Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #29, Tommie Agee:
I’ve mentioned this before, but center field is the position with the most depth in Mets history. Tommie Agee is already the third center fielder on this list — after Lance Johnson at #47 and Lee Mazzilli at #30 — and there are still three more center fielders to go. That’s six total, which is more than any other position:
Catchers – 5
First Basemen – 5
Second Basemen – 2
Shortstops – 2
Third Basemen – 4
Left Fielders – 3
Center Fielders – 6
Right Fielders – 2
Edgardo Alfonzo really makes it 1-1/2 second basemen and 4-1/2 third basemen, but we’ll just count him at second base.
There are also 21 pitchers on the list, who can be broken down into two groups, 17 starters and 4 relievers.
As you probably already know, Miracle Met teammates Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones were childhood friends in Alabama. The two met in junior high, and were on football and baseball teams together in high school.
Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones kid about their childhood together in Mobile, and how hard things were.
“We’ll be at a gathering,” says Tommie Agee, “and Cleon will remember how he came to my house to ask for something to eat, and he was so weak he could hardly knock on the door. And he says when he did, I was so weak I couldn’t open it.”
Tommie Agee laughs. “It wasn’t really that bad,” he says. “In fact, we were pretty well taken care of. But it’s much better now.”
-New York Daily News, Amazin’ Mets: Miracle of ’69
If you want more on Agee, I’ll direct everyone to his bio in the SABR biography project. The Society for American Baseball Research is collecting biographies on every major league player. As in, all of them. Every single player. They don’t have them all yet, obviously, but the bios they do have are excellent. Some are written by the pros — Larry Tye, who released a several hundred page biography of Satchel Paige a year ago, wrote Paige’s much shorter SABR bio, and Rob Neyer is another listed author — but most other are written by average Joes and Janes. Good stuff.