Gary Carter – His New York Mets Career 1985-1989

Gary CarterA seven-time All-Star catcher with the Montreal Expos, Gary Carter was acquired by the Mets prior to the 1985 season in exchange for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Floyd Youmans and Herm Winningham. He was considered to be the final piece to the puzzle as the Mets pursued their first World Series title since 1969.

Carter made an immediate impact when he hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Opening Day 1985. He would go on to lead the team with 32 home runs and 100 RBI’s. On September 3rd he became the 5th player in franchise history to hit 3 home runs in a game. The next day he hit another 2 home runs to become the first player in Mets history to hit 5 home runs over the span of 2 games. He was selected to be the starting catcher in the All-Star game but was unable to play due to injury. During the month of September, he hit .320 with 13 home runs and 36 RBIs and was named the National League Player of the Month.

In 1986 Carter continued his strong hitting and tied Rusty Staub’s franchise record for most RBI’s in a season with 105. He also hit 24 home runs as the Mets cruised to their first postseason appearance since 1973. He once again was selected to start for the National League in the All-Star game. He also finished 3rd in the National League MVP voting, 

During the postseason Carter initially struggled going 1 for 21 in the NLCS against the Houston Astros before knocking in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning of game 5. The Mets would win the series in 6 games. During the World Series Carter hit 2 home runs during game 4 and drove in the tying run in game 7. But his most famous at-bat came during game 6. In the bottom of the 10th inning with the Mets trailing by 2 runs and down to their last out and on the verge of losing the series, Carter singled to start the Mets 3 run rally. In one of the most amazing comebacks in World Series history the Mets won the game and would go on to win the series in 7 games to capture their 2nd World Series title.

Carter returned in 1987 but his numbers began to dip as he hit just .235 with 20 home runs and 83 RBIs. In 1988 he hit just 11 home runs with 46 RBIs, but he did manage to hit the 300th home run of his career. The Mets returned to the postseason in 1988 and Carter hit .222 with 4 RBIs in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. His 2 run double in the 9th inning of game 1 drove in both the tying and winning runs, but the Mets would lose the series in 7 games.

In 1989 Carter suffered through an injury plagued season. He hit just .183 with 2 home runs and 15 RBIs in 50 games. It would be his last season with the Mets as the Mets decided that his best days were behind him and chose not to offer him a new contract.

In five seasons with the Mets Carter hit .249 with 89 home runs and 349 RBIs. He would play another three years before retiring following the 1992 season.

In 2001 Carter was elected to the Mets Hall of Fame and in 2003 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While with the Mets Carter wore number 8,

Gary Carter also played for the following teams:
Montreal Expos – 1974-1984, 1992
San Francisco Giants – 1990
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1991

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Dave Magadan – His New York Mets Career 1986-1992

Dave MagadanThe Mets drafted Dave Magadan in the second round of the 1983 amateur draft. A former college player of the year at the University of Alabama Magadan worked his way through the Mets minor league system. He hit .300 at every stop but with very little power.

Magadan made his Major League debut as a September call up in 1986. He singled in his first at bat as a pinch hitter on September 7. But it was his performance on September 17 which really endeared him to Met fans. On that night the Mets were in position to clinch the National League Eastern Division, but their All-star first baseman Keith Hernandez was sick and unable to play. Manager Davey Johnson inserted Dave Magadan into the lineup to replace Hernandez and in his first start of his career Magadan excited the crowd by going 3 for 4 with two RBIs as the Mets won the game 4-2 to clinch the division. During the game many Met fans started to jokingly chant “Keith who.” Magadan finished the season hitting .444 (8 for 18) in ten games.

Magadan played the entire 1987 with the Mets appearing in 85 games. He was used as a part time player and pinch hitter, splitting time between first and third base. Showing incredible discipline at the plate Magadan hit .318 with 3 home runs and 24 RBIs. He served in pretty much the same role over the next two seasons, but his average dipped below .300 both times. He hit .277 in 1988 and .286 in 1989.

In 1990 Magadan became the Mets everyday first baseman and enjoyed his finest season as a Met. His .328 average led the team and was good enough for third highest in the National League. He also drove in 72 runs. But his average slipped to .258 in 1991 as well as his run production, he drove in just 51 runs. He raised his average to .283 in 1992 but only drove in 28 runs.

