Some transactions are bigger than others for postseason-bound MLB teams. We look back at each year the New York Mets made it to the playoffs and find the best moves they made prior to their trip to October baseball.
Rarely will a Major League Baseball team find themselves in the postseason with a group of players exclusively obtained through the draft. Even in leaner transaction years, there are some big preseason moves made to enhance the organization’s odd. The New York Mets know the impact one move can make.
Since the team came into existence back in 1962, they have made ten trips to the postseason with at least one visit per decade. Many times, a recently acquired player was a major reason why.
Going through each of the postseason trips, I’m going to examine which transaction was the most important for the team. Anything done after the previous season right up until the end of their postseason run will qualify. Primarily, we’re going to look at the player’s immediate impact on his first year with the Mets.
1969 – Donn Clendenon trade
Surely an easy choice to start us off, where would the 1969 Mets have gone if not for Donn Clendenon? One of just two World Series MVPs in franchise history, he arrived to Flushing only a few months before capturing the title with the Amazins in 1969.
Clendenon switched uniforms a few times in 1969. In January, he was dealt from the Montreal Expos to the Houston Astros. On June 15, the Mets sent Houston four warm bodies plus a player to be named later. Houston was hopeful at least one of those guys could turn into something special.
Instead, Clendenon helped supplement the Mets offense in the regular season with a .252/.321/.455 slash line and 12 home runs in 226 trips to the plate. It was a rather average performance, especially when compared to what he had in store for the Baltimore Orioles.
Surprisingly, Clendenon didn’t play at all during the 1969 NLCS sweep versus the Atlanta Braves. He also sat out one game versus Baltimore in the World Series.
This didn’t stop him from hitting .357/.438/1.071 against them. His three home runs all seemed to come at important times, too. He was as clutch as could be.