With David Wright breaking Darryl Strawberry's all-time New York Mets RBI record, it's a good time to flip through the offensive record book of the Amazin's. While the New York Yankees (and many other organizations as well) have a predictable leader board, with one legend after another in their Top 10, and with usually either Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig standing at the top, or Derek Jeter when it comes to longevity stats, the Mets, on the other hand, have imperfect, not-exactly legends littering their top lists. Which is just one more reason that the Mets, while obviously not in the same universe success-wise as their brother from the Bronx, are more fun than the Yankees (though who's more fun than the Babe?). Even the Yanks' single-season marks come with only a number needed: 56, 61, etc. Instead of Ruth or Joe DiMaggio or Roger Maris, the Mets have Ed Kranepool and Bernard Gilkey and Darryl Strawberry. Or maybe a better way to put it is: Ed Kranepool! Bernard Gilkey! Darryl Strawberry!
Not only did Wright pass Strawberry with his 734th and 735th RBIs on Wednesday with his two-run home run (and, yes, only two franchises -- the Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins -- have a fewer total as their all-time best), but he's already the all-time Mets leader in doubles (282), and will most likely break the team's runs record (707 to Jose Reyes' 735), hits record (1,268 to Kranepool's 1,418) and possibly Wins Above Replacement (WAR) (32.6 to Strawberry's 37.7). Wright (.301) is also second to John Olerud's .315 for the best Met batting average.
Rounding out the career best marks in Mets history are Olerud, with the on-base percentage (.425) and OPS (.926) records; Strawberry, with the home run (252) and base-on-balls (580) marks; Mike Piazza, with the slugging percentage record (.542); Reyes, with the most stolen bases (370) and triples (99); and Kranepool, with the games played (1,853) and at bats (5,997) records.
The Mets' single-season records are really where the fun is, though. And 1996 was a particularly good year -- not for the Mets, though, as they finished in fourth place with a 71-91 record. But three Mets each had a record-setting season, and the three were a fairly unlikely trio. Bernard Gilkey put up the best-ever single-season WAR (8.1; actually tied by John Olerud two years later) and set the club doubles record, with 44. For the season, Gilkey hit 30 home runs, drove in 117 and put up a .317/.393/.562 line, which he never came close to duplicating. Another magical '96er was center fielder Lance Johnson, who set the Met hits record, with 227, as well as the triples mark (21). He also swiped 50 bases that season, hit 31 doubles, batted .333 and had a .362 OBP. Like Gilkey, Johnson had a career year. The third member of the record-breaking club was Todd Hundley, who set the team home run record, with 41 (later tied by Carlos Beltran in 2006). Hundley may have had some artificially enhanced help that year, though, as he was outed in the Mitchell Report.
John Olerud is all over the Mets' single-season leader sheet, mainly for his unbelievable 1998 season. That year the quiet, classy, helmeted first baseman broke Cleon Jones' batting average mark of .340 from 1969, when he hit .354. He set the OBP record, too, getting on base at a .447 clip, and the following season he walked a team-record 125 times to shatter keith Hernandez's and Strawberry's previous record of 97. And Olerud was only the second Met ever to play in 162 games, which he did in '99, with Felix Millan being the other, in '75.
Wright shares the single-season RBI record (124, in 2008) with Piazza, who did it in '99. Piazza also holds the slugging percentage record (.614, in 2000) and OPS mark (1.024, in his partial '98 season). Reyes of course has stolen the most bases in a season (78, in '07) and had the most at bats as well (696, in '05), while Beltran set the record for runs scored in '06, with 127.
And who holds the Met record for longest hitting streak? Mike Vail? Hubie Brooks? Cleon Jones? Rusty Staub? Piazza? Olerud? Kranepool? No, it's Moises Alou, who hit safely in 30 straight games in 2007. As far as we know, his uncle Jesus never broke any club records in his one season with the Amazin's in 1975. Though now that we think of it maybe he does have one record: Is he the only Met to have two nephews play on the team as well? Besides Moises, Mel Rojas is Jesus' nephew, too. And Rojas' 5.76 ERA as a Met has to be some kind of team record. But we'll stop there. I'm just a little too afraid of what I'll find if I dig deeper into the Met career of Mel Rojas.