On the Amazin' Avenue Facebook Page over the past few weeks, we've been asking Mets fans which player from Mets history they associate with a certain uniform number. This series proved to be very popular, so we decided the offseason would be a perfect opportunity to ask this same question to the general Amazin' Avenue readership! Each day, we'll post a different number with a few of the longest tenured or most well-known options for each uniform number up until we get to the #50. Be sure to vote in the poll at the bottom of the page!
Here's an interesting tidbit: the starting shortstops for the two Mets World Series champion teams in 1969 and 1986 both wore #3. While Bud Harrelson and Rafael Santana were certainly not known for their bats, the two did enough on the field to help guide the Mets to their World Series victories. Of course, a number of other infielders have donned #3 and the end result hasn't been nearly as rewarding. From Sergio Ferrer to Richie Hebner and Mario Ramirez, to more recent names like Miguel Cairo, Damion Easley, and Alex Cora, the #3 has a long history without much of an identity, aside from the former player, coach, and manager Harrelson.
Bud Harrelson (1965-1977, 1982, 1989-1991)
This is likely a landslide vote given Harrelson's long tenure with the club. Harrelson wore #3 with the Mets beginning in late 1965 and wouldn't give it up until the end of the 1977 season, once the Mets dealt him to the Phillies. After a brief hiatus, Harrelson would return to the Mets and #3 for the second half of 1982, this time as a coach. He donned #3 once more beginning in 1989 when he took over as Mets manager, holding the job through the 1991 season. After three separate tenures ranging across four decades and induction into the team's Hall of Fame, Harrelson appears to be an easy choice as the most memorable #3 in team history.
Rafael Santana (1984-1987)
Of course, there's also Santana, who capably manned shortstop for some incredibly talented Mets teams from 1984 through 1987. Thanks to plenty of offensive firepower surrounding him, the Mets were able to get away with Santana's weak bat at shortstop and still win lots of games. Santana hit just .248/.296/.310 in his seasons with the Mets, offensive output that would make Ruben Tejada look like an All-Star in comparison. But as a part of some great teams, perhaps there are some memories of Santana that make him a choice for most memorable #3.
Vance Wilson (1999-2004)
Mike Piazza's second understudy with the Mets, Wilson certainly wasn't the most memorable player in franchise history but the catcher did wear #3 from 1999-2004, one of the longest tenures with the digit. Over parts of six seasons with the Mets, Wilson hit .254/.308/.384 while proving to be a solid defender. Wilson was dealt to the Tigers after 2004 in exchange for infielder Anderson Hernandez and after retiring, he's been a minor league manager in the Royals organization since 2010.
Carl Everett (1995-1997)
Here's somebody who's memorable, though perhaps more for his off field antics than what he did on the field. A talented hitter, Everett spent three seasons with the Mets and hit .250/.326/.402 with the club before they shipped him off to the Astros in 1997. Everett blossomed into an excellent hitter in Houston and Boston but it was his attitude that often led to him quickly wearing out his welcome. While he often got into altercations on the field with MLB umpires throughout his career, Everett has had controversial views such as his infamous denial of the existence of dinosaurs.
Bud Harrelson ran away with the Facebook poll, as you may have expected. Santana and Vance Wilson received votes there along with Curtis Granderson, Alex Cora, and Damion Easley.