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Top Mets Third Basemen in Club History

Mets 3rd baseman Brett Baty has looked different so far this season. And that’s a good thing for Baty and his teammates. The outward emotion he’s shown on the field and in the dugout corresponds with his best stint as a Major Leaguer. The Mets third base history is not star-studded and while it’s only been 10 games, the future seems brighter, and Brett Baty has a chance to be among the best Mets third basemen in team history.

Don’t laugh. If you’ve been a Mets fan for a very long time like me you lived through the Mets continual problems finding a third baseman until Hubie Brooks (1981 was his first of 4 straight opening day starts), Howard Johnson – 6 straight opening day starts beginning in 1985, and Robin Ventura – 4 straight opening day starts at third starting in 1999. The franchise struggled to find a third baseman for the first nearly 20 years in its history. But even after Brooks, Johnson, and Ventura were gone, the Mets still had some third base ‘issues’ until 2005.

Did you remember that Bobby Bonilla started at third base in 1994 and 1995? Or that Edgardo Alfonzo only started at 3B on opening day in 1998 and 2002, despite playing eight seasons for the Mets? Alfonzo played more second base than third for the team. After Alfonzo left the team Ty Wigginton looked as if he might take the mantle. No way. He was replaced in 2005 after two seasons as the opening day 3B starter, by the greatest third baseman in Mets history, David Wright. 

Before 1981 the Mets tried and failed to find a third baseman who could settle in at the position year after year. That included the 1969 Mets who had MLB veteran Ed ‘The Glider’ Charles platoon with young Wayne Garrett. After 1969 Garrett played both third and second base for the Mets lasting 8 seasons batting .233 with an OPS+ of 95 for his Met career.

The third base problem would have been a meme had there been memes before 1980. When the Met traded Nolan Ryan to the Angels, the key piece of the trade was former gold glove winning shortstop Jim Fregosi whom the Met moved to third base. Fregosi infamously lasted two seasons batting .233 with and OPS+ of 85.

There will be no argument that Hall of fame hopeful David Wright is the best third baseman in Mets team history. It’s not particularly close. Back in 1966 the Mets acquired 1964 NL MVP Ken Boyer whose brother Clete, played for the KC A’s, the Yankees, and Atlanta Braves. It did work out as Boyer hit 17 home runs and batted .258 with an OPS+ of 101 over two seasons. 

Another former MVP 1971 NL Joe Torre opened the season at third base in 1975. Torre played a little over two seasons with the team, batting .267 with an OPS+ of 101. In his final season playing with the Mets in 1977 he was player-manager for 26 games before retiring and then managing the team for another five and a half seasons.

While David Wright never won an MVP himself, he leads the Mets in too many categories to list. But who’s the second best third baseman in Mets team history? That’s not as easy, but two-time All-Star HoJo would be my pick beating out Ventura, with an honorable mention to Alfonzo.

What might this all mean to Brett Baty? He’s looked good for all of nine games of the 2024 season. For his career Baty is a -0.9 bWAR player with a career OPS+ 68 with the league average being 100. It’s not impossible to move up on the list of all-time Mets third basemen. Baty is 24 years old and is not turning 25 until after the season. The Met are hoping Baty blossoms throughout 2024 and opens the season at third base (as he did this season) for many years to come. 

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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