3. Howard Johnson 1985-93, 22 WAR, #8 All-Time in Mets History
Unlike Bud and Mook, Howard Johnson came to the Mets in a trade. Getting him from the 1984 world champion Tigers for Walt Terrell was a steal—and since the Mets got Terrell with Ron Darling from Texas for Lee Mazzilli two years earlier, that original deal with the Rangers just kept getting better.
HoJo did not have a great year in ’85, but he would dominate odd-numbered years to come. He had 30-homer, 30-steal seasons in ’87, ’89, and ’91, finishing in the top 10 in the MVP balloting each year.
During his breakout 1987 season, opposing managers even X-rayed his bats for cork; results came back negative and Johnson was positively one of the league’s best-hitting third basemen. In even-numbered years, however, he looked like the backup infielder Detroit gave up on.
He wasn’t much of a fielder and was put in the outfield with mixed results in his later years. After his career, he served as hitting coach for the franchise and managed the Cyclones. He resides in the top 10 in walks (556), games (1,154), plate appearances (4,591), stolen bases (202), total bases (1,823), doubles (214), home runs (192), extra-base hits (424), runs created (663), times on base (1,566), and something called offensive winning percentage (.627), which measures how many games a team full of HoJo’s would win—if only the Mets could get so lucky.