The New York Mets are traditionally known for boasting many more outstanding pitching seasons than offensive seasons in their history. Since the Mets’ inaugural year in 1962, four different Mets pitchers (Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, R.A. Dickey, and Jacob deGrom) have won a Cy Young Award. No Mets player has ever won an MVP.
The Mets have also had their fair share of heavy-hitting seasons through the years; 21 Silver Sluggers have been doled out to the Amazins since the award was introduced in 1980. New York’s last Silver Slugger winner was Yoenis Céspedes in 2016; before that, the last Met to win the award was David Wright in 2008.
Clearly, in recent years, the Mets have had a relative dearth in standout offensive performances.
Still, sprinkled among 2019 Pete Alonso, 2006 Carlos Beltran, and 1986 Keith Hernandez/Gary Carter, there are many other impressive offensive seasons throughout Mets history that live just slightly out of the public eye. Let’s take a look at three of the biggest, most underrated offensive seasons in the Mets canon.
1975: Rusty Staub’s 105 RBIs lead Mets, vault him into a top 15 finish in NL MVP voting
In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, Dave Kingman got most of the glory as the Mets’ most dangerous slugger and most potent RBI threat, but what sometimes gets lost among “King Kong’s” moonshots are the productive seasons that Rusty Staub had with the Mets. He played in Flushing from 1972-1975 and again from 1981-1985. In 1975, Staub was at his most prolific while in a Mets uniform. He socked 19 home runs and drove in 105 runs, accompanied by a .282 batting average, 30 doubles, 93 runs scored, and 77 walks to only 55 strikeouts.
Staub led the club that season in RBIs, walks, OPS, total bases, and runs scored. He finished second on the team in games played, hits, home runs, and doubles. The team itself did not reach October glory, finishing third in the NL East with an 82-80 record, but Staub’s achievements propelled him to finish 14th in NL MVP voting that year (Cincinnati Reds second baseman Joe Morgan took home the top prize, while Staub’s teammates Tom Seaver and Kingman finished ninth and 19th in the voting, respectively).
Staub received MVP votes several other times in his 22-year MLB career, finishing as high as fifth in the MVP voting with the Detroit Tigers in 1978 (he was bested by Jim Rice). His second go-around with the Mets in the ’80s was more as a bench player, but he still finished with a very respectable .276 average over his nine years with the orange and blue.