New York Mets: A tribute to the recently retired Jose Reyes
By Allen Settle
Looking back at the New York Mets career of the franchise’s greatest shortstop, Jose Reyes.
A former New York Mets All-Star and one of my personal favorite players has officially ended his MLB career. Shortstop Jose Reyes recently announced the end of his major league career after sitting out during the 2019 season and the shorted 2020 campaign.
While Reyes was a polarizing player during his tenure in New York but was always a remarkable athlete. In fact, he is widely considered to be the best shortstop in the history of the franchise. He currently holds the club record with 408 stolen bases and 113 triples. He is also the single-season franchise record holder in at-bats (262) and steals (78).
He finished his 16-year career with 2,138 hits, 145 homers, 719 RBI, 517 steals, and a .283 batting average. His career steals mark is the 33rd best in MLB history. When you add in his four All-Star appearances, 2011 NL batting champion title, and 2006 Silver Slugger award, you see the full extent of his phenomenal career.
While he was not able to compile a resume worthy of serious consideration for the illustrious MLB Hall of Fame, Reyes will likely earn an honorable mention. In fact, some credible analysts have placed his chances as high as 23.2%.
The Mets Legacy
Reyes spent 12 of his 16 major league seasons in blue and orange. He began his career as a Met and made the transition from an interesting prospect to superstar. While he developed into a dangerous hitter, it was Reyes’ blazing speed that set him apart from most of the league. He was a truly electric talent.
While he was never able to achieve great postseason success during his tenure in New York, Reyes paired with fellow superstar David Wright to form a fun era team history. He was a key member of the 2006 squad that reached the NLCS, as well as a member of the NL Wild Card team in 2016.
Reyes’ presence on the roster made the team worth watching. He was one of the rare players where, if you blinked, you feared that you might miss something great. The shortstop’s speed and athleticism allowed him to make incredible defensive plays. While he lacked overall consistency with his glove, he has an incredible highlight reel.
He was also an absolute terror on the base paths. He could turn routine grounders into hits and perceived singles into doubles and triples. And he was a constant threat to steal a base. It seemed as though he as a virtual lock to swipe second every time he made it to first.
After a brief whirlwind that saw Reyes play as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Miami Marlins, and the Colorado Rockies, the longtime Met made his way back to Queens for a second stint with the team from 2016-2018. He served as a valuable utility player and pinch hitter/runner during his time back in New York.
Thank You, Jose
While some may remember Reyes for his inconsistency, his lack of postseason success, or the perpetual feeling that he could have reached greater heights, I choose to remember him for what he was: an icon on the team and a ridiculously fun player to watch.
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I wish him the best in his post-playing career, and hopefully, look forward to reminiscing about his greatness the first time his name comes up on a ballot for Cooperstown.