The big splash that the New York Mets made last offseason was trading for and extending Francisco Lindor. The Mets gave Lindor a 10-year $341 million-dollar extension that is going to kick in this season. Lindor wears number 12 and will hopefully end up as the best Mets player who has worn number 12.
For now, the best Met who has worn number 12 is Ron Darling.
Number 12 has been a popular number for Mets players. Jeff Kent wore it before having a borderline Hall of Fame career elsewhere. Juan Lagares wore it when he won a Gold Glove in center field. Even Cleon Jones and Lee Mazilli wore it for one season each.
Ron Darling is the best Mets player to wear number 12
Ron Darling wore three different numbers during his Mets tenure. He wore number 44 from 1983-1984. He wore number 12 from 1985-1989. He then finished it off with number 15 from 1989-1991. He wore number 12 for the longest time, and during his best years.
Darling's first year in his new number came in the year in which he made his only all-star team. He went 16-6 with a 2.90 ERA in 35 starts. The following season was Darling's best. He went 15-6 with a 2.81 ERA. He threw 237 innings in 34 starts. He finished fifth in the National League Cy Young balloting.
The postseason is where Darling really shined. In his three World Series starts he allowed just three earned runs in 17.2 innings pitched. He pitched seven innings in Game 1 of that series allowing one unearned run but took the loss. He then followed that up with seven shutout innings in Game 4. Darling then wore number 12 on the mound in Game 7 of the series which the Mets won.
Darling ranks fourth in bWAR for pitchers, fourth in wins, fourth in innings pitched, fifth in games started, and seventh in strikeouts in Mets history. He wasn't as good as Gooden, but when the Mets were good, Darling was a big reason for that.
Darling was recently inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame which is well deserved as he's one of the better pitchers this team has ever had, and is the best player to ever wear number 12 for the Mets.