The age old sports debate; who’s the Mt. Rushmore (best four players ever) of your favorite team. With this being a Mets blog, and the Mets obviously being my favorite team, let’s explore who would make my Mets Mt. Rushmore and why.
First person on that Mets mountain, without a doubt, would have to be The Franchise, Tom Terrific Seaver. Seaver was a Met for more than a decade and defined what an ace pitcher was, is, and always should be. The amount of Mets pitching records that Seaver held or holds is undeniable. Add to that his multiple Cy Young Awards, 198 wins as a Met and numerous other yearly league awards such as strikeout, ERA, and wins titles makes him an easy pick, no-brainer. The fact that Seaver still associates himself with the team and continues to have a presence around so many facets of recent Mets teams, including the closing of Shea Stadium and opening of Citi Field, just further cements his place atop the Mets Mt. Rushmore. The only thing missing from his Mets lore is a statue at the stadium. Hopefully the Mets brass wise up and make that happen because I, and i’m sure many other fans, have had enough of entering Citi Field to a tribute of a Dodger (as great of a pioneer as he was).
The person I would place next to Tom Terrific on the Mt. Rushmore of Mets would be Mike Piazza. All of the unfounded Steroid talk aside, Piazza was a force to be reckoned with while in the Mets pinstripes (or black alternate uni). I remember the day the Mets acquired Piazza from the Florida Marlins like it was yesterday. Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall and Geoff Geotz, no one missed them. Piazza made an immediate impact and struck fear into all those who opposed him on the mound. In his 7+ years with the team, he hit just below .300 with 220 homeruns. He unfortunately displaced my all-time favorite Met, Todd Hundley, but was quickly forgiven with his production. While many people would argue that Piazza never led the Mets anywhere or brought them any championships, and no one can argue with that, his finest moment as a Met came after 9/11/2001 when New York City was recovering from one of the most gruesome events in history. Piazza hit one of the most memorable homeruns in baseball against the hated rival Braves in their return to Shea Stadium after the terrorist attacks and seemingly put a city, and a nation, on his back.
Next to Mr. Piazza would be Dwight Doctor K Gooden. While it is a shame what happened in his personal life that led to his downfall and short MLB and Mets career, when he first burst onto the scene, he was like no other. For all the Mets records that Seaver owns, Doc owns as many 2nd place pitching records. Again, due to his personal issues (addictions) he only amassed 157 wins for the Mets, but 23 of them being shutouts. In 1985 he won the NL Cy Young Award by going an other-worldly 24-4 with 268 strikeouts and barely above a 1.50 ERA. It is sad to think what could have been for this rare breed if his demons didn’t get in the way but it is great to see that he has turned his life around as he got older and has become a mentor and role-model for the team in recent years. He brings great insight to guys such as Wheeler and Harvey and has resurrected his reputation around the game, and more importantly around the Mets after his poor decision to don the pinstripes across town.
Choosing the last of four players to the Mets Mr. Rushmore was no easy task. While I heavily considered Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Carlos Beltran and even Matt Harvey (despite his Mets tenure barely even getting out of first gear thus far) I wound up going with David Wright. Wright came up to the Mets just as they got real good, real quick. He became the quiet leader putting up great numbers for a solid 3-4 year stretch and the future was bright, until a move to Citi Field and injuries taking over. He is the current Captain of the Mets and has led by example both on and off the field. Despite diminishing skills and a ever crumbling physique, Wright continues to be the consummate professional and put up solid but not spectacular numbers when healthy. Much like my internal debate with Piazza, picking someone who never won an MVP or brought a Championship to the Mets brings him a few notches down, but he has still done enough to keep Mets fans enamored and deserving of a spot on the Mets Mr. Rushmore.
What do you think about my selection? Who would you keep, dump, add?