On and off the field, David Wright had the qualities you look for in a professional athlete. He’s a New York Mets legend, but more importantly, a great person.
David Wright will likely retire at the end of the 2018 season. On Thursday, we learned that he will be activated for the final homestand of the year and start at third base for the New York Mets on Saturday, September 29.
Wright hasn’t played an MLB game since May of 2016, making this comeback one of the most anticipated in sports. Even for as brief as we all know it will be, it’s nice to see the Captain return for one final game.
In life, it’s rare to find someone like Wright. This is especially true in sports where egos are large, contracts are just as big, and the “me-first” mentality runs rampant. Not every star athlete can stay humble as Wright did during his time with the Mets. No matter how bright the spotlight got or how loud the criticism grew, he always did as Ron Burgundy suggested San Diego do: stay classy.
The wonderful thing about Wright is that most fans have as many good memories about him as a baseball player as they do of him as a human. If you ever had a chance to meet him at any stage of his career, you were surely treated fairly and with kindness.
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My lone encounter with Wright took place in 2002 when he was playing in the South Atlantic League. I attended the All-Star Game that year, curious which of these young players would one day become stars. Wright was just 19 at the time and already on the radar of baseball card companies. As an avid autograph collector, I was lucky enough to share a pen with him as he put his John Hancock on a few of those square cardboard pieces.
Unlike many other athletes I met when they were young, Wright never grew out of his gentlemanly phase. During his best years with the Mets, he stayed positive and always seemed to welcome in fans. This never changed throughout his career. Whether the Mets were in first-place or last-place, Wright stayed the same.
The Mets are a lucky team in this regard. The next generation of players seem to have a little bit of David Wright in them. I dare you to find me someone with Brandon Nimmo‘s attitude. Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, and other youngsters are equally as gracious. Let’s also not ignore how Jacob deGrom managed to bite his tongue throughout 2018, never once throwing his teammates under the bus.
A poisonous locker room can have severe negative effects on a team. When it’s led by a man like Wright, you’re getting more than an antidote. You’re getting a guy who cares about his teammates, his fans, and the organization.
I don’t think we could ever run out of nice things to say about Wright. In a year that produced so many jaded Mets fans, it’s nice to reflect on the man, the myth, and the legend that is Captain America.
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What’s your favorite memory of Wright’s career either as a player or a person?