Blue & Orange Pinstripes: Guys Who Played Well For The Mets & Yankees


The Mets and Yankees share and have shared many things.  They technically occupy the same city, have both called Shea Stadium home at one point, and were both managed by Casey Stengel (among others).  But another thing these two teams have shared over the years are players.  In fact, there have been 111 players who have suited up for both the Mets and Yankees.  But of those 111, who actually produced for both franchises?

After looking at the list and the numbers, there were very few players who had successful tenures in both blue and orange and pinstripes.  Most of the time, guys who were excellent for one team would wind up playing for the other in the twilight of his career (for example, lefty Mike Stanton), but there were a few players who stood out.  To help narrow it down, I limited my options to players who spent at least one full season with each team.  With that, my top five players who produced for both the Mets and the Yankees.

5. Ricky Henderson (NYY 1985-89,  NYM 1999-2000): Ricky makes the list because no matter where he went, he was Ricky.  Henderson was actually traded from the Athletics to the Yankees in after the 1984 season, and then sent back to Oakland in June of 1989 (both trades were executed by Sandy Alderson).  While with the Yanks, he slugged a career high 28 home runs in 1986 (which he would later match in 1990 with Oakland, his MVP year).  He also had one of his best all-around seasons in 1985, when he accumulated a WAR of 10.0 by batting .314/.419/.516 with 24 homers and 80 stolen bases.  By the time Ricky arrived in Queens in 1999, he was 40, and still continued to produce, hitting .315/.423/.446 with 37 steals, producing an offense WAR of 3.3 (his defense brought his total WAR down to 1.7).  He was released by the Amazins in 2000, but returned briefly to the Mets as a special instructor in 2006 and wound up as the first base coach in 2007.

NYM: 152 G, .298/.416/.423, 12 HR, 42 SB, 1.2 WAR
NYY: 596 G, .288/.395/.455, 78 HR, 326 SB, 30.1 WAR, four-time All Star, one Silver Slugger

4. Robin Ventura (NYM 1999-2001, NYY 2002-03):
The six time Gold Glove winning third baseman was an integral part of the Mets 1999 team, hitting .301/.379/.529 with 32 homers and 120 RBI, amounting to a WAR of 6.7 while also hitting the famous “Grand Slam Single.”  He struggled the next two years, partially due to injury, and was shipped to the Yankees following the 2001 season for David Justice.  He never hit for as high an average while in the Bronx, but smacked 27 long balls and knocked in 93 RBI in ’02.  He hit another 14 dingers in ’03 before being traded to the Dodgers mid season.

NYM: 444 G, .260/.360/.468, 77 HR, 265 RBI, 10.7 WAR, one Gold Glove,
NYY: 230 G, .249/.359/.433, 36 HR, 135 RBI, 5.1 WAR, one All Star appearance 

3. Dwight Gooden (NYM 1984-94, NYY 1996-97, 2000): When Doc was on his game with the Mets, there was non better.  His 1985 NL Cy Young Award winning season was one of the ages: 24-4, 1.53 ERA, 0.965 WHIP, 16 complete games, 8 shutouts, 268 K and a K/BB of 3.88, amounting to a WAR of 11.7.  Doc unfortunately would fall victim to injuries and drugs (even though he performed at a high level until about 1991).  He signed with the Yankees in 1996 where he managed an 11-7 record despite a 5.01 ERA and 1.506 WHIP, but also tossed a no hitter on May 14th of that year against Seattle.  After brief stints with Cleveland, Houston and Tampa, Doc returned to the Bronx in June of 2000, where in his first start for the Bombers, beat the Mets in the first game of a double header.

NYM: 305 G, 2169.2 IP, 157-85 W-L, 3.10 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 1875 K, 41.2 WAR, 1984 NL ROY, 1985 Cy Young,    four-time All Star, one Silver Slugger, one World Series Championship
NYY: 67 G, 341.1 IP, 24-14 W-L, 4.67 ERA, 1.503 WHIP, 223 K, two World Series Championships, 5.9 WAR

2. Daryl Strawberry (NYM 1983-90, NYY 1995-99): The former number one pick didn’t take long to make his mark in Queens, winning the NL ROY Award in 1984.  In 1988, he had an MVP caliber season, hitting .269/.366/.545 with 39 homers and a WAR of 5.9, finishing second in the voting behind Kirk Gibson (Straw’s 1987 was actually better: .284/.398/.583 with 39 homers and a 6.7 WAR, but he only finished sixth that season).  After spending time with the Dodgers and Giants, the Mets all time home run leader returned to New York, joining the Yankees in June of 1995.  His best season in the Bronx came in 1998, when he only hit .247, but smacked 24 home runs in only 345 plate appearances.  Unfortunately. he was also diagnosed with colon cancer that season, but made a comeback with the team in 1999.

NYM: 1109 G, .263/.359/.520, 252 HR, 733 RBI, 37.7 WAR, 1984 NL ROY, seven-time All Star, one World Series
Championship
NYY: 231 G, .255/.362/.502, 41 HR, 114 RBI, 2.7 WAR, three World Series Championships

1. David Cone (1987-92, 2003, NYY 1995-2000): David Cone is far and away the best player to have donned both the Mets and Yankees jersey.  Cone had a spectacular 1988 with the Mets, going 20-3 with a sparkling 2.22 ERA, 1.115 WHIP and 213 K.  He led the majors in punchouts with 233 in 1990 and again with 241 in 1991.  He spent time with the Blue Jays and Royals before landing with the Yankees in July of 1995.  After spending most of 1996 on the DL, Cone became a force in the Yankees starting rotation for the next few years.  In 2000, he again won twenty games (losing seven this time), posting a 3.55 ERA, 1.180 WHIP and fanning 209 batters.  Oh yeah, he also threw a perfect game against Montreal on July 18, 1999.  By 2000 though, Cone was struggling and wound up with the Red Sox in 2001.  After sitting out 2002, he returned to Queens in ’03, where after winning his first start by throwing five shutout innings, struggled and was forced to retire.

NYM: 187 G, 1209.1 IP, 81-51 W-L, 3.13 ERA, 1.192 WHIP, 1172 K, 19.0 WAR, two-time All Star
NYY: 145 G, 922 IP, 64-40 W-L, 3.91 ERA, 1.331 WHIP, 888 K, 18.8 WAR, two-time All Star

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