The Mets all-time Kryptonite starting lineup

New York Mets Yogi Berra
New York Mets Yogi Berra / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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Utility player Juan Samuel

Juan Samuel is the final player to be addressed…and probably the strangest situation to be acknowledged. He is being referenced as a utility player here, but he actually came to the Mets to be a centerfielder.

And that is laughable because the Mets have had centerfielders by the names of Richie Ashburn, Duke Snider, and Willie Mays…all HALL OF FAME centerfielders.

Some other guys have patrolled centerfield for the Mets…guys like…let’s see…Tommie Agee, Amos Otis, Lee Mazzilli, Mookie Wilson, Carlos Beltran…all played centerfield for the Mets.

Oh…there was another one…Lenny Dykstra. Dykstra was actually sent to the Philadelphia Phillies (along with Roger McDowell) to get this All Star second baseman. SECOND BASEMAN…to play CENTERFIELD.

Now why in the world would they want to do that? But, then, why would they try Jim Fregosi at third base?

Now Samuel was, granted, an All Star second baseman. He was a guy who had SOME power…but not enough for a guy to strike out 150 times a season in an era when that was not exactly the norm. But he could hit. He was considered a superior offensive player. His stats were fairly comparable to Carlos Baerga’s stats.

In his six-plus seasons with the Phillies, he averaged .259, hit 100 HR and drove in 413 runs. He also led the NL in strikeouts for four consecutive seasons.

So now think about this. What was the rationale? Well…that doesn’t even matter. Because if anyone thought it was painful to watch Willie Mays flounder in centerfield…an immortal who was loved by so many…think of how profoundly upsetting it was to see Samuel, someone who was acquired for a Mets fan favorite, fall all over himself trying to play centerfield. It was awful.

And, he was just as awful at the plate…hitting just .228 with 3 HR and 28 RBI in 86 games as a Met. His short time as a Met would turn out to be the worst season of his career. Is it any wonder?