Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Mr. Met

The New York Mets have been around since 1962, their inaugural season in the National League.

They have had some very good, even Hall of Fame players in the clubs 49 year history, including Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Darryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden.


One of the coolest things about the Mets has always been the teams mascot, Mr. Met.

I have always thought Mr. Met was by far and away the best big league mascot.

The first time I remember watching the Mets play was in the 1973 National League Championship against the Cincinnati Reds.

Bud Harrelson, the Mets shortstop, got into a fight with the Reds Pete Rose as the two tangled up at a play at second base in the 5th inning of Game 3 at Shea Stadium.

In that game my favorite Met player ever, Rust Staub, hit 2 HRs for the Mets.

Staub hit .423, with a home run and 6 RBI in the '73 World Series as the Mets lost to the Oakland A's.

Now, at the time, I didn't know Rusty Staub would become my favorite player to play for the Metropolitans, I was just a baseball fan who loved to watch big league players and the playoffs were always great to watch.

What made Staub the one player I think of when I talk about the Mets starts with Staub's trade to my beloved Detroit Tigers in 1976.
Staub was pretty good in 1976, batting .299 with 15 homers, playing in the All-Star Game, and becoming the 1st player to play all 162 team games as a teams designated hitter.

In his three plus years with Detroit he hit 61 home runs, with 308 RBI.

Those three years with the Tigers were just a small part of Staub's 24 year big league career.

Rusty Staub started his career in the big leagues with the Houston Colt 45's and was traded to the Montreal Expos in 1969, and he became a fan favorite in Montreal, where he received his famous nickname, "Le Grand Orange."


Rusty Staub played for the Mets from 1972-75, and the again from 1981-1985.

As a Met, Staub played in 942 games, 13th most in Mets history, is still 18th in lifetime hits for the Mets, with 709, 22nd with 75 HRs, 11th in RBI with 399, and 17th in total bases, with 1,078.

As you can see, Rusty Staub played for a few teams, so why is he my favorite Mets player?

It's simple.

Staub was traded to the Tigers for Mickey Lolich, the best left handed pitcher the Tigers ever had, and the MVP of the Tigers 1968 World Series Championship.

I was horrified that the Tigers would trade Lolich, and so I started to learn more about Rusty.

Every time he would play on TV as a member of the Mets or the Tigers, the announcers would always comment on what a fine man Staub was, and he just seemed like the kind of player I wanted on my team.

They would show clips of his younger days with the Astros, Expos, and the Mets, and his former teammates always had great things to say about Staub.

In 1979 he was sent back to the Expos, and in 1980 he played for the Texas Rangers.

Staring in 1981, Rusty went back in New York with the Mets, where he was a player/coach, and in 1983 Staub hit a MLB record 8 straight pinch hits, and 25 pinch hit RBIs.

I always had great respect for Rusty Staub, he played hard, got big hits in big games, and for that, as much as anything else, he is my Mr. Met.

Who's your favorite New York Met?

Is it Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, how about Marvelous Marv Throneberry?

Tell me who gets your vote as your fave Mets player.

3 comments:

  1. Got to say Seaver was the best. Hernandez gets a vote for making it to "Seinfeld" for a couple of episodes

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  2. Rusty Staub was a great Met and I loved his time here in NY, so much so that I collect his cards from all the teams he played for. As far as my favorite Met player, it's so hard to pick just one as a Mets fan. Give me a team I don't root for and don't know a lot about and I could surely make a choice. Jonny Bench for the Reds and Frank Thomas for the White Sox are just a couple off the top of my head. When it comes to the Mets it's so much more difficult for me. I can name several from different era's but to pick just one is too hard for me. David Wright is my current team favorite with Ike Davis gaining ground while Doc Gooden from the 86 era teams along with Kieth Hernandez second. Mike Piazza from the period around 2000 would top that list. You pose a fun question here and when I have some time I should write a post with my favorite from each era.

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  3. Great comments guys, thanks for sharing. I like Staub while he was a Tigers player, and that made me learn more about him. I think of all the teams he played for, I associate him most as a NY Met.

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