Today, the full 28 names on the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot were announced, and ten of the players suited up for the Mets. Bobby Abreu, José Bautista, Carlos Beltrán, Bartolo Colon, Adrián González, José Reyes, Francisco Rodríguez, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, and David Wright are all up for enshrinement in Cooperstown next year, and while all had remarkable careers, it is likely that at least one of those names was a blast from the past for just about every Mets fan.
Let’s get the fringe Mets out of the way: of all of the ‘oh yeah, that guy was a Met!’ guys, Gary Sheffield probably has the best chance to get in. Sheffield, who played his last game in a Mets uniform in 2009, is in his tenth and final year on the ballot. Last year, Sheffield received 55% of the vote, leaving him 20 points behind getting in. As Jay Jaffe points out, others have had a jump of 20+ points in one year, but this is a pretty stacked ballot, and that seems unlikely, if not impossible.
2014 saw Bobby Abreu play his last season for the Mets in a bit of a weird season, which saw Abreu released and then re-signed in mid-August, withstand two stints in the minors, and end his career with a single.
2018 was a banner year for old guys on the Mets, with both José Bautista and Adrián González in what was each of their final seasons. González was toast long before the All-Star break and was released on June 10th. Bautista signed in May after a stint with the Braves and was traded to the Phillies in a waiver deal at the end of August. Bautista is on the ballot for the first time; Abreu received 15.4% of the vote last year in his fourth year of eligibility.
The other six ex-Mets on the ballot all had distinguished careers as Mets, to differing degrees. In his eighth year on the ballot, Billy Wagner received the third highest percentage with 68.1% of the vote. Wagner was a Met for almost four full seasons, but peaked in his first year in Queens. He was a part of the 2006 National League East championship club and collected 40 saves en route to a 2.24 ERA.
While Mets fans know that Wagner was good, it is sometimes hard to remember just how good he was. Jaffe, the Hall of Fame analyst, did a great breakdown of Wagner’s career which paints him as one of the best closers of all time for a period. The question becomes ‘was he good enough for long enough?’
A player with a similar question is David Wright. We all know how Wright’s career ended, but Wright was one a Hall of Fame trajectory before injuries got the better of him. Even if Wright hadn’t had his 2009-2011 dip, he might have put up numbers that merited a closer look, but his 49.2 bWAR is probably not enough for a third baseman to get in.
Francisco “K-Rod” Rodríguez pitched for parts of three seasons for the Mets and, in addition to decking his father-in-law, put up some impressive numbers. K-Rod collected 70, 53, and 42 (en route to 73 total in 2011) saves, and is fourth all-time on the save list with 437. However, counting stats are not everything. Rodríguez had good seasons after his initial years with the Angels - including his Mets years - but he was never quite the same pitcher again, even when the numbers looked good. With only 10.3% of the vote last year, it doesn’t seem like K-Rod is destined for Cooperstown anytime soon.
José Reyes, once one of the most popular Mets, has fallen in everyone’s esteem due to a lackluster second half of his career and, more importantly, due to a domestic violence incident. This is even more far fetched than Wright’s candidacy which, at one point, looked like it was on the path to the Hall. Reyes was a very good player, but not good enough, or for long enough.
A player who certainly played long enough, but never quite put up extended periods of greatness is Bartolo Colón. Big Sexy pitched for parts of 21 seasons in the majors, won a Cy Young award, and was a four-time All-Star, but simply doesn’t have the career that a starter in the Hall of Fame requires. We’ll always have his home run, the behind the back toss, and the general Colón-ness that made his time on the Mets so special.
That leaves just Carlos Beltrán, who was ‘punished’ in his first year on the ballot presumably due to his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Even with that against him, in his first year of eligibility, Beltrán received 46.5% of the vote. Despite having the highest JAWS score of any center fielder, Beltrán may have to wait a little longer to get the call. If he does, chances are relatively good that he goes in as a Met, making him just the third player of all time, after Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza, to go in wearing blue and orange.
Also of note are three non-Mets with heavy Met ties. Both Manny Ramírez and Álex Rodríguez were heavily tied to the Mets during their playing careers, with A-Rod recently revealing that he’d have taken a pay cut to sign with the Mets over the Rangers in 2000, and promotional materials featuring Ramírez being mocked up for a trade that never happened in 2005.
And, of course, Chase Utley once broke Ruben Tejada’s leg, and is therefore dead to all of us, now and forever.
The rest of the ballot is made up of Adrián Beltré, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, Torii Hunter, Andru Jones, Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Andy Pettitte, Brandon Phillips, Jimmy Rollins, James Shields, and Omar Vizquel.