To this fan at least, it strikes me as a little ironic that an organization such as the Mets with a history rich in power pitching and Cy Young award winners should have a knuckle ball pitcher become only the sixth Met to win twenty games in a season, and vie for another Cy Young award. Equally ironic to me is that for an organization who’s hot corner has historically been their most unsettled position, that a third baseman should now hold the Club’s all-time hit record. Such has been the 2012 regular season.
Continuing attempts to reconcile this season’s team performance versus individual performance has been a somewhat bittersweet task. But if you’re still of the belief the Mets were a rebuilding ball club, personal achievements are easier to appreciate. As we know, the Mets have racked up many this season. Johan Santana’s no-hitter stands as the season’s pinnacle moment. For the last three games at least, R.A. Dickey’s and David Wright’s endeavours are still ongoing.
The latest bittersweet plateau worth noting this season was reached by Ike Davis. He became the organization’s sixteenth player to exceed thirty home runs in a season. I say bittersweet because Ike himself says he’s currently playing his best all-around ball since returning from that infamous foot injury. But wouldn’t you know, for better or worse, the season is quickly coming to an end.
His struggles at the plate this season are not lost on Mets fans or the front office. The Mendoza Line was never far away. For me personally, his stellar glove work in the field however more than compensated for whatever shortcomings his batting average implied. If nothing else, Ike Davis leaves us with the impression 2013 will be a much more complete and productive campaign.
Even Sandy Alderson was pressed to admit thirty home run hitters do not come by often. So it would behoove the Mets to keep this one. Ike’s combination of power and defense are uncommon. With the exception of Cardinals fans (Keith Hernandez), Mets fans should know very well the value of such a player.
In the club’s inaugural season of 1962, Frank Thomas (34) became the first Mets player to exceed thirty home runs. The Mets waited till 1975 before Dave Kingman ushered in the Age of Kong. Sky King (36, 37, 37) would repeat the feat two more times. Gary Carter was next when he hit thirty two in his first season with the Mets.
Bobby Bonilla (34) was the next player to crack thirty. In 1996, Todd Hundley (41) became the first Met to surpass forty home runs in a season. He still holds/shares the team record. Todd was joined by Bernard Gilkey’s thirty home runs that season. In 1997, Todd Hundley hit another thirty home runs.
The next source to power Flushing came via Robin Ventura (32) and Mike Piazza. Certain Hall of Fame catcher, Mike Piazza is the only Met to have four seasons of thirty-plus home runs. He became the second Met to hit forty home runs in a season. All four of his thirty-plus home run seasons came consecutively. In the twilight of Mike Piazza’s career with the Mets, Mike Cameron (30) and Cliff Floyd (34) supplied the Mets with some power.
Then the next age of Mets boppers began. In 2006, Carlos Beltran became the third Mets player in their history to reach forty (41) home runs. He tied Todd Hundley for the all time club mark. Beltran followed with thirty three home runs the next season. In three-plus seasons with the Mets, Carlos Delgado (38,38) posted two, thirty home run seasons. David Wright also topped the thirty home run mark two times. In 2007, David lost thirty baseballs. In 2008, he lost another thirty three.
Ike Davis now has thirty one home runs with three games remaining in the 2012 regular season. I think I speak for many fans when I say – We Like Ike!