12) Mets Best Starting Pitcher – Ron Darling
I warned you there would be more 1986 Mets starting pitchers, didn’t I? Well, here’s another. His name is Ron Darling.
Darling’s place in franchise history goes beyond the broadcast booth. He’s 10th in pitcher WAR, 19th in ERA, and fourth in wins. The only reason you won’t find Darling higher up on this list is because he did have two years which seemed to drag his numbers down. A pair of seasons with an ERA above 4.00 did its damage against one of the franchise’s most—wait for it—darling pitchers.
From 1984-1989, the Mets could count on Darling for one thing: double-digit wins. He set a career-best in 1988 with 17 victories. Often behind others in the rotation, Darling had his best stretch in the 1986 World Series.
Darling’s World Series numbers are fantastic. He made three starts versus the Boston Red Sox, came away with a 1-1 record, and a 1.53 ERA.
Despite his quality seasons with the Mets, Darling only ever received one invitation to the All-Star Game. This was in 1985 when he put together his first really memorable year. Darling wrapped up that campaign with a 16-6 record and 2.90 ERA.
The following year, at 15-6 with a 2.81 ERA, Darling finished fifth in the Cy Young vote.
I imagine some fans might give Darling bonus points for what he means to the franchise after his playing days. One of the beloved broadcasters we spend our summers with, let’s also remember everything he did for the team three decades ago.