Mets History: Kevin McReynolds and his forgotten third-place 1988 MVP finish


When we think of Kevin McReynolds we think of a quality player who contributed to the New York Mets in the late 1980s and early 1990s. We don’t think of the MVP Award yet in 1988, he made a run at it.

Kevin McReynolds spent six seasons with the New York Mets over two separate stints. Arriving less than two months after they won the 1986 World Series, he missed out on most of the fun.

McReynolds is one of those Mets players not many people remember fondly. He wasn’t a draft pick of theirs and didn’t have any All-Star seasons. However, in 1988, McReynolds made a run at the MVP award.

In his second season with the Mets, McReynolds finished third in the MVP voting. Teammate Darryl Strawberry finished second with outfielder Kirk Gibson in a distant first place.

The MVP race in 1988 was between these three. Only they received first-place consideration. Gibson finished with 272 total points ahead of Strawberry and his 236. McReynolds fell to third place with 162 points, but four first-place votes to help give him an edge over the rest of the competition.

The career-year for McReynolds included 27 home runs and 99 RBI. In a year which favored pitchers, his .288/.336/.496 slash line barely calls out for MVP consideration.

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The season did include some other viable options yet it was McReynolds who finished the year favored over many of them.

As a whole, the 1988 Mets were one of those teams that should have won it all. They finished the regular season with a 100-60 record. Sadly, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated them in the NLCS in seven games.

McReynolds was a huge part of the offense that season. In a year where Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez were nearing the end, he stepped up and gave the Mets some much-needed run-production.

The team relied almost entirely on its pitching to win those 100 games. Thanks to McReynolds, the aces could make a few mistakes along the way.

As a guy who helped bring the team Bret Saberhagen and was later brought back to Queens in exchange for Vince Coleman, McReynolds had an impact on this franchise. In 1988, when he made a run at the MVP award, he was at his best.

History is a strange thing. We often remember the bad or mediocre. In McReynolds’ case, most forgot just how great he was in his second year in New York.

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Do you remember McReynolds in 1988? What was the vibe like at Shea Stadium when he was at the plate?

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