It’s crazy and just about as accomplished but Mets By The Numbers has now had a career as long as Ed Kranepool: Eighteen years.
The site went “live” for the first time on Feb. 22, 1999. It wasn’t a “blog” then as such a thing didn’t really exist, but a website with a “home page” that was updated as needed, with stuff deleted as time permitted, which I guess is one reason why the earliest front-page updates I can find for it date only to the failed Barry Larkin trade of 2000, although I uncovered an early cry for help archived from October of 1999.
Anyway, we’re as pleased to be 18 as the protagonist in the Alice Cooper song, or Darryl Strawberry in 1983, or maybe, Darryl Hamilton in 1999. Fun Fact: 100% of the Mets’ Darryls have worn No. 18. Darrells (Ceciliani, Sutherland) are another story entirely.
Real quickly, the most Metly 18s in club history:
1 Darryl Strawberry: I used to wonder what it was about Yankee fans who grew up the 1950s and 60s that made them so obsessive about Mickey Mantle and then I met Strawberry and became one of them. He can still be a Daaaryl sometimes but he meant a lot.
2 Joel Youngblood: Terrific athlete who never found a home on the field. Darryl’s predecessor.
3 Art Howe: Luckless and dull caretaker of a manager astonishingly described as having “lit up the room” in an interview to replace Bobby Valentine. Right, Fred.
4. Felix Mantilla: Arguably the best player on the 1962 Mets which sounds like a kind of feint praise.
5. Moises Alou: Incredible hitter when healthy, never healthy.
6. Marlon Anderson: The best of his three numbers was 18, wore it for his famous inside-the-park home run.
7. Benny Ayala: Home run in first at-bat, of course
8. Bret Saberhagen: He’d have more success wearing 17.
9. Takashi Kashiwada: First Japan-born Met. I associate him with a photo playing in the “ice cream man” white hat.
10. Jeff McKnight. Because, Jeff McKnight.