Following the season, the Mets brass decided they wanted more power out of their first baseman and let Magadan leave as a free agent. He signed with the Florida Marlins.

In his seven seasons with the Mets Magadan hit .292 with 21 home runs and 254 RBIs.

While with the Mets Magadan wore number 29 from 1986-1989 and in 1992.  He wore number 10 from 1990-1991.

Dave Magadan also played for the following teams:
Seattle Mariners – 1993
Florida Marlins – 1993,1994
Houston Astros – 199
Chicago Cubs – 1996
Oakland A’s – 1997,1998
San Diego Padres – 1999-2001
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Wally Backman – His New York Mets Career 1980-1988

Wally BackmanA hardnosed gritty player Wally Backman symbolized the feistiness and tenacity of the great Met teams of the mid 80’s especially the 1986 World Championship team.

Wally Backman started his Met career as a September call up in 1980 and would spend parts of the next four seasons with the Mets. During that span he showed signs of promise but could never stick with the big club, injuries also played a factor. When not playing in New York Backman spent much of the time with the Mets Triple A affiliate the Tidewater Tides. It was with Tidewater where Backman caught the eye of manager Davey Johnson who liked his style of play. When Johnson was named the manager of the Mets in 1984, he immediately made Backman his starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. He became a fan favorite due to his hardnosed style of play, leading the league in dirty uniforms. Backman would hit .280 while also stealing 32 bases as the Mets surprised many and won 90 games for their first winning season since 1976.

In 1985 he hit .273 with 1 home run and 38 RBIs and led the team in stolen bases with 30. During the month of August, he enjoyed a 14-game hitting streak.

In 1986, Backman’s struggles against left-handed pitching forced Davey Johnson to platoon him with Tim Teufel. But he still managed to hit a career best .320 while batting in the number two spot in the lineup setting the table for the Mets big hitters, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry, as the Mets ran away and hid in the National League and won the World Series.

During the 1986 League Championship Series, he hit just 0.238 but was in the middle of some of the most pivotal moments.  In game 3, with the Mets trailing 5-4 entering the 9th inning Backman led off with a bunt single.  He beat out the bunt when he lunged past Astros first baseman Glenn Davis.  Two batters later he scored on Len Dyktra’s walk off home run.  In game 5 with the game tied in the 12rh inning, he led off with an infield single and would eventually come around to score the winning run on Gary Carter’s single.  During the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, he hit .333 (6 for 18) and drove in one run.

Backman’s production began to fall off in 1987 and by 1988 and with the emergence of Gregg Jefferies and Keith Miller from the Mets minor league system he became expendable. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins following the 1988 season in exchange for three minor league prospects.

Backman hit .283 over his 9-year career with the Mets, playing in 765 games.

In 2010, Wally Backman returned to the Mets organization as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, their single A minor league affiliate.  He went on to manage their double A affiliate the Binghamton Mets.  He also managed their Triple A affiliate in both Buffalo and Las Vegas from 2012-2016.

While with the Mets Backman wore number 28 in 1980 and number 6 from 1981-1988.

Wally Backman also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1989
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1990
Philadelphia Phillies – 1991,1992
Seattle Mariners – 1993

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John Candelaria – His New York Mets Career 1987

John CandelariaLooking to bolster their rotation for a late season push to try and win the National League Eastern Division the Mets acquired veteran lefthander John Candelaria from the California Angels on September 15, 1987.  He made his Met debut on September 18 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It did not go well, as he lasted only 1 1/3 innings and allowed 8 hits and 5 earned runs as the Mets lost 10-9.  In his second start he fared better, he lasted 6 innings and allowed 3 runs to earn the win over the Montreal Expos.  He made one more start on September 28, he once again earned the win lasting 5 and innings and allowing zero runs in the Mets 1-0 victory over the Phillies.  The Mets fell 3 games short of the quest to return to the postseason and Candelaria left the Mets and signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.

In 3 games with the Mets Candelaria went 2-0 with a 5.84 ERA.

While with the Mets Candelaria wore number 45.

