David Wright Retrospective - The Greatest Met

By Howie Mansfield, BBM Staff Writer

The career of David Wright has span almost the same as my daughter’s life. As she has grown, so
has Wright into arguably the greatest Met of all-time. I bought her Wright jerseys, and she wore them
proudly. He was a homegrown talent, and it was a joy to watch him grow as a player and person,
mirroring my own daughter’s transformation from child to young adult.



So is David Wright really the greatest Mets of all-time?


Well, what about Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Dwight Gooden, Darryl
Strawberry? What about Gil Hodges, Willie Mays, Ed Kranepool, Gary Carter, Carlos Beltran, Rusty
Staub? What about Bud Harrleson, John Franco, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jerry Koosman, Howard
Johnson?

Here’s where all the other great Mets differ: Wright has weathered some of the greatest storms one
player can deal with over the span of their career. David Wright played through some of the best
times and the worst times. In 2006, the Mets won the NL East and were destined for a deep
postseason run. Then in 2007, Wright was on the field as the Mets famously choked their season
away in one of the greatest collapses in baseball history. And it got worse from there before it was
better. Year after year failing to be good enough, but Wright remained strong to steer the franchise
toward a better place.

In 2004, Wright entered as the young anchor at third base, a position that has been a turnstyle of
change over the years. Wright had a hot start to his career 14 home runs in just 67 games, and
paired with shortstop Jose Reyes, he was showcasing his talents and the Mets’ were winning. The
rise was so quick - from 71 wins in 2004 to 83 wins in 2005 to 97 wins in 2006. Wright was averaging
26 home runs and over 116 RBI during the span. Wright was not yet the captain, but coming close
with the fire and energy you expect. After the loss in the 2006 NLCS and the epic collapses in 2007
and 2008, Wright became the spokesman for the Mets, and a voice of hope and calm in turbulent
times.

I’ll admit, being a Mets fan in 2007 and 2008 was really tough. I was hard watching players like
Wright come up with words to describe their feelings during those difficult times. But knowing that
Wright was going to take the gauntlet and lead this team, he felt like the captain, even though it was
never official until 2013. (Look a what he did as Captain America for Team USA in the World Baseball
Classic).  After all, the Mets still had Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, and Pedro Martinez as bigger
names. But over the years, attendance fell, the team was always injured and luck was just not on
their side. And still the Mets pushed on. Wright pushed on. And after Reyes left in 2011, Wright really
became the franchise. He was the last man standing from what was a great 2006 team, one that
could have won the World Series. His numbers weren’t as good, but Wright continued to work and
help the franchise.

He could have walked away, and gone to a contender. Wright could have had the chance to play for
many World championships. But he didn’t want that. He wanted to win as a Met. In the crazy age of
free agency, Wright was one of the few players that played his entire career for one team. He led this
team through the muck of sub .500 records, several managers and underperforming clubs, in the
hopes that management would surround him with the talent to reach that World Series he hoped for.

Yes, it was an eight-year $138 million contract, but look at what was the result:


Wright, a seven-time All-Star, is the franchise leader in plate appearances (6869), hits (1777),
runs scored

(949), runs batted in (970), doubles (390), base on balls (761) and wins above replacement (50.4). His career
.296 batting average is tied for third-best, home runs (242) and games played (1583) second-best.
This is for a player that missed significant parts of four seasons due to injury. Wright was not only on
pace to shatter every Mets offensive category record, but also put himself in the conversation for the
Baseball Hall of Fame.

It’s quite unlikely that Cooperstown will call for Wright. But Citi Field will and should continue to do so.
I hope Wright’s number is retired and he is inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in the near future.

My favorite all-time David Wright moment?


The 2015 World Series run was the curtain call for Wright, who finally reached the pinnacle of baseball
success. That home run in Game 3 at home still gives me goosebumps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkZuZr0a4dA


Wright gave it all he had in that World Series, even though the Mets came up short. And like he has
throughout his career, Wright played the game with passion, toughness and heart.

You can not measure toughness, but Wright is about as tough as they come. His diagnosis with
spinal stenosis changed the course of his career, and ended it far too soon. Mets fans knew the
prognosis was bleak, but supported Wright and the hope for his eventual return. He played a handful
of games over two years, just to get back enough strength for one last run. The chronic condition
has taken its toll.

Wright has fought so hard for this last moment, to play with his friends and in front of his family at Citi
Field. To be the Captain one more time. Playing a game he loves for the franchise he has been so
loyal to - despite the pain of rehabilitation. For the fans that have loved him back and continue to offer
their support and best wishes.

To you, David Wright, may your future be bright. Thank you for being our captain, for being a role
model for our children, and a leader to emulate.  May history be kind of you, and we look forward to
your support of the Mets franchise for many years to come.

--


Stats were gathered from Baseball Reference:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/wrighda03.shtml

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