Kevin Mitchell – 1989 NL MVP
One of the more controversial trades in Mets history, the team shipped outfielder Kevin Mitchell to the San Diego Padres after the 1986 season. Mitchell’s career was just beginning and in 1989, he taught the Mets a lesson.
Now with the San Francisco Giants, Mitchell won the 1989 NL MVP with a league-leading 47 home runs and 125 RBI. The monster campaign turned Mitchell into a star. Injuries did get the best of him, but we have to wonder, what if he stayed in New York?
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Mitchell is the first player in team history to have won an MVP after playing for the Mets. What hurts even more is that in return the Mets received Kevin McReynolds; a guy who never really understood the fans in Queens.
Rickey Henderson – 1990 AL MVP
In 25 big league seasons, Rickey Henderson played for 9 different MLB teams. He had a pit stop with the Mets at the turn of the century, nearly a decade after winning the AL MVP in 1990 during his prime.
Henderson is one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. He was more than a compiler. He was a guy who knew how to get on base and then steal an extra one. He could do just about everything well on the baseball field.
The time Rickey spent in New York was not so positive even though he played really well as a 40-year-old in 1999. The following year, however, issues away from the diamond helped lead to his release. The Mets made it to the World Series that year so it’s hard to argue against the decision to move on from The Man of Steal.
Mo Vaughn – 1995 AL MVP
Mo Vaughn won an MVP? It’s true. Long before he played for the Mets, Vaughn was one of the best hitters in the American League. He even managed to steal 11 bases in his 1995 MVP season.
At the time, Vaughn was with the Boston Red Sox and clobbering baseballs. His 39 home runs and a league-leading 126 RBI in the shortened season helped earn him a first-place finish in the MVP vote. Amazingly, he was even better the following year but settled for fifth place.
Injuries and overall bad play highlighted Vaughn’s time with the Mets in 2002 and 2003. A somewhat productive yet underwhelming 2002 led to very few positive memories in New York.
Jeff Kent – 2000 NL MVP
If the Mets only knew what Jeff Kent would become, perhaps they never would have traded him in 1996. Only a few years after sending him to the Cleveland Indians, Kent was the NL MVP for the San Francisco Giants in 2000.
Kent put together several awesome years with the Giants. He packed home runs, RBI, and a batting average over .300 into many of these seasons. There’s a good case to make that he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately for him, the era he played in may prevent this from ever happening.
Long before his MVP season, Kent was a pretty good player for the Mets. He hit with above-average power and looked like he may indeed put together an All-Star campaign or two. Sadly for the Mets, he became a lot more.
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There’s some solace to know most of the MVPs who have played for the Mets did so before joining the team. Hopefully, one day soon the Mets can claim those MVPs as their own.