3 popular Mets players you might've forgotten played for the Dodgers, too

Hubie Brooks
Hubie Brooks / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

The New York Mets were always closely associated with the New York Giants because original owner Joan Payson was a minority owner of the Giants, and the Mets began their existence at the Polo Grounds. But the ties to the Dodgers has always run rather deeper…with Brooklyn/Los Angeles stars Gil Hodges, Don Zimmer, and Roger Craig a part of those original Mets. And, of course, Hodges is immortalized as the manager of the 1969 World Champions.

Then came along the Wilpon family and Fred Wilpon’s love of those Brooklyn Dodgers led him to insist that the design of the new ballpark resemble none other than Ebbetts Field. And the Mets home park is the one that welcomes fans into the park via the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

The two teams have shared a lot of history, and a lot of players as well. Some of those players are kind of obvious like Hodges and Snider, Zimmer and Craig from the early years….and Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza, Eddie Murray and Rickey Henderson…all of whom spent some time with both organizations.

There are three popular New York Mets who most fans will forget they played for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Jerry Grote was already 34 years old and a Mets icon after spending 10 seasons with the Mets. He was sent packing to help the Dodgers during their pennant drive in 1977. He would serve as a backup to Steve Yeager and be a part of the Dodgers 1977 and 78 World Series teams that clashed with the Yankees in those two classics.

Grote would actually retire, be out of baseball for two full years, and then be lured back into active duty by the Kansas City Royals in 1981 at the age of 38. And, believe it or not, the Dodgers would reacquire him that season to again help in their run to the ‘81 World Series.

Jesse Orosco was a World Series hero in 1986, only to be unceremoniously dismissed from the Mets after a down season in 1987. Orosco had been a part of the Mets bullpen for seven straight seasons and was the closer for the last six.

Orosco was still only 30 years old when they included him in a three-way trade that sent him to the Dodgers, bringing Wally Whitehurst and Kevin Tapani to the Mets. The Mets had no idea that he would go on to pitch, effectively, for another 17 seasons…pitching to the age of 46.

Orosco’s Dodgers would face the Mets, ironically, in the 1988 playoffs. After that season, Orosco made the rounds pitching for seven other teams, and even spent two other seasons later on for the Dodgers in a second tour of duty.

Hubie Brooks was an up and coming star for the Mets, a fan favorite when fans had little to cheer about at Shea Stadium. He was the first of that group of players that included Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Kevin Mitchell…the young guys that were turning the organization around in the early to mid 1980’s.

Brooks was star shortstop at Arizona State University when he was drafted by the Mets. And he was yet another young player that the organization yearned to convert into their long-time hard-hitting third baseman. And, for the most part…he was successful at that.

Brooks made his debut in 1980 and he finally had his breakout season in 1984. During that ’84 season Brooks was moved back to his natural shortstop position. It didn’t seem too odd at the time because manager Davey Johnson was well-known to love offense over defense.

But, as it turned out, Brooks was being showcased for the off-season trade that brought Gary Carter to the Mets from the Montreal Expos. Brooks was the centerpiece of that trade. After proving to be a reliable offensive force during his five seasons in Montreal, the Dodgers signed Brooks as a free agent to be their starting right fielder.

Brooks’ one season in LA was very productive and, yet, the Dodgers chose to send him back to the Mets during the off-season in order to acquire Bobby Ojeda.

It’s difficult to think about players like Jerry Grote, Jesse Orosco, and Hubie Brooks wearing another uniform, as they were truly loved as Mets. But it’s easy to forget that they also spent small parts of their respective careers as a part of the Dodgers organization.