Arguably the most beloved player in the 59-year history of the New York Mets, David Wright retired in front of 42,000 Mets fans on September 29th 2018. Wright had two plate appearances, a walk in the first inning and a popup in foul territory in the 3rd inning. After taking his position at 3rd base in the top of the 5th he was removed from the game, greeted with a roaring ovation, loud enough to be heard in Times Square. In a 2018 season that was full of disappointment, September 29th was the perfect celebration of Wright’s career and for Wright himself, it was the chance to say his final goodbyes to the team who welcomed him with open arms back in 2004.
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It was a wonderful night, it was something I will remember for the rest of my life. But I’m at peace with the work, time and dedication I put into this. But I’m not at peace with the end result. Tonight was special.
David Wright (post game news conference, September 29th 2018)
Before September 2018, David Wright had last playedin the majors on May 27th 2016. Wright worked extremely hard to make a comeback and become the player he once was. Unfortunately for Wright, his body would not let him. This became apparent after 12 minor league games where he accumulated a batting average of just .177 in 48 plate appearances.
In his prime, David Wright looked a sure Hall of Famer. He was a perennial All-Star, lovingly referred to as Captain America, and thus a fitting leader of Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
At his peak, Wright was one of the most dangerous number three hitters in all of baseball. Over his career, Wright accumulated 1777 hits, with a slash line of .296/.376/.491 and a career OPS of .867. Wright hit 250 home runs and 970 RBI. He appeared in seven All-Star games, collected two Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Gloves.
There are examples of players who made the Hall of Fame despite having injury-riddled careers, but their peak performance was other-worldly. Sandy Koufax is an example, Koufax only had six really good years but he was the best pitcher in baseball for five of them.
Let’s be blunt for a moment. David Wright is a serious long shot to make the Hall of Fame. Wright only managed to play more than 70 games in 10 seasons, so his Hall of Fame case has to be made on the 10 seasons he was healthy (2005 – 2014). During this 10 year stretch, Wright appeared in 1439 games, accumulating a slash line of .298/.379/.492 with 216 home runs and 899 RBI. The question that needs to be asked is: are those stats good enough to make the Hall of Fame?
After becoming a Mets fan in 2015, I never truly saw David Wright at his peak. I saw glimpses of him in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and it was on September 29th 2018 where I realised how much David Wright meant to Mets fans, but I wanted to know why he meant so much to the franchise,
Despite all the surgeries, injuries and pain, Wright spent the last two years and four months of his career working to get back on the diamond and wear the uniform once again. David Wright spent his whole career wearing one uniform. In the 1970s, the Mets had Ed Kranepool (who spent his whole career with the Mets) and they still cherish him today. Now they have David Wright, a legitimate star who belonged to the Mets, and only the Mets.
To the sport of baseball, Wright is Captain America. To us Mets fans, he is Mr Met.
Alex Worth is covering the New York Mets during 2020 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @AlexWorth17