Before we go any further, I need to make something clear: the player I pick to commemorate each day in this countdown is not necessarily someone who is the “best” Met to ever wear that number. In many cases (if not most), in fact, it’s quite the opposite. My apologies for not setting the ground rules ahead of time; this countdown idea came about as a whim during one snowy afternoon while reading the Mets By The Numbers book (there’s also the MBTN website, which is equally entertaining), and I didn’t put much thought into how I’d pick the players. As it is turning out, it is a very personal — and maybe selfish — series, focused on players who stick in my head for one crazy reason or another. (For example, Jackson Todd because of his fight with cancer; Pete Harnisch because of his loose tie to my alma mater.)
That said, I strongly encourage you to use the comments section to post your memories of the players who stick in your head for personal reasons. And/or, suggest your choice for the Met most worthy of representing the number of the day. This blog is supposed to be a conversation WITH YOU, not a one-way communication AT YOU.
So, without further adieu, I bid you Anthony Young as the player to represent the 19th Day Until Pitchers And Catchers Report.
Bobby Ojeda was without question a better pitcher than Young, and he was nearly the man I chose for his savvy, gritty pitching and leadership in 1986. Tim Foli was on the short list as well, partially because anyone with the nickname “Crazy Horse” has to be in the conversation (where did all the nicknames go?). Heath Bell almost made the cut for his constant shuttling between Flushing and Norfolk. And, Lino Urdaneta was considered because of his ERA of infinity.
But in the end, it’s Anthony Young, mainly because I will never, ever forget his 27-game losing streak, and feel it is something that (I hope) will never, ever be broken nor duplicated.
Think about it: how bad do you have to be to lose 27 games in a row? Or: how good do you have to be to lose 27 games in a row and still be in the big leagues?
What’s also rather interesting is that Young broke a record of 19 straight losses previously held by a pitcher named Craig Anderson. When I say “record”, I mean it was both a Mets record and an MLB record — Anderson appeared in 57 games for the Mets from 1962 to 1964. What are the chances that such a significant record of futility would be held by two pitchers for the same franchise in two vastly different eras? Only the Mets.
Again, there are many other #19s more worthy of the honor — please post your nominations, and supporting reasoning (even if it’s personal) — below.
The countdown thus far:
#19 Anthony Young
#20 Howard Johnson
#21 Gary Rajsich
#22 Ray Knight
#23 Doug Flynn
#24 Kelvin Torve
#25 Willie Montanez (no link … sadly, didn’t have time to write a post)
#26 Dave Kingman
#27 Pete Harnisch
#28 John Milner
#29 Alex Trevino
#30 Jackson Todd