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Rookie of the Year: Mets Hits And Near Misses

By Michael Lecolant

New York Mets 26-year old right-hand pitcher Jacob deGrom won the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year award.  Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton placed 2nd.  Jacob received 24 first place votes, while Billy Hamilton only received 4 first place votes.

This year’s class featured the first 3 Mets rookies to garner votes since 2010 when Ike Davis tied for 7th, as Travis d’Arnaud and Jeurys Familia finished tied for 7th place with a pair of 3rd place votes each.  Prior to Ike Davis, infielder Kaz Matsui placed 6th way back in 2004.

Jacob deGrom made 22 starts and posted a 9-6 record with a 2.69 ERA in 140.1 innings pitched.  He averaged 7.5 hits, 2.8 walks, and 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched to go along with a 1.140 WHiP.

Aug 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A fan cheers on New York Mets starting pitcher

Jacob deGrom

(not pictured) with a sign that reads “hair we go” between the fifth and sixth innings of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

He became the fourth Mets pitcher, and only the fifth player in Mets history to capture the award.

Is deGrom winning the award a harbinger of things to come?

The Mets captured their 1st title 2 seasons after Tom Seaver won the award.  The Mets then returned to the world series a year after Jon Matlack won.  Shortly after Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden won back to back awards, the Mets rolled to their 2nd championship.

Does this trend suggest the Mets are potentially 2 or 3 years away from returning to the Fall Classic?  At the very least, pondering that over the winter should lend Mets fans a measure of warmth.

How Other Mets Rookies Fared:

In just the 2nd year of New York Mets operation, infielder Ron Hunt (the club’s 1st ever all-star) finished 2nd behind Pete Rose for Rookie of the Year.

In 1966, Cleon Jones placed 4th, and in 1968 Jerry Koosman finished 2nd behind another member of the future Big Red Machine, catcher Johnny Bench.

As noted, Jon Matlack captured the award in ’72, but few know The Hammer John Milner also placed 3rd.

In 1977, Steve Henderson tried easing some of the lingering disappointment stemming from the very unpopular Tom Seaver trade, and placed 2nd behind Andre Dawson.

In 1980, reliever/closer Jeff Reardon finished 6th.  For a brief time, Reardon was MLB’s all-time saves leader.

The class of 1981 featured Hubie Brooks who finished 3rd (behind winner Fernando Valenzuela), while Mookie Wilson finished 7th.  As we know, Hubie Brooks was later included in the trade to bring Gary Carter to Flushing.

SNY’s own, Ron Darling finished 5th in 1984 behind Doc Gooden.

Roger McDowell was 6th in the 1985 voting (won by Vince Coleman), and in 1986 Kevin Mitchell placed 3rd.

The decade closed with Gregg Jefferies finishing 3rd in 1989.

Fast-forward 5 years, and pitcher Bobby Jones tied for 8th place.  In 1995, Jason Isringhausen was 5th, and in 1996 shortstop Rey Ordonez finished 5th in the voting.  Jay Payton ended the millennium in 2000 with a 3rd place finish.

And lastly, would you believe Jose Reyes and Ty Wigginton tied for 8th place back in 2003?

The Scoreboard:

Rookie of the Year honors were first awarded in 1947.  For the first 2 years, there was only one winner for both leagues.  Starting in 1949,  the American League and National League received separate awards.

Jackie Robinson was the first ever to win Rookie of the Year.  He was one of 4 Brooklyn Dodgers to win the award.  Willie Mays captured the only ROY award for the New York Giants.

The Mets now have 5 ROY recipients, but the New York Yankees lead the all-time NYC count with 8 players who’ve won the award.  The last Yankee to win Rookie of the Year was Derek Jeter.