It’s the 1983 New York Mets season all over again in our simulated history and Keith Hernandez is coming to the Big Apple.
The virtual New York Mets haven’t had a winning season since 1976 and are now beyond ten years of seeing playoff baseball. We’ve shifted beyond the Tom Seaver years in this simulation and are now approaching an era led by Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and some veterans about to put on a Mets uniform for the first time.
Heading into our 1983 simulation, I’m pessimistic about seeing a .500 or better season. The team still needs work. Hopefully, the development of some of their young players comes sooner than later.
As always, let’s remember how past Mets seasons went before getting on with the 1983 season:
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
The virtual experts are a little more optimistic than I am about the fate of the 1983 Mets. At 79-83, they may be able to return back to relevancy.
It has also been a while since any of the Mets players are ranked among some of the best in the league in terms of preseason predictions. Finally, Darryl Strawberry is expected to have a breakout campaign. These virtual experts have him hitting 30 home runs with 79 RBI and a .274 batting average.
Actual spring training action went well with an 18-12 second-place in the division finish. Wally Backman and Lenny Dykstra each stole 8 bases in exhibition action, perhaps hinting at a different-looking team built partly on speed this year.
Whatever it is the Mets hope to win with, it’s a long climb.
Regular Season Results
Because this is a simulation, the timeline is a little different. The 1983 Mets open the year with a rotation that includes Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. This season might be more fun than I thought.
Not everything is great, though. Jesse Orosco will miss the entire season due to a torn rotator cuff suffered in the preseason. John Stearns will also miss most, if not all, of the year.
Any hope of overcoming these injuries was evaporated by the All-Star Break with the Mets completing the first half with a 28-52 record. This put them 22 games out of a playoff spot. An early season-ending injury to Seaver played a pivotal role in this.
While the standings didn’t reflect well on this virtual season, it was more fun than some previous ones. We got to see Gooden and Darryl Strawberry develop. Keith Hernandez is also a member of the Amazins.
While those were some positives for the 1983 simulation, the end result wasn’t what we wanted. The Mets finished the year 64-98.
The Mets sent two players to the 1983 virtual All-Star Game. Midseason acquisition, Keith Hernandez, had a spent along with a lesser-known player, catcher Mike Bishop. Bishop’s .281/.379/.450 slash line with 10 home runs was enough to award him with a reserve spot on the NL All-Star roster. If you haven’t heard of him it’s because he only played 3 MLB careers in our reality.
Bishop never actually got into the game while Hernandez went hitless in his lone at-bat.
A pair of Mets ended up winning Gold Gloves for the club. It should come as no surprise to see Hernandez snag the award at first base; the third of his simulated career. Another surprise entrant comes from left field with George Foster winning his second straight in a Mets uniform.
Hernandez managed to win the NL Silver Slugger for first basemen as well. Combined with what he did as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, El Sid slashed .308/.389/.429 with 7 home runs and 66 RBI.
One final major accomplishment I nearly neglected to mention was another Rookie of the Year for the Mets. Brian J. Giles and his .216/.290/.315 batting line won Rookie of the Year. Someone has to win it, right?
Giles becomes the third player in simulated Mets history to win the award. He joins Tom Seaver (1966) and Wayne Garrett (1969) with the honor.
Notable Individual Statistics
George Foster had a powerful season featuring 29 home runs and 92 RBI. Darryl Strawberry contributed 21 dingers with Dave Kingman adding another 15. The team actually finished second in the league in home runs.
By far the biggest surprise came from the bat of Mike Bishop. The All-Star catcher ended the year hitting .287/.373/.439 with 13 home runs. In this simulation, I’m a little worried what will eventually happen to him since transactions are supposed to imitate real life and he never played a major league game after 1983. I guess that’s what imaginations are for.
On the pitching side of things, Dwight Gooden went 6-5 with a 1.50 ERA in 17 starts. We saw Rick Aguilera deliver a 2.40 ERA as a starter and reliever.
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Overall, the year was rather uneventful despite some good numbers from the offense. We’re inching closer to what was the prime of the real-life Mets. Soon, we’ll know whether this simulation will continue to imitate real life—or possibly exceed it.