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New York Mets All-Time Lists

New York Mets: The all-time top five closers in franchise history

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) D.J. Carter, son of the late Gary Carter, and Jesse Orosco re-enact the final out of the 1986 World Series during a ceremony honoring the New York Mets championship team prior to a game between the Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Dodgers defeated the Mets 9-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) D.J. Carter, son of the late Gary Carter, and Jesse Orosco re-enact the final out of the 1986 World Series during a ceremony honoring the New York Mets championship team prior to a game between the Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Dodgers defeated the Mets 9-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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QUEENS, NY – OCTOBER, 1969: Pitcher Tug McGraw #45 of the New York Mets smiling in this portrait during The 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles October 1969 at Shea Stadium In the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets won the Series 4 games to 1. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

2) Tug McGraw

Tug McGraw’s lasting legacy as a Met is coining the famous rallying cry, “Ya Gotta Believe!” en route to the team’s improbable 1973 playoff run. Without his incredible on-field performance, however, this trip to the World Series would not have been possible.

McGraw was arguably the first elite reliever that came through the Mets’ system, making his debut in 1965 at the age of 20. He had a solid year for the Mets in his rookie season, tossing 97.2 innings with a 3.32 ERA.

After a murky next couple of years, followed by pitching the entire 1968 season in Triple-A, McGraw came back better than ever in 1969. He was an integral part of their championship run, posting a 2.24 ERA in over 100 innings pitched. He only saved 12 games, but this statistic does not fully reflect McGraw’s importance to the team’s success. He was the definition of a workhorse in the bullpen that year, and also started four games over the course of the season.

McGraw continued his dominance as a full-time reliever over the next few seasons, pitching particularly well in 1971 and 1972. He threw over 100 innings while finishing with a minuscule 1.70 ERA each year, leading to an All-Star selection and MVP votes in 1972.

The next year, in 1973, McGraw appeared in a whopping 60 games and tossed over 118 innings. Though the Mets did not emerge triumphant against the Oakland Athletics in the World Series, McGraw did his part to help, throwing 13.2 innings in five World Series games and posting a 2.63 ERA in those games.

He ended up leaving the Mets via a trade to the Phillies after the 1974 season, but McGraw did plenty over his nine years in the orange and blue to establish himself as one of the most beloved figures in the Mets’ colorful history.

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