The Mets Top 5 leadoff hitters of all time # 2: Mookie Wilson
William Hayward “Mookie” Wilson was born in Bamberg, South Carolina. A switcher hitter with excellent speed, his positive attitude and hustle endeared him to a fan base with precious few stars to root for when he first came up. He became one of the most popular Mets of the early 1980’s. While a bit of a free swinger, Wilson put up numbers that were as consistent as any leadoff hitter in the game. Wilson had a lifetime batting average of .276 with the Mets, hitting more or less the same from either side of the plate. You always knew what Mookie was going to bring to the game. and he delivered. He scored a total of 592 runs and stole 281 bases in his ten seasons in New York, twice eclipsing the 50 mark in a season.
Mookie Wilson was an important contributor to the Mets 1986 World Championship as well as their 1988 National League East Division title. He lost his starting centerfield position to Lenny Dykstra in 1986 and moved over to left field. Then he lost his starting left field job to Kevin McReynolds in 1987. Through it all, Mookie Wilson continued to contribute to the team whatever was asked of him. His 681 games batting leadoff is the second most in Mets history. After his playing days were over, Mookie returned to the Mets as a coach in 1997-2002 and 2011.
No mention of Mookie Wilson would be complete without mentioning game six of the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox were up 5–3 in the tenth inning of a series they led three games to two. After retiring Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez, Boston pitcher Calvin Schiraldi gave up hits to the next three batters to make the score to 5–4 with runners on first and third. Bob Stanley came in to replace Schiraldi on the mound as Wilson stepped to the plate. During his ten pitch at bat, Wilson avoided being hit by a wild pitch that scored Kevin Mitchell from third to tie the game. Three pitches later, Mookie hit a slow roller to Bill Buckner at first base. Buckner tried to rush the play, being aware of Wilson’s speed. As a result, the ball rolled through his legs and Ray Knight was able to score the winning run from second base. While Buckner took the blame for the loss, Wilson's smart at-bat and speed also affected the outcome of the game.