2) Mets acquire Howard Johnson, multiple-time member of the 30/30 club
While other general managers in the National League were playing checkers in the 1980s, Frank Cashen was playing chess. He managed to pull off trade after trade for quality players that all became instrumental to the Mets’ success in 1986. One of those notable transactions occurred on December 7, 1984. Just three days before they traded for Gary Carter (more on him later), the Mets traded righty starting pitcher Walt Terrell to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Howard Johnson.
Johnson, better known as “HoJo,” was fresh off of a World Series title with the Tigers in 1984, but his greatest individual years came with the Mets. From 1985 through 1993, HoJo put up three 30/30 seasons in which he hit at least 30 home runs and stole at least 30 bases. There have been only 62 individual 30/30 seasons in baseball history, and the Mets had two in one year in 1987 when HoJo and Darryl Strawberry both reached the mark.
Johnson was one of the most prolific power hitters and base stealers in all of baseball during the late 1980s. His 157 home runs from 1987-1991 ranked fourth in MLB during that time span, and his 160 stolen bases in those years was 13th in baseball.
Since Johnson started out as a part-time player on the Mets and shuffled between several defensive positions during his time in Flushing, his contributions at the plate sometimes get overlooked. Based purely on numbers, HoJo was one of the most productive offensive juggernauts in Mets history. On the all-time franchise leaderboards, he ranks eighth in position player WAR, seventh in games played, fifth in doubles, fourth in home runs and RBI, third in stolen bases, and fourth in walks.
As for Walt Terrell? He bounced around the league for a few years, spending some time with the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and San Diego Padres before returning to Detroit to finish out his career. Going by his ERA year over year, he was never again as effective at preventing runs after he left the Mets.
Johnson was an integral part of the 1986 team, but his best years in Queens came after that championship season. With some of the other ’86 pieces gone by the later 1980s, Johnson gained more playing time and got the chance to show off his full skillset for many more years in Flushing.