Center Fielder: Cleon Jones, 1966
One of the best outfielders to ever wear a Mets uniform, Cleon Jones enjoyed an unexpected breakout during the 1966 season which technically is considered his rookie year. After getting called up at the end of the 1963 season which only resulted in 15 at-bats, Jones wasn’t recalled to the big leagues until 1965.
In 1965, he lasted about a month with the big league club before being demoted for the rest of the season. In 1966, Jones played in 139 games, many of which came in center field. During those 139 games, Jones batted .275 with 8 home runs and 57 RBI. He also added to that with 16 doubles and 16 stolen bases. Not too bad for a guy who couldn’t get off the interstate during his first two call-ups, batting a combined .141.
Jones will always be remembered for dropping to one knee as he caught the final out of the 1969 World Series, the first championship in franchise history.
Honorable Mention: Mookie Wilson, 1981
Right Fielder: Darryl Strawberry, 1983
The man with the most iconic swing in franchise history, Darryl Strawberry burst onto the scene during his 1983 rookie campaign. On his way to becoming the first position player to win the Rookie of the Year award, Strawberry hit .257 with 26 home runs and 74 RBI.
Strawberry had power unlike the franchise had ever seen. It was as though Strawberry could hit the ball a mile just by the flick of his wrist, launching majestic home runs one after the other. His franchise record of 26 rookie home runs stood strong until Pete Alonso more than doubled Strawberry’s total with 53.
These two men will be linked forever and there’s no reason to believe that Alonso can’t match Strawberry’s career success, and then some. The future is bright, just like it was all the way back in Strawberry’s rookie season of 1983.
Honorable Mention: Ron Swoboda, 1965
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