Two years after the Mets took Strawberry, they selected another high school kid. Though Dwight Gooden wasn’t the first overall pick, he was taken fifth in 1982.
In 1984, Gooden shined under the bright lights. He had one of the greatest rookie seasons in MLB history. He was a teenage stud whose hype only grew the following year with his historic 1985 campaign.
As a sophomore. Gooden won the Cy Young and raised the bar even higher for himself. Over the next few seasons, he continued to pitch like an ace, although, he never did have the same dazzling numbers he did in years one and two.
Gooden’s story did eventually take a turn for the worst with off-field issues derailing what could have been a much more lucrative career. Many of these misfortunes occurred after he made his mark in Mets history. That’s something we can never take away.
It’s not every day your team gets a future Hall of Fame player in an early-season trade. Well, in 1998, the Mets landed Mike Piazza in a deal with the Florida Marlins only days after he was traded to South Beach from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The trade set the franchise up for years to come, offering a stable bat in the middle of the lineup.
Piazza was already in his seventh season when he joined the Mets. One of baseball’s biggest underdogs in history if not the biggest, the former 62nd round draft pick represented the baseball team in Flushing every year at the All-Star Game except once when he was injured for most of the year. He was, without a doubt, the greatest hitting catcher of all-time.
The hype for Piazza was real. And he didn’t disappoint in the least bit.
Most of all, he helped them become a serious contender in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Piazza was instrumental in making sure the Mets went to the postseason in 1999 and 2000. Without him, I don’t know where this franchise would have been.