#9 Ron Darling
Next up we have another starting pitcher on the 1986 World Series Champion staff with Ron Darling. On April 1st, 1982 the Mets acquired Darling and pitcher Walt Terrell from the Texas Rangers in exchange for outfielder Lee Mazzilli.
Mazzilli only played half a year for the Rangers before they sent him to the New York Yankees. He was then traded again that offseason to the Pittsburgh Pirates who released him a few years later, resulting in the Mets signing him back. The few months that Mazzilli did play in Texas was not all that impressive either. He hit .241/.339/.344/.683 with 4 home runs, 17 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 58 games.
Terrell pitched in three seasons for the Mets before they traded him to the Detroit Tigers for Howard Johnson. In Terrell’s three seasons in Queens, he combined for a 3.53 ERA and a 1.423 WHIP in 369.2 innings pitched.
Terrell’s best season in New York was his last one in 1984. He had a 3.52 ERA, a 1.451 WHIP, started 33 games with 215 innings pitched, and had a 2.1 WAR.
Although Terrell had a couple of seasons with the Mets, Darling was the prize in the trade. He pitched in eight and a half seasons and did not disappoint. In his time for the Amazins, he went on to win 99 games, have a 3.50 ERA, a 1.288 WHIP, log 1,620 innings, finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting, fifth in Cy Young voting, had an All-Star game appearance, won a gold glove, and a World Series Championship.
Darling’s best season came in the 1986 World Series Championship year. That season he won 15 games, pitched to a 2.81 ERA, a 1.198 WHIP, had a fifth-place finish in Cy Young voting, and tossed 237 innings with a 4.6 WAR.
In addition to Darling’s stellar season in 1986, he came through in the clutch. In the world Series, he started three out of the seven games with a 1.53 ERA and a 1.302 WHIP over 17.2 innings.
Darling was a key piece to the Mets during the winning seasons in the mid to late ’80s. Although the Mets only made the postseason twice in that span, Darling was a huge part of the team staying close and fun to watch.
Darling currently has the fourth most wins and innings pitched in franchise history, the ninth most complete games, sixth-most shutouts, and the seventh most strikeouts. Although the Mets gave up a young talented outfielder in Mazzilli, he was never the same once leaving New York. The Mets were able to get one of their best pitchers in franchise history and a key piece to a championship team for next to nothing. As a result of Darling’s success and Mazzilli’s struggles, this trade finds itself as the ninth-best trade in franchise history.