10 best relief pitchers in New York Mets history

Thomas Yorke
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Two
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages
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4) Best relief pitcher in Mets franchise history - Edwin Diaz              

It’s hard to factor Edwin Diaz into a list of players who already have the accomplishments of a long career. Diaz is coming off a season where he was most likely the best closer in the league if not in all of baseball. There could come a day in the very near future where he sits at the top this list. At only age 28, the sky is the limit.

However, let’s also take a look at the contrary opinion. With very few exceptions, closers usually have very short shelf life at the top of their game. In 2018 Diaz became the youngest pitcher to collect 50 saves on his way to 57 that year. He already has 205 career saves, 96 of those with the Mets.

Edwin Diaz recently signed a five year, $102 million contract to remain with the Mets. Last year while on his way to his second All Star game appearance, Diaz struck out an amazing 118 batters in only 62 innings. His 657 strike outs in 399.1 innings is nothing short of amazing. There is no reason to think that his career won’t continue at its present course.

3) Best relief pitcher in Mets franchise history - Tug McGraw           

Tug McGraw signed with the Mets in 1964 as an amateur free agent. In 1965 he made the leap to the Mets after only one minor league season. He struggled at first as a starting pitcher going 2-7 in 1965 and 2-9 in 1966. After beginning the 1967 season 0-3, he was sent to the minors where he spent the remainder of that year and all of 1968. McGraw returned to the Mets in 1969 as a relief pitcher and was here to stay.

McGraw was a mainstay of the Mets bullpen on their way to the 1969 World Series Championship and the 1973 National League pennant. He had 86 saves to go with 40 wins in an era when relief pitchers were often asked to pitch several innings at a time. He experienced some arm trouble in 1974 so after the season the Mets decided to trade him to Philadelphia, where he would pitch an additional ten seasons.

At a team meeting on July 9, 1973, Mets’ chairman of the board M. Donald Grant tried to give a pep talk to the team, telling them that they can still win as long as they believe in themselves. Tug grabbed on to this thought and began shouting, “You gotta believe! You gotta believe!” Grant was unpopular at this time and there are some who say that this was merely sarcasm on Tug’s part, but it stuck and became their rallying cry. It took them all the way to the World Series.

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