There have been some acquisitions the New York Mets have made in their history where it was quite easy to get really excited…only to be hit with a big let down.
Some of those players were pretty well-known…in fact…some of them were Hall of Famers. It’s just…well…they were pretty much done with their careers and, by the time they donned a Mets uniform, it had actually become pretty embarrassing.
Duke Snider was brought back to New York from Los Angeles prior to the 1963 season. But the Duke of Flatbush was a mere shell of himself. After two injury-riddled seasons where he played less than 100 games, he managed to play in 129 games and hit .243 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI at the age of 36. The Mets were so bad that he was still selected as an All Star for the first time in seven years. But the Duke was really done.
Warren Spahn and Yogi Berra each had some time on the field in 1965. But that battery was, let’s just say, that battery was dead. Spahn was released after going 4-12 with a 4.36 ERA at the age of 44 years old. Berra got into four games, managed to get two hits in nine at bats before retiring to become a full-time coach at the age of 40.
In 1966, two years after winning the National League MVP Award, the Mets acquired All Star third baseman Ken Boyer. At the age of 35, Boyer was already over the hill and even though he was somewhat productive during the ’66 season, the seven-time All Star was gone midway through 1967.
Some years later, owner Joan Payson would insist on bringing Willie Mays to the Mets. Mays was already 41 years old when he arrived during the 1972 season. He played a total of 135 games over a season and a half, batting .238, with 14 home runs and 44 RBI. But it was truly painful to watch the the guy thought to be the best all-around player of all-time, struggle so mightily. I think they call it “second hand embarrassment.”
It may have been exciting to have those guys in a Mets uniform, but to expect anything more would have been somewhat unreasonable. So was it really a “let down” after Snider, Spahn, Berra, Boyer, and Mays – five of the best players of all-time – failed so miserably?
There have been a few players, though, who came to the Mets with super high expectations, only to become the target of the ire of Mets fans and the New York media for being such epic failures.