Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza are the only players in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame who wear a New York Mets cap on their plaque. This may soon change when Carlos Beltran is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2023.
When most New York Mets fans hear the name Carlos Beltran they immediately picture him striking out looking with the bases loaded on an Adam Wainwright curveball in the ninth inning of Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS. The strikeout sent the St. Louis Cardinals to the Word Series, where they defeated the Detroit Tigers in five games. Unfortunately for Beltran, his greatness in a Mets uniform is over shadowed by this one infamous moment.
Throughout his Mets career, which spanned seven seasons, Beltran was one of the most productive players in franchise history both offensively and defensively. He is sixth in franchise history in home runs and runs batted in with 149 and 559 respectively. He took home two Silver Slugger Awards and was named an All-Star five times as a member of the Mets. Until this past season when rookie phenom Pete Alonso took the league by storm, hitting a league-leading 53 home runs, Beltran and Todd Hundley owned the franchise’s single-season record with 41.
Not only did Beltran have a very respectable offensive career as a Met, he was also a force with the glove. In his seven seasons in Flushing, Beltran won the Gold Glove in center field three times. He was moved to right field in 2011 due to consistent knee problems and even there he played above average defense.
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While Beltran enjoyed the most successful seasons of his career as a member of the Mets, he also had some very productive years elsewhere. In 1999, Beltran took home American League Rookie of the Year honors as a member of the Kansas City Royals. In his rookie campaign, Beltran hit .293 with 22 home runs and 108 RBI while also stealing 27 bases.
To go along with his five All-Star appearances as a Met, he was also chosen to be an All Star four other times during his career. The only other team he made multiple All-Star appearances for was the St. Louis Cardinals where he was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013. He made his final All-Star appearance in 2016 at the age of 39 as a member of the New York Yankees.
It’s safe to say the Beltran is one of the best switch hitters of all time. Throughout his career, he accumulated 2,725 hits, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBI, to go along with 312 stolen bases and a career batting average of .279. He was an all-around player who could hit for power and average, and was the best defensive center fielder in baseball during the prime of his career.
Although many Mets fans are bitter over Beltran because one at bat in the 2006 NLCS, it’s clear that he was one of the most productive players not only in franchise history, but in Major League Baseball as well.
It should be remembered that in that same NLCS, Beltran hit .296 with a .387 on base percentage to go along with 3 home runs. If Beltran had come through in the infamous at bat, theres every chance he would have been named MVP of that series.
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Unfortunately for Beltran and the Mets, the 2006 NLCS didn’t transpire how they would have hoped but that shouldn’t take away from the excellence Beltran displayed over his seven seasons in Queens and his 20 years as a major leaguer. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Beltran will end up in Cooperstown and it should come with a blue and orange NY across his cap.