It’s been quiet in Mets-land lately, and that’s ok. A productive offseason is just about finished and there’s not much more to do but wait for spring training to begin. In that spirit (and to get back to writing: I’ve been seriously slacking this month), I’m going to count down the days till pitchers and catchers report by looking at a player whose uniform number matches the number of days left.
This is not to be confused with Patrick Flood’s statistics-driven Top Fifty Mets of All-Time or the Real Dirty Mets’ blog’s fan-submitted Top 50 list, both of which are thoughtful projects that required serious thought and effort on the part of their authors and editors. Nor is it an exercise to determine the best player to ever wear a particular number for the Mets. No, this is a lark, inspired by Lohud.com columnist Rick Carpineillo, who went through a similar exercise prior to the start of NY Rangers training camp on his excellent Rangers Report blog. If a particular number brings a different player to mind for you, please: use the comments section to tell us why. Let’s have fun with this.
One last note: this project would be impossible without the Numerical Roster put together by Jon Springer of Mets By The Numbers, a truly indispensable asset when researching Mets uniform numbers.
#21 – Herm Winnigham
Drafted by the Mets in January 1981, Winningham debuted with the Mets in 1984 with a .407/.429/.519 slash line and a robust 167 OPS+. The Montreal Expos suffered the brunt of his offensive onslaught (he slashed .500/.500/.700 against them) and immediately traded future Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter to the Mets to secure his services.
Or something like that. Hubie Brooks was probably the Expos’ main target. Or Mike Fitzgerald. Or Floyd Youmans. But Winningham was definitely included in the deal. He went on to slash a less-impressive during his time with the Expos. He earned a ring with the World Champion Cincinnati Reds in 1990, and finished his career with the Red Sox. For his career, he slashed .239/.296.334, was worth -2.0 rWAR (B-R.com), won a World Series (not by himself: that would be amazing) and was part of the trade that brought one of the most important 1986 Mets to Flushing. Not bad.
Fun fact: His middle name is Son. Herman Son Willingham. That’s awesome all by itself.