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New York Mets All-Time Lists

NY Mets managers ranked based on their playing career

akarmin
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1971: Manager Gil Hodges #14 of the New York Mets argues with and umpire during an Major League Baseball game circa 1971 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Hodges managed the Mets from 1968-71. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1971: Manager Gil Hodges #14 of the New York Mets argues with and umpire during an Major League Baseball game circa 1971 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Hodges managed the Mets from 1968-71. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY – MAY 28: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) 1986 New York Mets Alumni Davey Johnson is introduced during a ceremony prior to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on Saturday, May 28, 2016 in the Queens Borough of New York City.The Dodgers defeated the Mets 9-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

When it comes to New York Mets managers, success as a player doesn’t always translate into success as a manager. The Mets have had some successful managers on their payroll, but they weren’t always the most talented players. And they have had successful players that haven’t exactly done too well as Mets managers.

I thought it would be fun to rank the top 5 Mets managers, not as managers, but as players. The main criteria would be that they had to have managed the Mets for at least one full season. So that would immediately eliminate a pretty good player in Frank Howard from the list.

And even though Bud Harrelson is a beloved Met, and managed for more than a full season, his stats couldn’t get him to crack the Top 5. Bobby Valentine…who had a pretty good run as Mets manager, just didn’t cut it as a player…having been cut down in the beginning of his once-promising career when he ran into a wall and never fully recovered.

5) Mets manager Davey Johnson

Davey Johnson played a role in both of the Mets World Championships. As the second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, he flew out to Cleon Jones in leftfield to make the last out of the 1969 World Series. And after the Orioles’ architect, Frank Cashen, was brought to the Mets to build a champion, Johnson was brought into the organization as a minor league manager and then elevated to Mets manager in 1984. He led the Mets to their second, and last, World Championship in 1986.

As a player, Johnson was a three-time Gold Glove-winning, slick-fielding second baseman, teaming with shortstop Mark Belanger and third baseman Brooks Robinson to be one of the best fielding infields of all-time. Johnson could also handle the bat, hitting for a .261 career average and was a clutch run-producer. He was pretty much forgotten in a lineup that included Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson, as well as power-hitting first baseman Boog Powell.

But following a trade to the Atlanta Braves after an injury-riddled 1972 season, Johnson banged 43 home runs in 1973. He led the Braves in home runs that season, as third baseman Darrell Evans hit 41 dingers and some guy named Henry Aaron was third with a mere 40. It was the first time in Major League history that a team had a trio hit 40 or more home runs.

Johnson was never able to duplicate that season, or even come close to it. Not surprisingly, he had a huge drop-off the following season, although not awful. But injuries got the best of him and his playing days were soon over. Oh…and although Johnson is the most successful manager in Mets history, he is the only one of the Top 5 to never suit up for the Mets as a player.

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