A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Monday, September 2, 2013

The York Diego Padropolitans

This post was originally written... a while ago.  It's been in draft purgatory, as this is one post that required a bit more research than most of my half-baked posts.  Was it worth the wait?  Hmm...

As the series betwixt the Mets draws to a close, I'll commemorate it with the creation of a super-team of players who spent time in the Big Apple and America's Finest City.  When considering who would make the team, I first wanted to base it solely on merit, but then decided that I'd give the edge to those who had the best baseball cards.  It seemed only fitting, since that is generally the theme here at Backstop Cards HQ.  However, the point seems a little moot, since most of the best players have good looking cards anyways.

Well, without further ado, a mashup of Mets and Padres, hereby known as the York Diego Padropolitans (unless you've got a better name for 'em).  In the breakdown, I'll also judge if they were better in orange and blue, or in whatever color the Padres happened to be sporting at the time

Catcher: Mike Piazza
A no-doubter here, as he is arguably the greatest hitting catcher of all time.  I remember him more as a hated Dodger, but he had some great years with the Mets (six All Star selections, four Silver Sluggers).  He only played one year for the Padres, in 2004, and by that time he was totally washed up.  And by washed up, I mean he hit .283 with 22 homers.
Better as a Met.
Mets 1, Padres 0

First Base: Tim Teufel
Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but I had a hard time finding somebody on this super team to cover first.  Enter Teufel.  Even though the position on this '91 Topps Traded card says he played second, he spent 70 games at first for the Mets over six years, and 13 games there for the Padres over three years.  He'll do for now.  Teufel spent more time as a Met than any other team he was with, and is  currently their third base coach.
Better as a Met.
Mets 2, Padres 0

Second Base: Roberto Alomar
Like Piazza, this seems to be a no-brainer.  There aren't any other eligible second basemen who are in the Hall of Fame.  Alomar's greatest years were undoubtedly with the Blue Jays, where he helped them win back to back World Series.  Trading away Alomar carried the early 90s tradition of shipping off star talent away from San Diego.  Judging solely by this "Dream Team" card, he was already a great player, and he got even better once he left San Diego.  He was decent with New York, but was a star rookie and an All-Star in San Diego.
Better as a Padre.
Mets 2, Padres 1

Third Base: Gary Sheffield
Sheffield was a Brewers prospect who was traded to the Padres before the 1992 season.  In his first year there, he destroyed the National League, becoming the only Padre not named Tony Gwynn to win the Batting Title as well as an All Star.  He would be traded to Florida for a bunch of no-namers (and a guy named Trevor) in '93, and would drift from place to place throughout his career, playing for eight different teams and being an All Star nine times.  He washed onto the shore of New York in 2009, his last season in the bigs, and hit a respectable .276 in 100 games for the Amazin's.
Better as a Padre.
Padres 2, Mets 2

Short Stop: Tony Fernandez
Fernandez played 48 games as a Met in 1993, hitting .225.  He played two years for the Padres, coming over in the same trade that brought Fred McGriff to San Diego from Toronto.  He was an All-Star in 1992 and hit .274 as a Padre.  He also made it onto this sweet looking double play card as a Padre.  This one is easy.
Better as a Padre
Padres 3, Mets 2

Left Field - Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson led the league in stolen bases twelve different years.  That's a lot of years.  None of them were as a Met or a Padre.  It was a little harder to determine if Rickey was a better Met or Padre.  He played more games for San Diego (359, compared to 152 as a Met), which led to more steals as a Padre (91, compared to 42).  He was also a member of the Padres division championship team in 1996, my favorite Padres team of all time.  As a Met, he hit for a higher average (.298, compared to .245).  I ended up deciding based on the terms that he left the team.  The Padres traded him in '97 to Anaheim for three players, while the Mets released him after a miserable start to the 2000 season.  And Rickey would rejoin the Padres for a stint in 2001.
Better as a Padre.
Padres 4, Mets 2

Center Field - Mike Cameron
When running down the preliminary lists, I was fully planning on handing this one over to the Mets.  Until I looked at the numbers, that is.  Cameron played 76 more games as a Padre, but his numbers in both places seem fairly identical.  He had 43 homers, 161 RBI, and a .255 average in SD, compared to 42/115/.247.  Too close to really call, so I decided to have Cameron's defense do the talking, as it usually spoke well for him.  He won two Gold Gloves in Seattle, before heading to New York.  He didn't win any there, but won his third as a Padre.  Also, there was that horrific accident that he had as a Met that nearly killed him.  Probably a memory that he'd rather forget.  If he remembers it.
Better as a Padre.
Padres 5, Mets 2

Right Field - Kevin McReynolds
K-Mac (I'm pretty sure that nobody called him that, but the guy was before my time anyways, so I could be wrong) made it onto the MVP ballot twice, once as a Met, another time as a Padre.  He never won the thing, but he was 17th place on the ballot in '84, when the Padres went to the World Series, and 3rd on the ballot in '88, his second year with the Amazin's.  All of his numbers are better with the Mets, except for triples (17 as a Friar, 14 as a Met).  For what it's worth, his season high batting average is .288.  He set it in '86 (with the Padres) and matched it in '88 (with the Mets).
Better as a Met.
Padres 5, Mets 3

Starting Pitcher - Randy Jones
Only one qualifying player has won the Cy Young award.  Jones, a two time All-Star in San Diego, he was the Cy Young runner up in '75, and won the whole thing the following year, leading the NL in wins (22), complete games (25), and innings pitched (315.1).  He makes the team without much competition, and his BBQ stand at Petco Park alone makes him a Padre.
Better as a Padre
Padres 6, Mets 3

Closing Pitcher - Heath Bell
Were it not for Heath Bell, Randy Myers would've made the team as a Met.  However, Bell had three 40+ save seasons in San Diego, while Myers had 56 saves with the Mets.  Speaking of Heath, is there a player who has been hated by more organizatons?  Well, yeah, probably.  But still, as loved as Bell was in San Diego, he has not been well received in Miami or Arizona.  Mostly because he has not been nearly as good as he was as a Padre.  I'm still a Heath Bell fan, though.  He came up as a Met, however, and that's how he makes the list.
Padres 7, Mets 3

Well, there you have it.  Your York Diego Padropolitans.  If you're a Mets fan, there are guys who you might not've known spent time in Queens.  Most of the guys were pretty well known as Friars, so my fellow Padre fans will know them well.  Of the current rosters, I believe that Ronny Cedeno and Dale Thayer are the only current Friars who also played for the Mets.

3 comments:

  1. Great post... totally forgot that Jones pitched for the Mets in the early 80's.

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  2. Very nice post. You have to love Randy Jones with that bushel of hair and the brown and mustard uni. Oh, for the old days.....

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  3. Nice. I've been doing a series of these combined teams over at GLB every now and then, depending on who we're playing. I haven't got to the Mets yet but I'd agree with most of your picks. I'd probably start Tony Clark at 1B and move Tuffy to the bench. That and move Sheff to RF to get Kevin Mitchell's bat in the lineup at 3B, since they would do less damage defensively like that than vice-versa. The team would have a solid bench and a good bullpen, but a suspect rotation.

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