The New York Mets make up a huge part of my life. I began watching the team in the summer of 2000 when I was 11-years-old. It was a fun way to bond with my grandfather.
When you become so tied to a team, some of these players become your heroes and feel like family. My golden era Mets was the 2005 – 2008 teams. Take that in mind when viewing my list of players I’m about to share.
My perfect Mets roster starting with the pitchers would look like this:
RHP Pitcher – R.A. Dickey
I loved watching R.A. Dickey pitch from the first time he put a Mets uniform on. Watching a knuckleballer work is purely magical, especially when they have it all working together.
His final Cy Young season with the Mets was other than what Jacob DeGrom does year in and out, the best pitching I’d ever seen anyone in a Mets uniform do. Watching Pedro Martinez in 2005 was great, seeing Johan Santana pitch his brains out was equally awesome, but what Dickey did was so special.
I read his book, watched the Knuckleball documentary, and followed his seasons after he left. He was truly an awesome person.
LHP – Al Leiter
Arghhhh! That was the sound you heard every time Al Leiter hurled a ball at home plate. Leiter was one of the first pitchers I latched on to as a Mets fan, he and Rick Reed. Reed was out of there shortly after but Leiter stayed a few more years.
Leiter at times was dominant and other times incredibly frustrating. His pitch counts, if he played in 2021, would have him taken out of the third inning in every start. Regardless of the sometimes erraticness, loading up the bases, and leaving us biting our nails, he was never really bad. He got the job done on most nights and was clutch in big games!
Closer – Billy Wagner
With the exception of the playoffs, Billy Wagner was pretty much the National League’s left-handed version of Mariano Rivera. Wagner was one of the most overpowering pitchers in baseball history and how he’s not yet in the Hall of fame is a head-scratcher.
I’m sure Wagner will get his due one day, but it was a joy after watching Armando Benitez and Braden Looper for a few years. Ever since he was in NY, we have not seen a closer so consistently good and not scary when coming in.
Catcher – Paul LoDuca
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mike Piazza, but I was still young when I was watching him. Unfortunately, most of my memories of Mike are the injured or low production years he had from 2003 – 2005. So watching Paul LoDuca behind the plate was a joy to watch.
LoDuca brought that New York attitude, fire, and passion behind the dish. He was an emotional leader that the team needed during those seasons, especially since Carlos Beltran was not the “rah-rah” type.
His first season with the Mets saw him as the table-setter for the trio of sluggers that would all get some MVP consideration – Beltran, David Wright, and Carlos Delgado.