Mets Trade History: Swapping Vince Coleman for Kevin McReynolds
By Tim Boyle
A look back at the1994 trade between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals involving Vince Coleman and Kevin McReynolds.
On January 5, 1994, the New York Mets traded away one player fans never really liked for a guy they once employed who many didn’t enjoy the first time around. Outfielder Vince Coleman was sent to the Kansas City Royals and in exchange, Kevin McReynolds began his second tour of duty with the Metropolitans.
McReynolds had played well for the Mets in his first five years in New York. He was a third-place MVP finisher in 1988 and managed to supply them with 20+ home runs and 80+ RBI in all but one season in Flushing. More than anything, it was his personality that rubbed fans the wrong way.
For many, McReynolds’ desire for privacy came off the wrong way. He appeared dismissive of playing on such a large stage in front of thousands of fans every night. There wasn’t much to dislike about his play. It was the man some grew to dislike.
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It didn’t help that McReynolds was a headliner in the 1986 trade that sent future MVP Kevin Mitchell to the San Diego Padres. It also didn’t do him much good when the Mets traded him after the 1991 season in a package that landed them Bret Saberhagen. Saberhagen, despite pitching well in New York, suffered multiple injuries. Despite some good years, the team didn’t benefit in the win column.
History is kind to McReynolds, though. That’s because when compared to the man they traded away to get him back, he looked like a savior.
Coleman’s time in New York was much worse than anything McReynolds did. After leading the National League in all six of his MLB seasons in stolen bases, Coleman signed as a free agent with the Mets before the 1991 season. Without much warning, his numbers declined drastically.
Injuries, poor performance, and even suspensions drove Mets fans to despise Coleman. He was a major bust in free agency. Looking back, he’s one of the best representations of bad free agent signings in the franchise’s history. Most of it had to do with his demented antics.
As if his on-field performance wasn’t bad enough, Coleman was responsible for breaking Dwight Gooden’s arm while swinging a gold club in the clubhouse. Another incident included a fight with manager Jeff Torborg. Perhaps the worst involved throwing firecrackers at a crowd of fans seeking autographs which injured several people.
All the Mets could get back in return for Coleman was McReynolds. They even had to include some cash to convince the Royals to send him back to New York.
McReynolds saw only limited action in 1994. This would end up as his final MLB season. Coleman would hang around for a few more years. However, he never stayed in one city for more than a full season. The Royals traded him in mid-1995 to the Seattle Mariners.
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The Coleman for McReynolds trade included two big names from 1980s baseball. At the time of the deal, though, it was merely an opportunity for the Mets to end a headache.