We just spent the better part of three weeks reliving some horrific memories from our New York Mets fandom as we voted on the biggest villain in franchise history (congratulations again to Fred and Jeff Wilpon. It was a truly well-deserved win.) We got tired of dwelling on the bad, so we thought it was time to turn our attention to better memories. As a result, we brainstormed some ideas over at Amazin’ Avenue HQ on how to participate in something far more pleasant. The idea of doing a bracket for all-time Mets seemed pretty obvious but also a little bit played out, so we instead turned our sights to focusing on recent players.
Introducing the UltiMET of the Millennium Madness tournament! Over the next three weeks, we will see who really was the best player to don the orange and blue since the year 2000 began. We came up with 68 players who have left a mark (big and small) on the team, and we’ll have the Amazin’ Avenue community vote to see who moves on each time.
For simplicity and for neatness, we broke down the brackets into four five-year spans: 2000-2004, 2005-2009, 2010-2014, and 2015-2019. Conveniently, this translated roughly to the Mike Piazza era, the early David Wright era, the later David Wright/early Citi Field era, and the Jacob deGrom/2015 NL Champions era. As a general rule, we tried to focus on players whose impact was felt within those years, so if a player made their mark mostly in 1997-1999, you may not see them in the 2000 bracket. We tried to stick players within the time frame where they made the most impact, but took some liberties in places in order to ensure we didn’t leave off players we wanted to see in the tournament.
Was there every any doubt? If there was any, David Wright eliminated it quickly and decisively.
Wright ran roughshod (to steal a term the great Gary Cohen used way back in 2006) over the competition to earn a well-deserved win in the UltiMET of the Millennium Madness tournament. In the process, he cemented his status as the best Met of the 21st century and the best position player the club has ever developed. Aside from holding the number one spot in pretty much all offensive categories, Wright has become synonymous with the Mets, becoming the most iconic player to spend his entire career wearing orange and blue. It helps that he grew up loving the Mets, too! In the finals, he earned 69% of the vote (248 to 110).
While deGrom didn’t come out on top here, he has no reason to hang his head. The right-hander is quickly crafting his own legacy with two Cy Young Awards and Rookie of the Year honors in 2014. His 2015 playoff performance, specifically in the NLDS against the Dodgers, was the stuff of legends and helped earn the love and respect of many Mets fans from early on in his career. With a few more years left on his contract, he still has a lot he’s yet to accomplish, which could eventually see him giving Wright a run for his money.
In the third place match, Piazza emerged victorious in a rout, earning 87% of the vote (313 to 45) against Dickey, which makes sense considering his status in franchise history. The Hall of Famer immediately brought respectability back to the franchise from the moment he first walked into the clubhouse in 1998 after that blockbuster trade with the Marlins. During his time with the team, he helped the Mets reach their first World Series in 14 years, hit an iconic and emotional home run post-September 11th, surpassed Carlton Fisk for most home runs ever hit by a catcher. His number 31 was officially retired by the club in July 2016, one week after he was officially enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In defeat, Dickey landed in fourth place, though in getting to the Final Four he still proved to be as popular as ever with Mets fans. In our fifth place game, Edgardo Alfonzo topped Pete Alonso with 64% of the vote (220 to 124). Finally, in our seventh place game, Carlos Beltran slugged his way past Johan Santana with 65% of the vote (224 to 120).
If there’s one thing this tournament should teach us, it’s that, despite the lack of overall team success, Mets fans have been lucky enough to watch and root for some truly special players over the last 20 years. Not many fanbases can say they had a Wright, or a deGrom, or an Alfonzo, or an Alonso come up through their farm system, or got to watch some special performances from greats like Piazza, Beltran, Santana, and Martinez. Hopefully, that individual greatness will eventually lead to a World Series title in the near future!
- David Wright
- Jacob deGrom
- Mike Piazza
- R.A. Dickey
- Edgardo Alfonzo
- Pete Alonso
- Carlos Beltran
- Johan Santana
Thank you for voting, and we hope this helped entertain you for a little bit while we wait for baseball to return. Congratulations to The Captain! What are some of your favorite Wright memories?