There isn’t much debate in regards to who is the best player at each position in New York Mets history. The difference between the number one player at each spot and number two is large enough for us to not get into that argument today.
Instead, I want to take a look at something else. It’s replacing those GOATs.
Replacing a legend is never easy nor is it simple to step in and fill the void left behind. Just ask Ryan Minor. He’s the guy who stepped in to start in place of Cal Ripken Jr. when he finally ended his consecutive games played streak. It is what he became known for.
Although the Mets have no such streak in their history, they have also had some trouble replacing the GOATs. Position by position, this is what the club did on Opening Day once the greatest at each position was gone or at least no longer available to start for them.
The Mets replaced Tom Seaver on Opening Day with another legend
Jerry Koosman finally got his Opening Day start for the Mets in 1978. At long last, with Seaver now with the Cincinnati Reds, Koosman could take the bump for the first game of the season.
Although Koosman wasn’t a direct replacement of Seaver because of the position they played, he did end a streak that started in 1968. Every game number one of the season, the Metropolitans called upon Tom Terrific to start. It wasn’t until after he was traded that someone else got their chance.
The Mets did things right when Mike Piazza left
Mike Piazza was the Opening Day catcher every season from 1999-2005. The two sides parted ways before the 2006 season as Piazza’s career wound down.
The Mets weren’t ready to settle behind the plate. They pulled off a trade with the Florida Marlins to acquire two years of Paul Lo Duca’s services. It turned out to be a great move with Lo Duca providing the Mets with two productive years behind the dish all starting with a spot in the Opening Day lineup.
While Koosman and Lo Duca took over admirably for a short period of time, not all GOAT replacements would do the same.