Over the course of six decades, the New York Mets have solidified their place in the New York sports scene.
Plenty of Major League greats have played for the Metropolitans over the years and while at times the club as a whole was not up to the standard of those players, the Mets are undoubtedly a big part of the sporting culture of New York.
Although the club has been defined by two legendary teams, the 1969 and 1986 Mets that won the World Series, there are scores of other great New York Mets all their club and MLB fans need to know.
Without further adieu, here is our countdown of the 25 best Mets players of all time.
25. Cleon Jones
A beloved player from the 1969 Mets World Series team, Jones was awarded the starting center fielder job in 1966. His legendary status was clear early on as he batted .275 with eight home runs, 57 runs batted in (RBIs), and 16 stolen bases.
Cleon Jones tied for fourth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. Following the season, the Mets acquired Jones’ childhood friend and Gold Glove winner, Tommie Agee from the Chicago White Sox.
In 1969, his best season with the Mets, Jones was batting .341 with ten home runs and 56 RBIs in the first half of 1969. This feat earned him the starting left field job for the All-Star Game.
24. Jose Reyes
During the 2000s, Jose Reyes was a force to be reckoned with.
The 4-time all-star was known for his incredible speed and became the National League’s stolen base leader an astonishing three years in a row from 2005-2007.
He would go on to become the 33rd all-time stolen base leader, with a total of 517 throughout his career.
23. Mookie Wilson
Hall of Famer, Mookie “86” Wilson proved to be a clutch hitter when called upon.
He put up tremendous numbers for the New York Mets, once garnering 60 HR, 342 RBIs, and over 1,000 hits in a single season.
Wilson was an all-around ball player. Not only known for his amazing batting, but also blinding speed. An ability that catapulted the New York Mets toward a championship during the 1986 World Series.
22. Edgardo Alfonzo
By far one of the best infielders in club history, Edgardo Alfonzo entered the Mets’ roster in 1991, but wouldn’t make his major league debut until 1995.
In the year 2000, during the Mets’ most unlikely World Series run, Alfonzo was selected as a member of the National League All-Star team.
He also made numerous plays that saved the team’s playoff run. Alfonzo’s 29.7 wins above replacement (WAR) as a Met placed him as the seventh most valuable player in the franchise’s 60-year history.
21. David Cone
A pitching ace well known for his boyish looks and bright-eyed smile, fans were mesmerized or at times frustrated by David Cone. When he came to the Mets after being traded from the Royals in 1987, Cone wasn’t anything to write about.
He possessed such a nervous demeanor on the mound. Also, he looked like a boy amongst men on a team that had Ron Darling, Darryl Strawberry, and Gary Carter. After one lackluster season, the pitcher returned to the mound, focused and resolved.
David Cone had an awe-inspiring season in 1988 winning 20 games, and keeping the Mets’ NLCS hopes alive against the Dodgers. For six years he was unquestionably one of the best Mets players on the roster. When he was traded to the Blue Jays, devoted club fans were in tears.
20. Roger McDowell
Bowling Green Alumni Roger McDowell debuted on the Mets in 1985. This followed a two-year stint in the minor leagues and an elbow injury that cut his 1984 season short.
Despite rookie setbacks, he was impressive as both a middle relief pitcher and as a closer, splitting the duties with Jesse Orosco.
McDowell was always the lighthearted voice of reason among some of the team’s more serious issues. Aside from being the comic relief, McDowell was a capable relief pitcher, with an awkward throw.
With his signature sinker ball, he bailed out many Met pitchers from 1985-89.
19. Gil Hodges
A trade from the Brooklyn Dodgers during the Mets Club’s inception, Gig Hodges is credited with hitting the team’s very first homerun.
The all-time great was a force behind the plate and came to be known as one of the premier power hitters of his era.
He was finally inducted into the hall of fame on June 19, 2022, fifty years after passing away during spring training in 1972.
18. Wally Backman
Wally Backman is without a doubt one of the greatest second basemen in New York Mets history. Most fans of baseball know him for his pure heart and grit out on the diamond.
