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New York Mets History: Top 10 individual seasons by catchers

FLUSHING, NY - JUNE 5: Mike Piazza #31 of the New York Mets smiles during the second game of a double header with the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium on June 5, 2005 in Flushing, New York. The Mets won 12-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac /Getty Images)
FLUSHING, NY - JUNE 5: Mike Piazza #31 of the New York Mets smiles during the second game of a double header with the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium on June 5, 2005 in Flushing, New York. The Mets won 12-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac /Getty Images)
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FLUSHING, NY – OCTOBER, 1986: Gary Carter #8 of the New York Mets swings at the pitch during the 1986 World Series game against the Boston Red Sox in October, 1986 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Mets won the series 4-3. (Photo by Getty Images)

9) John Stearns in 1978

Ten years after Grote’s best year, John Stearns put together what I consider his best season. Sandwiched between All-Star seasons in 1977 and 1979, Stearns had a productive year in 1978 following the franchise’s decision to go into rebuild mode.

Stearns posted a 2.2 WAR on defense which is the greatest of any Mets catcher in franchise history. He was no slouch at the plate either. Stearns batted .264/.364/.413 with a career-high 15 home runs and 73 RBI.

Most impressive of all, Stearns stole 25 bases! He entered the season with only 14 in his entire career. Stearns was never able to replicate this base thievery again but did have a few years where he reached double-digits thereafter.

8) Gary Carter in 1986

You can certainly hate me for saying this, but Gary Carter’s performance with the Mets is greatly exaggerated. This is, at least, the case statistically.

Carter gave the Mets so much more than numbers, though. His mere presence helped turn them into a championship squad. In 1986, he did post some favorable numbers in what would end up as his last great year.

The future Hall of Fame catcher .255/.337/.437 while smacking 24 home runs and driving in 105. He finished third in the MVP voting as it was clear to the voters that even a non-Hall of Fame season contributed to the Mets’ total success.

Along with the offense, Carter continued to play well on defense. Though his Gold Glove days were well behind him, Carter handled the pitching staff well and turned in a defensive WAR of 0.9.

7) Paul Lo Duca in 2006

Catcher Paul Lo Duca spent only two years with the Mets. In his first season, he was an All-Star who put together one of the best statistical seasons in franchise history for the position.

Lo Duca slashed .318/.355/.428 while adding 5 home runs and 49 RBI. Home runs were hard to come by, but doubles were not. Lo Duca smacked a career-high 39 two-base hits and scored a personal best 80 runs in 2006.

Unlike catchers from their past who relied on pop to create runs, Lo Duca did so with gap power and a tenacity to put the ball in play. He walked 24 times and finished the year with only 28 strikeouts. His steadiness behind the plate helped get the Mets to one game within the World Series.

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