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New York Mets All-Time Lineup

Best at each position, in one season, in team history


A look at the all-time starting lineup for the New York Mets in the team's history. It's not a career record - it's taken from the best season any player had at that position in team history to create a lineup. The Mets have only been around since 1962, so there are only two Hall of Famers on the list as of 2011, and none in the starting lineup. But a few of these players could get there someday.

1. Starting pitcher: Dwight Gooden

Dwight Gooden photo
Mike Powell/Getty Images

1985: 24-4, 1.53 ERA, 16 CG, 276.2 IP, 268 Ks, 0.965 WHIP

Rest of the rotation: Tom Seaver (1969, 25-7, 2.21 ERA, 18 CG, 273.1 IP, 208 Ks, 1.039 WHIP), David Cone (1988, 20-3, 2.22 ERA, 231.1 IP, 178 H, 213 Ks, 1.115 WHIP), Jerry Koosman (1968, 19-12, 2.08 ERA, 263.2 IP, 7 shutouts, 1.100 WHIP), Frank Viola (1990, 20-12, 2.67 ERA, 249.2 IP, 1.150 WHIP)

A darn good group, but just one Hall of Famer, and it's the No. 2 starter. No. 1 certainly had the talent to get there, but never lived up to the promise he showed in his second season. Gooden, known then as "Dr. K," was sensational in 1984, winning the NL Cy Young Award. Tom Seaver was at his best in the "Miracle Mets" season of 1969 on the way to Cooperstown. David Cone bounced around throughout his career, but was rarely better than he showed with the Mets in 1988. Jerry Koosman was another young ace in the Mets' rotation in the late 1960s, and Frank Viola came over from Minnesota to win 20 games in 1990.

2. Catcher: Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza photo
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

2000: .324, 38 HR, 113 RBI, 1.012 OPS

Backup: Gary Carter (1985, .281, 32 HR, 100 RBI, .853 OPS)

Two Hall of Famers (at least in a few years) have been Mets catchers for parts of their careers. Piazza was third in NL MVP voting in his best Mets season. Carter came over from Montreal before the 1985 season and had his best year in New York in that first year. The Hall of Famer beats out Todd Hundley (41 HR in 1996) for the backup spot.

3. First baseman: John Olerud

John Olerud photo
Al Bello/Allsport/Getty Images

1998: .354, 22 HR, 93 RBI, .998 OPS

Backup: Carlos Delgado (2006, .265, 38 HR, 114 RBI, .981 OPS)

Olerud was solid for years, hitting for a high average and at his best in 1998, when he finished second in the NL in hitting and also hit 22 homers. Delgado wins the backup spot by a slim margin over one of the great stars of the 1980s, Keith Hernandez.

4. Second baseman: Edgardo Alfonso

Edgardo Alfonso photo
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

2000: .324, 25 HR, 94 RBI, .967 OPS

Backup: Tim Teufel (1987, .308, 14 HR, 61 RBI, .943 OPS)

Alfonso was a big part of a pennant-winning team in 2000, and the backup had his best season the year after the Mets' championship season in 1986.

5. Third baseman: David Wright

David Wright photo
Nick Laham/Getty Images

2007: .325, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 34 SB, .963 OPS

Backup: Howard Johnson (1989, .287, 36 HR, 101 RBI, 41 SB, .928 OPS)

Wright kind of lost his power stroke when the Mets moved into Citi Field, but when they were still at Shea, he had an incredible season in 2007 at age 24. The backup is Johnson, who was also a great combination of power and speed, but not quite as good in the field as Wright.

6. Shortstop: Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes photo
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

2006: .300, 19 HR, 81 RBI, 64 SB, .841 OPS

Backup: Rey Ordonez (1999, .258, 1 HR, 60 RBI, .636 OPS)

This one is a no-brainer, as Reyes is by far the best shortstop in Mets history. The backup spot goes to Ordonez, who beats out Frank Taveras and Bud Harrelson in a position that had never been one with a real offensive threat in Mets history until Reyes came along.

7. Left fielder: Bernard Gilkey

Bernard Gilkey photo
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

1996: .317, 30 HR, 117 RBI, .955 OPS

Backup: Cleon Jones (1969, .340, 12 HR, 75 RBI, .904 OPS)

A bit of an upset, as Gilkey doesn't really belong on a list of the best Mets ever, as he was there just two-plus seasons. But he had one great year in 1996, the best statistically in team history for anybody at the position. So he gets the spot over one of the best from the Miracle Mets in Jones.

8. Center fielder: Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran photo
Al Bello/Getty Images

2006: .275, 41 HR, 116 RBI, .982 OPS

Backup: Lee Mazzilli (1979, .303, 15 HR, 79 RBI, 34 SB, .844 OPS)

Beltran was one of the biggest (and best) free agent acquisitions in team history, and he was at his best in 2006, hitting 41 homers and finishing fourth in the MVP voting. The backup is Mazzilli, who was among the team's most popular players in the late 1970s.

9. Right fielder: Darryl Strawberry

Darryl Strawberry photo
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

1987: .284, 39 HR, 104 RBI, 36 SB, .981 OPS

Backup: Rusty Staub (1975, .282, 19 HR, 105 RBI, .818 OPS)

Strawberry showed in 1987 how he could have been an immortal, but like Gooden, he got caught up on off-the-field issues and never lived up to his Cooperstown potential. He's backed up in right by a solid pro in Staub, who excelled as a pinch hitter late in his career.

10. Closer: Billy Wagner

Billy Wagner photo
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

2006: 3-2, 2.24 ERA, 40 saves, 72.1 IP, 94 Ks, 1.106 WHIP

Backup: Jesse Orosco (1983, 13-7, 1.47 ERA, 17 saves, 1.036 WHIP)

Tough call here on the best closer, which could go three ways, and all three were lefties who threw for a long time. Wagner was the most dominant during his best season, so he gets the spot over two lefties, Orosco and John Franco.

11. Batting order

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. John Olerud 1B
  3. Carlos Beltran CF
  4. Mike Piazza C
  5. Darryl Strawberry RF
  6. David Wright 3B
  7. Bernard Gilkey LF
  8. Edgardo Alfonso 2B
  9. Dwight Gooden P
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