Mets History: Ten lowest team-leading WARs in franchise history
By Tim Boyle
8) John Stearns – 3.8 in 1982
John Stearns held down the catcher position for the Mets during some of the franchise’s leanest years. Nearly a lifelong Met at the major league level, he was the 1982 WAR leader with a total of 3.8. To show how poor the team around him was, Stearns played in only 98 games.
In what became essentially his last big league season if you exclude the 12 combined games in 1983 and 1984, Stearns was an All-Star who hit .293. Although his offensive production added to his WAR total, his stellar defense played the biggest part in leading the team.
7) Dennis Ribant – 3.5 in 1966
Unlike the previous three names mentioned on this list already, pitcher Dennis Ribant has been forgotten in time. Many of the members of the 1966 Mets are. Another bad year for the organization was led by Ribant and his rather low 3.5 WAR.
How did Ribant do it? An 11-9 record and 3.20 ERA in 26 starts and 13 relief appearances did the trick. RIbant did a little bit of everything for the Mets this year. He tossed 10 complete games and even earned 3 saves. It was his last season with the Mets and by far the best of his professional career.
6) Lee Mazzilli – 3.3 in 1980
A year after representing the Mets in the 1979 All-Star Game, Lee Mazzilli posted a team-high 3.3 WAR in the 1980 season. It’s the sixth-lowest total to lead the team in any season of the franchise’s existence.
Rather undervalued because of the state of the franchise at the time, Mazzilli batted .280/.370/.431 in 1980. He tied his career-high with 16 home runs and set a new personal best with 41 stolen bases. It was the final exceptional season of his career although he did find his way back to Flushing in the late 1980s as a vital role-player for some much better teams.
5) Jeff Kent – 3.2 in 1995
Jeff Kent’s spot on this list deserves an asterisk as does one other name we’ll get to later on. Because the 1995 season included only 144 games, Kent was unable to lift his WAR above 3.2. Nevertheless, it probably would have remained one of the lowest totals to lead the franchise in any single season.
Kent smashed 20 home runs for the Mets this year while hitting .278/.327/.464. Far from being his most exceptional season when considering what he did later in his career, at least in terms of WAR, it was the best the Mets had to offer. I’m going to give him the number five spot on this list instead of four because he had fewer games to make it work—although he’s still technically tied with the next man up.