Thursday, June 14, 2018

Classic Set: 1986 New York Mets

It's finally time for the 108 win, Curse-keeping New York Mets! The Mets are led by perhaps the best starting pitcher in the Classic Set, Dwight Gooden. Gooden's card is based around his 1985 season, but he was the ace for the 1986 Mets too. Of course, the '86 Mets are not remembered by most for their dominant regular season and knocking off a lethal Mike Scott-Nolan Ryan duo for the NL Pennant. No, the Mets are remembered for coming back from a 3-2 World Series deficit after Buckner let the ball go through his legs in Game 6. Their World Series win is one of baseball's all-time classic World Series, and rightfully so. However, this was not a team that lucked into a championship -- the 1986 Mets were one of the best squads in history and I'm pumped to bring you their Classic Set collection!

Reminder -- not everyone is based on their 1986 stats (and took the best years of players from the 1986 team to make the strongest squad possible) and the cards are made relative to other Classic Set players, so some skills are depreciated from where they'd be compared to a pure 1986 set. Alright, without further ado, enjoy!

Lineup: The Mets lineup isn't the strongest in the Classic Set, but it's definitely got some useful (and fun) pieces to use. Leading off is spunky speedster (and Pardon My Take legend) Lenny Dykstra, who has speed and extra base pop. He's followed up by solid singles hitter and classic #2 hitter Wally Blackmon, before the real heart of the order. 3-4-5 is a dynamite set of players, all affordable and providing potent offense. First is Keith Hernandez, who made it here on the Mets over the Cardinals, a great contact hitter who provides +1 defense at first base. Then there's the legendary slugger Darryl Strawberry, with a double at 13, triple at 16 that's the cherry on top of an already lethal OB 9, HR at 17 chart. They're supported by one of the greatest catchers of all time, Gary Carter. While some Expos fans with family descending from Quebec on this site want a Gary Carter card on Montreal, seeing him embrace Orosco after winning the '86 World Series is the perfect card in my opinion. Howard Johnson is definitely an above average sixth hitter and provides a lot more power than I would've guessed. Rounding out the lineup is an average but affordable Ray Knight and two punted players, although they at least provide speed and defense.

Rotation: This is the bread and butter for the Mets! This rotation was absolutely filthy, and had all five starters post a sub-4 ERA in the 1986 season. Perhaps more impressively, the squad featured THREE players with a sub-3 ERA and Dwight Gooden's 1985 season featured a 1.53 ERA!!! While Darling and Ojeda would be better cards if this wasn't their classic set versions, they're still great arms (especially Ojeda) for any rotation.  Top to bottom, there's no real weakness to be found with the Mets starting pitching.

Bullpen: The Mets are led by one of the true elite closers in the Classic Set, Jesse Orosco. Orosco brings high control to a Tier 1 card and should be lethal for the 9th inning. He's supported by a bevy of unassuming, fly ball contact pitchers. Hopefully that doesn't spell too much trouble, as the OF and Carter provide a good throw-out tandem, but it could lead to trouble against fast teams (the Classic Set Cardinals come to mind). Overall, it's a very solid bullpen (no one lower than a Tier 3) and closes out a very decent Mets squad quite aptly.


While the Classic Set only allows one team per player, there are a few guys who would've made the cut for a couple of teams. One of those players is David Cone, who was amazing for the 1988 Mets with a 20-2 record and 2.22 ERA. So because it was requested, here's David Cone's 1988 Classic Set card (I guess like a Pennant Run addition to the Set)