John Candelaria also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1975-1985, 1993
California Angels – 1985-1987
New York Yankees – 1988,1989
Montreal Expos – 1989
Minnesota Twins – 1990
Toronto Blue Jays – 1990
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1991,1992
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Terry Leach – His New York Mets Career 1981,1982,1985-1989

Terry LeachTerry Leach, a right-handed pitcher who pithed side-armed, was originally signed by the Mets as a minor league free agent on July 27, 1980. A year later he made his Major League debut on August 12, 1981 when he pitched one inning of relief in the Mets 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs, He allowed 3 hits and 2 runs.  He finished out the season with the Mets and appeared in 21 games, all but one out of the bullpen, and posted a 1-1 record with a 2.55 ERA.  He earned his first Major League win on September 9 against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  In his only start of the season on August 15 against the Philadelphia Phillies he pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 hits and 1 unearned run.  He got a no-decision as the Mets won 3-1.

He started the 1982 season in the minors before getting brought up to New York in June.  Once again, he appeared in 21 games, all but one out of the bullpen, and posted a 2-1 record with 1 save and a 4.17 ERA.  His only start came on October 1 was a memorable one.  He pitched a complete game shutout and allowed only 1 hit and struck out 7 in 10 innings of work as the Met won 1=0.

Leach spent the entire 1983 season in the minors pitching for the Tidewater Tides.  He posted a 5-7 record with 6 saves and a 4.46 ERA.  Following the season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, He started the 1984 season in the Cubs minor league system before being traded to the Atlanta Braves.  He didn’t last long in the Braves organization.  He was released by the Braves on May 25 and was immediately picked up by the Mets.  He finished out the season in the minors.

He started the 1985 season in the minors before once again getting called up the New York in June.  This time he appeared in 22 games 4 as a starter, and posted a 3-4 record with 1 save and a 2.91. His best performance came on August 22 when he pitched a compete game 3 hit shut out against the San Francisco Giants.

Leach started the 1986 season with the Mets but made only 6 appearances, all out of the bullpen, before being shipped back to the minors.  He posted a 0-0 record with a 2.70 innings in 6 2/3 innings.

 He spent the entire 1987 season with the Mets and enjoyed his best season with the Mets.  He started the season in the bullpen before a rash of injuries in the Mets starting staff he was forced to join the rotation.  In 12 starts he posted a 7-1 record, He finished the season with an 11-1 record and 3.22 ERA.  His best appearance came on July 2 when he pitched a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds

Leach pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 1988 appearing in 52 games.  He finished with a 7-2 record with 3 saves and 2.54 ERA in helping the Mets win the National League Eastern Division title.  In the postseason he appeared in 3 games and did not allow any runs in 5 innings of relief.  But the Mets lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

In 1989 he appeared in 10 games before being traded to the Kansas City Royals on June 9.  At the time of the trade his record 0-0 with a 4.22 ERA.

In 176 games for the Mets over 7 seasons Leach posted a 24 and 9 record with 7 saves and 3.11 ERA.

While with the Mets Leach wore number 43 in 1981 and 1986 and number 26 from 1985 to 1986.

Terry Leach also played for the following teams:
Kansas City Royals – 1989
Minnesota Twins – 1990-1991
Chicago White Sox – 1992-1993

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Al Pedrique – His New York Mets Career 1987

Al PedriqueAl Pedrique was signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent in 1978 but he would not appear in a Met uniform until 1987.  After ten seasons in the Met minor league system Pedrique finally made his Major League debut on April 14, 1987 as late inning defensive replacement for shortstop Rafael Santana.  He would appear in four more games for the Mets before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 29 in exchange for Bill Almon.  In his five games with the Mets Pedrique went 0-6 at the plate.

While with the Mets Pedrique wore number 25.

Al Pedrique also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1987,1988
Detroit Tigers – 1989

He also managed the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004.

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Rick Aguilera – His New York Mets Career 1985-1989

Rick AguileraIf it wasn’t for a little roller hit behind the bag by Mookie Wilson that went through the legs of Bill Buckner, Rick Aguilera would be known as the pitcher who lost game six of the 1986 World Series. Fortunately for Aguilera the Mets pulled the game out and won the series and he is now remembered as a very good pitcher who won 37 games in five seasons for the Mets mostly as their number five starter.

In his Mets debut on June 12, 1985 Rick Aguilera pitched two innings of scoreless relief against the Philadelphia Phillies to earn his first big league victory.  He appeared in 21 games, 19 as a starter, in 1985 and finished the season with a 10-7 record. He followed that up with an identical 10-7 record during the Mets World Championship season in 1986.