Though he wasn’t a powerhouse slugger, his consistent batting provided a “spark” at the top of the Mets’ lineup and set the table for the heavy hitters who batted behind him.
17. Dave Kingman
Dave Kingman is the New York Mets’ first-ever big-time hitter. Of the 442 home runs he batted hitting 154 traveled as far as 500 feet.
Despite being on the Mets’ weaker rosters, Kingman was always a threat and always showed his domineering force. Kingman would have two stints with the Mets but always a season too early or too late of great things for the franchise.
A true credit to the profession of baseball and especially New York, he was the first player to hit 400 or more home runs without being eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame.
16. Lenny Dykstra
A standout among the already elite 1986 world champion Mets’ roster, Lenny Dykstra was everything a coach could want from one of their players. On the field, Dykstra was all heart, blood, and guts in every game.
Off the field, he lived the New York lifestyle to its fullest. Dykstra was just loved by the fans.
Although he was never a hall of fame inductee, the three-time all-star produced a higher WAR than fellow outfielder Ken Griffey Jr.
15. Jacob Degrom
Superstar pitcher Jacob deGrom began playing baseball as a shortstop and was converted into a pitcher during his junior year at Stetson.
The Mets selected him in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB draft, making his MLB debut with the Mets on May 15, 2014.
That year, deGrom was named the National League’s (NL) Rookie of the Month twice, and the NL Rookie of the Year.
The 4-time all-star, 2-time Cy Young award winner, and 2-time National League strikeout leader is already postured to become a hall of fame inductee after just eight years of play.
14. Al Leiter
In Leiter’s first season as a Met, he attained a career-high in wins going 17–6. He also achieved a career-low 2.47 in ERA.
In 1999, when the Mets were tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the National League Wild Card spot after 162 games, Leiter was the Mets’ starting pitcher in the “winner takes all” one-game playoff at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati.
Leiter pitched a 2-hit complete game shutout to earn the win in the Mets’ 5–0 victory. The win put the Mets in the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons. During his years with the Mets, Al Leiter struck out over 1,000 batters.
13. Doc Gooden
New York Mets hall of fame pitcher Doc Gooden was a pure ace during their 1986 World Championship season.
Possibly the best pure heat pitcher in New York Mets history 2010 hall of fame inductee Doc Gooden put up tremendous numbers.
During his stint with the Mets, he had 23 shutouts, a 157-85 record, and 1,875 strikeouts.
If Gooden’s off-the-field issues hadn’t derailed his career, he might have been a surefire Hall of Famer.
12. Bud Harrelson
The name Bud Harrelson will always be synonymous with the Mets.
In his prime, this gritty shortstop continually improved his repertoire and propelled the franchise toward its current greatness.
Never a power hitter, but rather a contributor and leader, Harrelson entered the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986 the year the team won it all.
11. Howard Johnson
While with the Mets, Howard “HoJo” Johnson hit 192 home runs, over 600 RBIs, an OBP of .341, was power at the plate and was a linchpin at third base.
It was this consistent and powerful batting that made him an integral member of the 1986 MLB champion Mets. As the Mets club lost a bit of its previous luster in the early 90s, Howard Johnson at times was the lone bright spot.
10. John Franco
A lof sports analysts argue that John Franco was the best closer in the Mets’ 60-year lineage.
He led the National League three times in saves, two of which were down years for the Mets. He was inducted into the New York Mets hall of fame during a ceremony on Citi Field in 2012.
9. Carlos Beltrán
Beltrán was among the best all-time statistical hitters in postseason games, which has earned him nicknames such as “The New Mr. October”, “Mr. October, Jr.”, “Señor Octubre”, and “the real Mr. October” from the media.
During the 2004 playoffs, 56 plate appearances, Beltran scored 21 runs to set a record for most runs scored in one postseason.
Only one player (Jose Altuve) has been able to tie that record.
All-in-all, Carlos Beltran was a coach’s dream player. The all-around player was named to nine MLB All-Star Games and won three Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards.
