The best player nicknames in Mets history

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John Milner – The Hammer

Known more for the many talented young arms brought along in the organization, John Milner was one of the first home-grown power hitters drafted and to come up to the New York Mets. Milner idolized Hank Aaron…Hammerin’ Hank Aaron. His teammates early on recognized Milner’s raw power and, knowing his love for Aaron, tagged him with “The Hammer.”

Fans today would probably look at Milner’s stats and scratch their heads. In his first three full seasons in a Mets uniform – 1972, 1973, 1974 – Milner would hit a total of 60 home runs (17, 23, 20 respectively). When you realize that the Mets had very few players with any kind of power (Frank Thomas hit 34 in 1962 and Tommie Agee hit 26 in 1969), it’s not so laughable to be called “The Hammer.”

Milner was a huge part of the 1973 team. And he was a valuable commodity…until Dave Kingman came along in 1975, a season in which he got hurt and was limited to 91 games. A seasons later, and still in his 20’s, the Mets unceremoniously shipped him off to Pittsburgh where he never could match his prolific home run production he displayed with the Mets.