The New York Mets have had some pretty good ballplayers wear number 32. Kevin Mitchell wore it during his year as a Met. Mike Hampton wore it when he delivered 16 scoreless innings in the 2000 NLCS including a complete game shutout in the clinching Game 5.
Steven Matz, despite all of his ups and downs had some great moments as a Met with three postseason starts and a historic debut. Aaron Loup is the most recent Met to wear the number and he had a fantastic season in New York.
Those left handers were great and all, but Jon Matlack is the lefty that claims the title as the best Met to wear number 32.
Jon Matlack is the best Mets player to wear number 32
Jon Matlack was on teams with the likes of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman and because of that, he's often overshadowed or even forgotten. Matlack was very good and was the third member of the best trio in a rotation the Mets have ever had (maybe deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt can top it?)
He had the unfortunate reality of debuting just two years after the Mets won the World Series. Matlack then proceeded to win the 1972 National League Rookie of the Year award after posting a 2.32 ERA in 34 appearances and throwing 244 innings.
Matlack was a three-time all-star for the Mets and went a five year span without posting an ERA higher than 3.38. He was a workhorse, consistently delivering over 30 starts and well over 200 innings with excellent run prevention.
What's crazy about Matlack's Mets tenure is how unlucky he was. Right now we see the little run support Jacob deGrom gets which explains his win totals. Matlack had a 3.03 ERA in 203 appearances (199 starts) throughout his seven-year Mets career. Yet, he was only 82-81 in his starts. Even in 1973, when the Mets won the Pennant, he went 14-16 despite posting a 3.20 ERA. Just another pitcher proving how pointless the win stat is.
In that 1973 postseason, Matlack was outstanding. He delivered a complete-game shutout in his only NLCS start allowing just two hits and striking out nine. In the World Series, he went 1-2 despite only allowing four earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched in his three starts.
Matlack ranks seventh in bWAR, fifth in ERA, sixth in innings pitched, and ninth in strikeouts. He wasn't as good as Seaver or Koosman, but he was the best number three starter the Mets have ever had and is without a doubt one of the best pitchers to ever play for this franchise.