You know, Cousin Ray? That’s a good question, and one I hadn’t really considered. And I suppose we’re not counting Todd Hundley and Howard Johnson as outfielders here, for obvious reasons.
I suspect it’s a combination of some bad luck and the rarity of power-hitting outfielders as good as Darryl Strawberry. In the time since the Mets started playing in 1962, the Braves have developed two outfielders who hit more home runs for them than Strawberry did for the Mets: Andruw Jones and Dale Murphy (though some dude named Hank Aaron was already playing for the Braves in 1962 and hit 480 homers for them from that date forward). Pat Burrell finished his Phillies career with 251 home runs, one short of Straw’s total with the Mets and in a better offensive era.
No outfielder — and no one at all — in the history of the Nationals/Expos or the Marlins franchises has hit as many home runs for the club as Strawberry did for the Mets. Andre Dawson and Vlad Guerrero both finished about one strong season shy of the Straw Man, though, and certainly Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper appear to be on promising trajectories.
That’s just in the division, though, and the Mets don’t ever seem to benefit from the services of in-house power-hitting outfielders of the Geoff Jenkins and Bobby Higginson ilk, who come up through their system, mash some dingers for a while then fade into the ether. And in the rare instance they do have one of those guys, it seems they tend to trade him away before he does the bulk of his Major League damage.
Near as I can tell, the best power-hitting outfielders the Mets have developed besides Strawberry have been Jeromy Burnitz, Kevin Mitchell and the criminally underrated Ken Singleton. Those three totaled 38 home runs in their first stints with the Mets (Burnitz added 37 more in his second go-round) and hit 720 of them for other teams.
So I guess I’d blame it on some bad luck, some bad choices, a lot of reliance on free-agency once the free-agency era began, and Dallas Green.
This question came up in many different forms, so I’m using our man Catsmeat’s to stand in for all of them because I know for a fact he’s a dedicated Taco Bell lover. And yes, of course it does.
The Mets’ trade of Pagan for Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres looks pretty awful in retrospect. And for all you’ll read about why it had to be done, fact is — as Patrick Flood pointed out on the podcast yesterday — Pagan suffered a career-low batting average on balls in play in 2011. So did Andres Torres, though, and Torres repeated his low mark in 2012. Plus I don’t think anyone could have expected Ramon Ramirez to struggle like he did.
Anyway, since Pagan would pretty demonstrably not have made the difference for the Mets in 2012 and would now be headed for free agency anyway, I’ll call the deal a net positive for humanity because it ultimately earned us all free tacos. I preferred the promotion when it promised regular Crunchy Tacos, the Doritos Locos Taco’s superior ancestor, but I’ll take any free taco I can get. See you guys at Taco Bell next week.
Damned if I know. Mookie apparently admits he wouldn’t have, and I defer to Mookie always. Maybe if Buckner gets the ball and charges toward the bag, Mookie hesitates at the sight of the lumbering first baseman and twists his ankle. Maybe the Mets win in some equally crazy way in the 12th or the 17th and we have some other great story to tell. Maybe Mookie beats Buckner to the bag and Ray Knight goes too far rounding third and gets thrown out in a rundown. Maybe the top of the 11th was when Suspect Zero planned the FlashForward. What happened, happened, and what happened was awesome. I only wish I was old enough to be conscious of how awesome it was.