Sunday, March 12, 2006

My Favorite Mets - Part 1

When Kirby Puckett passed away last week, I cried. At first, I didn't know why, because as a Mets fan, I didn't even see him play all that much. Then, I realized that Puckett was just one of those likable ballplayers who didn't have the physical gifts or natural talent of so many others who accomplish much less. And I always admired those players with sunny dispositions and a positive outlook on life. So, even though Puckett had no connection to the Mets, he was a favorite of mine, at least subconsciously.

The Mets have had some good players over the years, and a handful of great ones, starting (and maybe ending) with Tom Seaver. And of course, I rooted for Seaver as long as he was wearing a Mets uniform, and knew that when he was on the mound, the Mets chances of winning were always good. But, I can't say that Seaver was a favorite of mine. In spite of his being railroaded by M. Donald Grant who, like most Mets fans, I couldn't stand because he was the dictionary definition of "effete snob", I never rooted for Seaver when he was pitching elsewhere. I guess I thought he was a bit of an egotist and let his label as the "franchise" go to his head. And when the Mets brought him back as an announcer because he was the primary link between "Mets" and "greatness", I wasn't all that excited. And frankly, he was a lousy announcer, who let his ego shine through. I won't miss him. So Seaver doesn't make my list of all-time favorite Mets.

Reminiscing from the early days, 2 names do make the list - Frank Thomas and Joe Christopher, from the championship team of 1969, it's clearly Tug McGraw. But my all-time favorite is Mookie Wilson. More about all of them, and some more names from my list later this week. And let me know who your all-time favorite Met is, and why.


Blogger Mike said...

Welcome back, Barry!

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a Mets fan from Day 1 in 1962. And Jerry Grote was my man in the '65 - '75 era.

A couple of my friends and I just loved his skill and grit behind the plate. We hated Johnny Bench for getting all the attention (even if he deserved it - Grote certainly was no hitter, despite his "breakthrough" .282 All-Star year in '68), much as we hated Pete Rose for beating Ron Hunt for rookie of the year in '63 (again, despite being a better player).

Why Grote? Can't say for sure. It wasn't because he was a Texas redneck -- we were living in Manhattan. It wasn't because he was a nice guy -- by most accounts, he was a creep. We loved Cleon and Koosman and Ed Charles and Tug and the other, more accessible, likeable players, but for some reason or other, Grote was the man. Maybe it was because it was the heyday of the counterculture, and we were simply being contrary by embracing a player who was the opposite of ourselves.

Go figure.

I still have his picture sitting on a shelf in my home office.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I liked Keith Hernandez. Tom Seaver was the Met I most admired, but Keith was the one I wished I could be.

10:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home