Although the second half has been a bummer for the Mets and their fans after their surprising 46-40 start to the season, David Wright has had a special year in 2012. Not only did he return to the All-Star game for his stellar offensive and defensive play, he’s been continuing to top the charts for just about every Mets all-time record.
He was already crowned with the most doubles in franchise history, but just this season, Wright has reached many milestones in the Mets organization. He became the all-time leader in runs scored, RBI, walks, and became the third player to reach the 200 home run plateau. Now, he’s staring his latest milestone straight in the face; with his home run last night, Wright now stands only five hits away from being the all-time franchise leader in base hits. Ed Kranepool currently holds the record with 1,418 base knocks.
Although he was great back in his day, it took Kranepool 18 seasons and 1,853 games to settle on this hit total, while it’s only taken Wright 1,249 games and 9 years to get to where he currently is, breathing down the neck of the present record holder. While all of the other records he’s broken this season (and the ones he’ll likely break next season) are special to him, the hits record has to be the most special of all.
Scoring the most runs and driving in the most runs in franchise history are incredible honors, but both statistics are controlled by what one’s team does around him. To drive in the most runs, Wright needed to have RBI chances, meaning his teammates had to get on base. As for his runs scored record, the opposite was true; he was the one that had to get on base, and his teammates had to put him in a position to touch home plate. Meanwhile, knowing that you have more career hits than any past or current player that has donned the Orange and Blue is extremely meaningful, especially for Wright, who has grown up a Mets fan.
Not every hit Wright has gotten throughout his career came off a pitch that was thrown down the middle of the plate; he’s fought off tough pitches, worked from behind in the count, continued to grind out at-bats when “games don’t mean anything” in September, and he’s battled through numerous slumps to get where he’s at. If you talk to a person affiliated with any of the major sports in North America, they will say that a certain skill in their respective sport is the toughest thing to do in all of sports. However, I’m a baseball person, so hitting a pitched ball is the hardest thing any athlete can do. Baseball is not a sport where skills can be transferred to; you don’t see basketball players or football players (outside of Bo Jackson and Deon Sanders) step into the cage and hit line drives. It was tough for Michael Jordan to play at a high level when he retired from basketball the first time.
In a game that is associated with failure, there is a certain amount of pride that comes with being the player with the most hits in team history. That’s a badge of honor that means a lot to Wright, especially because getting base hits is one of the few statistics in baseball that is solely up to his own ability. He’s only five hits away with eight home games to go this season…let’s just hope he does it at Citi Field so the fans that have watched him grow since 2004 can honor him the way this accomplishment deserves to be recognized.