NY Mets Old Timer's Day Candidate: Bernard Gilkey
Bernard Gilkey put together one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history after signing with the Mets prior to the 1996 season. He posted a .317/.393/.562 slash line with 30 homers, 117 RBI, 8.1 WAR and a franchise-record 44 doubles. That single season performance earned him down-ballot MVP votes and a cameo appearance in the 1997 hit film Men in Black.
While he was never able to come close to replicating that success throughout the rest of his Mets tenure, Gilkey still had his big moments every so often. Still, Gilkey's 1996 season will be fondly remembered by fans for it being so out of the blue and enjoyable.
Gilkey also shouldn't be the only representative from the 1996 Mets to attend. Lance Johnson and Todd Hundley, who both put together the best seasons of their career in 1996, deserve to attend as well. That year, Johnson posted a franchise record 227 hits, leading the league in that category as well as triples with 21, plate appearances at 724 and at-bats with 682. Hundley set a then-record with 41 homers as a catcher in 1996, driving in 112 runs too.
The 1996 Mets still managed to lose 91 games despite the trio of Gilkey, Johnson and Hundley. This was in large part due to poor pitching. Hopefully there will be better pitching on their side during Old timers' Day.