R.A. Dickey pitched another remarkable game in what has been a spectacular 2012 season on Thursday. As you probably heard, he’s up to 20 wins, and is probably the favorite to win the Cy Young Award.
But among all-time Mets pitching seasons, it’s only 21st, as per Baseball-Reference. Does that surprise you? It sure surprised me.
This is no knock on Dickey’s season. It just reflects how much tremendous pitching has been part of the franchise’s history.
Dickey’s 7 2/3 innings of 13-strikeout pitching moved him ahead of David Cone’s 1988, the famous 20-3 season that turned Ed Hearn into someone Mets fans were fond of seeing traded. But it also inched him just ahead of Bret Saberhagen’s 1994, a season few celebrated because the strike ended it in August, and because guys who spray bleach at reporters don’t tend to get favorable stories written about them.
Dickey, with a strong final start next week, has a chance to pass Tom Seaver’s 1970, and even Craig Swan’s 1978, the ERA-title season. (Dickey has a good chance of winning the ERA title himself in 2012; it’s been quite a year).
But Dickey’s 2012 will fall short of seven other Tom Seaver seasons, along with campaigns by Jon Matlack, Jerry Koosman, Al Leiter’s 1998, Pedro Martinez’s 2005, Johan Santana’s 2008, even Frank Viola’s 1990, the last Met to win 20 games.
Why do I bring this up? Not to denigrate aremarkable accomplishment by R.A. Dickey. But just to put it in organizational perspective, did you know where David Wright’s season ranks among all-time hitting years for the Mets?
It’s sixth ever. Only Lance Johnson’s 1996, John Olerud’s 1998, Bernard Gilkey’s 1996, and two other seasons rate ahead of Wright’s 2012 in WAR: Carlos Beltran’s 2006, and David Wright’s 2008.
Maybe that shouldn’t surprise me, given that Wright just passed Ed Kranepool for the all-time franchise hits record, and Kranepool’s career WAR is 2.2, or roughly a third of Wright’s value in 2012 alone, or that when Gary Carter drove in 100 runs in 1985, it was just the second time a Met had done so, ever.
I just find that perspective interesting on both counts. Hope you do, too.
And I’ll tell you this: sitting in the stands yesterday, it didn’t feel like I was watching something roughly as impressive as Bret Saberhagen’s 1994.