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Shameful and Fameful

The Ultimate Mets Database tells me that 874 players have played in a game for the New York Mets.

I'd guess if you were going to rate them on performance, compared to expectations, Roberto Alomar would rank 850th or below (but I haven't actually done this).

It is very hard for me to reconcile the Roberto Alomar, Mets version, with the one that, in my mind, is a pretty easy check-off for this year's Hall of Fame class. It is essentially a case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, or in this case Robbie Fameful and Roberto Shameful.

In 2001, for the Indians, Alomar had the best statistical season of his career.

He hit .336. He never had a better batting average than that.

He had an OPS of .956. He never had a better OPS than that.

He had 100 RBI. He only had one season with more than that.

He had 113 runs scored. He only had two seasons with more runs scored than that.

In 2002, for the Mets, Alomar had the worst statistical season of his career.

He had a .266 batting average. To that point, he only had one season worse than 1988!

He had a .708 OPS. To that point, he'd never done worse.

He had 53 RBI. To that point, he'd only had one full season worse than that (skipping 1994) 1988!

He had 83 strikeouts and 57 walks. He only had two season to that point with a worse ratio than that.

He had 16 stolen bases. To that point, he'd only had one season worse than 1997.

Defensively, there's a stat on Baseball-Reference called Zone Rating that attempts to measure plays made. I'm not sure the quality of this stat, but I can tell you that Alomar's zone rating in 2002 was measured as the worst of his major league career.

I don't know what to blame for Alomar's mediocrity, so I'm stuck on putting a general blame blanket over the wounds he caused during this two-year period of Mets decline.

Contrast that with the 11 years prior. From 1991 to 2001 had the following credentials

* 11-time All-Star
* 10-time Gold Glove winner
* Five finishes in the top 6 of the MVP race
* 4 times in the top 7 in batting average
* 5 times in the top 9 in on-base percentage
* 6 times in the top 9 in stolen bases
* And career numbers to that point, deemed to be most comparable to Derek Jeter.

Don't take the Jeter comparison lightly, because Alomar was essentially Jeter-lite. Alomar hit .300 or better in five different postseason series, including .480 with 6 RBI and 5 runs scored in the Blue Jays 1993 World Series win over the Phillies.

In his first 11 postseason games, Alomar had 20 hits and eight RBI. Joe Carter and Dave Winfield had the biggest hits in Blue Jays history (both World Series-winners), but Alomar had a couple of pretty significant ones as well.

In the Game 4 of the 1992 ALCS (before the Blue Jays had won anything), Alomar started a rally from a 6-1 eighth-inning deficit with a double, than hit a game-tying two-run home run against Dennis Eckersley in the ninth inning in a game Toronto eventually won in extra innings. Without this win, there might not have been a two-year championship run, and Alomar was directly responsible.

Where the f--- was this guy in his year-plus in New York?

Mets fans got tastes of Alomar's abilities in a two-week stretch in early June and a 10-day run prior to the 2002 All-Star Break, when Alomar put up a string of multi-hit games. The problem was that the Mets were 8-11 in these two spans, so it wasn't like he was helping the cause much.

The closest Alomar came to a walk-off hit was in the last game of those referenced, on July 13, when he was up twice with runners in scoring position and a chance to win the game. Both times, he walked, and Timo Perez made an inning-ending out. The Mets would go on to lose. Alomar would go on to more mediocrity.

In summary, how bad was it?

The Mets had Yogi Berra for nine at-bats at the end of his Hall of Fame career. He went 2-for-9. But Yogi Berra's career as a Mets player was better than Alomar's.


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