In honor of today’s date — 12/12/12, MBTN presents the Top Twelve 12s in Mets history, presented Casey Kasum style:
12. Danny Garcia (2003-04): Reserve infielder who seemed to play with a chip on his shoulder, Garcia became the first Brooklyn Cyclone ever to graduate to the Mets. His assignment of No. 12 was no mistake as the organization appeared to intentionally distance itself from its previous occupant (see No. 8 on the list, below).
11. Jesse Gonder (1963-65): Lefthanded hitting catcher who had a fine offensive campaign in his one and only season as a regular, 1964, when he hit .270 with 7 home runs in newly built Shea.
10. Shawon Dunston (1999): Brooklyn product who made the most of a short stay in Metsville. Remembered best for a grinding at-bat to lead off the bottom of the 15th, in the rain, during Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS vs. Atlanta. His single helped to set the table for Robin Ventura’s dramatic “Grand Slam Single” that ended it.
9. Jeff Francoeur (2009-10): Gregarious, enthusiastic, maddening player of tantalizing abilities and awful results, I’ll remember Francoeur as the final middle finger in Bobby Cox’s long history of flipping off the Mets.
8. Roberto Alomar (2002-03): When Bobby Valentine heard that general manager Steve Phillips had acquired All-Star Roberto Alomar for a collection of varied Met junk, his first question was “what’s wrong with him?” Beyond declines in bat speed, foot speed, defense, enthuiasm and charisma, not a thing.
7. Jeff Kent (1993-96): Anyone watch Jeff on “Survivor”? Good competitor who lost his teammates by being too singleminded. Never saw that coming.
6. Willie Randolph (1992; 2005-08): If things in Metville keep going as they have, the nostalgia for the Willie Randolph Era will ramp up accordingly. He was after all the last manager to bring a Mets team to the playoffs. Resist. Although Willie brought a certain dignity to the role that is missed, his team rotted beneath detachment, denial and paranoia, setting into motion years of half-assed fixes.
5. Scott Hairston (2011-12): Yeah, I wouldn’t have guessed he was this high either but he just gave us one of the best seasons a nominal Mets “backup” ever provided.
4. Tommy Davis (1967): A star in his one and only year as a Met (1967) and key figure in blockbuster Tommie Agee trade.
3. Ken Boswell (1968-74): Sometime starter and steady reserve infielder, and a key contributor in 2 postseasons (3-for-3 pinch-hitting in the 1973 World Series and two HRs in the 1969 NLCS).
2. Ron Darling (1985-89): The longest-tenured and best of Darling’s three Met uni numbers was 12. He was 30 games over .500 wearing 12 (68-38) and one game under .500 wearing 44 and 15 (31-32). He’s also become an excellent broadcaster and ambassador.
1. John Stearns (1977-84): A Bad Dude, a four-time All-Star, and setter of weird stolen-bases-for-a-catcher records.