It’s October and I could not help but think of New York Mets postseason performers of the past. One player that comes to mind is Mike Hampton.
I don’t know if Mets fans understand how important Hampton was to this franchise. Yeah, I know he was only here for one season. He drank a cup of coffee with the team and then took his talents to Colorado.
The Mike Hampton effect not only impacted the Mets for one season but for many seasons to come, so let’s start from the beginning.
Hampton was acquired along with Derek Bell from the Houston Astros for fan-favorite Roger Cedeño, Pitcher Octavio Dotel, and minor leaguer Kyle Kessel. The trade gave the Mets another solid starting pitcher to go alongside Al Leiter, Rick Reed, Bobby Jones, and Glendon Rusch.
The former Houston Ace was coming off of a terrific 1999 season where he went 22-4 with a 2.90ERA and finished 2nd in the Cy Young Award voting.
Now how would Hampton adjust to life in Queens? Well, he delivered going 15-10 with a 3.14ERA in 33 starts. He led the team in innings pitched (217.2) and complete games (3).
After a solid season in orange and blue, which led to the Mets’ second straight postseason appearance (for the first time in franchise history), Hampton put together one of the most memorable performances in the 2000 NLCS.
In 2 starts, Hampton pitched 16 innings giving up 9 hits, no runs, 4 walks, and struck out 12 Cardinals. He pitched a complete-game shutout in the clincher to send the Amazins to the World Series.
Although they didn’t win the World Series and Hampton ended up leaving New York for Colorado, it can’t be denied that he had such a positive impact on the Mets. Not only did he impact the team in 2000 but for years to come.
As he signed with the Colorado Rockies during the offseason, Hampton’s departure awarded the NY Mets with a compensatory draft pick, which they used on none other than future Mets Hall of Famer, David Wright.
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As sad and frustrating as it was to see Mike Hampton leave, it all worked out in the end!