4) Mets say goodbye to Jerry Koosman, but welcome Jesse Orosco to the bullpen
In 1978, the iconic pitching core of the ’69 Mets was officially obliterated when the Amazins traded lefty starter Jerry Koosman to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Greg Field and a player to be named later. On February 7, 1979, that player was named, and it was pitching prospect Jesse Orosco. The Twins had drafted Orosco early on in 1978 but decided to part ways with him in favor of the proven talent of Koosman. In the end, the Mets got the better half of this deal.
Orosco debuted with the Mets in 1979 and was a workhorse in their bullpen for eight seasons. He compiled a 2.73 ERA in those years in Flushing, which is third all-time among Mets pitchers. Orosco also ranks ninth all-time in Mets history with a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) of 3.20.
His most iconic moment in a Mets uniform was, of course, securing the final out in the 1986 World Series. Orosco struck out Marty Barrett swinging to seal the deal in glorious fashion for the Mets and famously threw his glove in the air to celebrate. It’s unclear whether that glove ever landed.
However, Orosco’s best individual season in a Mets uniform occurred three years prior in 1983. That season, he pitched to a microscopic 1.47 ERA in 62 games, notching 17 saves and allowing only 18 earned runs in 110 innings. For his efforts, he was rewarded with an All-Star selection, a third-place finish in NL Cy Young voting, and a top-twenty finish in NL MVP voting.
The one blip in this trade is that the Mets did trade Orosco away to the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 1987 season, presumably thinking that he was on the downside of his career. He proved them wrong by pitching for sixteen more years, winning another World Series title with the Dodgers in 1988. Despite this miscalculation, Orosco was still one of the most valuable December trade pickups in Mets history.