Five greatest pitchers in New York Mets’ history

Many great pitchers have worn the orange and blue of the New York Mets. Not all of them, however, are franchise greats. Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan spent only the first five seasons of his 27-year career in New York. The seemingly immortal Pedro Martinez(notes) was past his prime by the time he arrived at Shea Stadium. Alas, two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana(notes) hasn't pitched for them long enough. But these five hurlers not only had long, successful careers, they posted their best numbers as Mets, making them the top five pitchers in team history.

5. David Cone - An argument can be made for Al Leiter, Ron Darling or even Mets all-time saves leader John Franco, but Cone edges out all of them here. First of all, Cone recorded one of the best single seasons in team history in 1988. He went 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA that year as the team advanced to the National League Championship Series. Secondly, as a Met, he twice led the league in strikeouts (1990 and 1991) and currently is the franchise leader in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.72. Only seven Mets pitchers - four of whom are on this list - have more than Cone's 81 wins and just six have more complete games (34).

Jerry Koosman, who pitched for the Mets from 1967-1978, won 140 career games for the New York.
Wikimedia Commons

4. Jon Matlack - When the Mets drafted the left-handed Matlack with the fourth overall pick of the 1967 amateur draft, the comparisons to fellow lefty Jerry Koosman soon followed. Those comparisons were justified when in his first full season the crafty Matlack went 15-10 with a 2.32 ERA and was named NL Rookie of the Year. Matlack's career 82-81 record with the Mets wasn't special, but his peripherals were solid. He is tied for second with Koosman in team history for most shutouts (26) and his career 3.03 ERA and 65 complete games with the Mets each rank fourth all-time in team history.

3. Jerry Koosman - Signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent in 1964, Koosman was magnificent from the start of his career. He went 19-12 with a 2.08 ERA in his first full season and - along with Tom Seaver - anchored the "Miracle Mets" championship rotation in 1969 with a 17-9 mark and 2.28 ERA. Koosman, who won 21 games for the Mets in 1976, has the second-most complete games in team history (108) and ranks third in wins (140) and strikeouts (1,799). He's arguably the greatest southpaw in team history.

2. Dwight "Doc" Gooden - Gooden's arrival at Shea was akin to a bolt of lightening out of the New York skyline. Drafted by New York in the first round (fifth overall) of the 1982 amateur draft, he won the NL ROY in 1984 as a 19-year-old and fire-balled his way to the NL Cy Young Award in 1985 with a 24-3 record and 1.53 ERA. Gooden, who led the league in strikeouts each of his first two seasons, never matched the brilliance of his first two MLB seasons, but he was a key part of the team's 1986 championship and won 157 games for the Mets, the second most in team history.

1. Tom Seaver - There may not be a more famous or accomplished player in team history. New York signed Seaver as an amateur free agent in 1966 and he reciprocated by putting the Mets on the baseball map. In 1969, he captured the NL Cy Young Award (his first of three) and led the team to its first World Series title. Seaver, who topped the NL in ERA three times and strikeouts five times, is the club's all-time leader in numerous categories, including wins (198), strikeouts (2,541) and ERA (2.57). A 12-time All-Star, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Mets retired his No. 41 in 1988.

Sources
Baseball-Reference.com.

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Updated Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011