Regardless of who the Mets take in the draft today, there's a compelling case that the Mets have added more talent to the organization on June 7 than any other date in the team's history. Twenty-five players selected by New York on this date have played with the parent club at some point in their careers. Together, they've provided the team with a grand total of 111.7 wins above replacement according to Baseball Reference, even though the ranks include a few huge misses. Like wasting a first round pick on Eddie Kunz in 2007, for instance, or taking Tim Foli first overall in 1968.
Some of the prominent Mets to join the organization on June 7 include Foli's draft classmate John Milner (14th round), 1977 selections Wally Backman (16th overall) and Mookie Wilson (second round), relievers Roger McDowell (third round) and Randy Myers (secondary phase) in 1982, and ten players who appeared on the roster at some point last season. By draft class:
2010: Matt Harvey (seventh overall)
Consider that lede buried. I'll heap some more dirt on it by pointing out that the Mets took Harvey on the anniversary of using the fifth overall selection of the 1982 draft to take a teenaged right-hander from Hillsborough High School in Tampa named Dwight Gooden. The two have been linked a lot recently and with good reason. Of the 111-plus wins above replacement amassed by players picked by New York on this date, Gooden is responsible for a plurality of it. Doc racked up 41.6 bWAR over the course of his eleven year Mets career, which trails only Tom Seaver for most in team history among pitchers. Seaver, of course, is another guy cited in Matt Harvey comparisons and if the former Tar Heel can continue to keep pace with those two, then June 7 will definitely go down as the most talented-packed day the Mets have ever had.
- Two-time International League MVP Roberto Petagine is 42. The slugging first baseman won the first of his trophies in 1997after hitting .317/.430/.605 as a member of the Norfolk Tides. Petagine never quite produced numbers approaching those at the major league level, though he wasn't given much of a chance to do so by any of the six organizations he played for. In the Mets' defense, they happened to employ a first baseman capable of putting up some pretty gaudy stat lines of his own at the time.
- Minor league burner Esix Snead turns 37. Despite having the perfect first name for an error-prone shortstop, the speedy Snead was an outfielder by trade, playing 18 games (mostly in center) for the Mets between 2002 and 2004. The most productive game of Snead's career came during his '02 cup of coffee. Representing the tying run in eighth inning of a 3-2 l'affair with the Expos, Snead promptly got picked off. The Mets eventually rallied for one in the bottom of the ninth, which gave Snead the chance to redeem himself in extras. He did so in a big way, cracking his only MLB home run in the 11th to make New York walk off winners.
The Mets did okay talent acquisition-wise on June 7 even before the advent of the draft. On this date in 1963, scout Roy Partee signed Bud Harrelson a pro contract worth $10,000. The 19-and-a-day-year-old shortstop actually chose the Mets' offer over a higher bid from the Yankees because "I figured I could make that club fast." He made his major league debut just over two years later. If your counting, the 18.6 bWAR Harrelson accrued as a Met brings the day's total to 130.3.
Frank Cashen also completed his first trade as general manager of the Mets on June 7, 1980, getting former All-Star Claudell Washington from the White Sox for minor leaguer Jesse Anderson. Unhappy in the Second City and coming off several subpar seasons, Washington recaptured his old form with New York, posting his best numbers since representing the A's as a 20-year old at the 1975 Midsummer Classic. Yet Washington didn't care to play in the country's top metropolis either and he split via free agency at year's end.
Game of Note
Ron Taylor, closer for the Miracle Mets, turned in a very impressive start against his future team on this date in 1963. Taking a rare turn in the rotation for the St. Louis Cardinals, Taylor held the Mets to just three base runners over eight shutout innings. He faltered slightly in the ninth, allowing a single to Frank Thomas and walking Ron Hunt, which prompted Cards manager Johnny Keane to summon Diomedes Olivo from the 'pen. Staked with protecting a 2-0 lead, the 44-year old pitcher, a legend in the Dominican Winter League, faced off against the equally aged and legendary Duke Snider. Luckily for Mets fans, the Silver Fox got the better of the confrontation and drove an Olivo offering over the fence for a game-winning three-run homer.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
King George VI became the first reigning British monarch to visit America on this date in 1939 when he crossed the U.S.-Canada border at Niagara Falls, New York. No Met can claim the Falls as his hometown, though the municipality did produce New York Giants great Sal Maglie. He's the pitcher who nearly took the loss in the Shot Heard 'round the World game, but Bobby Thomson's ninth-inning homer took him off the hook and pinned the goat horns on Ralph Branca of the Brooklyn Dodgers. These days, Branca is better known among New York baseball fans as Bobby Valentine's father-in-law.