Richie Ashburn – His New York Mets Career 1962

Richie AshburnRichie Ashburn, a former All-Star with the Phillies, has the distinction of being the first hitter in New York Mets history, he flew out to centerfield against Larry Jackson of the St Louis Cardinals on April 11, 1962.  He would later score the first run in franchise history when Charlie Neal singled him home in the third inning of the same game.

In the Mets inaugural season, a season in which they set the record for futility by losing 120 games, Ashburn was one of the few bright spots.  In 135 games as the Mets primary leadoff hitter, he hit .306 with 7 home runs and 28 RBIs and was selected to be the team’s first All-Star. 

Unfortunately for the Mets Ashburn was at the end of his career and 1962 would be his only season with the Mets, as he retired from playing following the season. 

He would be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.

While with the Mets Ashburn wore number 1.

Richie Ashburn also played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1952 to 1969 and the Chicago Cubs in 1960 and 1961.

Eddie Murray – His New York Mets Career 1992-1993

eddie-murrayEddie Murray was at the tail end of his career when he joined the Mets as a free agent in 1992.  In his two seasons in New York Murray lived up to his nickname “Steady Eddie” and put up solid numbers while playing for some bad Met teams.   In 1992 he hit just .261 but managed to drive in 93 runs to lead the team.  In 1992 he also reached two significant milestones.  On May 3rd, he hit his 400th career home run and on June 6th he knocked in two runs to push him past Mickey Mantle for the most RBIs by a switch hitter in baseball history.

Murray continued his steady run production in 1993 leading the Mets in RBIs (100) and average (.285) while hitting 27 home runs.  But 1993 would be his last season in New York for the first baseman, With the Mets coming off two dreadful seasons a youth moment was taking shape in New York and Murray was allowed to leave as a free agent.  He signed with the Cleveland Indians and would play another four seasons eventually reaching 500 home runs and 3,000 hits.  In his two season in New York Eddie Murray hit .274 with 43 home runs and 193 RBIs.   

In 2003 Eddie Murray was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with another former Met Gary Carter.

While with the Mets Murray wore number 33.

Eddie Murray also played for the following teams:
Baltimore Orioles – 1977-1988, 1996
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1989-1991, 1997
Cleveland Indians – 1994-199
Anaheim Angels – 1997

Yogi Berra – His New York Mets Playing Career 1965

yogi-berraDespite leading the Yankees to the 1964 American League Pennant, Yogi Berra was unceremoniously let go as manager after the season.  Following his dismissal, he joined the Mets coaching staff for the 1965 season.  Considered by many to be the greatest catcher to ever play the game, Berra was activated by the Mets at the end of April.  He made his Mets playing debut on May 1 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Jim Bethke.  Berra would appear in a total of 4 games for the Mets, 2 as starter, before being released in the middle of May.  In his 4 appearances Berra batted .222 (2 for 9).  Both his hits came in the same game on May 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies

Following his release Berra returned to the Mets coaching staff and stayed with the organization until 1975.  During that span, he also served as manager from 1972 to 1975.

Yogi Berra was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

While playing for the Mets Berra wore number 8.

Yogi Berra also played for the New York Yankees from 1946-1963.

Roberto Alomar – His New York Mets Career 2002-2003

roberto-alomarThe Mets thought they had gotten an early Christmas present when they acquired Roberto Alomar from the Cleveland Indians along with Mike Bacsik and Danny Peoples on December 11, 2001 in exchange for Jerrod Riggan, Alex Escobar, Matt Lawton, Billy Traber and Earl Snyder.  After all, Alomar was not only a lifetime .300 hitter he was also one of the best fielding 2nd baseman in the game having won 10 gold glove awards. Unfortunately, what they got was a 2nd baseman on the downside.  Beware of the Cleveland Indians when they are looking to trade 2nd baseman – see Carlos Baerga.

Alomar went 1 for 5 with 2 RBI’s in his Met debut on April 1, 2002 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  But his first season in New York was a big disappointment. Alomar hit a just.266 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs and quickly became a target of the boo birds at Shea Stadium as it often appeared that he was not giving a 100%.  Things didn’t get much better for him in 2003 and with his batting average still hovering around .260 and the boos growing louder the Mets finally had seen enough and shipped him to the Chicago White Sox on July 1st in exchange for pitchers Edwin Almonte and Royce Ring.

Despite his disappointing stint in New York, in 222 games over a season and a half Alomar hit .265 with just 13 home runs and 75 RBIs, he found his way to Cooperstown.  In his second year of eligibility he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. He became the 11th player to wear a Met uniform to be so honored.

Roberto Alomar does hold the distinction of being the first Met player to be the son of a former Met, his father Sandy Alomar Sr played for the Mets in 1967.  His brother Sandy Alomar Jr also played briefly for the Mets in 2008.

While with the Mets Roberto Alomar wore number 12.

Roberto Alomar also played for the following teams:

San Diego Padres – 1988-1990
Toronto Blue Jays – 1991-1995
Baltimore Orioles – 1996-1998
Cleveland Indians – 1999-2001
Chicago White Sox – 2003,2004
Arizona Diamondbacks – 2004