Who is the great first baseman in New York Mets history?
Typically, first base is occupied by one of a team’s best offensive players. In New York Mets history, this hasn’t always been the case.
When compared to the five greatest catchers in franchise history, the list of top five first basemen looks incredibly week.
Nevertheless, the Mets have employed some good players here. Aside from busts like Mo Vaughn and Ike Davis, the Mets have had their share of talent receiving putouts at first base. Although it could look much better, the franchise can proudly say they have a good mix of talent on their Mount Rushmore plus one.
5) Dave Kingman
Before batters were swinging for a home run on every pitch, there was Dave Kingman. The original “all or nothing” slugger, Kingman spent parts of six seasons with the Mets through two different stints.
In his first trip through New York, Kingman primarily played the outfield with occasional appearances at first base. He was an All-Star in 1976 and a guy who combined to smack 73 home runs in his first two seasons with the ball club.
The Mets did trade him in the middle of his third season in Flushing after a rough start in 1977.
When Kingman returned in 1981, he was still powering the ball long distances and at a frequent rate. He hit 22 home runs in the strike-shortened 1981 campaign while leading the league with 105 strikeouts. The following season, Kingman won his second home run title. He smashed 37 home runs that season for the Mets while fanning a career-worst 156 times.
Overall, Kingman gave the Mets 2,573 plate appearances and 154 home runs. In his 664 games, he struck out 572 times.
It’s amazing how in today’s baseball world, this hardly seems like a significant total of strike threes. Back then, Kingman was viewed as a limited player.
Of course, his .219 batting average left a lot to be desired. By no means an amazing player, he had his way of winning games.
For sure a memorable Met, Kingman earned a well-deserved spot on this list.