8. Bob Ojeda
While at times in the shadow of more charismatic pitchers like Darling, Gooden, Cone, or Fernandez, Bob Ojeda was simply a pro. He was a solid pitching ace who helped bring home the Mets’ big 1986 championship trophy.
A trade from the Boston Red Sox, Bob Ojeda was a perfect fit for the Mets from day one. In his first, and career-best season with the franchise, he finished with an 18–5 record, 2.57 ERA (second-best in the league), and 148 strikeouts.
7. Gary Carter
On a team full of out-of-control ballplayers, Gary Carter was the spiritual, professional, team leader. He’s the only catcher on this list.
However, that doesn’t mean his batting wasn’t up to snuff. In the 1986 MLB championship, he hit a walk-off RBI single to win Game 5. Carter also had two hits in Game 6, which the Mets won in 16 innings.
Over his 19-year major league career, Gary hit 307 home runs as a catcher, ranking him seventh all-time at the position.
And his .991 fielding percentage is five points above the league’s average. Whether at the plate or catching, Carter was a clutch player, an example for all fans.
6. Jerry Koosman
A veteran in more than one right, Jerry Koosman was discovered by the son of a Shea Stadium usher, John Lucchese, who caught Koosman when he pitched in the United States Army at Fort Bliss, Texas.
After being scouted, Jerry was offered a contract after his discharge from the military.
An ace pitcher and two-time all-star Jerry Koosman was a part of the 1969 World Series.
A true club icon, Koosman gave his best professional year to the Mets, before being traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1978.
5. David Wright
Always known for bringing the “Wright” stuff to the diamond, David Wright was a franchise player, a 7-time all-star, an example, and a team fan favorite.
He never brought home a championship, but what he did bring was an ever-lasting legacy.
He was the epitome of a franchise star and played all 14 years of his professional career with the New York Mets. Currently, David Wright holds 16 franchise records, including total runs scored (949), and plate appearances (6,782).
He won’t be eligible for the hall of fame until 2025. But with stats as beefy as his, Wright is a shoo-in for that honor.
4. Keith Hernandez
The 1987-1989 Mets team captain Keith Hernandez won the most Gold Glove Awards at First Base, capturing eleven consecutive in the National League (NL) from 1978 to 1988.
He was also the first Mets first baseman to win the premier silver slugger award in 1984. On July 9, 2022, Hernandez had his jersey retired.
It now sits with other greats from this list, such as Jerry Koosman and Gil Hodges.
3. Mike Piazza
After Gary Carter hung up his jersey for good, Mike Piazza took the mantle of the Mets’ shining example of professionalism and grit.
Another legendary catcher, Mike Piazza is credited for hitting the longest recorded home run in the Astrodome at 480 feet.
He played for seven illustrious and electrifying seasons with the Mets, giving the fans plenty of excitement on and off the field.
Mike Piazza was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on January 6, 2016, appearing on 83% of the ballots.
2. Darryl Strawberry
Simply the greatest pure hitter the Mets ever had. Darryl Strawberry, for all his on and off-field flaws, had fans and media at his mercy.
Strawberry had one of the most elegant swings in all of baseball. The man could hit it out of the park at will. And he looked good doing it.
Strawberry had a rugged personality, which drove his teammates, fans, and media outlets crazy. Still, look at the stadium crowd then and now, and you will almost certainly see many jerseys with the number 18 and the last name Strawberry on them.
This superstar batter is the New York Mets’ all-time home run leader at 252. He was inducted into the club’s hall of fame back in 2010.
1. Tom Seaver
Can there be any other number 1? The late, great Tom Seaver was universally loved by everyone in New York and sports.
Always a gentleman, the MLB Hall-of-Famer took time to sign autographs and do interviews and just move the Mets brand forward whatever his capacity. Seaver is truly the New York Mets’ all-time greatest player, based on his popularity and willingness to put the franchise first.
With over 3,000 innings pitched, 44 shutouts, 2,500 strikeouts, and the 1969 World Series, Citi Field should be named after Tom!
We hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at the 25 best Mets players of all time. If you’re looking for more top player lists, scope out our article on the 25 greatest Red Sox players.