With the announcement that the New York Mets will be bringing back Old Timers' Day for the first time since 1994, many fans are speculating as to who may be showing up. In the Mets' statement announcing the event, they mentioned over 40 former players will be in attendance, including Frank Thomas, Ron Swoboda, Jon Matlack, Felix Millán, Mookie Wilson, Howard Johnson, Bobby Ojeda, Robin Ventura, Turk Wendell, Endy Chávez, Cliff Floyd and Daniel Murphy. Additionally Hall of Famer Mike Piazza confirmed he plans to attend.
It's natural for fans to speculate that notable Mets like David Wright, Jose Reyes, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Jerry Koosman might be included as those who will attend, but there are also many former players who contributed immensely to the organization and at least deserved an invite.
NY Mets Old Timer's Day Candidate: Jerry Grote
Jerry Grote was a terrific catcher for the Mets from 1966 to 1977, overseeing the success of pitchers like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack. He posted a career .991 fielding percentage as catcher in his career. Had he not played in the same era as Johnny Bench, Grote likely would've won a few Gold Gloves.
Grote served as the main catcher for the 1969 World Series Champion Mets. During his 12 years with the team, he posted a 40% caught stealing percentage. Former stolen base king Lou Brock once said Grote was the toughest catcher for him to steal off of and Johnny Bench said that if they were on the same team, Bench would be playing third.
While the Mets have been blessed with some very talented catchers in their history, none of them played the position quite as Grote. He'd be a welcome site for the older fans at Old Timers' Day.