With the success of returning New York Mets pitcher Jason Isringhausen, it brought to mind a few other players in franchise history who have had two tours of duty with the team. The second time around usually just proves the old saying that you can't go home again, but there have been a few guys who have filled key roles after coming back from stops elsewhere around the country. But those were the exception. Unfortunately, the majority of the second-time-around guys didn't fare very well.
The most famous case of a Met coming back to Queens was, of course, The Franchise -- Tom Seaver. In 1983, he returned a conquering hero. It was too bad that the Mets were awful (in fact Seaver used to refer to the team in the bad years as the Stems, which is "Mets" backwards). He went 9-14, with a 3.55 ERA, and then he was gone again, this time to the Chicago White Sox.
Three out of the four players in the 1972 Rusty Staub trade returned to New York. Rusty himself came back in 1981 for five seasons and was the preeminent pinch hitter in baseball. If he would have gone to the American League as a DH, he could have reached the 3,000 hit plateau. But he came back to the Mets to cement his legend in New York. He should have stayed for one more year, though, as he just missed out on being a World Champion. Tim Foli, who was the first overall pick in the 1968 draft and sent to Montreal in the Staub deal, returned to the Mets in 1978, batting .257 with a .283 OBP (which also happened to be his career mark). Early in the following season, he was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates for shortstop Frank Tavares. Foli went on to win a World Series with Pittsburgh, batting .333 in 30 at bats in the 1979 Fall Classic. Mike Jorgensen was the other member of that trade to circle back to New York. He was a part-time player for the Mets from 1980 to '83. It was only Ken Singleton who never returned. Another 1970s icon, Dave Kingman, made his way back to the Mets in 1981 and lasted for three seasons. His highlight was the 37 home runs he hit in '82. Of course, he also batted .204 that season. Teen heartthrob Lee Mazzilli played a crucial role as a pinch hitter on the 1986 Mets, when he showed up in Queens for a second stint with the franchise. He played three more seasons with the team after that.
The 1990s and 2000s saw many former Mets reappear. Isringhausen's old Generation K mate Bill Pulsipher returned in 2000 to start two games. Unfortunately, he lost them both, and compiled a 12.15 ERA. The main piece of the Gary Carter trade from the Expos' point of view, Hubie Brooks, replaced Darryl Strawberry in right field in 1991. He batted .238 with 16 dingers and 50 RBIs. And just like that, he disappeared, off to the California Angels. Kevin McReynolds returned to his old stomping grounds, ending his career with the Mets in 1994. In 180 at bats, he hit .256, with four home runs and 21 RBIs. Unfortunately, Bobby Bonilla had the nerve to come back in 1999. He batted .160 in his one final year with the team. But he never really left, because the Mets are still paying him. Jeremy Burnitz and Roger Cedeno were part of the 2002 and 2003 teams. Enough said about that. And poor David Cone finished up his stellar career with a forgetful comeback, appearing in five games for the 2003 Mets, going 1-3, with a 6.50 ERA.
There were others who arrived, left and came back, but none with the fanfare of Seaver. And now we'll just have to sit back and wait and see how Isringhausen's homecoming will turn out.