5) Bernard Gilkey
In January of 1996, the Mets appeared to make a few moves that led to signs that they might turn things around going forward. It was a nice change after years of being mired as a bad baseball team. One of those moves was a trade that brought veteran outfielder Bernard Gilkey to Flushing from St. Louis.
Even though the1996 season turned out to be disappointing, there were some positive things for the team to hang their hat on going forward. The production from Gilkey was one of them.
Gilkey was a veteran left fielder that had spent his first six years in the big leagues as a member of the Cardinals. In those first six years, he had a few seasons where he batted right around or just above .300 and knocked in around 70 RBI in over 350 official at-bats for Saint Louis.
Not bad, right?
Well after the Cardinals decided to sign free agent slugger Ron Gant right around late December of 2015, Gilkey was shipped off to New York and the Mets management looked like geniuses for pulling off such a move. In Gilkey’s first year as a Met, he batted .317 with 30 home runs 117 RBI and 44 doubles. These were career highs for the Saint Louis native in every department.
Combined with the explosive offensive numbers put up by catcher Todd Hundley and outfielder Lance Johnson back in 1996, Bernard Gilkey’s offensive accomplishments actually made the Mets bats somewhat exciting and watchable again after five years of practically doing nothing offensively in their previous years.
To this day, Bernard Gilkey remains one of the only a few players in Mets history to immediately post his greatest career year immediately after being traded to the orange and blue.
And I mean, how could I not put a guy on this who had a cameo in one of the biggest Will Smith summer movies of the decade as a member of the Mets?