Tic Tac Toe

During Sunday’s victory over the Braves, an unusual and perceptive notice popped up in my feed. In the bottom of the first inning, Jay Bruce reached on an error, Neil Walker singled and Lucas Duda followed with a base-on-balls, setting up the following bases-loaded situation as described here by TJ:

Not to speak for Elias Sports, but I’d bet it is. I’ve played around a little bit trying to determine whether the Mets ever had an all-ascending uni number starting lineup (haven’t found one yet) and I can recall lots of notable sequential teammates but this question never occurred to me and figuring out would be a task, which is why I’m opening it up to you guys out there.

My first thought on this matter was the possibility of the 16-17-18 combo of Gooden on third, Hernandez on second and Strawberry on first, which had lots of opportunity to happen. Their teammates on the ’86 champs Wally Backman, Kevin Mitchell and Gary Carter, had a whole season of opportunity to pull this one off too, but also hard to envision a scenario where Backman stops at third. Foster-Gooden-Hernanez 15-17 would be a less likely scenario but I don’t want to rule it out yet.

Looking further into the likely possibilities would also require an examination of the 1969 World Champs, who had Agee, Jones and Clendenon stacked up 20-22 (Tim Foli, No. 19 in 1970-71, could be another engine in this train). Back when numbers were lower and retirements fewer we can envision scenarios of Ashburn on first, Throneberry at second and Bouchee or Harkness on 3rd, but I got no idea.

Anyone brave enough to dive into this please speak up!

Following is my list of notable Mets teammates wearing consecutive numbers, though by no means an exhaustive list of all possibilities over the years:

6 numbers:
1986: Foster 15, Gooden 16, Hernandez 17, Strawberry 18, Ojeda 19, Johnson 20
1987–88: Aguilera 15, Gooden 16, Hernandez 17, Strawberry 18, Ojeda 19, Johnson 20
1989: Darling 15, Gooden 16, Hernandez 17, Strawberry 18, Ojeda 19, Johnson 20

5 numbers:
1989: Gooden 16, Hernandez 17, Strawberry 18, Ojeda 19, Johnson 20

3 numbers:
1968–71: Seaver 41, Taylor 42, McAndrew 43
1969–71: Agee 20, Jones 21, Clendenon 22
1975–77: Kingman 26, Swan 27, Milner 28
1986: Backman 6, Mitchell 7, Carter 8
1992: Gooden 16, Cone 17, Saberhagen 18
2015-17: Matz 32, Harvey 33, Syndergaard 34
2016-17: Bruce 19, Walker 20, Duda 21



Goodbye and good luck to Ty Kelly, the reserve we were discussing below, and who was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays yesterday. This Ty was no Cobb, but I liked having on the team.


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  1. Chris says:

    Wonder if the ’69 Mets ever had a situation with Harrelson-Swoboda-Charles on base and Al Weis at bat…

  2. Jon Springer says:

    Now you’re thinking. I’ve been told this would be simple enough for database-experienced people with access to the Retrosheet or bbr play indexes to query but that guy isn’t me. I’m more likely to spend 90 minutes looking it all up.

  3. Gordon says:

    August 31, 1969
    Mets @ SF
    METS 4TH: Agee (20) walked; Jones (21) singled to center [Agee to third]; Clendenon (22)walked [Jones to second];

    • Jon Springer says:

      Awesome. See I told you it would be easy!

      • Gordon says:

        I wish it was. I just decided to pick Clendenon since he was only there for half of 69. Then used retrosheet to check box scores of games he played. If Agee and Jones both played and the batting order allowed for the occurrence, I checked through the play by play.

        Jon, are you going to update the Arrigo story?

        • Jon Springer says:

          I mean to when I get a minute! Thanks again for sluething, that’s exactly how I would have approached it

  4. Chris says:

    Unless I’ve missed someone, d’Arnaud’s hit today made him the first Met with at least 50 hits while wearing three different numbers (#7–86; #15–113; #18–50).

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