3 Mets who are bigger franchise icons if the team wins the 1988 World Series

A championship in 1988 would have elevated the way we think about these three players.

New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
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3) Howard Johnson

Unlike Cone and McReynolds, Howard Johnson actually did win a World Series with the Mets. He was right there in 1986 except he wasn’t nearly as hooked into the core of the roster as he would be by 1988.

The Mets picked Johnson up in a trade with the Detroit Tigers following the 1984 season—a year where HoJo won his first World Series ring. However, with only one playoff at-bat for the Tigers, he undoubtedly was hoping for a bigger role for the Mets’ next run.

Johnson would only see limited action for the 1986 team, batting twice in the NLCS and five more times in the World Series. By 1988, he was the starting third baseman. Unfortunately, he had one of the worst series imaginable going 1 for 18.

The 1988 regular season wasn’t one of Johnson’s best. It came a year after his breakout campaign in 1987 which saw him blast 36 home runs and drive in 99. He was an “every other year” type of player during this period. The 1987, 1989, and 1991 seasons all included 30+ home runs and 99+ RBI. The seasons sandwiched between were less productive.

Johnson is still considered one of the better Mets players thanks to his innate ability to slug home runs and steal bases. Those odd-numbered years during his peak all included 30/30 seasons with home runs and stolen bases.

Highly-regarded, Johnson reaches the next threshold with a Mets championship in 1988. Maybe it’s he who hits an iconic home run off of Dennis Eckersley in the World Series instead.