3) Cliff Floyd
Cliff Floyd may not have caught a World Series-winning flyout like another player on our list (more on him later), but he did catch the final out of the game that clinched the Mets’ 2006 NL East division title. On that day, when Josh Willingham of the Florida Marlins flew out to end the game, Floyd’s veteran leadership over the past four seasons came to full fruition.
He came to the Mets in 2003 from the Boston Red Sox, though he spent most of his early years with the Marlins. Floyd replaced Roger Cedeno, who had started 125 games in left the year before and had enjoyed a couple of decent years in Flushing. When he arrived in Queens, Floyd brought with him both established, solid left field play and distinct clubhouse leadership.
David Wright in particular has spoken often of Floyd’s impact on the Mets clubhouse since they were locker buddies years ago. In interviews, Wright has mentioned that Floyd bought him his very first “big league” suit after he came up to the majors in 2004. Wright has also recounted how he carried Floyd’s luggage as a rookie. Though this request may not have endeared Wright to Floyd at the time, it did forge a longstanding friendship between the two that remains to this day.
But much more important to the Mets’ on-field success than having a luggage caddy was Floyd’s steady bat and dependable defense. From his first season in Flushing in 2003, through the end of the 2006 season, Floyd hit .268 while averaging 20 home runs, 68 RBI, and 23 doubles for each of those four seasons. He also had several defensive highlights scattered across those four seasons, including a league-leading 15 outfield assists in 2005 and four double plays turned from the outfield in 2003.
Floyd had a few notable individual highlights as a Met. He hit a three-run, walk-off home run in the 10th inning against the Los Angeles Angels in 2005, a feat that did not directly propel the Mets to the playoffs that season but which provided a taste of the wall-to-wall dominance that came the following year. Floyd also hit a game-tying home run in the 11th inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves in 2006, a game that the Mets went on to win 8-7 in 14 innings. He is not remembered as an all-time slugger in Mets history, but when the pitch was right, Floyd’s smooth left-handed swing rarely missed a chance for a towering bomb.
Many of Floyd’s career highlights came elsewhere, but for the four years he spent in Flushing, he was an above-average everyday player in every baseball metric.