During the postseason in 1986 Aguilera pitched out of the bullpen and as previously stated was on the mound during the tenth inning of game six of the World Series. With the scored tied and the Mets having no margin for error as they trailed the series 3 games to 2, Aguilera gave up two runs to the Boston Red Sox.  In the bottom of the inning the Mets were down to their final out before staging one of the most remarkable comebacks in baseball history.  The Mets won the game and went on to win the series in seven games.

Injuries limited Aguilera to just 18 games in 1987 but when healthy he managed to post an 11 and 3 record.  The Mets moved Aguilera to the bullpen in 1988 where he went 0-4 in just 11 games in another injury plagued season. In 1989 Aguilera pitched exclusively out of the bullpen posting a 6 and 6 record with 7 saves before the Mets traded him along with David West, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond and Jack Savage to the Minnesota Twins for Frank Viola, the American League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner.

Rick Aguilera pitched in 114 regular season games for the Mets posting a 37 – 27 record with 7 saves and an ERA of 3.58.  He was also a fine hitter, hitting three home runs during his Mets career.

While with the Mets Aguilera wore number 38 in 1985,1986 and 1989 and number 15 in 1987 and 1988.

Rick Aguilera also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1989-1999
Boston Red Sox – 1995
Chicago Cubs – 1999,2000

 

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Bob Gibson – His New York Mets Career 1987

No not that Bob Gibson.  This Bob Gibson pitched four seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers before the Mets signed him as a free agent prior to the 1987 season.  After starting the season with the Tidewater Tides, the Mets top minor league club, Gibson was promoted to the Mets in July and made his Met debut on July 25, 1987 vs. the Houston Astros.  Gibson entered the game in the 8th inning and faced four batters, striking out two and walking one.  It would be his only appearance in a Met uniform, as well as his last appearance in a Major League game.  He returned to Tidewater where he finished out the season.  With Tidewater, he went 11-7 with a 4.34 ERA. 

Following the 1987 season Gibson was granted free agency and signed with the Baltimore Orioles where he pitched for their Triple A affiliate the Rochester Red Wings.  He retired following the 1988 season.

While with the Mets Gibson wore number 38.

Bob Gibson also played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1983-1986.

Bill Almon – His New York Mets Career 1980,1987

bill-almonBill Almon was drafted # 1 overall by the San Diego Padres in 1974 and had a solid Major League career, just not with the Mets. He had two stints with them neither of which were memorable.

The Mets initially signed Almon as a free agent on July 11, 1980. He made his Mets debut the same day as a pinch runner and would finish out the season playing in 48 games mainly as a utility infielder. However he failed to get off the interstate hitting just .170

The Mets released him during the off-season and he would go on to play for the White Sox, A’s and Pirates before returning in 1987.

The Mets reacquired Almon on May 29, 1987 from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Al Pedrique and Scott Little. Almon’s second stint with the Mets was much like his first with just a slightly better batting average. This time around Almon hit .241 in 49 games.

The Mets parted ways with Almon in the off-season trading him to the Phillies for Shawon Barton and Vladimir Perez.

In 97 games for the Mets Bill Almon hit .193 with 8 runs batted in.

While with the Mets Almon wore number 25 in 1980 and number 2 in 1987.

Bill Almon also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres – 1974-1978
Montreal Expos – 1980
Chicago White Sox – 1981,1982
Oakland A’s – 1983,1984
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1985-1987
Philadelphia Phillies – 1988

Randy Milligan – His New York Mets Career 1987

randy-milliganAfter spending seven seasons in the Mets minor league system first baseman Randy Milligan finally made his Major League debut with the Mets on September 12, 1987.  As a pinch hitter for pitcher Bobby Ojeda Milligan struck out.  He would appear in two more games for the Mets, once as a pinch runner and another as a pinch hitter.  In his second pinch hit appearance of the season he drew a base on balls.  It would be his last appearance in a Mets uniform.  During Spring Training in 1988 the Mets traded Milligan to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with Scott Henion in exchange for Mackey Sasser and Tim Drummond.

While with the Mets Milligan wore number 27.

Randy Milligan also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1988
Baltimore Orioles – 1989-1992
Cleveland Indians – 1993
Cincinnati Reds – 1993
Montreal Expos – 1994

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