Top Twelve 12s

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.

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One comment

  1. Jon Springer says:

    Submitted by (not verified) on Thu, 12/13/2012 – 11:13pm.
    Darling is great and is a close second, with Boswell locking up third place with his two postseasons and relatively long career for a 12, but the only 12 I think of is John Stearns. The riches that would be lavished on him now and the leadership he would bring to team sorely lacking it. The late 1970s team may have sucked, but the Dude was the sergeant in the trenches, guiding the team on impossible suicide missions against foes that greatly outnumbered and outgunned them. And a hell of a safety on the gridiron at Colorado.

    Submitted by gored82 on Sat, 12/15/2012 – 12:44am.
    Looks like Dickey’s going to the Blue Jays for Anthony Gose – a good-looking young lefty-hitting CF who wears 43; how cosmically perfect is that? – and a catcher; I’m pulling hard for Travis d’Arnaud, who would become the best young backstop in the NL this side of Buster Posey. He came out of the Phillies’ chain in the Halladay deal, which would make it even sweeter. D’Arnaud wears 15, so he could return those digits behind the plate in honor of Jerry Grote. JP Arencibia (9) is the other, less desirable, possibility.

    According to the Daily News, “d’Arnaud was a “must have” for the Mets, but Toronto was resisting. A person involved in the potential trade expressed a “gut feeling” d’Arnaud was involved, but stressed that nothing was final.”

    IMHO, this deal, if d’Arnaud is involved, could impact the team’s rebuilding similarly to Lee Mazzilli (briefly a 12 in ’76) to Texas for Ron Darling (there’s 12 again!) and HoJo (via Walt Terrell, who originally came with Darling) back in 1982. I really hope this goes down, as it would be a perfect case of buying low and selling high (Dickey) – very shrewd on Sandy A’s part!

    UPDATE: As the deal nears completion, d’Arnaud definitely is the catcher and Gose appears to be out in favor of top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. So much for cosmic uni number significance! It also seems that Josh Thole will be swapped for John Buck, who obviously won’t wear 14 at Citi Field. But we should be elated that d’Arnaud’s coming – the Mets could be set with an elite catcher for years to come.

    Submitted by hodges14 (not verified) on Mon, 12/17/2012 – 5:21pm.
    The trade chain has been continued. Nickeas is going up north!

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Tue, 12/18/2012 – 12:47am.
    Of all the crazy stuff that’s gone down, that the Mets could trade both Nickeas and Thole in one deal is the craziest.

    Submitted by Matt B on Tue, 12/18/2012 – 8:37am.
    Found this article about John Buck and uniform numbers. Obviously he can’t have #14. Guess he will wear #44 for the Mets.

    Submitted by gored82 on Tue, 12/18/2012 – 9:44am.
    Or maybe 4, as he did when he arrived in Florida and Gaby Sanchez had 14. 4 is more of a catcher-type number than 44.

    What cracks me up is that relatively marginal players (like Sanchez) have these number preferences. It gets ridiculous with minor-league guys. I remember speculation on here last year about Matt den Dekker, who’s not even a top prospect, and 17.

    Submitted by Matt B on Tue, 12/18/2012 – 11:26am.
    The article talks about how when Buck sees the number 14 or 44, he thinks of his brother, who died. That is why I was guessing 44.

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Tue, 12/18/2012 – 6:54pm.
    Hey 34 is available too. New post soon!

    Submitted by Matt B on Tue, 12/18/2012 – 7:49pm.
    I hope they give Wheeler #34. Great pitcher’s number, and I like that our starters could be 32,33,34,35 (Mejia, Harvey, Wheeler?,Gee).

    Submitted by Ron Davis (not verified) on Tue, 02/05/2013 – 12:06pm.
    Lee Mazzilli and John Stearns traded numbers but Lee Mazz did wear 12 a bit then went to 16 then to 13

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