Last night in Los Angeles, Carlos Beltran got to add a World Series championship to his resumé. Of the former Mets in the playoffs this year, there were plenty to root for, but Beltran stood out as one of the best, even though it’s been over six years now since he wore a Mets uniform.
Shamefully maligned by Mets fans for striking out looking to end the 2006 National League Championship Series, Beltran has been of the greatest—if not the single greatest—postseason performers in baseball history. He made that name for himself with his absurd run of success for the Astros after joining them as a trade deadline acquisition in 2004. He was fantastic for the Mets in the 2006 playoffs, too, particularly in the NLCS itself. In that series, which David Wright correctly pointed out wouldn’t have gotten to a Game 7 without Beltran’s performance, Beltran hit .296/.387/.667 with three home runs.
In large part because of the Mets’ failures around him, Beltran didn’t get back to the playoffs for six years after that. It’s not hard to imagine what kind of things he might have done if those 2007 and 2008 teams were just couple games better and got him into those series at that point of his career. But even several years later, he thrived in the postseason some more in stints with the Cardinals, Yankees, Rangers, and Astros.
There’s something satisfying about seeing him finally win it all, even in a year that easily goes down as his least successful as a major league player. That he did so with a team that has no real rivalry with the Mets—rather than with the Cardinals or Yankees, for example—makes it that much easier to enjoy.
Carlos Beltran was already bound for the Hall of Fame, but his case only looks better this morning than it did yesterday. Given the variety of teams he’s played for over the years, it wouldn’t be surprising if he entered the place without a team on his cap. But he undoubtedly had his best stretch of his career—both by quantity and quality—as a Met. It would have been preferable to see him do so in slightly different shades of orange and blue, of course, but seeing him during the Astros’ celebration was fantastic.