4 Greatest Mets Pitchers of All Time

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Since the early 1960s, New York Mets pitchers have been a great source of pride for the ball club. They’ve helped seal championships, like in 1969, and they’ve been crucial players on some of the Mets’ greatest teams. Plus, the group has multiple Cy Young Winners, Hall of Famers, and stand-out rookies. If you’re a Mets fan, you probably have your own All-Star Mets pitching roster. Let’s see if your group matches up to our list of the four best.

#4 Ron Darling (1983–1991)

Since Ron Darling played in the shadow of Dwight Gooden, fans can easily overlook the performances this Mets pitcher turned in during the mid to late 1980s. In hindsight, however, Darling was one of the smartest trades former Mets GM Frank Cashen ever made. He immediately proved his worth by winning 12 games in 1984.

Darling had another fine season in 1985, but Gooden’s Cy Young Award and 24–4 record made his 16–6, 2.90 ERA seem like an afterthought. Nevertheless, he made his first All-Star team that season. He only got better during the 1986 championship season with a career-best 2.81 ERA, a 15–6 record, and a fifth-place Cy Young finish. However, the pinnacle of that season was his performance in the World Series. Darling excelled in parts of the series when Gooden struggled, becoming a primary reason the Mets won the championship.

Darling’s career began a downward slide after winning a career-high 17 games during the 1988 season. His main accomplishment after that period was becoming the only pitcher in Mets history to win a Gold Glove.

#3 Jerry Koosman (1967–1978)

Although Koosman’s first two years were just as brilliant as his teammate Tom Seaver, he didn’t have the staying power to make him a Hall of Famer like Seaver. However, he had quite a few Hall of Fame-caliber highlights worth noting. For example, he won both of his starts in the 1969 World Series, accented by a no-hitter through six innings in Game 2 with the Baltimore Orioles. He also went 2–1 with a 2.55 ERA during the 1973 playoffs.

After a 21–10 record in 1976, Koosman’s career began to fizzle a season before the Mets traded him to the Minnesota Twins.

#2 Dwight Gooden (1984–1994)

Despite the unfortunate end to his career, Dwight Gooden was one of the most amazing sports superstars of the ’80s. He led the Mets during their winningest decade. In 1984 19-year-old Gooden ended his rookie season at 17–9 with a 2.60 ERA and 276 strikeouts.

His stellar first-year performance earned him All-Star and Rookie of the Year honors. However, his rookie showing was only a tease for his phenomenal 1985 season. That year, Gooden captured the pitching triple crown by posting a 24–4 record, a 1.53 ERA, and 268 strikeouts. He also became the youngest player to win the National League Cy Young Award, along with a second trip to the All-Star game.

Things kept getting better for Gooden in 1986 when he helped the Mets win the World Series. His 17–6 record with a 2.84 ERA and 200 strikeout stats earned him a third trip to the All-Stars, making him the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star game.

Unfortunately, shortly after the 1986 World Series, Gooden’s struggles with drug abuse and the legal system began. His last solid season was in 1989 before positive drug tests and poor performances ended his career in 2001.

#1 Tom Seaver (1967–77, 1983)

Not only was Tom Seaver “The Franchise,” but he was one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history. After the Mets brought him up from the minor leagues in 1967, he stamped the beginning of his big-league career with a 16–13 record, a 2.76 ERA, and the Rookie of the Year award. Plus, he went to his first of seven All-Star Game appearances.

Seaver won his first Cy Young Award in 1968, and one year later, he helped the Mets win their first World Series. In 1970 he broke the single-season franchise strike-out record with 283, and in 1971, he broke his previous record with 289 strikeouts. That mark is still the record today. Seaver also posted a 20–10 record and a 1.76 ERA that year.

Seaver had great seasons throughout the early 1970s. He won his third and last Cy Young Award in 1975 with a 22–9 record, a 2.38 ERA, and 243 strikeouts. After this, Seaver began losing his affinity with the Mets, and eventually, the feeling became mutual. As a result, the Mets traded Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds in June 1977.

The Strength of This Line-Up

When you look at the names on this list of great Mets pitchers, it seems clear that this list could match up with any MLB team, including the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the New York Yankees.

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Harvey Bell

Harvey Bell serves as a managing director, team leader, and senior portfolio manager with Morgan Stanley in West Orange, New Jersey.