
    1975 — Tom Seaver — 22
    1985 — Dwight Gooden — 24

  • Strikeouts
    1970 — Tom Seaver — 283
    1971 — Tom Seaver — 289
    1973 — Tom Seaver — 251
    1975 — Tom Seaver — 243
    1976 — Tom Seaver — 235
    1984 — Dwight Gooden — 276
    1985 — Dwight Gooden — 268
    1990 — David Cone — 233
    1991 — David Cone — 241
    2012 — R.A. Dickey —  212
    2019 — Jacob DeGrom — 255

  • Earned Run Average
    1970 — Tom Seaver — 2.82
    1971 — Tom Seaver — 1.76
    1973 — Tom Seaver — 2.08
    1977 — Tom Seaver — 2.34*
    1978 — Craig Swan — 2.43
    1985 — Dwight Gooden — 1.53
    2008 — Johan Santana — 2.53
    2018 — Jacob DeGrom — 1.70

    * Seaver also played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977.

Mets in the World Series

This ticket stub is from the final game of the 1969 World Series. (Author’s Collection)

YEAR OPPONENT RESULT
1969 Baltimore Orioles Won 4–1
1973 Oakland A’s Lost 4–3
1986 Boston Red Sox Won 4–3
2000 New York Yankees Lost 4–1

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