Dave Kingman was purchased from the San Francisco Giants prior to the 1975 season. With the Mets in 1975 he quickly became a fan favorite and earned the nickname “Sky King” due in large part to his ability to hit tape measure home runs. Kingman homered in his first game as a Met on Opening Day and would go on to set the Mets single season home run record with 36 round trippers. But when he wasn’t hitting home runs he was striking out. For the season, he hit just .231 while striking out 153 times but did drive in 88 runs, second most on the team to Rusty Staub.
Kingman followed up his first season with a similar one in 1976. He bested his own home run record with 37 and was selected to his first All-Star team as the starting right fielder. But like 1975 he hit just .238 and continued to rack up the strikeouts.
After starting out the 1977 season with a .209 average Kingman was traded to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Bobby Valentine and Paul Siebert at the June 15th trading deadline. It was the same day the Mets traded Tom Seaver in what became known as the “Midnight Massacre” to Mets fans.
Prior to the 1981 season Dave Kingman was traded back to the Mets from the Chicago Cubs as the organization attempted to appease their disgruntled fan base by bringing back some old fan favorites. In his first season, back in New York Kingman hit 22 home runs but also led the league in strikeouts. In 1982, he became the first player in franchise history to lead the league in home runs by hitting 37. But he also led the league in strikeouts with 156 and hit just .204 which was the lowest average for any single season home run leader in baseball history. Kingman returned to the Mets in 1983 but when the Mets acquired first baseman Keith Hernandez at the trading deadline Kingman was relegated to the bench and used primarily as pinch hitter. He hit just .198 with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs.
The Mets released Kingman following the season. During his Met career, he hit just .219 with 154 home runs and 389 RBIs. At the time of his release he was the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs.
While with the Mets Kingman wore number 26.
Dave Kingman also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 1971-1974
California Angels – 1977
New York Yankees – 1977
San Diego Padres – 1977
Chicago Cubs – 1978-1980
Oakland A’s – 1984-1986