Mets free agent retrospective: Eddie Murray comes to Queens

Eddie Murray wasn't as bad as the Mets teams he played for.
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Hall of Fame first baseman Eddie Murray began his New York Mets career on November 27, 1991. The free agent inked a two-year deal with the Mets with the expectation that he, along with players like Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberhagen, could get the team back on track. There’s a punchline in there somewhere.

Murray came to the Mets ahead of his age 36 season. He wasn’t completely washed up, though. In 1990 he hit .330 for the Los Angeles Dodgers while adding 26 home runs and 95 RBI. His best days were behind him, but he seemed to have gas left in the tank.

Of course, as anyone who followed those early Mets teams knows, nothing went right.

Eddie Murray was far better for the Mets than their record shows

If there’s anyone to point a finger at for how awful the 1992 and 1993 Mets were, it’s not Murry. He did underperform in the first season to some degree. However, his OPS was up from the year prior and he had one more total base thanks in large part to a 37 double campaign paired with 16 home runs.

Murray was far more productive the following year when he blasted 27 home runs and drove in 100. It was done while hitting .285. Murray seemed to be a more than acceptable first baseman for the Mets; if only the rest of the team around him showed any signs of life.

His two years with the Mets included a .274/.330/.446 slash line plus 43 home runs and 193 RBI in 310 games played. This wasn’t peak Murray. None of what he did with the Mets helped further his Hall of Fame case aside from the fact that they helped him compile a few more home runs to push him to the 504 he’d eventually retire with.

Both a victim and partly a cause of The Worst Team Money Could Buy, Murray’s stay was short in Queens yet somewhat overlooked because of how meaningless it all became because of the overall team’s shortcomings. There are only 30 instances of Mets players having 100 RBI in a season. Murray, without a doubt, had the most forgettable one.

It’s hard to call this a bad free agent signing by the Mets. Murray was good for them. Far more players around Murray were the cause of a downfall that never seemed to reach its bottom.