Choo Choo Coleman edition:
In recent years, he has been living in Bamberg, S.C., essentially invisible. Lou Cafiero, a collector in New York, began tracing the Clarence Colemans of America, and last year he made contact. With the 50th anniversary in mind, Cafiero began reaching out to memorabilia shows.
Last week, Coleman flew into New York — his first plane ride in 35 years.
“They used to shake more,” he said, recalling the DC-6B propeller planes the Mets used to charter. When he checked into a hotel, he had never seen a magnetic room card.
As gentle and decent as ever, Coleman seemed bemused as Mets fans greeted him as an icon returned to life.
“You play for a team, you always root for them,” he said.
– George Vecsey, “The Legend of Choo Choo, 50 Years Later”
The New York Times
In honor those early Mets, here is the worst Mets player to be an everyday player, position by position, according to Baseball-Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement:
C – Brian Schneider — .244/.323/.356, 12 HR, 62 RBI
1B – Willie Montanez — .247/.303/.362, 22 HR, 143 RBI
2B – Doug Flynn — .234/.264/.292, 5 HR, 155 RBI
SS – Frank Taveras — .263/.297/.324, 1 HR, 69 RBI
3B – Ty Wigginton — .270/.327/.440, 29 HR, 131 RBI
LF – Benny Agbayani — .282/.372/.461, 35 HR, 129 RBI
CF – Brian McRae — .249/.342/.421, 34 HR, 130 RBI
RF – Jeff Francoeur — .268/.311/.423, 21 HR, 95 RBI
I’m not sure I agree with this list. It skews heavily towards players who did not rate well by defensive metrics (particularly Wigginton, and to a lesser extent the entire outfield). It’s also worth noting that a couple of players — like Brian Schneider and Benny Agbayani, who both rate above replacement level during their time with the Mets — aren’t necessarily bad players, just ones with relatively low scores in the WAR department as compared with other historic Mets. If I’ve learned anything from this exercise, it’s that the Mets have used an enormous number of poor players at second base and shortstop. Both the middle infielders are easily the worst players here.
Doug Flynn, by the way, has an insurmountable lead in the Mets career negative wins above replacement department. He’s at -6.3 wins, with the next position player clocking in at -2.8.