The New York Mets are known for pitching. It’s not very common that the Mets sport a lot of power at the plate. Yes they have had some big boppers – Dave Kingman, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza – the guys with raw power.
Perhaps playing in Shea Stadium, had some negative impact on some of the Mets hitters. George Foster was a home run hitting machine as a part of the powerful Cincinnati Reds lineup. He hit 52 dingers in 1977. But he was not able to duplicate his numbers when he was a Met. Was it Shea Stadium, or was he just near the end of the line?
And even at Citifield…look at what happened to Jason Bay. We all know what happened to him. Playing in band boxes in Pittsburgh and Boston enabled him to build up some gaudy numbers. Then he struggled mightily once he got to the Mets. Even before his injuries derailed him, he couldn’t reach the fences in Flushing.
It’s thrilling and enticing to watch a Kingman step up to the plate and send one out of the stadium into the parking lot. It’s with awe that you watch Strawberry, with that sweet swing, launch one to the roof in Montreal. And it’s jaw-dropping to see Piazza crush one into the night on the biggest of stages the first game back after 9-11. That’s what raw power can do.
But there are other Mets who had power, but just not the kind of power would make you go “Wow!” There are three players who are truly the most underrated power hitters in New York Mets history.
1) Tommie Agee hit 82 home runs in his New York Mets career, good enough for 22nd on the team’s all-time list
Tommie Agee was a very talented five-tool player. He could run, throw, field, hit, and hit for average. Most teammates would tell you that he was the best overall athlete on the team.
Agee began in the Cleveland Indians system but was traded along with Tommy John to the Chicago White Sox. In his first season with the Chisox, Agee went to the American League All-Star Game and captured the AL Rookie of the Year Award when he hit .273 with 22 home runs and 86 RBI. He also grabbed a Gold Glove Award for his play in centerfield.
When Gil Hodges took over the Mets, he asked that management acquire Agee, and he joined the Mets and his childhood friend Cleon Jones prior to the 1968 season.
Agee’s combination of speed and power made him a double threat offensively. He hit 26 homers in ’69, most of them coming from the lead-off spot in the lineup. He was a highlight reel in centerfield, especially in the 1969 World Series where he made three amazing catches to preserve a Mets victory in Game 3.
Agee actually showed a bit of raw power of his own when he blasted one into the upper deck at Shea, a spot marked by his No. 20 for years until Shea was torn down. His time with the Mets ended following the 1972 season, after approaching Mets president M. Donald Grant to complain about Willie Mays making a lot more money than he was, and Mays was hardly playing. Apparently, Agee didn’t wield enough power.