The New York Mets selected Lute Barnes in the 21st round of the amateur draft in 1969 out of Oregon State University. The middle infielder toiled in the Mets minor league system until finally getting the call to the big club in 1972. He made his Major League debut on August 6th against the Chicago Cubs, replacing Ken Boswell at 2nd base in the seventh inning. In his first at bat an inning later, he singled off Steve Hamilton to drive home Teddy Martinez to score the eleventh run in the Mets 12 to 2 victory. Barnes finished out the season with the Mets playing both 2nd base and shortstop hitting .236 in 72 at bats. On September 12th against the Philadelphia Phillies Barnes had his biggest day at the plate with two hits including a two-run triple.
Barnes returned to the minors in 1973 spending the entire season with the Mets AAA affiliate the Tidewater Tides before returning to the show as a September call up. He appeared in three games for the Mets in 1973 getting one hit in two at bats.
Barnes started the 1974 season with Tidewater before being released in the middle of the season. In 27 games with the Mets over two seasons Barnes hit .243 with seven RBI’s.
While with the Mets Barnes wore number 1.